HTC One X

In many respects, the HTC One X is among the best smartphones that we've ever seen. Sleekly designed, and with zippy performance, the One X is a first-class phone, though it may still disappoint heavy users.


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8.3
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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

White, slim and gorgeously sleek, the One X is a seriously attention-grabbing smartphone. HTC's design may have been hit and miss last year, but this isn't reflected in the company's latest flagship. HTC doesn't break any new ground in this design; the One X is still a mono-block touchscreen smartphone, but it does manage to rediscover what can be so desirable in smartphone design, with its subtly curved display and gentle lips and dips across the body of this device.

The 4.7-inch HD resolution display is truly the icing on the cake. With superb viewing angles, great colour and 312 pixels per inch, this screen is the best we've seen from HTC to date. As with Apple's new iPad, you may find it hard to spot how great this screen looks when you view it in isolation, but it makes it very hard to go back to a lower-resolution screen thereafter.

The seamless design of the One X looks and feels great, but it does mean that you can't replace the battery.
(Credit: CBSi)

HTC does take a risk in enclosing the phone's battery and memory within the handset, so that neither are user replaceable. But then, many of the top-tier phones that we've seen lately use a similar design, and we're guessing that only a select few will be put off by not being able to change batteries. Memory is a different matter — it's always the more the merrier — and if you don't feel that the included 32GB memory (just over 25GB user accessible) is sufficient, you will have to look elsewhere.

Fresh Sense

Just as important as the physical elements of this phone, HTC's updated Sense user experience is central to whether you love this phone, or whether you'll give it a miss. Sense is now noticeably leaner than before. The transitions and animations have been simplified, and so too have some of the system's widgets, most notably the iconic HTC clock.

Some of the changes to Sense are easy to spot.
(Credit: CBSi)

There are more significant changes below the surface, some that only HTC fans will spot. The app drawer now scrolls horizontally rather than vertically — a change that we love. Apps are automatically separated into four tabs: All, Frequent, Downloads and Vodafone, on our review unit. These tabs can be moved around or removed, but strangely you can't add your own. You can add folders to any active home screen, which serves the same purpose, though.

The cumbersome Personalisation menu introduced in Sense 3.0 remains, but is now tucked away within the main system menu. This is a good decision that helps to de-clutter the home screens. The transition between home screens is still vaguely 3D, although it certainly feels like a smoother animation than that in releases last year.

Performance

The quad-core Nvidia processor in the One X is one of the top-line selling points for this phone, and while we've found it hard to fault its performance from day to day, it's also an extremely hard feature to test. Is this phone faster than previous Android smartphones? And, if it is, is this speed bump correlated to the Tegra 3 chipset, or do we attribute it to Android 4 or any number of other factors?

The speed is evident in everyday use, where using the One X is a pleasure. The touchscreen is responsive, and there are no perceptible pauses (or very few) when navigating around the system. Our review unit did infrequently reload the Sense Launcher when exiting apps, and while this is annoying, it's not a deal-breaking issue, in our books.

We did benchmark the One X against the other handsets that we've reviewed recently, but found its results, while strong, fell short of the results we saw in the Galaxy Nexus, for example. This was true across all types of tests; whether it was JavaScript execution in the browser or OpenGL rendering, the One X was a step behind in the way these tests measure performance. But then, this proves very little, and you'd struggle to say that the One X is "slower" than other phones in any other respect.

Battery life may end the love affair for some users, depending on how you use your phone each day. The One X fell short in our punishing battery-endurance tests, with results well under four hours for both web browsing on Wi-Fi and 720p HD video playback. This doesn't reflect standard use, though, where the One X managed to get through most days of moderate use, including push email. This is not a phone for heavy users, especially considering that you can't switch batteries throughout the day. Road warriors who fall in love with the One X will need to be sure that they have chargers on hand.

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera in the One X is where HTC is really hoping to set itself apart. Featuring a dedicated processor for imaging, the One X is touted as being one of the fastest smartphone cameras, a claim we'll happily agree with. The time from the home screen to your first photo would be about three seconds with deft fingers controlling the action, and the quality of the images is outstanding for a phone.

The detail in the images is good, especially when viewed on the phone's own display.
(Credit: CBSi)

The software behind the camera packs in quite a number of features and adjustments to consider before taking a shot. Above the shutter button is a shortcut to a range of popular image filters, and in the Scenes menu you'll find an image-stitching Panaroma, Macro and HDR modes complementing the usual assortments of lighting adjustments.

