Too many times you see sites throwing benchmarks at you and giving you their opinion after having a device in their hands for a few days before they have to send it back to the manufacturer. I recently was able to update my phone from my old and faithful Samsung Captivate to the new HTC One X on AT&T. And all I can say is it awesome!
In this review – yes you will get some benchmarks sure – but I will try my best to go through it and pick at everything I like and don’t like with this phone. So should you get it? Is it really as great as other sites have stated? Should you wait to get the new Samsung Galaxy SIII? Read my take on the HTC One X ‘Real World’ review!
Uh, Real World Review?
Well – yea. Meaning it isn’t in some sterile lab. I’ve had the phone with me for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve been using the living crap out of it. Its been in my pocket (with my keys – eek!), bounced around in my car, tossed on desks, and survived my 2 year old boy. So yes.. as in Real World.
What are the Specs?
The U.S. Version of the HTC One X seems to have lost two processors in the translation. This is due to the existing Quad-Core the international version has isn’t able to handle existing 4g/LTE networks. Stupid I know. But it doesn’t seem to have affected the phone as much as one might think. Below are the basic specs of the phone:
- Network: GSM/WCDMA
- CPU: Tegra 3 1.5GHZ
- Memory: 1GB RAM
- Screen Size: 4.7 inch
- Resolution: 1280×720
- Camera: Front 1.3 megapixel Back: 8 megapixel
- System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Sense: 4.0
- 16gb onboard storage
- 1900 mHa Battery
So what does all this mean? For the regular non-nerd folks it means the following:
- It is as fast and has as much processing power and memory as desktop computers from a few years ago.
- The Camera is pretty much on-par with most of your basic “Point and Shoot” cameras out today – (as of this writing the Nikon I have is 14.2 megapixels) which makes this an excellent phone to take photos with.
- It has a very large screen with a sharp looking resolution. Which makes things very easy to read.
- It is running the latest version of the Android operating system which makes it easy to use.
- And HTC’s Sense 4.0 is the “overlay” interface that is custom created for their phones.
Ok.. back to the nerd speak (sorry)
Personally I hate benchmarks. They never really give you what the “true” user experience of the device is. But people like seeing them so here I am posting them. Make sure to note the following:
- I have a TON of apps installed (but made sure to end-task them during the tests).
- Your results will vary from what I’m posting.
- Oh – and I ran the tests a few times and saved the “middle” score. So they aren’t the best – but not the worst either.
People from around the web have touted some high scores from this benchmark. My phone didn’t fare as well as others I’ve seen tested on the net. Average Score: 6845. The ones found on the net? Around 11,000!
Now this is a really old benchmark but people still use it for testing. I was able to get a consistent score that seemed to line up better with other tests I’ve found around the web. Average Score: 4700
This puts the hurt on the phones browser. The higher the number the better the score. I decided to test it both on the default browser that comes with the phone and with Google Chrome which I have installed and tend to use more. ICS Browser: 74767
Although the phone is essentially a giant screen with a polycarbonate back? It feels and looks like a solid device. HTC does have this annoying habit of having the Camera stick out of an otherwise slim smooth design of the phone – it seems pretty much bullet proof. The phone feels solid in your hand and not really that slippery. But the edges do feel a little “sharp”. But since I don’t try and grip the phone like one of those old fashioned love machines? It isn’t uncomfortable and you don’t notice it until you grip it really hard. Placement of the buttons on the device seem like some left-handed engineer came up with it. The Power button is on the top, with the Volume on the Right Side with the mini-USB on the left side. The headphone jack is on the top at least. Remember I said “bullet-proof” up above there? I should have said “2 year old proof“. My son snagged my phone and cheerily ran across the house waving the phone around like a madman. So of course what happens when you chase said 2 year old? He throws it across the hardwood floor landing display side down flat onto the floor and you watch in horror as it gracefully slides at 30 mph into the wall you know its going to be toast. But – when I picked it up. No scratches dings or anything. I was pretty shocked. So um.. if you have little kids and want a smartphone – get this one.
Ok, This is a HUGE display at 4.7″ And although it is using LCD technologies instead of Samsungs AMO-LED – it looks awesome! For me the whites are brighter and the color and saturation are fantastic. Overall the screen is gorgeous with it being bright and vibrant. Although I will say that the AMO-LED screens are a little better at producing blacks – I don’t miss the blue haze that you get on white backgrounds with them. And it is slightly dimmer in full sun than my old Samsung Captivate – but not by much. (Plus.. who in their right minds try and view their phone in direct sunlight?)
The phone comes with a 1900 mHa battery. Which is awesome for devices with smaller screens. But with this phone it makes it decent. With some judicious adjustments of the phone you can squeeze a full day out of it without the need for a charger. For me I can get on average about 4-5 hrs of actual screen time while still continuously having it sync with my social media and email all day long. Want to improve the battery life of your phone? Make sure to read my article on how to extend the battery life of your smartphone!
Well considering I came from my old Samsung Captivate that was starting to really struggle with Android 4.0 ICS? It is a TON faster. For me it is like night and day. Everything runs fast, loads quickly, and generally smooth. Generally Smooth? Well – I have had some hitches with the device. Sometimes when going from app to app then back to the home screen – it has to reload itself causing a 5-10 second delay. The best way to explain it: Imagine driving a Ferrari and the breaks suddenly lock up on your at 90 mph. Then suddenly release and your going 90mph again. Its annoying but its not a show stopper.
Voice Data, and Wifi Performance
Please make note that I live in Colorado Springs. And although both T Mobile and Verizon have updated to their versions of LTE/4G on their networks. AT&T hasn’t. So… I’m stuck testing with only 3G/HSPDA+ speeds for the phone.
