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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

The HTC One X comes with a new overlay for the brand – it's not a departure from the HTC Sense Android skin we've come to know and love, but it's very much a stripped down version.

The same principles still apply though – a very different Android experience to that which you'll find on most handsets running on the same OS, with a plethora of snazzy widgets and multiple homescreens to place them all over.

Now that the screen has the HD resolution and is boosted to a whopping 4.7 inches, there's plenty of room to place the widgets left, right and centre. You're still limited to seven scrollable home screens, but we doubt many people will want to go much higher than that.

The HTC One X also comes with a Tegra 3 quad core 1.5GHz processor, which to the uninitiated is the next level of mobile power packed into a smartphone. This is backed up by 1GB of RAM, and translates into a superbly slick action under the finger.

HTC One X review

The same rotating, 3D design is apparent when you flick left and right through the homescreens, but HTC has done away with the 'infinite rotation' idea it's been rocking for the last year… so when you go too far to the left, you can't go any further.

The speed under the finger has actually been improved with Sense 4.1, although only barely. The animations are slightly more fluid too, and while we can't put our finger on what are definitely slightly redesigned.

If you want to access the homescreens in an exploded view, simply pinch in on the screen, where you can add or remove your homescreens with a simple long press.

Thanks to the fact the HTC One X is now using Android 4.0.4 (or Ice Cream Sandwich to you and me) the whole feel of the interface is much improved, with the new Roboto font making the appearance look much cleaner.

HTC One X review

There have been some differences added in thanks to the new version of Android - for instance, the Settings are now accessed from the notifications bar (which can be called up by swiping down from the top of the screen from any application) rather than with a dedicated menu key (which has now been assimilated into the OS).

To compensate, there's a new multitasking key on offer, making it easy to jump between applications.

This is one of the first places the HTC One X actually displays a hint of slowdown, as popping open the 3D thumbnail list can cause a little bit of lag.

Jumping between the open programs is a bit shifty as well; as it's actually only a picture of the app you're looking at, rather than the app itself.

This means a second or so of lag while you wait for the selected app to come to the fore - not really what you'd expect from a phone that's meant to have one of the most powerful processors around.

HTC One X review

You can stop the app from running from this window though, simply by flicking the thumbnail skywards with a most satisying motion.

One of the best elements of the new update to Sense 4.1 is the fact you can re-map this key to perform 'Menu' functions throughout apps. This means some, like Facebook, which rely on such a key, are now properly re-enabled.

It shows that HTC has noted it was wrong to lose the dedicated key in the first place - let's be honest, the 'three dot' icon was never going to be the most easy to understand.

But back to the general interface: thanks to the addition of Ice Cream Sandwich, all your notifications are now shown in a much larger and easy to see manner, with the option to get rid of anything you don't want to look at with a simple left or right swipe.

When you've got four different email accounts, missed calls and notifications from some apps, the last think you want is a cluttered notifications bar, and this system means the end of that headache.

This new system does mean the days of being able to switch Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth on and off from the notification bar are gone - it's available on the Galaxy S3 and boy, do we wish it was here too.

The app display system has been changed AGAIN on an HTC phone (honestly, we don't know how the company manages to keep doing this) with a new side-swipe action rather than the long list of apps scrolling vertically. It's sometimes hard to keep track of which screen you're on as the numbers at the bottom are a little small, and there's also the confusion of the 'Frequently Used' and 'Downloaded' applications panes too, which look very similar.

HTC One X review

However, HTC has cranked up the customisation options on the One X, meaning if you don't like any given tab in most app you can simply hit the menu key, move the tabs around or get rid of them altogether.

Within the menu system there are a lot of new features too, with the likes of the Google Play store now included in the top right-hand area of the screen, making it easy to boost your app haul when you feel like it.

There are more changes afoot as well when it comes to the lock screen - the 'fling a ring' to unlock procedure is certainly becoming pretty iconic, and there's more you can do with it now too. You're already given four quick icons you can drag into the ring to activate upon unlocking, but now if you've got a missed call or a message you can suck that into the ring with a cool animation to open it as well.

You can even customise the lock screen so that you can see stock prices, weather updates, pictures or notifications whenever unlocking your phone - although be warned these can suck the battery a tad.

HTC One X review

We mentioned the fact HTC has added a whole host of little flourishes to the One X that really float our boat, and one of the best is the fact that, even if it's not permanently added the weather will pop up first thing in the morning to let you know how your day is going to pan out. Well, not totally - it's not a psychic app, but it will help with the notion of whether you'll need a jumper without the need to faff about asking your phone with your voice.

While all the above is well and good (very good, in fact) the question still remains: is it intuitive? Will the non-smartphone user be able to pick up the HTC One X and be able to use it easily? Well, the answer to that still has to be no - we're not talking iPhone levels of simplicity or anything.

But that perceived weakness is also the phone's strength - it's so widget-tastic and simple to use once you've had a good play that it's definitely one of the most intuitive and powerful interfaces out there. It's just a matter of taste whether all the choices and things you can play with are really what you want on a smartphone.

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