Hipsters rejoice: there are stacks of Lo-Fi image filters to play with.
(Credit: CBSi)

If we have one complaint about the camera in the One X, it's that the best results are found outside the default settings. Without tweaking the One X image settings, we found that images were both over-saturated and over-exposed, and that the quality of the shots we took were improved significantly by adjusting one or both of these options. Happily, these settings are set and forget, so if you find a custom setting you like, you can leave it that way for the future.

Colour reproduction is good, if a touch over-saturated.
(Credit: CBSi)

Here, we have two similar photos with incrementally different camera settings.
(Credit: CBSi)

Multimedia

With Beats Audio built in to the One X, the music pitch is likely to pique the interest of music lovers, although we're not sure whether this ticks all the boxes for a dedicated audiophile. Beats Audio is activated whenever music or video files are selected, regardless of which apps you choose to play then back with. Though we're probably simplifying it, the Beats software seems to act like a "Bass Booster" or "Loudness" setting found on older phones and MP3 players. So while there is a significant difference between having it on and turning it off, we're not sure it actually does much to differentiate the sound of audio on the One X, compared with its nearest competitors.

The One X is also unable to play a wide range of popular audio and video file formats out of the box. It will play standard MPEG 4, WMV, H.264 videos and MP3 and AAC audio, but don't expect it to recognise your media library full of DivX, MKV, XviD, FLAC or OGG files. This might not make much difference to many smartphone shoppers, but considering that you can buy phones that support these files, especially the high-end audio files, this does count against HTC and it's "Authentic Sound" marketing campaign.

Last year, HTC released a dedicated Media Link accessory to promote the idea of using DLNA to share music, videos and photos with a TV or home entertainment system. HTC still wants you to use DLNA, and this year has incorporated a new "three-finger swipe" gesture into its software, allowing you to create a media-streaming connection by swiping across the screen in a way that looks like you are "pushing" the media from the phone to the larger screen.

We love this idea, and any new use of gestures to control complex commands on mobile devices, but we had a lot of trouble using this to share media on devices other than the HTC Media Link. Most media-sharing tools on other machines, like an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3, require the user to create a server-client relationship before trying to stream media. The One X tries to skip this part, and we've been unable to establish media streaming to these machines without downloading a third-party app to the phone.

Overall

In many respects, the HTC One X is among the best smartphones we've ever seen. Its design is top notch, its screen is superb and it's packed with great, easy-to-use features. Some of the features of its 8-megapixel camera are unique to this phone, like the ability to take a photo while shooting video, and the camera takes great shots after a little tweaking.

The combination of the phone's Tegra 3 processor and the latest versions of Android and HTC Sense work well to deliver a smooth, painless user experience, but we're sure that there will be some who feel that it's still not fast enough, as the boost in performance from last year's dual-core systems to this quad-core system is difficult to perceive. Similarly, battery life will be sufficient for some, but it's not outstanding, and business users may find that it just doesn't meet their needs.



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Pavlicious
3
Rating
 

"Faulty Product"

Pavlicious posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Decent audio, Clear screen

The Bad:Updates, Battery life, Lag

I have had this phone for about one nearly two years now, the first week I got the HTC One x, it decided to break and become faulty, the three sensor buttons on the bottom didn't work. So I got the exact phone as a replacement, it was running well for the following year I had it (about 10 months), it had the new HTC One update, and the HTC One X's hardware could not bare with the new update, when I would press the unlock screen button, it would lag for about 2 seconds before actually "unlocking" the screen ( I even tried deleting apps but that didn't do anything). Another thing that was terrible, the battery consumption, I would wake up of a morning, it wold show the green light to say that it was fully charged, so I'd take it off charge and go on social networking for about 5 mins, by this time, it had used 20% of the battery power. One thing I like about this phone would be the speakers, they were clear when I listened to music on some occasions.

ohioisonfire
5
Rating
 

"well below average battery life makes this phone unusable"

ohioisonfire posted a review   
Australia

The Good:large screen, good camera, decent audio

The Bad:battery life often doesn't last a day

I upgraded my iphone 3gs to a htc one x, i've had it for 7 months now and have just sold it to go back to an iphone 3gs. The battery life makes this phone unusable; if i'm going out for the day it's often pointless to bring my phone because the battery won't last a full day. Despite the other features of this phone, it's battery deems it a waste of money and i will not be buying from htc again.

cam747
9
Rating
 

"I LOVE this phone"

cam747 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Huge Screen, beautiful display, camera, Android 4.0,

The Bad:Battery Life, no expandable storage, No Sync manager for Mac

I made the switch from iPhone to the HTC One X because my iPhone 3 died, I didn't like the iPhone 4 and didn't want to wait for iPhone5.
I'm so glad I made the switch because I love this phone. Initially it took me a while to get used to Android and the size of the phone, but now i'm used to it, its fantastic. The camera really lives up to HTC's hype - its amazing. The display is beautiful, and there is no lag when multi-tasking at all.
My only issue is that if you have a mac/itunes library like I do, you need to manage your media manually. The 3rd Party Sync apps on the play store just don't cut it, and the HTC Sync Manager is for PC only.

