HTC One X User Review

I have been using the HTC One X as my primary phone since I got it 2 months ago. Read about my unboxing, first impression and physical comparison post HERE. It is indeed the much anticipated Android ICS superphone from HTC that I have been waiting for awhile.

After using the phone for 2 months, it’s safe to say that I have used it extensively to provide you with a thorough user review of the phone. Here goes…

 

Hardware Overview

Here’s a quick overview (once again) of the HTC One X specifications:-

  • 4.7″ Super IPS LCD2 display (720p)
  • 1.5 GHz quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor
  • 32 GB built in internal memory (no expandable microSD slot)
  • Available in 2 colours; White and Grey
  • Polycarbonate unibody design
  • Powered by Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (with HTC Sense 4)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 8.9 mm thin, weighing only 130 grams
  • Li-Ion 1,800 mAh battery (non-removable)
  • Free 25GB Dropbox cloud storage (2 years)
For more information on the features and full specifications, check out HTC website at http://www.htc.com/sea/smartphones/htc-one-x

The 4.7″ screen is just 0.1″ smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S III (read my review post here) which means that these giant screen Android phones are catching on in popularity. Initially, it feels quite big in my hands, coming from a Samsung Galaxy S II. But having used the “phablet” Samsung Galaxy Note, this 4.7″ screen phone feels just right in my hands.

One thing I have to point out is that the HTC One X screen is absolutely gorgeous. It’s not Retina Display, it’s not Super AMOLED HD but it’s Super IPS LCD2. If it’s all gibberish to you, same here. I judge it with my naked eyes. And with my naked eyes, it looks absolutely amazing. The image feels like it’s floating on the screen. It’s a curved screen and I’m not sure if that makes the difference. All I can say is that it looks really great – just navigating the menu, viewing pictures or watching videos. AWESOME!

HTC One X Hardware Overview

At 8.9mm thin (the thinnest HTC phone is the HTC One S that I wrote about the launch here) feels good in your hands. It’s mostly because of the amazing build quality of HTC phones. Compared to the plasticky Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X feels solid with its unibody design (non-removable battery) and just feels much more premium.

Read more >> Unboxing HTC One X

 

Phone Cases

In case you don’t already know that I am the crazy “Case Lady”, I went crazy (as usual) looking for all sorts of phone cases for the HTC One X. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to find.

Look at my current collection of phone cases. It ranges from cheap back covers (top right piles), branded back covers from Rock and Momax (top middle), silicon cases (bottom middle), pull tab leather case (bottom left) and my favourite, original HTC holed back case (top left).

Although the phone is built perfectly to manage daily bumps and handling, I like to keep the phone as pristine as the first day it comes out of the box. So, I always use a phone case, preferably as thin as I can find, to maintain the svelte and beautiful thinness of the device.

Of course, you can’t forget the screen protectors for the usual scratches from your fingernails, keys and coins in your pocket, etc.

Original HTC holed back cover casing (RM89)

I love that HTC is now offering original cases with their phones. By far, among all the (cheap and expensive) phone cases I have, HTC’s original holed back cover casing is the most beautiful, thinnest and perfectly fitted case. You can purchase this anywhere in authorised dealers or HTC stores.

 

Software Overview

HTC One X runs on the latest Android OS 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” with HTC’s own skin called HTC Sense 4. I have used many iterations of HTC Sense before and it’s my absolute favourite skin. It makes Android OS much more usable and easy to understand, for smartphone virgins and advanced users alike.

This time round, HTC Sense 4 has been cleaned up and simplified. It’s much lighter which will not slow down your phone.

When you wake your phone from standby…

HTC One X Lock Screen

The HTC Sense was the first UI (User Interface) with shortcut icons on your Lock Screen. This is the same shortcuts from your Home Screen, which is configurable to your preference.

HTC One X – Home Screen

In the main home screen, you will see the familiar HTC clock widget, with a quick weather update for the day.

When you turn your phone on from standby, the awesome animation for the weather is just simply beautiful, as it fills the screen with its weather animation. For eg, when it’s thunderstorms, the 2-3 seconds weather animation shows lightning effects (with sound on or off), raindrops on the screen, followed by a car wiper like action to clear the raindrops. I love it!

7 home screens on HTC One X

Like most Android smartphones today, HTC One X comes with 7 configurable home screens for all your widgets and shortcuts.

HTC One X App Drawer

The App Drawer is separated by 3 tabs – “All” (shows all apps installed in your phone), “Frequent” (shows the most used apps) and “Downloads” (shows you all the apps you’ve downloaded from Google Play).

Long press on the home screen to access the widgets menu

You long press any empty space on the home screen to access all available widgets. Widget selection is improved. You get a good selection of Android widgets, HTC has a bunch of cool widgets they created as well as third party widgets from the apps that you’ve downloaded.

Swipe down to reveal the Notification Window

The only update to the Notification Window is new with Android OS 4.0, where you can swipe sideways to delete individual notifications. Of course, there is the standard “Clear” button where you can click to clear all notifications.

As you see, there’s a shortcut button from this Notification Window for you to access the “Settings” menu.

Settings Menu

The settings menu is in HTC Sense UI, where the frequently used setting for turning connections on/off is right up top. Followed by different settings categorised accordingly as you scroll down.

HTC One X Multitasking is accessed via a soft button

There are 3 soft buttons on the HTC One X – (from Left to Right) “Back”, “Home” and “Multi tasking” button. Multi tasking is generally improved with Android OS 4.0. HTC in this case, improved it some more with it’s HTC Sense UI.

Tapping on the “Multi tasking” button brings up all the apps you’ve last accessed, which you can scroll sideways. Swipe any window upwards will kill that app.

