HTC One X Review
HTC was the first one to bring a quad-core processor handset in the Philippines with the One X, giving it the spotlight for some time and getting the credit as one of the most desirable (if not the most) flagship smartphone in the local market. Check out how HTC’s great design reputation and NVidia’s Tegra 3 chip stack up to make the HTC One X the handset to beat this season.
HTC has been criticized before for having recycled designs with their handsets in the last few years. Sometimes, it becomes boring already but this time we think they got it spot on with the HTC One X.
The review unit that we got here is the white colored One X and I thought it looked better than the one in gray.
Design and Construction.
The design signature of HTC is strong with the One X — simple, smooth lines, curved edges and a unibody form factor with a fluid structure. It’s very thin at 8.9mm and relatively light (130 grams) for its size. The unibody design certainly gives it a rigid and solid look.
The handset feels comfortable on the hands, smooth to the touch and has a good grip to it.
The minimalistic design gives the HTC One X a majestic look and certainly reminds us how we loved the ground-breaking HTC Desire from many years ago.
The top end is where the power button is located along with the 3.5mm audio jack. Just behind the power button is the pop-up cradle for the micro-SIM card. You will need a pin to pop it open (just like the way we’re used to with the iPhone) and prepare to get a new micro-SIM or cut up your existing SIM card to fit in.
At the bottom end are the soft buttons etched behind the glass display; they’re already designed for Ice Cream Sandwich (Back, Home, Recent Apps). At the bottom end is a pin hole for the microphone.
On the right side corner is a thin plastic strip for the volume rocker and the left side is where the microUSB port is found.
On the back side is the large 8MP camera protruding from the surface of the back and surrounded by a silver ring with the LED flash cutting thru the edge of the circle.
We’ve had issuess with previous HTC cameras that are positioned this way since it makes them more prone to accidental scratches and bumps.
The silver HTC logo is smack in the middle while the Beats Audio logo is flushed toward the bottom, just on top of the speaker grills. There are 5 contact pins on the bottom right corner which is reserved for the Media Dock and the Car Dock.
The surface has a smooth, matte finish both in front and at the back with a small strip around the edges that feels a bit polished or piano glossy.
The slightly curved shape of the body, the warm tones, the fluid design makes the HTC One X a stunning handset.
The HTC One X is a member of the big leagues with its massive 4.7-inch display. It’s not the first one from HTC to have this size (the Sensation XL and HTC Titan also had 4.7-inch screens).
The dark, hard glass that covers the display spills toward the edges, literally, giving you that impression that the entire front panel is the screen. There’s actually a thin bezel there that surrounds the screen but you can hardly see it when the display is turned off (or unless you come really close). It’s a pretty neat trick actually — like the way an infinity pool tricks the eye.
The smooth, curved shaped of the glass exterior follows the outer shape of the body of the handset. It gives it the impression of an almost perfectly fluid design — no hard corners, just free-flowing lines.
And once you turn on the screen, you will be confronted by the massive 4.7-inch display with a 720p HD resolution (that’s 1280×720 pixels). The pixel density of 312ppi is almost within the vicinity of the Retina Display of the iPhone 4/4S.
Images are crisp and bright, colors are warm and vivid, deep contrasts and superb viewing angles — all thanks to that Super LCD 2 display. However close you look into the screen, you can hardly see the pixels. I can’t remember any HTC handset having this good a display ever.
And it’s tough too. We’ve had a couple of incidents where we dropped the HTC One X face flat onto a ceramic tile floor, hard carpet and wooden table without a hint of scratch or bump.
HTC is not known to incorporate great cameras with their handsets. They did good with the Sensation XL and the HTC Titan but they weren’t still at par as the best cameras we’ve seen on other flagship smartphones.
The HTC One X attempts to change that perception with an 8-megapixel shooter sporting a wide-angle lens (28mm) and a large f/2.0 aperture.
Photos are sharp and less blurry, especially under low-light conditions. The camera app boots up really quick and we are able to take photos in bursts or quick successions.
Some of the shots may degrade under low-light conditions though but that’s expected even if the camera has a wide aperture. Here are some sample photos taken with the HTC One X:
On some occasion, you will notice the camera somewhat over-saturates the color. Loved that dSLR-like sound when focusing on the subject.
One of the key features of the camera in the One X is the ability to shoot stills while taking videos.
