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HTC One X AT&T Smartphone Review
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Date: May 01, 2012
Section:Mobile
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction & Specifications

The HTC One X generated quite a buzz when the smartphone was first announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. The initial announcement featured information and specifications for two versions of the phone, an international model built around NVIDIA’s quad-plus-one core Tegra 3 SoC (system on a chip) and a U.S. model powered by a dual-core Qualcomm chip. The lack of a quad-core model in the U.S. left some observers feeling a bit flat, but by going with the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM 8960 HTC was able to support LTE in the U.S. Additionally; the MSM 8960 isn’t like other dual-core SoCs currently on the market. The MSM 8960 features Qualcomm's Krait microarchitecture, with an Adreno 225 graphics engine, and the chip is built using a 28nm manufacturing process. The sum-total of these advancements is a SoC that offers better per-core CPU performance than most other SoCs, with relatively strong graphics performance, and in a lower power-envelope. As you’ll see a little later, the performance of the device is very good.

Before we dive in and cover all of the specifics, we have a quick hands-on video of the HTC One X, to give you all a sense for how the device performs and fits in your hand. The model we take a look at here is the One X for AT&T’s LTE network, but other HTC One branded phones are coming to other carries as well.

HTC One X
Specifications & Features
Network
AT&T Wireless
Bands/Modes
4G LTE and HSPA+ - LTE:700MHz/AWS; HSPA/HSPA+: 850/1900/1200MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
OS
Android 4.0.3 with Sense 4.0
Display
4.7-inch True HD IPS touchscreen, 1280 x 720
Corning Gorilla Glass
Processor
1.5 GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm MSM 8960 "Krait"
Memory
1GB RAM internal memory
16GB Internal Storage
Talk and Standby Time
Usage Time: up to 8.5 hours
Standby Time: up to 12.6 days
Dimensions
5.3 x 2.75 x 0.37 inches (HxWxD)
Weight
4.85 ounces
Battery
1800 mAh
Connectivity
Bluetooth Version 3.0, 802.11b/g/n, Wi–Fi Direct, 4G Mobile Hotspot, microUSB, S-GPS, 3.5mm headset jack
Camera
8 Megapixel Rear-Facing Autofocus Camera and Camcorder with LED Flash
1.3 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Price
$199.99 with contract and discounts

Above we have the full specifications and features of the AT&T HTC One X. As you can see, the phone is powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM 8960 dual-core SoC, which is paired to 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phone has a 4.7” HD screen with a resolution of 1280x720 and it features both front and rear facing cameras. We’ll cover more of the features and design of the HTC One X on the pages ahead.


AT&T HTC One X Retail Packaging and Accessories

As for the HTC One X’s retail bundle, we found all of the usual suspects included with the device—nothing more, nothing less. Along with the phone itself, HTC includes and AC charger, micro-USB sync cable, a Quick Start guide, and a SIM eject pin.

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Design and Exterior

The HTC One X has a unique design and features and enclosure made from a single piece of polycarbonate material. The particular device we looked at had a bright white enclosure, but a slate / grey color will also be offered.

The advantages of using a single piece of polycarbonate for the device’s enclosure is that there are not access panels or cutouts or metal screens / insets to come lose, scratch or get filled with dust or dirt. The material is also very lightweight, which contributes to the HTC One X’s overall lightness. Despite having a relatively large 4.7” screen and a beefy 1800mah battery, the One X weighs in at only 4.58 ounces.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G 4.2 ounces
Motorola Droid Razr 4.48 ounces
Nexus S 4.55 ounces
HTC One X 4.58 ounces
HTC Droid Incredible 4.6 ounces
Apple iPhone 4 4.8 ounces
Apple iPhone 4S 4.9 ounces
LG Spectrum 4.99 ounces
Samsung Droid Charge 5.04 ounces
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx 5.1 ounces
Motorola Droid Bionic 5.57 ounces
Motorola Photon 4G 5.6 ounces
HTC EVO 3D 6 ounces
HTC Thunderbolt 6.23 ounces

Going with an enclosure with no removable panels (save for a tiny micro-SIM slot cover); however, means the HTC One X is not user serviceable in any way. The phone’s storage cannot be expanded by installing an additional microSD card and the batter cannot be swapped. While the One X’s 16GB of internal storage should be adequate for most users and the 1800mah batter is more than capable of lasting a full day with moderate to heavy usage, not being able to swap the batter or install an additional SD card is a disappointment. If we’re going to ding Apple for note letting users swap batteries on the iPhone, we must ding HTC as well. Boo. Hiss.

