HTC One X Review

HTC has had a run of devices that all look the same.  Yet each one is unique in its own little way.  The HTC One X is no exception.  It looks very similar to the One S yet it is still different.  For that let’s get to the review and if you feel the need to watch a quick review and just have information glossed over and easy to digest then check out the video review I did here.

Hardware

The HTC One X is a 4.7-inch display and has a slim 8.9mm profile.  Which makes the device feel fantastic in your hands and with its lighter weight won’t make your hands tired holding it.  Going around the body of the phone you see some unique placements of certain keys.  The earpiece speaker is placed in the body shell that wraps around the device.  The volume rocker is a white bar on the right side, the micro-SIM tray is now housed in the shell (which requires a metal pin to access it at the top of the back).  The left edge has the MHL-capable micro-USB port and the headphone and power button are both found on the top.  The back of the device houses the very prominent camera; that is accentuated by a silver ring around it.


The speaker grill belts out plenty of noise, however it lacks a good solid bass feel.  Even if it the HTC One X is one of the first HTC devices to boast some Beats Audio enhancements inside.  If you are talking on the device and turn it on its face the Sense feature will recognize this and automatically go into speaker mode.  Nice little feature.

Underneath the hood you have 32GB of memory, with 26G of this available for the user.  You also have the new Dropbox deal offering an extra 25GB to anyone that registers the device from the One series.  All of this is powered using NVIDIA’s quad-core (plus one) Tegra 3, clocking it at 1.5GHz and different from its incoming LTE variant which uses Qualcomm’s dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon 4.  The processor is teamed with 1GB of RAM, plus it also runs Android Beam functionality when certain IPS apps allow it.

Display

With the One X you get the same 720P resolution as the Rezound and it also has a new Super LCD 2 panel and with the 4.7-inch display you get a pixel density of 316ppi.  This gives you great viewing angles and the colors seemed very natural and the whites were whiter than on AMOLED devices like the Galaxy Nexus.  Outdoors you will have to crank the brightness to the max but when you do it is readable and able to be navigated.

Camera

Now the camera function on a phone is getting a ton of press with each new phone pushing boundaries.  Now while it doesn’t have the 44-megapixel camera like the Nokia does, the HTC One X does give you a camera that will help you take great photos even if you are a complete novice or even a more experienced photographer.  Oh and yes it does do Panoramic shots like some other big name cameras.

The HTC One X’s camera is a solid camera, thanks to an 8-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor, an incredibly wide aperture f/2.0 autofocus lens (vs. f/2.2 on the Amaze 4G, f/2.4 on the iPhone 4S, f/2.65 on the Galaxy S II and f/2.8 on the N8) and an extra processor called the ImageChip.

Now you can talk features all day long but the real bread and butter is in startup time and delay between shots.  The HTC One X blows the competition out of the water with a .7 second startup and .2 second shutter delay between shots.  The speedy Galaxy Nexus can’t match that and the Nexus was touted as a speedy camera.  For all that great there are some missing components.  With the lack of a physical shutter button you are stuck with tapping the screen to take a picture.  Some people might not have the dexterity to do all that.  There is also concern with the long-term durability of the glass covering the optics which is exposed to fingerprints and scratches by protruding from the phone’s body.

Much like other cameras in phone the HTC One X doesn’t lack in filters and special features, like real-time filters, HDR, panorama, burst and slow-motion video.  You can even take 8-megapixel widescreen images whilst taking video.  You can even grab HD frames from an existing video during playback.  So you will always have a chance to catch that great shot.

The filters I spoke about earlier are much in the vein of Instagram including tweakable vignette and depth of field effects, which can be applied to photos in real-time or after you snap them.  You get your contrast, saturation and sharpness features as well.  Which now brings us to image quality; the HTC One X lands right in the middle of some of the smartphones on the market in terms of image quality.  It did beat out the iPhone 4S and the Note in testing and while it doesn’t compare to the N8 it does more than hold its own which is amazing since this device isn’t being touted as an imaging-centric device like the Amaze 4G.

Video with One X is captured at a crisp, silky smooth 1080p with 30fps with continuous autofocus.  With how quick the phone can snap a photo we noticed it took upwards of 4 seconds from when you pressed the record button and the device actually recording.  You can also shoot slow motion video with a 480p widescreen video shooting at 60fps for playback at about 24fps.  This is truly one of a kind.

Performance and battery life

We have seen the dawn of the quad-core era of phones.  NVIDIA has already used quad-core tech in Android tablets and the One X is the first Tegra 3 smartphone to arrive stateside and it does not disappoint.  The processor is more than capable of handling your daily duties and even gaming isn’t a problem.  There have been times where the device would hiccup when doing some processor heavy tasks such as video and games.  Surfing the net was also breathlessly easy.

Battery life takes a bit of a hit with all that performance.  On an average/moderate use it cranked out 12 hours of battery life.  With the 1,800mAh battery pack you can expect six hours of continuous video playback.   That battery life is with all the bells and whistles on and running.  So if you use the device a lot expect to keep your charger handy.

Software

Normally when HTC puts out a phone you are stuck with a skin that lays overtop of the Android 4.0.3 and this device the One X is no exception.  The Sense 4 is not what you have been used to.  Instead of the bogged down nonsense animations and unnecessary UI elements, instead you get a pleasant mix of both ICS and Sense.  Both OS’s living in perfect harmony.

Wrap-up

Now with all that being said it is time to give you the clean wrap-up of the HTC One X.  It really is a masterpiece of a device and clearly a front runner for being the best Android device on the market.  You get a very quick and smooth handset which can handle anything you throw at it.  The camera is very capable of being a fantastic point and shoot with some minor drawbacks and the video quality is absolutely stunning.

Battery life needs to be improved in future versions.  While the quad-core device is blazingly fast it has lacked in benchmark tests against some dual-core devices.  Now we send it over to our crazed scientists who come back with a grade based on a few criteria and then come back with a rating of BUY IT, SKIP IT, or FLIP IT and they turn on the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama and have come back with a BUY IT.  Yes it is expensive and fast and impressive and it does have some drawbacks but in the end it is more than worth it.  With LTE download speeds and quad-core processing with a 1080p camera you can’t go wrong.

Article first published as HTC One X Review on Technorati.

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