HTC One X Review: Mister Mobility’s take

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I have to say that until a series of unfortunate and unexpected events put the HTC One X in my hands, I had absolutely no interest in the device. I am no great fan of Android. Neither have I been a great fan of HTC themselves.

However, the One X did get into my hands, and after using it for a while, I must say that I consider it a superb piece of software and hardware engineering.

HTC One X Review
For those interested in the summary of the HTC One X, here it is:

HTC One X Review: Pros

1. Beautiful polycarbonate unibody
2. Superb UI customisation and OS modifications
3. Good battery life
4. Good camera with continous capture

HTC One X Review: Cons

1. Power and volume buttons too tiny
2. Audio reproduction not stellar
3. A bit large for one-handed usage
4. The usual Android weaknesses – data and power hogging

Hardware
HTC One X rear
If there is one word to describe how the One X looks and feels, it is “beautiful.” I have the white version, and it is stunning. The second polycarbonate phone that has come our way, the One X is just beautiful to look at and to hold.

The One X does not have a microSD card slot, so all you have is the 32GB built-in memory, 26GB of which is available for your use. This sounds adequate for most people.

The One X also supports only microSIMs. I had no problem with this, as my main SIM was cut down to microSIM size many months ago when the Nokia N9 arrived.

There’s a microUSB slot on the left for both charging and PC connectivity. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack slot at the top, alongside the slim power button. The volume buttons are on the right, but are almost too slim that many times I struggle to feel them.

Display
The 4.7-inch display is huge and makes one-handed use next to impossible for all but those with large hands.

Is the display lovely? It depends. It looks good standing alone, but its colour reproduction next to Samsung’s SuperAMOLED, for example, pales. Reds are redder, blues are bluer and black is blacker on the Samsung Galaxy S II and Note than on the One X. Beside that point that it loses, the One X’s display is brighter than the Galaxy S II’s.

Software
HTC One X Settings

The HTC One X runs Android 4.0.3 with Sense 4.0 baked on top – and in a splendid way.

HTC have implemented this such that you interact with Sense everywhere. There is almost no hint of the presence of Android on this device. I love it. The One X and Kindle Fire are the only two indepth cases of Android customisation that rank this high.

Sense UI on the One X is a fresh of breath air, as I find stock Andoid to be ugly and clunky. Admittedly, I haven’t played with stock ICS yet, but the limited customisation that Samsung has on the Galaxy S II don’t quite come close to what HTC has done with Sense 4.0.

Some stock Android apps have been fully customized too. The built-in email app is an example.

Sense email
Of course, running Android here means there is access to the Google PlayStore, with thousands of apps – free and commercial – available.

Media
The One X plays back both audio and video well. Audio reproduction is good, but not at the stunning levels that I desire for my music. Codec support for video playback isn’t as wide as on some other devices. You do get MP4, WMV and H.263/264 support.

The 8 megapixel camera with LED lens is good too, but not at the levels of the masters in that class. The camera’s Continous Shooting option is nice and works well. A series of shots can be taken by just holding down the onscreen shutter, and you can pick the best or even save every single one of them.

There’s also a HDR shot mode, which I found nice for producing great shots. As a matter of fact, for most situations, be they low-light or well lit, the HDR mode produced better pictures.

I haven’t had the chance to try out video recording on the One X. Again, there is no physical shutter button. Someone, give me a physical button please!

Cloud Services
HTC Sense Cloud services

HTC has both DropBox and SkyDrive baked into Sense 4.0, which is nice. When you launch Polaris Office, for example, it prompts you to open files from the device or from one of those services.

Performance
The One X runs on a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. The question is: how does this impact on everyday use of the device? The device works really smoothly and I am not sure that I have run into hitches with CPU-related performance. But there have been other issues.

I have had numerous occasions in which apps freeze and crash. The camera once froze completely and I had to resort to restarting the device to get it functioning again. I don’t think that these occurrences had to do with the processor though. Probably the implementation of those apps.

Battery
The 1800 mAh battery does a good job of keeping the One X going. I get a full day out of the One X, though I must note that most of my mobile computing tasks occur on my BlackBerry 9810. The One X handles the occassional email, the occasional WordPress management, some Google+ activity, some music and web browsing, as well as ALL my picture taking. I doubt that I will get a full day out of it if I dump my main mobile computing activities on it. These include: web browsing, email, Twitter, Gtalk, and WhatsApp.