HTC’s People app is the smart phonebook / contact list

I love the HTC People app – it links all your contacts into one helluva smart phonebook system. You link all your contacts’ social network into their Contact Card / profile. The software is also smart to screen through all your connected networks and show you suggestions of the accounts to link as well as social networks of friends in your address book that you’re not (yet) connected with.

HTC One X Phonebook / Contacts / People app

Click on an individual contact card and you’ll see a giant cover photo (pulled from Google, your address book or social network) and all their contact details, including the linked accounts from social networks, Google, etc.

HTC One X default browser is very capable

In the past, I am very used to downloading third party browser apps (like Dolphin Browser HD or Chrome browser) but in this case, I am surprisingly amazed with how capable HTC’s default browser is. Browsing is easy with all the standard pinch-to-zoom and text reflow working amazingly well.

Click on the browser menu options and you can enable/disable Flash (yes, Android phones can still support Flash sites), desktop or mobile view and more.

Sync all your bookmarks from your Google Chrome in your Android browser

I use Chrome browser on my laptop. I maintain 3 different Google accounts with different settings and bookmarks. I used to install 3rd party apps (eg. ChromeMarks) to sync all my bookmarks on my phone browser. Then Chrome for Android was released for Android OS 4.0 phones.

The default HTC One X browser eliminates my need to download an additional browser app. It is very capable indeed. I can sync all my various Google account bookmarks in one browser for me to access from the browser menu. Super handy indeed.

Monitor your data usage and get alerts for exceeding your data plan

With Android OS 4.0, you now have a built in function to monitor your data usage. Once again, I don’t need to download a third party app (like 3G Watchdog) anymore. You can set your billing cycle, slide the graph to set your data limit and warning level. Most useful function for all of us with limited data plans.

Also, there are 2 more tabs for you to monitor your call and SMS usage. Handy.

 

Camera

HTC One X comes with an 8 megapixel rear camera with an LED Flash with autofocus. The front facing camera is 1.3 megapixel, which isn’t too bad.

My first official shot using the camera was to snap a picture of my little doggie.

For the purpose of this review, I tested the camera with multiple shots in various settings.

Indoor (with and without flash) and outdoor shots. (Click to enlarge)

The flash on the HTC One X is just right, in my opinion. The Samsung Galaxy S III’s flash was a little too harsh and glaring for me. Also, in the middle picture above, indoor in a dark-ish room with no flash, you can see that the camera performed rather well in a low light environment.

Macro shots were also decent. (Click to enlarge)

HTC has put a lot of effort into perfecting and improving their camera on the HTC One series. And it shows. Images are crisp, low light performance is good, flash is just right and the zero shutter lag camera makes it easy for you to whip out your camera and snap the picture immediately, without missing those precious moments.

Zero shutter lag is AMAZING and must be a default function for all smartphones, I tell ya.

With the popularity of filters and effects slapped onto your camera phone pictures these days, HTC has made it easier for you. You don’t need to download apps for this anymore. HTC has built in a whole load of amazing filters into their Camera app. Check it out in my sample below.

A total of 20 filters in the HTC One X Camera effects filter

You liking my boxing kangaroo souvenir I got from my last trip to Sydney? Hehehe.

Good and quick camera when outdoor in good daylight (Click to enlarge)

Seriously, I am happy with the HTC One X camera. It performs really well and has to be one of the best smartphone cameras I have used.

 

Battery

HTC One X has a 1,800 mAh non-removable battery. It’s not as powerful as the SGS3’s 2,100mAh battery but it performs fairly well.

As indicated in my SGS3 review post, I have a moderate to heavy phone usage behaviour. Previously, phones can never last me a full day. With the HTC One X, I can easily last a full day of usage with push notifications, 3-5 medium length phone calls, checking Social Media every other hour,  countless SMS and WhatsApp-ing.

SGS3 can last me more than 18 hours with 15%+ battery life left with its 2,100mAh battery. HTC One X, with its 1,800mAh battery can last me about 16 hours with 15% battery life left at the end of the day.

It’s not as amazing as SGS3 but at least it won’t die on me as quickly as my previous phones.

 

Pricing and Availability

As mentioned in my previous post HERE, the HTC One X is on sale at the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 2,099 at authorised dealers as well as on the HTC Mobile Truck heading around various locations nationwide now (check locations in my post here).

If you don’t fancy buying the phone outright and would like to get it at a subsidised price, along with a Telco operator plan, it’s available with the following Telcos:-

 

Should You Buy It?

A GIANT YES!!!

If you’re looking for the top range Android superphone, you should definitely consider the HTC One X. It is without a doubt one of the highest range of Android smartphones out in the market today. It’s built quality is one of the best I have seen and HTC vouches their quality in all their phones.

The zero shutter lag in the camera is absolutely amazing and you’ll be snapping pictures happily with the amazing camera and extra features and functions that will put your point-and-shoot camera to shame.

The screen is gorgeous and at 4,7′ screen, you’ll never feel more comfortable with your two thumb typing with the on screen keyboard without making silly auto correct mistakes.

If you’re comparing this phone with the Samsung Galaxy S III (the other high end Android superphone) then it’s really down to personal preference. While both the SGS3 and HTC One X has its respective pros and cons, I personally prefer the HTC superphone, simply for the incredible build quality and user friendly HTC Sense UI.

Nevertheless, a reader has asked for a full blown dog-fight comparison post of the two – which I just might do next.

Head to the nearest HTC authorised dealer or check out their HTC Mobile Truck roadshow happening now to get your hands on feel of the latest Android flagship superphone from HTC.

 

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