With the iPhone 5 finally descending on Wednesday, it has been a busy week on the ITProPortal editorial desk, as we start to size up Apple's latest smartphone offering against its main competition. So far, we've nailed the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, the forthcoming Nokia Lumia 920, and the new iPhone's predecessor. the 4S. Today, we turn our attention to the HTC One X, a handset that debuted in the UK back in April. So how does the high-end Android device match up to iconic US firm's latest product? Let's find out.
Size and weight
By virtue of its more expansive display, the HTC One X is the larger handset, measuring 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm where the iPhone 5 sizes up at at a marginally smaller 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm. As a result of its larger form factor, it's a slightly heavier piece, weighing in at 130 grams where the iPhone 5 is a mere 112 grams. There's not a lot in it, though, and most buyers' decisions are likely to be dictated by their screen-size preference. Which brings us to...
With a 4.7in display, the HTC One X is an attractive option for consumers who crave the largest display possible, though personally I feel the iPhone 5's 4in display is quite well considered and more than ample. Apple's new handset offers an improved media experience - particularly with regards to gaming and video playback - whilst still maintaining the device's physical manageability. Still, with the One X, HTC impresses by not compromising image quality despite the size of the screen: with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 312 PPI, it certainly competes with Apple's smaller, 4in screen, which features a still attractive resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels at a sharper 326 PPI.
Storage and memory
With the iPhone 5 likely to match the One X's 1GB RAM capacity when the spec is confirmed, this particular battle becomes largely about internal storage, and the iPhone 5 looks the safer option for those concerned with being able to pack more on to their smartphone. Since neither handset features a microSD slot, the fact that the HTC One X is limited to just a 32GB model could send a fair few consumers Apple's way. The new iPhone comes in an expanded 64GB iteration in addition to the more standard 16GB and 32GB models, but it's going to cost you a pretty pence or two - the large-capacity iPhone retails for £799. Still, if you want such a ridiculous amount of storage, you're probably willing to cough up the extra dosh. Ultimately, this aspect of the device deathmatch goes a long way to highlighting why some consumers see microSD slots as so important.
Apple made a lot of nice sounding claims about it's new A6 chip, saying the SoC offers CPU and GPU performance that's twice as fast as the older A5, which would certainly appear to make the iPhone an above-average machine from a hardware standpoint. What it didn't do was to reveal whether or not the A6 is a dual-core or quad-core unit, with the subsequent consensus being that the lack of hoo-hah on Wednesday points to the former. It's a clearer picture with regards to the One X, which packs a Tegra 3 quad-core that clocks in at a commendable 1.5GHz. Performance will ultimately vary by application, so we'll have to wait to get our hands on the new Apple device before we can say if either device is noticeably more powerful.
It's a classic iOS versus Android battle in regards to software, with the iPhone 5 set to benefit from Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, while the HTC One X runs on version 4.0 of Google's OS, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). There's little doubt that iOS 6 is going to be a hugely appealing interface, demonstrating all the smoothness and ease-of-use that Apple's platforms are noted for as well as a characteristically strong selection of apps. ICS is no slouch either, though many Android fans now view the latest iteration of the OS, version 4.1 Jelly Bean, as the more desirable product these days, and there's no word on when the One X might get an upgrade. Both platforms have devoted followings, though on balance, more casual consumers may prefer iOS.
On paper, it's pretty much a dead heat camerawise. With the iPhone 5, Apple has optimised the highly serviceable 8-megapixel primary camera found on the 4S with some new features, including sapphire crystal construction to add extra durability to the lens, and a brand new panorama mode which offers a wider spectrum of photography options than before. The front-facing snapper - used for FaceTime calls - has been upped to 1.2MP, making for HD video calling. The One X offers the same key photography specs - both devices also boast a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and feature video at 1080p - but features a larger f/2.0 aperture compared to Apple's f/2.4. The One X narrowly shades its, therefore, on the basis of its faster aperture speed.
A clear win for the iPhone 5, many people probably won't even consider purchasing the HTC One X given it's stuck on 3G as the UK's 4G LTE spectrum is set to begin rolling out. Rivals, including Apple's new handset, are already confirmed to be supporting the new high-speed network. The One X does come NFC-ready where the new iPhone lacks the increasingly desirable connectivity extra, but it's hardly enough at this stage to tempt you away from vastly superior network speeds. With the phones quite evenly matched in other categories, this is most obvious tipping point in the iPhone 5's favour.
But then there's the small matter of pricing. As an Apple product, the iPhone 5 is priced far more enthusiastically than its high-end rival, with an equivalent 32GB model running at £599 where the HTC One X is £479.95 new from Argos, with some stunning deals for those willing to look: popular online retailer Expansys offers the HTC phone for £439.99, while one Amazon re-seller is flogging the One X for a mere £380.
In other words, the One X is around £200 cheaper than the equivalent Apple handset, a ridiculous premium if iOS 6 and the iPhone's more svelte body were the only obvious improvements. However, throw the iPhone 5's 4G connectivity into the equation and the picture starts to look a bit more balanced. #
Even if the iPhone 5 doesn't turn out to be the year's must-have smartphone, 4G LTE is almost certain to be considered indispensable by many in the not-too-distant future. If this is the predicament you're considering, the iPhone 5 looks to be the better mobile overall - so get saving.
HTC One X
1136 x 640 pixels
1280 x 720 pixels
Processor and battery
Nvidia Tegra 3
Claimed 3G talk time
Storage and memory
16 / 32 / 64GB
3264 x 2448 pixels
3264 x 2448 pixels
4.0 with A2DP
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
Android 4.0 ICS
21 September (pre-order now)