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HTC One X – HTC’s next big thing?

on June 8, 2012 – 8:49 pmNo Comment

I remember seeing the HTC One X for the first time in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, announced from Peter Chou himself. I was a little bit confused at first. This announcement didn’t exactly sound like HTC. New materials, new tech, new direction. I was surprised and I gotta say, HTC did a nice job in keeping their word. The One X felt so different from the rest of their smartphones, which all kinda looked the same. Fast forward and here’s me, sitting with my own One X, yes I have indeed purchased one. My colour of choice was white, as it just looks extremely charming. Our full review of the HTC One X is already up, so I wanted to take some time and let you know about my personal experiences with HTC’s flagship Android smartphone!

5 reasons why I love my HTC One X

Display: Definitely the star on this device.  I was a bit “meh” at first, when HTC announced the One X equipped with a LCD display, rather than one of those georgeous Super AMOLED displays. The reality turned out to be a 4,7″ 720p HD display, pumping out a 720 x 1280 pixels resolution, with HTC’s new Super LCD II tech inside. And you know what? Although I was skeptical first, it’s pretty darn awesome.  Yes I was ranting about the increasing display sizes before, but after Barcelona, I was convinced that I could live with a 4,7″ device. And I do. HTC really went into town, and improved contrasts, colour reproduction, viewing angles, as well as visibility in sunlight. On the outside, this is hands down one of the best results I have ever seen. With the very sharp resolution and the fact that it looks like it’s glued directly on top of the device, HTC managed to make this display look even more spectacular. Showing it around usually resulted in raised eyebrows.

Polycarbonate body: Another novelty for a HTC is the new white polycarbonate unibody, as seen in the Nokia N9 and Lumia 800/900. No, I’m still not a fan of fixed battery devices, but the new material definitely makes a difference. Measuring at 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, it’s not even extremely big for a 4,7″ device and the rounded edges give it a great feel in the hand. If I could nit-pick, I’d probably complain about the plasticky volume rockers and power-/standby-button, but I can easily accept that. The whole body of the One X is a new approach from HTC, and they have really done it right.

Camera: First things first: the One X camera is a hit and miss story, so it will appear in both sections. But let’s have a look at the good parts first: HTC has put a lot of effort into their camera department, and it shows – the One series is packed with new camera goodies, hardware and software: Faster start-up times for this 8 megapixel shooter, a max. aperture of f/2.0, a separate image chip, combined with a backside illuminated sensor, a very fast autofocus,  HDR and panorama mode, a set of filters which work in real time, the ability to snap pictures WHILE filming in 1080p full HD video or taking high quality screengrabs while watching an existing video, slow motion video recording and lots more. There is a lot to get excited about, and about 95% of the time, the One X manages to produce some very good results. Especially impressive in low light situations, the camera doesn’t disappoint, resulting in crisp images, as seen below. Video recordings are also very nice, make sure to check them out in full resolution.

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Spectacular HTC One X HDR shot!

 

Reception: Hands down, the HTC One X has the best reception I have ever experienced, no matter if cellular or Wifi. Most of my phones struggle to get a Wifi signal at work, due to the router being 2 floors above, while the One X has no problem whatsoever. Very impressive.

Very active developer scene: This has become more and more essential for me in the past, as I have turned into somewhat of a tinkerer. Does the stock ROM lack? Well, there’s likely gonna be a custom ROM waiting for you. HTC for example has used the right capacitive button for multitasking, which is all nice if you wanna show off your multitasking skin, but just not very practical if you used to other Android devices. Slapped a mod on, and be gone 3-dot menu option, and the right button is used for menu, while multitasking now comes up on a longpress of the Home button! No matter what it is, the great developers from XDA forums already had a solution worked out. I would never advice anyone to risk the device warranty, but if you like to mod your phones, it’s comforting to be backed up by a great developer scene!

As you can see, the HTC One X has a lot of good things going for it (and i was just scratching the surface with my points above), so the One X seems like the perfect, flawless one to get, right? It’s close, but it’s not perfect either. Below I’d like to point out 5 points which has proven to be a bit of a headscratcher. They didn’t put me off in a way that I would sell it, but still they are an issue..

