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HTC One X review

New flagship brings quad core power – but is that enough to boost the brand?

Our Verdict

The One X is one of HTC's best handsets to date, and sets a very high bar for 2012.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720

View full specification

For

  • Great screen
  • Stunning design
  • Powerful processor
  • Quality camera

Against

  • Iffy battery life
  • No microSD slot
  • Video grainy

When we got our hands on the HTC One X, it was a mix of trepidation and excitement. How would our first quad core phone on test fare? Could HTC make an HD screen fit well into a phone? Would we get annoyed at the lack of a microSD slot?

We've answered all those questions and more in this in-depth review, and it's clear that the HTC One X is a top-notch phone - but one that just, just misses out on being the third member of the five star phone clan due to having a substandard battery compared to its peers, even with the recent update to try and rectify the issue.

We liked

Oh, where do we begin? The super-thin chassis. The HD screen. The beautiful graphics. The next-generation Android platform, all rolled into one.

Essentially, this is EXACTLY the kind of phone we want to see at the top end of its range if it wants to stay relevant in the smartphone business. Fusing top level CPU power with a beautiful screen (and a whopping one at that) and really thinking about how it wants to strip back its skin on top of the latest version of Android without compromising its identity.

Then there's the likes of integrated DropBox storage, Beats Audio enhancements and the upgraded music player. Plus the improved lock screen, the speedier internet browser and the camera that's among the most feature-rich on the market.

We disliked

We say this is EXACTLY the phone HTC needed to make, and while the One X battery issues have been looked at, we're still not massive fans when a phone manages to power down regularly before bedtime.

The battery life is such a shame here - all the other niggles, like the touchscreen sensitivity and apps failing to register a press, have been eradicated by HTC - and although it's improved, we're still not in the mood to say it's the equal of many other smartphones out there.

But that battery is a key thing to so many users, and for that reason we have to be hard on this otherwise superb device. Sure, in idle mode the HTC One X survives just fine - but compared to the competition it still lags behind the rest.

If we have a GPU with 12 cores, then we want to have a gaming session that lasts more than 2 and a half hours. If you give us an HD screen, make it so downloading a movie then watching it isn't the only thing the phone can do before we need to charge again.

Oh, and we nearly forgot the criminal oversight that constitutes the lack of a microSD card slot. Sure, 32GB is plenty, but Android users love to be able to hotswap. Apple has just about managed to get away with it thus far, but we know the lack of said storage slot is going to put off a number of buyers.

Verdict

Let's not beat around the bush here: we love the HTC One X. You can see how we feel about the battery life, but it's not an insurmountable problem... it's just frustrating that you'll have to be frugal at times with your smartphone usage to get through the day.

But beyond that the HTC One X is a beautiful piece of kit. It's stylishly designed, light, has a cracking screen and comes with enough future-proofing to make us believe our grandchildren may still have one.

The fact it's rocking the latest version of Android will appeal to many too - except those that don't want to get involved with the complexity of Google's OS.

It's not a tricky system to learn, but whether you buy the HTC One X will come down to two things: do you want a phone that rewards you the more you explore its features? And do you mind having to keep a bit more of a strict eye on that battery level throughout the day?

If the answer is yes to the first question and no to the second, then we have good news: you've just found your new phone. The HTC One X is feature-rich, well designed and not another clone in the smartphone market - plus it's got a fancy CPU, gorgeous screen and grand design.

If you're thinking of making the HTC One X your HTC Desire update - and many of you will be, then we can say this is definitely worth a look - while the battery life is poor, it's not as bad as that little ol' phone (although you may find the cheaper HTC One S very much desirable too...).

The software update to HTC Sense 4.1, combined with Android 4.0.4, means everything is that little bit slicker and easier to use - and having a menu key back is a real blessing.

In short: the rivals better step it up in 2012 if they want to stop the HTC sparking a big revival for the popular smartphone brand.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSDPA
SAR Value0.68 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne X
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerNVIDIA
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density312 ppi
Height134.4 mm
Width69.9 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne X
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeTegra 3
Product LineOne X
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, G-sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number99HRL001-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Camera Never miss a shot. A speedy one second start-up, rapid-fire continuous shooting, simultaneous 1080HD video and imaging, and an 8MP camera. And with HTC ImageChip get great shots regardless of lighting and movement.

Sound The HTC One series all come with Beats Audio™ so everything you hear on your phone-from music and videos to games and YouTube-is rich and authentic.

Design The 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass screen is both durable and scratch-resistant. And the minimalist design includes curved glass, a piano gloss sidewall, and an iconic camera ring on the back.

Limited Warranty1 Year