A phone is a phone is phone is a phone? To some of us, a phone is a phone. To a whole other sect of the human race a phone is an identifier. iPhones tend to become part of someones identity, the same way a career would define someone. In my mind I am primarily a graphic designer. At times I use to identify as an Apple user, in more recent times I have given up my strict rule of “Apple only” and started to give myself breathing room. I currently use a PC for work and I love it. I have an Android tablet, that manages to not do much, but gets the lack of a job done.
“The One X is the most visually appealing Android device to date”
I figured I would conduct an experiment to ditch my iPhone 4S and went ahead and picked up a brand new HTC One X. In my opinion the One X is the most visually appealing Android device to date. On top of that it is packing some very heavy hitting hardware. The One X has a, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4G LTE, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), 16GB internal storage, 1GB RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, a 4.7 inch display, 8MP rear, and 1.5MP front camera. I will dive into the details of the screen and camera a bit later. All in all spec for spec this phone is to the standards of the iPhone 4S and arguably performs just as smooth if not better.
The HTC One X has a beautiful streamlined design, a tear drop shape with a great contrast of black and white elements. Even the black version of this phone looks great, tho its downside is that it looks almost exactly like every other Android phone. I opted for the white due to the stark contrast and the way that design flows and begs me to remember storm troopers and all of their glory.
“it scares me to set the phone down because I know that my phone is resting on the edge of its lens“
The screen is beveled, that means that edge of the screen is smoothed versus being ridged like an iPhone. This may sound like geeking out but in all honestly this only enhances the functionality and ease of use. The matte-white phone does get a bit dirty but the grime manages to come off relatively easy. My only gripe about the design is the bulge of the camera, it scares me to set the phone down because I know that my phone is resting on the edge of its lens.
“the day one device I had is not the same one that I am holding in my hands today. The device now feels sluggish and not as chunks“
Hardware matters on Android phones, sadly the OS really does need some heavy hitting specs to see great performance. Though the AT&T HTC One X does not have an Nvidia Tegra 3 (at quad 1.5GHz) like its UK version it does manage to squeeze a great performance out of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (at dual 1.5 GHz). This review is coming a while after the release of the phone so I have managed to get a good feel for the hardware and the capability of the device. I have to say that the day one device I had is not the same one that I am holding in my hands today. The device now feels sluggish and not as chunk. Maybe this is a bad unit but even after resetting my phone I still see a bit of lagging when loading the home screens.
That 4.7inch screen is a lot for one man to handle. Its huge, its larger than large. If you are coming from an iPhone, good luck. I found the size of the phone and specifically the screen makes for one clumsy device in hand. Dont blame it on the phone thought, blame it on the comfort I had with my iPhone. I never dropped the thing, It was always firmly in my grip. Now that this titan is planted in my hands I find it a bit cumbersome but as the days progress my elegance does as well. Trust me when I say that the size does matter.
The “Super LCD 2″ display is ridiculously fantastic, the edges of the screen are slightly beveled (curved) and give the presentation and smoothness of the design the perfect touch. Picture quality is top notch and at such a large display it happens to be the best pocket portfolio on the market. Watching videos on the 720p screen is incredible, the blacks are black and the colors pop! But not in that Samsung “omg everything is over saturated feel”, more in the “omg this [insert subject here] looks amazing”. I want to make short films and commercials just to show off the display.
The camera is always the most important aspect of a phone for me. Not making calls, not downloading cat videos, and not what mobile OS its running. I cherish the saying “the best camera is the one that’s always with you”, its true on so many levels. I take images constantly so for me my go-to device is my phone, its always in my pocket. Do you know how annoying it is to take a DSLR around with you everywhere you go? If you think its comfortable then you have problems and you should stop reading this.
“The 1080p video recordings on the One X is top notch even allowing you to shoot in slow motion“
The iPhone 4S camera is jaw dropping, amazing low light performance with brilliantly fast capture speeds. The HTC One X takes pictures quicker than the iPhone 4S. Take that in for a minute, if you have used a 4S then you know what I am talking about. Not only does it capture quicker but it also manages to be up to par with daylight and indoor images. The only aspect that this camera falls short is under low lighting scenarios. Sure it has a flash that fixes the problem, but unless you’re gorgeous you probably look like trash with flash.
The camera packs a F2.0 aperture with a 28mm lens. HTC has added quite a few advanced camera options. These options allow you to change its ISO from 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and you always have the option to go auto. The 1080p video recordings on the One X is top notch even allowing you to shoot in slow motion. Though to be real with you the Slow Motion video looks terrible even in daylight. The camera has various other modes such as HDR mode, panorama, and even a whiteboard mode. Some of the other notable features are the auto smile capture, geo-taged photos, face detection, self timer, continuous shooting, and various white balance settings. If you know what any of that means then you will be able to squeeze some great images out of this thing.
Network – 4G LTE:
Whats the fuss with this 4G LTE? Its fast, is it noticeably fast? If you watch a lot of cat videos then yeah its really fast. I was testing the phone in the LA and Orange County area and was a bit underwhelmed. I used “Speedtest.net”s mobile app to test my network speeds and tested a variety of speeds from 3.5 Mbps down to 25 Mbps down. The Verge tested into speeds upwards of “30.4 Mbps”, granted they were in Chicago which has a better roll out of the AT&Ts 4G LTE. If Mbps and 4G LTE is calling to you then let me leave you with this, the speed of the Internet on this phone is just as fast if not three times faster than your home internet connection.
Ice Cream Sandwich is the closest an Android phone comes to being complete. The phone is just as snappy as an iPhone, Windows Phone, or Black Berry. On the app selection Android has managed to scoop up many of the developers that were lacking on the platform. Instagram, Spotify, Turntable.fm, Tumblr, and Flipboard now have full feature apps on the Play Store leaving the OS a bit easier to transition to. Leaving iOS has been very easy and I have found many replacements for the apps that I thought I could never live without.
“Ice Cream Sandwich is the closest an Android phone comes to being complete“
Living with the HTC One X has been a pleasant experience. I would find it hard to leave this phone for any other device currently on the market. HTC has stepped up their game on this device and finally delivered a product that has the all around package. I would suggest the HTC One X to any respectable Android users. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S III has higher specs and a slightly better camera the phone is just outright ugly as hell.