HTC One X Review: Conclusions

Do I like the HTC One X? Yes; and you should be able to tell by now. It is the best Android experience that I have had till date on any mobile device.

I really, really, really dig HTC Sense 4.0. It is a marvellous job! The HTC One X is a well-rounded device. It ticks all the boxes and then throws in some more. I wish I could keep it. I am sad that it has to go.


  1. Nice device by all standards but how come all HTC phones look the same? Its embarassing.

    Looking forward to the Galaxy S3 review and how it compares to the One X

  2. A bit unfair to label the size of the device under “Cons”; the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S3 would also have to fall into that category.

    People are more interested in the size of the device screen, not necessarily whether you can use it with one hand.

  3. Gabriel Shaze™:

    HTC phones look the same? I think you are referring to Samsung phones using their same boring design from their Galaxy line up.

  4. Why does MisterMobility still not like android??? It saddens my heart, that despite all the efforts and advances we’ve made to our OS, He still doesn’t show us much love. We’ve tried so hard to woo him away from the good’ol Nokia, but he still hangs on to her especially in this trying times.
    However we will not relent in our efforts to win him over, we will release Jellybean which i believe will bring him closer to us.

    XXXX

  5. I was hoping there will be some more comparison with the galaxy s2 here. Well, good enough review. I don’t think its worth upgrading to from my s2. I was waiting for that special HTC device I will wanna upgrade to but this ONE X doesn’t cut it. Probably its the huge satisfaction derived from the s2. Any owner will hardly be thrilled by most of the new sets of droids. Not even the s3. Probably if the ONE X had come with a removable battery and an SD CARD, I would have tried it out. But for now, I will pass jooo. Let’s see what the next Nexus will offer.

  6. Some people may not see much wrong with a non removable battery. I did too until a friend had a bad experience with I think nokia x7. The device battery is sealed. One day the phone froze and he couldn’t removed the battery to reboot it. He had to wait for hours for the battery to run out before getting his phone back on. That is one terrible experience I won’t want to have on my device. So, a sealed battery ain’t gonna be attractive for me.

  7. belushi:

    You just have to press the power button for 8 seconds. Phone manufacturers think of that scenario you know? We just need to read the manual.

  8. Am I NOT glad to see GLENDArobot survive the surgery @ the ICU @ DeolaClinic !

    Watching carefully to see if any of ITs circuit board components is still malfunctioning!

  9. @EyeBeeKay,
    Looks like you’ve been longing to see your beloved Glenda.
    She’s back hail & hearty. 😀
    How ’bout proposing to her before she disappears again.

    @Glenda,
    Seriously speaking, I think Gabriel is right. HTC phones really do look alike. Especially their androids and windows phone Series.

  10. @Glenda

    Do you think manufacturers will put such in their manuals? who wants to admit their phones may hand/freeze during usage and a way out is by pressing the power button for 8secs? I may be wrong though. Probably HTC does as I don’t have one. But the Nokia I experienced with my friend didn’t go off even with the long press of the power button. What would have been the most effective thing to do at that time was a battery pull out.
    I love the HTC UI really and hope to own one of their devices asap.

  11. Belushi:

    I have a Nokia N8 and yes the manual states that in case the phone freezes or hangs, you need to press the power button for about 8 seconds. I had to do this at least 3 times. It should be the same for the X7 seeing they both run the same OS. Even iPhones freeze and they have a way to “reset” the phone. You do not have to wait for the battery to die because that would take days.

    Manufacturers do not need to admit that their device may freeze. It is an accepted fact. Any device with a processor and ram may freeze.

  12. deoladoctor:

    That may be true, but at least I can tell if a person is using a Titan, Chacha, or X one.

    I could never tell if a person is using a Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Gio, Galaxy Y or Champ just by looking at a Samsung phone. They all look the same.

  13. @EyeBeeKay,

    I just found my old 5800 in my drawer. I remembered you, and said “Wow, I really glad technology is improving otherwise I would be stuck with this phone.”

    I decided to give the phone to my 8 year old nephew.

  14. I just found my old 5800 in my drawer. I remembered you, and said “Wow, I really glad technology is improving otherwise I would be stuck with this phone.”
    I decided to give the phone to my 8 year old nephew.

    Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls beforeswine , or they will trample them under their feet,

    SYNO-NYMS >> Dogs, swine, glendaROBOTs

    Same attribute; same attitude!

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