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HTC One X review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 17 Apr 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: Free, on a £26.00 per month, 24 months contract.

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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/m2, but it’s far ahead of the Galaxy S II’s 300cd/m2 – 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.

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User comments

Sensational

I had an iPhone and I used a Galaxy SII, before I decided to buy an htc Sensation. It felt good in the hand and more sturdy than the GSII and Android just feels more modern than iOS.

As to heat, what do you expect? You are pulling power out of the phone almost faster than it can be pumped in, so it is no wonder it gets hot when charging and playing at the same time. My iPhone 3GS and my Sensation show exactly the same characteristic. Both get uncomfortably hot after long gaming sessions plugged into the charger.

As to 32GB, I never more than half filled my iPhone 3GS (32GB) and I've yet to encounter problems with my Sensation (8GB) or htc 7 Mozart (16GB).

The One X looks very tempting, but I am about 6 months from renewal, so there will probably be something better along by the time I upgrade.

A bargain at the moment would probably be the old Sensation, it still a good phone and with the official ICS upgrade out since a few weeks, makes a very nice alternative.

By big_D on 18 Apr 2012

Why is the iPhone still mentioned on the A list

I see PC Pro didn't have the heart to knock the iPhone off the A list. As far as I can tell no other item on the A list has 2 alternative products.

By Clive_B on 18 Apr 2012

Galaxy S2 with no GPS?

Also, on the comparison grid, there is no tick mark in the "Integrated GPS" column on the Galaxy S2.

Funny, as mine works like a charm!

By AlphaGeeK on 18 Apr 2012

@Clive_B

dude, relax

By gavmeister on 18 Apr 2012

@Clive_B

Good spot, although it's actually the Galaxy S II that's the bonus web alternative. iPhone 4S is still the main alternative in next month's mag. Sorry. :)

Regards,
David Bayon
Deputy reviews editor

By DavidBayon on 18 Apr 2012

32Gb is too small...

I need a minimum of 64Gb of memory, currently I (did) have just under 72Gb on my SGS2.

The battery is also pi$$ poor.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 18 Apr 2012

Warning Censorship at work!

Not allowed to dis a A-list product now.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 18 Apr 2012

"iPhone 4S is still the main alternative in next month's mag. Sorry. :)"

The iPhone is still the main alternative to the One-X? Really? That's odd considering the SGSII knocked the iphone off the top, and I quote "Samsung Galaxy S II is good enough to elbow the iPhone 4 roughly aside and grab the crown of the best smartphone on the planet". So how come it's dropped to third in the list??

As for the One-X a colleague at work has one and it is a stunning device.

By everton2004 on 18 Apr 2012

look like a great phone but will probably wait for samsung g3.

Also have to agree with everton2004, surely the g2 was the A-list smartphone previously and should be the alternative to the HTC...

"The big question, therefore, is whether the 4S does enough to dislodge the Galaxy S II from our A-List. The answer is no"..."Is the iPhone 4S £240 better than the Galaxy S II? We’d argue not."

By humanhairpin on 18 Apr 2012

Lack of Menu button

Blame Google for that one, as they did the same with the Galaxy Nexus

It needs app developers to make use of the 'Action Bar' and add the menu to that as opposed to a button elsewhere. Getting my One X a week Saturday having had a play with one a few weeks ago at an HTC event - amazing phone (as is the One S)

By EddyOS_2K9 on 19 Apr 2012

love the look of the phone but...

A screen that size and no user-replaceable battery? The only thing that keeps my SGS2 going all day is the spare battery I keep in my back pocket. And all the reviews indicate the HTC1X makes similar power demands, if not greater.

By Noghar on 19 Apr 2012

Great hardware but I still wouldnt buy it

The hardware is great especially the camera. But I still wouldnt buy it simply because its android and I dont want to spend 500 quid of my hard earned money on a phone that is not as guaranteed to be supported later as other operating systems.

By isaac12345 on 19 Apr 2012

Wow! I criticize the product and my comment gets deleted?! May I please know why?

By isaac12345 on 19 Apr 2012

woops! My bad. Something happened and I couldnt see my comment, thus my comment about deleting. Please ignore :)

By isaac12345 on 19 Apr 2012

HT 1 X does not have a forward facing camera. So you can't video SKYPE. You can't compare this to Samsung S2 or Ifone 4S.

By rdenni1 on 19 Apr 2012

HT 1 X does not have a forward facing camera. So you can't video SKYPE. You can't compare this to Samsung S2 or Ifone 4S.

By rdenni1 on 19 Apr 2012

'iPhone 4S is still the main alternative'

I guess A - List stands for Apple List when it comes to reviews of smart phones.

By BidAuto on 19 Apr 2012

£26 a month?

Whos doing them for £26 a month. Orange want £41 a month if free...

By Tony_Yeah on 19 Apr 2012

@Noghar

Agreed with the critical issue about non-user replaceable batteries. My SGS2 can go a couple of days between charges, but I still have a spare battery just in case or for when I travel - and the few extra grams and sliver of space has been a life-saver on a few occasions. In contrast, my wife's iphone charging cable always needs to be with her as her iphone routinely needs charging twice a day now, and she also has an external battery pack for when she's out of the office and can’t charge the phone at her desk. It's a shame HTC went down this route.

By TheHonestTruth on 19 Apr 2012

So, can we be clear about this?

Before: Samsung is A List top product. iphone is runner up.

Now HTC is top product and Samsung disappears so that iphone can remain (in the mag, at least, sole runner up?