Video recording at 1080p full HD is also really good although we notice the frame rates are only in the range of 24fps.
Here’s a number of video clips taken using the One X:
The camera UI needs a bit of getting used to because both the still and video buttons are active at the same time and once in a while you get confused between the two.
The camera app also integrated a lot of built-in filters which, I’m sure, Instagram users will certainly love. By far, this is the best camera tucked into any HTC smartphone ever.
In the audio department, HTC continued to incorporate the Beats Audio technology with the One X. It has become a selling point with previous handsets and remains to do so.
The speaker grills are the back is clear and loud but not to our liking. It becomes muffled when you place it down on its back. The Beats Audio can only be activated when you plug in the earphones. HTC also added an enhancement called HTC Enhanced making the sound more crisp and whole but that feature is also limited.
Watching movies or playing games on the HTC One X is a joy. The display’s size and resolution scored points in this department. The Super LCD 2 also offered better viewing angles and less glare when used in the outdoors.
The OS, Apps and the UI.
HTC has been known for creating the popular HTC Sense UI and it has gone a long way to make it more intuitive, smoother and with all the added eye-candy and animations. This is overlaid on top of Android 4.0.3 ICS so you’ll really never see any semblance of the stock Android UI.
HTC banked heavily on the Sense UI to differentiate itself from other Android devices. As such, you get a slew of personalization options — from the HTC Scene, to the Skins, Lock Screen Style, up to the organization of the Home Screen with all the HTC goodies and widgets that come with it.
I managed to transfer all my contacts from my iPhone 4S to the One X without any problems. This makes moving to the new handset a lot easier. It ends there though so other files like music, photos and videos need to be transferred separately (there’s always DropBox).
The Lock Screen shortcuts allows you to jump from the locked screen to running frequently-used apps in one swipe. You can customize these but organizing the permanent navigation bar where the app launcher is.
The Recent Apps screen shows a deck of windows or running apps and you can actually close these apps by swiping the windows upwards.
The on-screen qwerty keyboard takes up the entire width of the bottom corner of the screen giving more space for each individual keys. The keys are spaced too close to each other and is a little mis-proportioned (key are very tall but thin).
One of the strongs suits of the Tegra3 chip is in gaming. With all that 4 CPU cores and 12 GPU cores, expect graphics-heavy games to play really, really well.
Performance and Benchmarks.
At the heart of the One X is the NVidia Tegra3 chip, a quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz in each core. The only other time we encountered this processor is with the Transformer Prime so we have a good idea of what it can do.
Our Quadrant Standard benchmark showed a high score of 4,595 while Antutu benchmark 11,367.
The Nenamark 2 benchmark focuses on the graphics and with a score of 47fps, this one is already impressive. Over-all, these are the highest marks we’ve seen on any synthetic benchmarks we’ve done on any handset we already reviewed.
Battery life is still a tricky business and HTC’s got the reputation for having slightly poor to decent battery life on their handsets. The HTC One X got a minor bump to 1800mAh but that was not enough to last us for the whole day, especially if 3G is turned on.
With moderate use, we can get by and reach a day and a half of battery life.
We seldom flag a new handset as a must-buy but we can certainly bet the HTC One X falls into this category. HTC combined great hardware and and great design into one solid handset. HTC’s got a winner with the One X.
It is by no means perfect but it’s one of the best handsets, if not the best, you can now get in the market. It’s one of the very few handsets I can say I’d use to retire my iPhone 4S.
As the first quad-core smartphone in the Philippines, the HTC One X is taking on huge expectations and we’re confident that it will not disappoint.
The HTC One X has a suggested retail price of Php32,990 and is available in stores nationwide (although you can find lower prices in online stores in the range of Php26-28k).
HTC One X specs:
4.7″ Super LCD 2 display, 720×1280 pixels @ 312ppi
1.5GHz quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 processor
32GB internal storage (26GB usable)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
8MP autofocus rear camera, 1080p
1.3MP front-facing camera, 720p
GPS w/ aGPS support
FM Radio Tuner
1800mAh Li-Polymer battery
Android 4.0.3 ICS
134.4 x 68.9 x 8.9mm
What we liked about it.
* Sleek handset design
* Blazing Tegra 3 processor
* Brilliant HD screen
* Much-improved camera
* Tough! We dropped it several times!
What we did not like.
* So, so battery life
* Limited storage, no expandable memory slot