Thursday, 31 May 2012

HTC One X

 
Foreword

This time last year I had become bored of IOS. I had decided it was time to leave the good ship iPhone and embark on new OS seas. I decided on an Android, one reason for this was that I felt (and still do) that Android feels like a more complete package than say WP7 (that’s not to detract from WP7’s design, which I do find gorgeous). The other reason was the HTC Sensation that I had fallen slightly in love with. It was a mistake. Within three weeks I was using a replacement handset that was 3 years old. Whilst my incredibly buggy Sensation was at HTC HQ. The worst thing about the 3 weeks I had my Sensation for though was the moment the H fell off the HTC branding on the back. The Sensation was…well…not sensational. So when I approached this review of HTC’s new flagship it was with some trepidation. I was however, in for a surprise.

Design

Just look at it, it is a thing of beauty. It’s up there in terms of beauty with the Lumia 900 (which to my mind is the best looking Smartphone on the market right now). The One X though feels more understated than the Lumia, the Aston Martin to Nokia’s Lamborghini. The One X feels more solid than previous HTC phones and is made in the Unibody design that has been popular for some years now. This means that unlike the Sensation it does not have a battery cover that is removable. The Unibody design actually makes the phone feel a lot sturdier than others. But with its 8.9mm thickness it never feels unwieldy in the hand. In fact just to give you an idea of the lightness of the phone, when it turned up at my door I actually thought it was a pair of skate socks I’d ordered the previous week, it’s that kind of lightness. Some of the details on the phone really do give this a top quality finish. For example the earpiece and loudspeaker grilles are individually laser drilled into the polycarbonate.


Hardware

The One X boasts a Quad Core 1.5Ghz CPU and an NVidia Tegra 3 chipset. Coupled with its 1GB of Ram the specs really do make sure this phone packs a punch. The One X is capable of playing some truly great looking games with no frame rate drops and on this screen they do look amazing. One thing I have noticed is the fact that the One X does get a little hot on its back panel when playing some beefier games. I would imagine this is down to the chipset and whilst it’s a little annoying it’s really not too much of a deal breaker.
The One X’s screen is a Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, and it really does shine. I’ve used AMOLED screens in the past and some colours have seemed too saturated and unnatural but in comparison the One X with its new Super IPS LCD2 display colours feel natural. The viewing angle is also almost 180degrees and when held at this degree Apps still appear really clear and seem to almost hover near the surface of the display.  At 720p the screen is comparable to the beautiful Retina displays of current Gen Apple products for quality.
The Camera is 8MP with Autofocus with facial recognition and an LED flash. Video is 1080p @ 30fps and also has a feature in which you can take still photographs whilst recording HD video, it’s a really nice touch.
Sound wise the phone is ‘powered by Beats’ audio and the system works well. While listening through decent headphones the system provides some great sound. The loud speaker however just doesn’t seem to cut it and at times when the volume is turned up it underperforms noticeably.
Some have complained that the battery life on the One X is pretty low. Honestly though, I haven’t really run into too many issues. I usually get through the day with no real issues and charge over night.

Software

Sense. For those of you that don’t know, Sense is the name for the android skin used by HTC on their devices. If there’s one sticking point with this phone and previous HTC’s its that Sense is not close enough to a stock Android experience like on say, the Galaxy Nexus. The latest iteration (Sense 4.0) is an improvement on previous iterations. It’s been slimmed down somewhat and doesn’t feel as cumbersome as in previous versions. But there are little annoyances. One example is the revamped keyboard of Sense 4.0, which still feels kind of clunky in comparison to the iPhone keyboard and the stock ICS keyboard of the Galaxy Nexus. There is no game breaking part of the software however and these are small niggles; overall Sense 4.0 is a large improvement on previous versions.

Conclusion

There is no denying it. I promised myself that it wouldn’t happen. But I have fallen a little bit in love with this phone. With its superior looks, amazing power and software improvements (which has been one of the fundamental issues of previous HTC’s) it’s a phone I would certainly recommend. It feels like a rebirth for a company that was becoming somewhat stale and predictable. So if you’re looking for a great phone that really does hold it’s own in this ever changing market, you really can’t go too far wrong with this model.

8.5/10
Reviewed by your friendly neighborhood otaku, Makoto.


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