I hope Apple are paying you a significant amount to trash your credibility.

By DorkusMalorkus on 19 Apr 2012

A-List Makes Sense

PS And although I cancelled my PCPro subscription in a fit of pique years ago, I agree with them on having this phone & the iPhone on the list.
The Samsung & HTC are similar with the HTC having the edge. The iPhone is a totally different beast & the current model would be most people's dream phone. Current A-List offers two good, dis-similar phones. (And I REALLY hate Apple.)

By Tony_Yeah on 19 Apr 2012

@rdenni1

It does have a front facing camera - what do you think the hole is to the right of the speaker grill is?

By EddyOS_2K9 on 19 Apr 2012

A-List Makes Sense

PS And although I cancelled my PCPro subscription in a fit of pique years ago, I agree with them on having this phone & the iPhone on the list.
The Samsung & HTC are similar with the HTC having the edge. The iPhone is a totally different beast & the current model would be most people's dream phone. Current A-List offers two good, dis-similar phones. (And I REALLY hate Apple.)

By Tony_Yeah on 19 Apr 2012

So, can we be clear about this?

Before: Samsung is A List top product. iphone is runner up.

Now HTC is top product and Samsung disappears so that iphone can remain (in the mag, at least, sole runner up?

I hope Apple are paying you a significant amount to trash your credibility.

By DorkusMalorkus on 19 Apr 2012

HTC android version support fail

HTC poor at giving android upgrades... buy the device and it will be dropped for new versions long before the end of its useful life (or the capabilities of the device).

Not for me.

By deaglecat on 19 Apr 2012

Love it

I read this review on my One X and I love the phone. Previously had a Desire, but my wife has the Galaxy S II so have often used that.

I missed the hardware buttons for a while but soon got to grips with the unfamiliar layout, otherwise the only problem with the One X is its size, this is not going to suit anyone with dainty hands, its a beast.

My wife hates the colour and has suggested that after buying this I'll start wearing white shoes, but as Android phones go just now, there really is nothing to match it, The SGII looks drab and tiny by comparison. I'll enjoy its A-List status until the SG3 arrives.

Don't see the beef with the iPhone as the alternative, its not like people really switch between the 2 OS's, you're really in one camp or the other.

By roadshowuk on 19 Apr 2012

@deaglecat

like the Desire, I am sure that it'll not be long before the OneX is unlocked and enthusiast ROMS available. I have not had the stock ROM on my desire in two years and have had a great experience with a variety of flavours of ROM. I like ICS and the new Sense on the OneX and can't see me wanting to change any time soon, but the option is always there.
BTW I was pushed an update yesterday on my 2nd day of ownership, so HTC aren't all bad.

By roadshowuk on 19 Apr 2012

@deaglecat

I have the ICS update on my htc Sensation, the official update...

Some phones won't get updates, because they are too lowly specified. That happens.

PCs are the same, iPhones are the same... At some point, the new version of the OS needs to much power or memory, that older hardware is no longer suitable.

Are htc slow? Yes. Are they slower/worse than other Android manufacturers? I got my Sensation update before the Galaxy SII ICS update was released...

By big_D on 20 Apr 2012

Samsung S3

Weighs less, has LTE, Micro SD, Better battery, slimmer... i am sorry but how do you even say that HTC is better...

By mobilegnet on 22 Apr 2012

Samsung S3

Weighs less, has LTE, Micro SD, Better battery, slimmer... i am sorry but how do you even say that HTC is better...

By mobilegnet on 22 Apr 2012

@mobilegentz

Because the S3 still doesn't "exist"... Until the S III is launched, the One X is better.

The One X is available with LTE as well, on Verizon, although the LTE chipsets currently work with the nVidia processor and the One X LTE has a dual core Snapdragon processor.

And what use is LTE? The 4G licences haven't even been handed out in the UK yet...

By big_D on 22 Apr 2012

Argh! Don't work...

The nVidia Tegra 3 currently DOESN'T work with LTE chipsets...

By big_D on 23 Apr 2012

@mobilegnet

TouchWiz - need we say more??

By EddyOS_2K9 on 27 Apr 2012

HTC One X GPS issues

Before you commit to buy check out the forums for GPS issues. I am on my third with the fourth being delivered today because of very poor GPS performance with apps such as Google Maps, My tracks and View Ranger.

It seems to be a software issue but my provider, Vodafone seems tardy in updating this despite an update being available to non-contract users. There have bee numerous complaints logged.

By mikepupius on 11 Jun 2012

One X or S3

Has anyone done a comparison on these?
Need to upgrade my Desire and not sure which to go for.

By mike916 on 15 Jun 2012

One X or S3

Has anyone done a comparison on these?
Need to upgrade my Desire and not sure which to go for.

By mike916 on 15 Jun 2012

I'm delighted with my One X after having a Wildfire S for six months.

There is a forward facing camera - there's a mirror app included, plus face recognition security...:-)

By Stuartli on 2 Jul 2012

Re-review

New OTA has improved the phone no end - might be worth revisiting it for a second look

By EddyOS_2K9 on 15 Aug 2012

Love it

Got myself this phone SIM-free recently and I love it to bits. Stunning screen, performance, looks and sturdy built. The battery is not that bad, easily lasts the day with medium use. No problem with GPS, tracks very well on Google Maps. Android 4.1 installed (with HTC Sense 4+)and running very smoothly. Lower price shown in review on ebuyer is not correct though (it is for the Desire X). Overall brilliant phone!

By frapro on 21 Feb 2013

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