HTC One X - Hands-on Review

HTC's new flagship One X mobile phone was announced at mobile world Congress last week, as a part of the new range of handsets - all bearing the same ‘One' family name

This hands-on review of the soon-to-be-released mobile, complements the ITProPortal.com hands-on walkthrough in both pictures and video.

The phone will arrive with a familiar shape and design that is now synonymous with the Taiwanese handset maker, in a lightweight polycarbonate unibody form, rounded edges, and a shape with origins that could be traced back as far as 2007, with the HTC Touch.

HTC's One X design is both simple and effective, with a look that immediately makes you think of HTC - in much the same way as Apples' phones always look like an Apple phone.

Screen

The 4.7-inch screen of the mobile supports a full high definition resolution of 1,280 by 720, with the inclusion of the second generation of Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is 30 per cent thinner, than the previous version of the tough glass. It is only the fourth handset from HTC to support this larger screen size, along with being the first to contain a HD screen.

HTC's One X display hasn't been completely, flatly, embedded into the handset's chassis, instead it has a slightly-rounded lip that joins the side of the phone's body - where it has been stated to ITPP that "the screen melts off to the side", which we would agree. This, offers up much more of a premium feel, instead of the sharp edges that could have finished off the phone's design.

We found the display itself to be responsive to the touch, with actions being carried out very fast indeed, which is partly thanks to the substantial processor on board. This is coupled with the screen being both a clear and bright LCD. HTC adopted this display technology when they dropped AMOLED, back in 2010, in favour of the LCD format.

On the rear of the phone, towards the base, are pogo pins, for use with docking stations and similar accessories but details of these haven't been released as yet.

Camera

The back also houses an 8megapixel camera, with a F2.0 aperture and a 28mm lens that's standard across all the One range; capturing 40 per cent more light than the f/2.4 lenses and we can testify to the fact that it does take a good picture.

A part of the new HTC Sense 4 user interface is a feature, known as 'ImageSense'. This is backed by a dedicated HTC ImageChip, which allows for a number of new camera abilities, such as capturing a picture in 0.7 seconds and being able to record a 1080p video. The latter of which also offers still-picture capture, at the same time as filming - without any shutter noise. We tried this feature out and it does work well, along with fast image capture and a continuous-shooting mode, too.

Operating System

HTC has included the Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' 4.0 OS on the HTC One X. This is a good fit for the device and an expected one too, where the company's rivals aired their new models running ‘Gingerbread' 2.3, with the promise of an update. However, HTC has still missed some tricks with the platform.

On the base of the screen are still touch sensitive buttons, for back, home screen and to see all the running applications. These are actually a part of the new OS and are integrated into the display. They don't really need to be there on the One X, but have been included anyway and this does seem a little redundant.

The argument could be made that the One X was already some way along in the development stage, when Google included this ability in the operating system and it was all too late to change the hardware. Only time will tell, if HTC will adopt Androids' features in their handsets or just stick with the status quo of touch sensitive buttons.

Processor

Running the mobile phone is the Nvida Tegra 3 quad core 1.5GHz CPU, with a 12 core graphics processor. The American version won't run from such a CPU, due to the LTE requirements of the handset and a Qualcomm dual core variant has been added, instead.

This quad core processor works very well on the handset, whilst performing tasks in a fast and efficient manner. A fifth 500Mhz companion processor actually does most of the work and a lot of the time too, even when playing the likes of full 1080p HD video. This will keep down the high-performance power drain on the 1800 mAh battery, which most people will assume will go hand-in-hand with a powerful chipset, of this nature.

We didn't see many instances of the other cores being used on the One X, but we are guaranteed they are only brought in when truly necessary. On that note, ITProPortal isn't entirely convinced by the need for quad core processing in a mobile phone, but we are aware there are those that will want the most powerful and the fastest device on the market.

What will convince us of the usefulness of a quad core, is if more applications are written to take advantage of a processor of this nature. Nvidia has their own section on the Android Market/Google play, entitled TegraZone, with games written soley for the Tegra chipsets. If there are more useful and processor resource hungry apps here, the more likely we are to be convinced of a quad core need, in the mobile space; think HD video editing, Adobe Photoshop for Android and similar apps.

Audio

In August 2010, HTC announced a partnership with Dr Dre Beats Audio company with a reported heavy investment. Since then we have seen two handsets from this venture, the Sensation XE and then XL. These devices have integrated bespoke sound chips and audio profiles, which when used with a Dr Dre set of headphones change the sound to match the high quality of the headphones.

This has now been brought over to all of the One family of mobile phones, but it's unsure whether Dr Dre headphones will accompany the One X, S or V - but hearing this feature in action, ensures us the integration is worth it and it sounds great.

Other abilities to the new Sense 4.0 user interface relate to a different multi app interface, from the one seen in ICS; the integration of Dropbox; an active lock screen with access to the likes of Facebook status and a rich HTML5 web browser.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, the HTC One X is a fast, high-end handset and one we found works well, as it should do - with all that it has inside. We can't fault many aspects of phone, other than the lack of foresight of the Ice Cream Sandwich features and possibly the lack of a microSD card slot, but there is 32GB of internal storage and 25GB of on-line Dropbox access.