HTC One X review

17 Apr 2012

Stonking performance, a stunning screen and one of HTC’s best designs in years make this our new smartphone king

Price when reviewed 
480
5

Few of HTC's offerings have threatened the smartphone industry's top table of late, with its somewhat safe offerings largely overtaken by fancier phones from Samsung and Apple. But HTC’s latest flagship handset, the One X, looks set to take back some of the ground lost to the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S.

It isn’t a phone we’d ever accuse of playing safe. The white rear, with its protruding silver camera lens, looks and feels superb, and the gentle curves that appear at each end of the device lend a welcome dose of originality.

HTC One X

We can’t fault HTC for build quality, either. The One X is sturdy despite its 8.9mm-thick, 130g frame – especially when compared to the somewhat flimsy Galaxy S II, which was 8.7mm and weighed 116g – and while there have been reports of the screen flexing when gripped tightly, our sample seemed fine. The solid build can be put down to the construction: the One X is milled from a single block of polycarbonate, using a similar technique used by Nokia for its Lumia 800.

It’s that screen that steals the show. It’s a 4.7in IPS panel with a resolution of 720 x 1,280 – a huge increase over the 480 x 800 of the Galaxy S II and the iPhone’s 640 x 960 Retina display. That gives for a pixel density of 312ppi – not far behind the iPhone’s 330ppi – and makes for a consistently stunning experience. There’s plenty of space for full-sized web pages, text is pin-sharp, and images and games leap from the screen.

It isn’t only the increase in resolution; the quality is great too. Its 490cd/m2 maximum brightness can’t match the iPhone’s 581cd/m[sup]2[/sup], but it’s far ahead of the Galaxy S II’s 300cd/m[sup]2[/sup] – a low figure on paper thanks to the Samsung’s AMOLED panel, and a difference that will make itself known in bright sunlight. The contrast ratio of 1,138:1 helps to create deep blacks, bright white tones, and vivid, accurate colours in between. It’s a wonderfully vibrant and comfortable screen.

HTC One X

Processing power comes from Nvidia’s 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip, partnered with 1GB of RAM. Storage extends to 32GB, of which 26GB can be used for data and apps, but there’s no micro SD card slot to add more. For communications you get the choice of 3G, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4, and the One X also has NFC.

The specification makes the One X the most powerful smartphone we’ve tested. Its Quadrant benchmark score of 4,927 streaks ahead of the 3,460 scored by the Galaxy S II, and it completed the SunSpider benchmark in 2,071ms. That’s a third quicker than the Samsung, and just ahead of the iPhone 4S.

No game stretched the HTC’s GPU. High-octane shooter Shadowgun ran flawlessly, 3D adventure title Dungeon Defenders was similarly slick, and Reckless Racing 2 also delivered rock-solid framerates. A word of warning, though: while things were fine away from the mains, running demanding games while charging saw the handset grow unbearably hot.

Details

Price ex VAT £400
Price inc VAT (£480 inc VAT); from free on £26/mth, 24mth contract
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £26.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider Mobiles.co.uk
Overall rating 6
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5

Physical

Dimensions 70 x 134 x 8.9mm (WDH)
Weight 130g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.7in
Resolution 720 x 1280
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android