The design aesthetic of the HTC One X is great though. The polycarbonate body feels somewhat slick, but at no point did we feel like we’d be drop the phone. And the size of the phone is very good, especially if you’ve got big hands. The overall dimensions of the One X are 5.3 x 2.75 x 0.37 inches, making it a little taller than a device like the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, but a bit thinner as well.

On the right side of the HTC One X, you’ll find the device’s volume rocker and on the left side is its micro-USB port for charging and syncing / connecting to a PC or other device.

 

On the top of the One X you’ll find the power button, a 1v 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-SIM slot with an adjacent eject hole, and a noise cancelling microphone. On the bottom of the device, only the standard microphone is present.

The front of the phone is dominated by the screen and the back is home to a speaker grill with a beats Audio tag above it and the device’s 8MP camera with LED flash. We should point out that the glass covering the screen has nicely beveled edges, which feels good to the touch. Not having a rim around the glass definitely makes it easier to touch the far edges, which can be handy for some apps and games.

  

There are also a few embedded metal contacts on the back of the One X, which will interface with some accessories coming down the pipeline. The front of the phone also houses a 1.3MP camera, adjacent to the speaker grill. The grill is interesting in that it is drilled right out of the polycarbonate, so there isn’t a metal inset to get scratched or dented, like some other phones. We should also point out that there is a status LED indicator behind one of the holes which lights up when the phone’s battery is getting low or the phone is being charged.
 

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User Interface and Experience

The HTC One X ships with Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) v4.0.3, with HTC’s Sense 4.0 overlay. Overall, we really like the additions offered by Sense 4.0 and the build of ICS on the phone just feels more polished than some others we have experienced.

   

 
HTC One X Stock Home Screens (Blank Screens Omitted)

Out of the box, the home screens aren’t overly cluttered, but they can be quickly and easily customized anyway. Responsiveness to touch is excellent on the HTC One X, perhaps the best we have experienced on any device. There is virtually no lag when touching / dragging items, pinch to zoom is fluid and responsive, and transition animations are smooth as silk. Launching applications is also very quick—the device just feels fast.

The true HD Super-LCD screen on the HTC One X is also very good. Colors are vibrant without seeming overly saturated and the screen has excellent brightness. The glossy display is somewhat hard to see in direct sunlight, but that is par for the course with smartphones today. Viewing angles are very good, which makes for easy sharing of content with others around you, even when not directly in front of the device. The true HD Super-LCD screen itself offers a relatively high resolution of 1280x720, which results in crisp and sharp images that rival the best smartphones available today.

   
HTC One X Stock App Installation

In addition to the standard fare included with Android 4.0, the HTC One X comes preloaded with a number of other applications. Preloaded on the device are HTC Watch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube HD, Google Maps, Google Talk, and Amazon Kindle, along with a few AT&T branded apps, namely AT&T Navigator, Hotspots, Family Map, U-Verse Live TV, Code Scanner, My Wireless, Ready2Go, and YP Mobile.

Using the actual phone portion of the HTC One X was also very good (you know, these things can actually make calls). Sound quality making calls is excellent--we sounded well on the recipient's end and callers sounded good to us. The One X held onto calls as good or better than other phones we've tested as well.

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Camera Performance and Battery Life

One of the standout features of the HTC One X is its camera. The device features an 8MP camera with an f/2/2 28mm lens and LED flash that’s also capable of capturing 1080P video. The camera is very fast as well, thanks in part to a dedicated on-board image processor.

 

We strongly suggest checking out the video embedded on the first page to get a taste for just how fast the HTC One X’s camera can be. The continuous shoot mode captures multiple, full resolution shots per second which can be quite useful for capturing that “perfect” moment or piecing together a panorama.

The quality of the images produced by the HTC One X’s camera is also very good. Below is a sampling of shots taken in various lighting conditions.

   

   

The outdoor shots are especially good, but even the indoor shots with less than idea lighting produce nice images, with good color saturation and minimal noise. If there is one thing we did notice is that the camera is somewhat prone to blowing-out reflections when snapping pics of chrome or glass, but that’s a minor niggle. For all intents and purposes the HTC One X has one of the best smartphone cameras we have used to date.

HotHardware Battery Life Test
How Long Does It Last?

 
With any LTE phone, battery life can be an issue. AT&T claims you should be able to enjoy up to 8.5 hours of use time and up to 12.6 days of standby time from the phone's 1800 mAh battery. To put these numbers to the test, we put the HTC One X through our standard HotHardware battery test. In this test, we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshed itself every three minutes. We set the One X’s display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi for the duration.

