Well this is a strange feeling. It’s the first time I’ve sat down to write anything in a while. I’ve not been very well recently, but it’s good to be back, and I return with new gadgets. You see over the weekend I got a new phone. An HTC One X to be precise. Now normally at this point of my introduction I would insert a break and make you click the more link but today, well today is different. Instead I’m going to say this: GO TO YOUR NEAREST CELL PHONE RETAILER, HAND THEM YOUR WALLET AND SAY “TAKE WHATEVER YOU NEED TO SO I CAN GET AN HTC ONE X!” Now if you want to know why I said that, click the more button.
Box contents and pricing
The device itself retails for £479.95 but I was able to get mine for free on a £32 p/m 2 year contract. The box it came in was very pleasing and fits the design of the phone well. I would have possibly preferred to have a black box with a black phone but in all honesty it doesn’t matter. Opening the stylish box involves sliding off a slip cover and then lifting the lid like opening a book. You are then presented with your new, child-replacing gadget. Underneath the tray it is resting on is a set of headphones, a wall socket charger, and a Micro USB cable. They are accompanied by a SIM card tray removal tool and the usual paperwork. Although, interestingly, HTC has opted not to included a proper getting started or quick start guide. Instead they have a few bullet points on the card that the SIM removal tool is attached to and a link to the Help page on HTC’s website.
Hardware and software
Now on to, what is for me, the best part of the Endeavour. It’s hardware. The global (WWE) One X features a 1.5GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core processor (with logical 5th core), a gigabyte of ram, and 32GB internal (and non-removable) SD card but you only use 25GB of that for some reason. The screen is a 4.7” (1280×720) 720p Super LCD2 unit that has been slightly modified by HTC to improve the contrast levels it can handle over standard SLCD2 units. The screen itself is the best I have ever used and is certainly better than the SGS2’s Super AMOLED Plus unit. It’s easy to read at almost any angle, even at distances of up to a metre away, in almost all light conditions. The colours are bright, and the image is so crisp it looks like it is popping off the unit. Combine the, frankly, amazing screen with the weight and dimensions of the device (134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm and 130 grams) and you have a great first impression maker.
The device runs Android 4.0.3 with HTC Sense 4.0 and comes with SoundHound, DropBox (with 25GB of cloud storage) and a couple of others I don’t remember (we’ll come to why later). Overall Sense 4 is OK. It’s much improved since the last version I used for android (which I think was 2.5) but it still does have issues. For example, the music player is just dire. My actual feelings towards how bad a job HTC have done on this I can’t say here. To be honest, it is a shame as the provided headphones although they lack inline media controls are actually very good. I’ve tried them out on my HD2 (which is running Cyanogenmod 7) and the sound quality was brilliant, much better than the ones Editor Kenny gave me to replace the original HD2 headset I broke.
The One X’s audio replication is also horrible, thanks to Beats audio, it’s just too bassy for most types of music. It also lacks treble and needs a little bit of mid-range. This is mostly down to the fact that HTC removed most of the EQ profiles that were included in earlier versions of the One X ROMS from the version that came installed on my device. This means I am stuck listening to rock and metal in a profile that has been designed to be used with Hip-Hop and Dance and it just sounds terrible. I can’t help thinking that the EQ included in CM7 is a much better piece of software. I’ve also noticed that the Friend Stream widget does not auto update therefore defeating the entire point of having it in the first place.
The device comes with an 8 megapixel camera on the back which has a new dedicated BSI sensor for low light conditions. It also has a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front. I noticed that the stock camera application was introducing noise into the image pre shot. This only went away after I flashed a custom ROM to the device, but, overall, the new dedicated camera sensor, combined with the F2.0 aperture and 28mm lens produces clean and crisp images and is by far the best mobile phone camera out there. I would even say that it can compete with most of the cheaper digital cameras on the market.
Build and external quality
HTC made some interesting choices with the external design of the One X. Firstly, they made it left handed. All my previous phones have been right handed and I find that when I’m trying to plug in the USB cable (the socket for which is on the left side) I’m hitting the volume rocker which is directly opposite the USB socket. Also there are no buttons on the front for managing phone calls which is something that really annoys me as the phone tends to be slow to respond to panicked taps of the soft end call button when you miss-dial a number. HTC has also used a type of polycarbonate for the outer shell, and while it has an excellent feel to it, it would appear that HTC is having issues with the moldings. My device came with a very sharp burr on the right side, between the volume rocker and the screen. It was easily shaved down with a sharp blade but after asking around it seems I’m not the only person to have experienced this. Even worse is that some people have received phones with chips in the coating or (on the white versions) black marks in the paint.
I have also noticed that the 3.5mm audio jack is a very odd shape. It’s almost elliptical and therefore part of the male jack is actually visible and could feasibly be open to shorting out, thus creating the potential to damage either the headset or the phone itself.
Some people may be put off by the fact that the battery and the SD card are not removable, but so far I have found the battery life to be good and because the SD is 32GB in capacity I don’t think that not being able to remove it will be a big issue, but some people, like Editor Kenny, are going to avoid it because the One series of devices just don’t fit their needs
The future and comparisons
As I have said in this article already my previous phone is a HTC HD2. The HD2 has a reputation for being the most modifiable phone of all time, because during its 18 month lifetime it had no less than 7 operating systems ported to it. Also, if you consider the fact that when the HD2 was announced it was the most powerful phone on the market thanks to its 1GHz, single core, Qualcomm snapdragon processor, I do find myself asking “is the One X a worthy successor?” and I have to say Yes, I think it is.
Already there is a team of people working to gain hardware S=OFF on the device. There is also already an official version of ClockWorkMod and there are several custom roms with permanent root on XDA. And this is why I can’t remember the full list of included third party apps that came with the One X. Within the first 48 hours of owning it I had already unlocked the boot loader via HTCdev.com and had flashed Mike1986’s excellent Android Revolution HD rom. Looking around the XDA One X boards I can see that there is going to be quite the hubbub around the One X and it’s modification potential and this pleases me.
So now I guess I have to conclude this review and I find myself back where I started. So I will leave you with this quote from earlier in this article:
“GO TO YOUR NEAREST CELL PHONE RETAILER, HAND THEM YOUR WALLET AND SAY “TAKE WHATEVER YOU NEED TO SO I CAN GET AN HTC ONE X!””
You need to do this right now. Get out of your chair, get the car keys, and tell the wife you’re going to sell one of the children (or a kidney). The HTC One X is by far the best device out there right now and with the help of the android development community it will easily become the natural successor to my HD2’s crown. Easily 5 ticks.
Now go! Go get yours!
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