Overall voice is pretty loud and clear on the internal speaker. The external speaker although was loud enough to hear with still isn’t perfect. Overall voice quality for people having to listen to me mumble into the phone state that it is overall very clear and they can hear me mumble with perfect clarity.
I tested 3G speeds here at work since it has it’s own dedicated AT&T tower (mini tower anyways). I’d figure I would get some decent speeds even as 3G. I ran Speed Test a few times and got some pretty strange results. As you can see the ping was terrible (you want it under the 200 mark) and speeds were about as good as bad DSL speeds (or a T1). With today’s broadband connections offering up to 30 megs down this is considerably slower!
Wifi on my phone is flaky at best. XDA-Developers has an ongoing thread that states it might be a hardware issue with some devices. Read the article here to learn more about it. But when Wifi is up and working – it works great. Again I ran a speed test on my network here at work and with almost unlimited bandwidth at my disposal you can see what happens. Overall though? Voice, Data, and Wifi (grr) were noticeably improved from my older 1rst generation device. Besides the wifi issue (which there is a fix for apparently) it is a solid performer.
This is where the phone really shines. The 8 megapixel camera along with all of the on board options it has makes this an awesome device for the wannabe shutterbug. When conditions and lighting are perfect – you get great photos! When it has to figure out a low-light situation? It is hit or miss. When it remembers to use the flash? It is pretty decent again. Their are a couple features that the phone has that makes it shine above the rest (yes, even the SGSIII in my opinion).
This phone is fast when it comes to taking pictures. Like catching your 2 year old while he is still smiling fast! Which in this case is about less than .7 seconds! Another great feature is to hold down the shutter button and take a quick succession of shots very quickly! You can then keep them all or select the best one of the bunch and delete the rest.
Another great thing is ability to take photos while shooting video. Although people are saying the video on the device is sub-par as it is unable to do 30 frames per second at 1080p HD quality. I didn’t notice this bug while filming my son eating birthday cake. (I’ll spare you the gruesome footage). Overall I thought the video quality was great for a phone.
I forgot.. the phone has “Beats Audio by Dre”. What does that translates to? Well if you listen to hip-hop? It is supposed to have a great lower end bass sound due to the technology Dr. Dre worked on with Hewlett Packard. In the real world? It means I get some decent near iPod quality sound from my Android Phone. Playing the White Stripes “Ball and a Biscuit” it sounds clear and dead on as you can hear every missed note or squeal from Jack Whites guitar playing. But that is with a decent set of headphones on. (No way am I going to spend the money for Dr. Dre’s headphones though!) The outside speaker was good for playing audio – but it is nowhere near hi-def. More like my old Bobcat turntable that I had when I was a kid.
As with any phone you get your list of typical “bloatware” or un-necessary software the carriers put on the phone and try to get you to use them. And they usually have some sort of hidden fee in there to do so! AT&T is no different unfortunately and I haven’t tried opening any of the apps they offer.
Browser and Hidden Software?
I don’t know why HTC wanted to mess with it – but they have customized the default browser adding features that make your browsing experience frustrating at times. It does work.. but it has a strange bug where it will take up the ENTIRE screen and you can’t get to your notification bar. My suggestion if you get this phone? Get Google Chrome for it immediately! The other gripes I have are that the built in Office program that allows you to read PDF/Word documents etc is hidden from the menu system. That and Stocks which you can only pull up in the Widget menu. And things like Soundhound which is integrated with the Music Player.
Android OS – Ice Cream Sandwich
The HTC One X is running the latest incarnation of Android – 2.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. This is great as I personally love ICS. I think it is the best iteration of Google Android’s operating system yet! It is great to be able to easily end processes with the touch of a swipe. The new OS means that HTC got rid of one of the synaptic buttons (search) and you only get Back, Home, or View Processes/Applications now. It also means they moved things like the settings menu up into the notification bar. But overall the Android experience has made it a little more intuitive for the non-geeks out there. My wife even has an Android phone now. And it took her a couple of days to get used to it. But once she did she almost never puts the phone down now! The bad news is that you get HTC Sense 4.0 along with it.
HTC Sense 4.0
Ok, don’t get me wrong I think Sense is cool. The pulling a ring to unlock your phone. The awesome widgets you get with the phone. The themes that are done with Sense. Its all very slick. But they are now heavily bloated and it slows the phone down. And while the widgets and gee gaws are neat they aren’t generally needed along with Android’s 2.4 ICS OS. Hopefully one day soon manufacturers will realize that they don’t need to toss on their overlays and custom interfaces to have them stand out from the pack. All they end up doing is taking away rather than give to the user’s overall experience with their phones.
What I Like and Don’t Like About the Phone
What I Like:
There is a lot to like about this phone.
- Build Quality
- Large Screen
- Overall Performance
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- The Camera
What I don’t Like
- Unable to Expand Memory or Access the Battery
- The Stock Browser’s quirkiness.
- The Wifi connectivity issue.
Overall though? The phone is awesome even if it isn’t perfect. If your in the market for a new smartphone? I would definitely say you couldn’t go wrong by getting this device. Of course.. the issue now is availability. Due to Apple suing the pants off of everybody including HTC – you might not be able to find one! Well – thanks for hanging in there! I know this was a HUGE post with a lot of information – but I wanted to try and cover everything! Leave a comment below on what you think of the HTC One X. Or if you have the new SGSIII – let me know what you think of it as well.
Update: It’s been two years and the phone has finally been replaced. I still stand by what I said about the device here in the review. It did start becoming rather laggy in the end. Plus I smashed the screen and have had the phone replaced twice. Overall it was a very strong phone. So what do I have now? Well… I ended up getting the MOTO X! I really do love the new phone. But you’ll have to stay tuned for the review on it.