When we ran this test, the HTC One X lasted for 274 minutes while connected to AT&T’s wireless network before shutting down. In our real world testing of the phone, the HTC One X’s battery had no trouble making it through a whole work day (8-10 hours) with moderate to heavy use, while checking email, surfing the web, making calls, etc. without needing a charge. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on how much you use your phone.
 

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Performance: CPU and GPU

In addition to using the HTC One X in a variety of everyday usage scenarios, we also conducted some formal performance testing to see how well the device compared to some other smartphones.

CPU testing
Android CPU testing

Graphics testing
Android graphics testing

 

JavaScript testing
JavaScript Android and iPhone testing

 

In the Linpack test, the HTC One X outscored all of the other phones we tested in both the singe and multi-thread tests. The dual-core Qualcomm SoC powering this device  offers excellent number crunching performance according to Linpack.

The An3DBench XL test shows the Adrenno 225 GPU in the HTC One X lagging a bit behind some of the other phones, but keep in mind the HTC One X has a higher screen resolution and is doing more work that the other phones. GL Benchmark tells a completely different story. In the Egypt Offscreen test, which levels the playing field by rendering off-screen at the same 1280x720 resolution on every device, the HTC One X clearly outpaces the Galaxy S II and Moto Droid Razr.

In the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, the HTC One X put up the best score we have seen from a smartphone, besting the Galaxy Nexus by a wide margin.

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Performance: Network and Browsing
Since networks and browsing speeds are a key feature of any smartphone, we also conducted some formal speed tests to see how well the HTC One X compared to some of today's hottest smartphones using the SpeedTest.net app and Rightware's Browsermark benchmark.
 
SpeedTest.Net Performance
Network Speeds

The HTC One X can leverage AT&T's LTE network in the few areas that offer coverage with excellent results. We witnessed download speeds on the 33Mb/s range with uploads hovering around 13.8Mb/s. AT&T doesn't offer LTE in nearly as many markets as Verizon, but when it works, it works very well. When not in an LTE coverage area, the HTC One X's support for AT&T's pseudo-4G HSPA+ network also resulted in very good relative performance.
 

Rightware Browsermark
Web Browsing Performance

In the Rightware Browsermark benchmark, which evaluates the web browsing / browser performance of a device, the HTC One X offered the best score we have seen from a stock device. Web browsing on this phone is excellent.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The HTC One X performed very well throughout our entire battery of benchmarks and in all of our real-world testing. The responsiveness of the device is top notch, the screen offers excellent viewing angles and image quality, and battery life is more than acceptable for such a high performing device. The benchmarks show the 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM 8960 dual-core SoC at the heart of the HTC One X easily outpacing other dual-core chips thanks to its more advanced architecture and graphics performance was very good as well. The camera in the HTC One X was also very fast and produced nice images in a variety of lighting conditions.


The HTC One X with Stealth Grey Exterior

We were very pleased with the HTC One X. The device offers excellent performance and we really dig the phone’s design and aesthetics. Our real-world experience with the HTC One X was nothing but good; touch response is best-of-class, the phone never felt slow--even with multiple applications open, the customizations offered by HTC Sense 4.0 are welcomed additions, and the camera is among the best we have used on a smartphone. Even the device’s speakers and audio capabilities are excellent thanks to some smart design decisions and support for Beats Audio.

We also liked the HTC One X’s form factor and think many potential consumers will be impressed by how light and thin the phone feels. If you hit an AT&T store and play with the HTC One X alongside some of the other high-end phones currently being sold for AT&T’s network, we think you’ll agree. The HTC One X just feels fast and very polished.

About the only gripes we have with the device are its non-removable battery and lack of expansion. We can see the benefits of the HTC One X’s unibody design, but really wish there was a way to throw an additional memory card in the device or swap batteries on heavy use days. At the very least, having 32GB of storage would have been nice. If you’ve never owned a second smartphone battery and haven’t come close to filling up your current phone (which likely has less storage capacity), however, these things may not mean much to you. They obviously don’t mean much to iPhone users.

Regardless, for $199 (w/ new 2 year contract) the HTC One X should most definitely be on your short list of consideration if you’re in the market for a new smartphone. It’s priced competitively with other high-end devices, yet offers better performance in a number of different categories. HTC’s got a winner on their hands with this one.

 

  • 4.7-inch Screen
  • Great Performance
  • Decent Battery Life
  • Fast, High Quality Camera
  • Beats Audio
  • ICS Out of the Box
  • LTE Support

 

  • Non Removable Battery
  • No Memory Expansion

 



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