Quad-core power and a huge screen make this a must-buy
HTC had signalled its intent to streamline its Android offerings earlier this year and the first fruit of that objective - the HTC One X - is now available (Buy HTC One X Sim Free). And what exceptionally juicy fruit it is too - a flagship device boasting a spec sheet that surely makes it one of 2012's biggest smartphone launches.
But, does the One X live up to the hype? Absolutely: this is an absolute monster of a phone that can quite rightly take a seat at the upper echelons of the smartphone hierarchy. In fact, we'd go as far as to suggest that the category has a new leader.
Let's start with the display because it's the first "wow" moment that you'll have after booting up the One X. It's a huge 4.7 inches with a super-crisp, super-bright, 720p high-definition resolution. We say huge because 4.7 inches doesn't seem to do it justice. Boasting a pixel per inch density of 312, and made out of contoured Corning Gorilla Glass, it may not rival the iPhone's 326ppi but, as the panel is based on Super IPS LCD 2 technology, it equates to one of the best display that we've ever seen on a mobile device.
Thanks to its 1.5GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, backed up by a 1GB of RAM, the One X smashes through demanding processes with efficiency and aplomb. The only lag you'll notiee is from your eye balls trying to keep pace with the action on screen. It really is that fast.
We couldn't find a android game on Google Play that troubled the One X and 1080p HD video, from a number of different file types, was played back with smoothness akin to a real-time HD broadcast. Sound, with Beats Audio in place, is also top-notch, both from the precision drilled speaker grill, or courtesy of the 3.5mm jack that is almost swallowed up by the One X's gorgeous curved edges.
Those edges, combined with the matte back plate finish, piano-gloss sidewalls, arched profile and minimalist buttons helps to make the One X one of the best looking handsets that we've seen in a long time. Its definitely a return to form from the company that blew the competition away with the HTC Desire a couple of years back.
Measuring in at 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9mm and weighing 130g, the HTC One X isn't going to make much of a footprint in your bag or pocket.
The finish also means that it's a very comfortable handset to hold, as well as one that won't slip easily out of your hand. We also love the way that the rear-facing camera emerges from the back panel, circled in an almost vinyl-like pattern, and protruding just enough to make the phone sit at an angle when laying Hat - a feature that also makes it easy to pick up in one fell-swoop.
The camera isn't just a pretty face either. It's one of the strongest features of the handset - according to HTC that is, who is marketing the One X with the less than modest tagline "Amazing camera. Authentic sound."
In truth, although the camera features are ubiquitous (auto focus, smart LED flash, BSI sensor, F2.0 aperture, 1080p HD video recording, image stabilisation, slow motion video capture and more) it isn't the One X's strongest point. The images are crisp and shooting is incredibly fast, but low-lighting provides a problem and the HD video is not quite at dedicated camera level. Still, the continuous shooting burst mode and the fact that you can shoot images while recording high definition video is fantastic.
The inclusion of HTC Sense 4.0 on top of Android 4.0 means that you're not quite getting the Ice Cream Sandwich experience that Google intended. Bat leathers of HTC's skin will be relieved to hear that a lot of the failings of previous versions have been removed and it, like the OS it sits atop, is much lighter than before.
We weren't too keen on the Sense 4.0 keyboard, however, with its seemingly unneeded cursor arrows taking up precious real estate. And we're also not sure that HTC has made the correct decision by employing hard buttons rather than capacitive ones.
Despite these minor qualms, the HTC One X is certainly the Android heavy hitter that the Taiwanese company needed to get it back on track with the likes of Samsung, and stake a claim once again as the Android market leader.
It's not cheap to buy SIM-free, however, and you'll most likely need to sign up to a two year contract costing at least £36 per month to get one free. Other gripes include the clamped and muddled keyboard and the inclusion of Sense (even more senseless with the stripped down Android Ice Cream Sandwich platform on board). But, without a doubt, the HTC One X is a Goliath of a smartphone that signals the arrival of the quad-core Android era with some intent.
It's the top smartphone of 2012 so far and we wouldn't be surprised if we still held it in such high regard when Big Ben chimes to signal that the year is up. So, if you're in the market for a colossal ICS handset with seamless HD media and gaming capabilities, and a top camera to boot, then there's really only one solution.
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