5 points I don’t like about the HTC One X

Battery Life: Probably the weakest point on the One X at the moment (or any Android device for that matter). I’m just baffled by HTC’s recent statement, that they are looking to make thinner devices, for the sacrifice of more battery life. I want to meet the person inside HTC that says “yes, i prefer my phone to lose 2mm of thickness, I don’t care if I can’t even make a full 24 hour day with it!” Fact is, on an average day my One X will last about 16-18 hours. 3G and Wifi constantly on, about 30-50 SMS, about 1-2 hours of phone calls, Gmail in the usual push setting, lots of Twitter and Facebook activities, about 2-3 hours of internet surfing, brightness on automatic. You can push it over a full day with most of the stuff deactivated, and longer synchronization intervals, but where would be the fun in that? Besides that, HTC, here’s something for you to think about: It IS possible to have a thin device AND decent battery life. If you’re not sure how to do it, ask Motorola for help. Just do it. Let’s recap: Samsung Galaxy S III: 8,6mm 2100mAh. LG Optimus 4x HD: 8,9mm 2150mAh. Motorola RAZR Maxx: 9mm 3300mAh. Does that ring a bell?

Processor: I won’t say the built in Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad Core processor is a bad choice, not at all, I mean, this thing FLIES. My concern is: do we really need it already? Cause let’s face it: How many % of the people and games they play, do really need that sort of power, sacrificing precious battery life in the process. The specs race is still not ending, as every major brand is now jumping on the Quad Core bandwagon. Do I need that Quad Core power? No, I absolutely don’t. Even if it’s warming my fingers nicely when gaming.

Camera: As mentioned above, the camera will appear twice, for a number of reasons. First of all, I sorely miss a hardware shutter button. This would make life SO much easier when shooting those perfect moments. Second, the One X misses an assisting light for the autofocus. Touch to focus does that job, but it’s quite difficult when there’s almost no light in the room. Third, I wish HTC would’ve found a better balance for noise reduction, as it’s sometimes too much, giving up some detail in some photos. But, about 95% of my photos turned out just fine, and I’m sure so they will for most people. And one last thing, HTC seriously, who came up with the idea, of having that camera part stand out that much on the backside!? Laying on the table with the camera bulge standing out like that, the camera glass will inevitably get scratched.

SIM card tray: Okay, I get the point of a non-removable battery. I don’t particularly like it, but I get the point. However, I do NOT get the point why the SIM card tray is only accessable via a small pin (or alternatively a paper clip). What do I do on the road?

Software/HTC Sense: The HTC One X comes equipped with Android’s latest version, 4.0 a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich. Like on all their smartphones, the One X also features HTC Sense, the custom UI HTC has developed over the years. And well, it’s a bit of a love and hate story for most users. Yes, I think it’s still the best looking UI, and I still think that if I have to use a custom UI, I want it to be Sense. But some things are just not right: Dedicating a whole button just for multitasking seems a bit over the top. Partly because I’m used to have a menu-button and partly because said menu button was replaced by an ugly 3-dot menu that will appear in most apps at the bottom of the screen. Also, HTC, for god know which reasons, decided to get rid of the quick settings options in the pull down notifications bar!? Not sure why they wanted to get rid of the best way to toggle quick settings, but oh well, Extended Controls to the rescue! Furthermore, the default HTC Keyboard turned out to be quiet big, using up a lot of screen space, which I found a bit irritating at times. HTC promised to tone back their Sense UI, and I sure hope they continue that way, for the sake of quicker updates and more flexibility.

So here we are, 5 good and bad things about HTC’s flagship device, the Tegra3-packing One X. And after using it for about 3 weeks, i can safely answer the obvious “should I buy it”-question with YES! My ramblings above aside, the HTC One X is one hell of a great Android smartphone, and right now, my favourite one. Stunning looks, an even more stunning display and the right ingredients on the inside have since provided a great experience for me. Sure, even the One X has some downsides, it may be too big, lacks battery power and the camera could be a bit better sometimes, but they are simply outweighed. Job well done HTC!

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Michael Hell, certified geek, mobile jedi, amateur photographer, music addict. Down to earth and always up for new challenges. Also blogging on www.michaelxhell.com, which is my private blog for things like Photography and personal things :) Feel free to add me on http://twitter.com/michaelxhell or http://www.facebook.com/michaelxhell