Until recently, HTC had given its Desire range of smartphones a mini-break, and put more of its focus on the One series. But now we have the HTC Desire X, the first Desire handset to appear since the Desire C earlier this year. Read: more smartphone reviews.
HTC Desire X: Design
Although HTC has returned to the Desire range, you’d be forgiven for confusing the Desire X with the HTC One S. From the front, they look about identical with a recognisable clean and rounded look that’s now synonymous with HTC smartphones.
The HTC Desire X is a little smaller than the One X and a tad larger than the Desire C. It’s the first time HTC has plumped for a 4in screen since the Incredible S – ignoring HTC’s yet to be released budget Windows Phone 8S.
The size, shape and weight of the Desire X means it fits nicely in the hand. We measured the handset at 62 x 118 x 9.5mm and 116g. Our review sample from Clove came in black but there’s also a white model with blue trim around the camera.
HTC One X: Build Quality
The Desire X doesn’t quite match up to the superior build quality of the One X and One S. This is not helped by the rubberised rear cover which, as usual, is flimsy but does fit to the body once clipped on.
We found everything else to be in order in and around the handset. Our minor quibble is that the power button, located slightly unusually in the middle of the top side, has very little travel so you can’t always tell if you’ve pressed it or not.
HTC One X: Hardware and performance
At £230, the HTC Desire X has a typical specification for a mid-range smartphone. To start things off, there’s a 1GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor coupled with a slightly higher than average 768MB of memory.
From a user perspective, we found performance to be reasonable but nothing more. In the Geekbench 2 test, the Desire X scored an average of 666 points. That’s not bad when you consider the One S scored 685 but not so great when compared to the budget Sony Xperia U which scored nearly 900.
Things are distinctly budget on the storage front with only 4GB inside, of which there’s only just over 1GB available to the user. This dire situation is remedied by the inclusion of a microSD card slot, which will prove essential. HTC offers 25GB of free cloud storage with Dropbox via the pre-installed Dropbox app, but time-limited to two years.
The standout feature of the Desire X for us is the crisp and vivid 4in LCD screen. This is a good size without making the phone oversized; we can see why Apple decided on this size for the iPhone 5. Although the screen is good, it’s a shame HTC hasn’t been able to push things forward – it uses the same 480 x 800 resolution as the Incredible S, resulting in a pixel density of 233ppi.
Physical connectivity is restricted to a Micro-USB port and headphone jack - a common setup for Android smartphones. There’s single-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the aptX codec. GPS and digital living network alliance (DLNA) certification complete the phone’s wireless reach.
HTC Desire X: Camera
HTC has fitted the Desire X with a rear-facing 5Mp camera with an LED flash. It’s strange to find a lack of a front facing camera since the vast majority of smartphones include this feature. It will only be missed if you need to video call, in which case this is not the phone for you.
We found photos taken with the rear camera to be reasonable but unremarkable. If you enjoy taking snaps with your phone you’d be advised to take a look at the Sony Xperia P which is now a similar price but include a better camera.
Video can be recorded at an uimpressive 800 x 480 pixels (WVGA). This looks fine on the Desire X’s screen but not on anything larger. Note that competing products at around the same price typically offer better resolutions for video, normally 720p but in some cases even 1080p.
HTC Desire X: Software
HTC has loaded Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) onto the Desire X, along with the HTC Sense 4.0a interface overlay. As we've come to expect from HTC, the experience is good. It's not as slick to navigate around as some of the top-end phones we've seen but it's hardly slow either.
The interface includes a customisable lock screen with access to your favourite apps, an above-average camera app in ImageSense, a car mode and in our opinion the best set of pre-loaded widgets.
Unfortunately the notifications bar has lost the quick settings but there is a shortcut to the settings menu.
As well as the standard set of Google apps like Gmail and Maps, HTC adds in Polaris Office, Facebook, 7digital and SoundHound. Beats Audio is also built-in, although this doesn't do much other than boost the bass.
HTC Desire X: Battery life
Underneath the rear cover of the Desire X is a removable 6.1Wh battery. This is a good capacity and we found we could happily get through a day of use with the Desire X. Generally it was low enough to need a charge come bedtime but lighter users may even find themselves getting a couple of days' worth of usage.