I love this phone. If only the battery was a little bit better, and it had expandable storage, it would be 100% perfect.

EmmaFP
10
Rating
 

"Love the handset, no battery issues either"

EmmaFP posted a review   
Australia

The Good:The camera and many more features

The Bad:Nothing

Really enjoying owning this handset. Camera us superb as are all the other features of the handset. I have my screen back-lighting set quite low, this doesn't compromise the screen in any way and I'm really happy with the battery life. With constant use (Whatapp, camera, email, sms, Facebook, news etc) and several phone calls per day, I am getting 24 hours out of my battery life. Very very happy with it!

 

"Great all round, only battery a problem"

GTR2012 posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:Great screen, Great camera, Good storage, very light, fast processor

The Bad:Battery life

This phone has an outstanding high definition screen with excellent viewing angles. The camera is equally outstanding with many features and great quality. The phone is very light and I personally love the polycarbonate matte finish, it's different from other phones. I don't really have any problems with the 25gb of user accessible storage, that is quite enough for a vast majority of users. The speed of the processor and the 1gb of ram is enough to run many apps at once or run a few apps very smoothly. Web browsing is smooth and responsive.

However what makes this phone great, the high-def screen and the snappy processor, also makes it bad. The battery life of this phone, at least in my opinion, is sub-par. There is really no point in having a smartphone that can only use 'smart' features for an extremely limited time, and this is a criticism not only of the HTC One X but of all smartphones with sub-par batteries. It seems only after a few minutes of web browsing or watching videos or playing games that my battery is on 15% or 20% and even on a full charge and minimal use the battery still drops to 85%, just by being on standby.
From my readings, the galaxy s3 has an excellent battery life, so if you're considering getting this phone, also consider the other phones on the market before you buy, as well as what battery life will be appropriate for you.

 

DONDON posted a reply   

Hey Bud, I own the same phone. TBH, I'm quiet happy with the battery life so far (better than HTC EVO3D, Iphone 4S I own), a full charge will take me through 2 full days with no issues (normal texting and a few phone calls, youtube, FB, music). I reckon you gottta check your phone battery. A friend of mine has S3 and he claimed that battery life is just ok, little better than S2, but not very incredible like the way we wanted. When I bought my Macbook Pro Apple claimed and guaranteed up to 10hrs of usage on a full charged battery, but I never got it over 5hrs, especially when watching Youtube videos, Facebook and a few other apps or web pages running at the same time. But if I just use it for my emails and MS Office, Adobe etc it will take close to 10hrs.

I would say, Battery life on a smartphone depends upon the way we use it.

jbru8193
10
Rating
 

"Love This Phone"

jbru8193 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Speed, Graphics, Camera, Screen Size, Physical Appearance

The Bad:Battery

Absolutely LOVE this phone. It's sexy, fast, easy to use, camera is great I cannot put it down. Battery is mediocre - I am not a heavy user but I do charge it every night. Lack of micro SD slot is not a big problem 32 gigs is plenty for my needs. You wont regret purchasing this phone!

 

DONDON posted a reply   

Hey bud, try not to charge unless it really needs to be charged. Always charge when battery indicator turns red or under 10%. If you charge the battery unnecessarily it will shorten its life span.

 

JaredT1 posted a reply   

not really an issue with lithium ion batteries that's more to do with the old NiCad's. poor battery like is more likely to do with WiFi booster or having Bluetooth on all the time. It takes time to find the right settings for each user, don't just assume that they have it right for everyone out of the box.

kiemdochoi
9
Rating
 

kiemdochoi posted a review   
Australia

I love this phone, it feel good to hold and feel solid, well made
Of course we all thing like longer battery life, micro SD slot, but consider it as a phone day in day out, i give it a 9 right now

fairdes
9
Rating
 

"Quality phone with only minor gripes"

fairdes posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Screen size and performance and audio quality

The Bad:Non-expandable storage

I've had the phone for about a month and so far so good. The battery and connecting to wi-fi was a real problem up until the firmware update, and now the phone runs very well.

Like most, I'm disappointed that no provision has been made for extra memory (unlike the Desire HD which I loved) and is one of the reasons why I will never get an iPhone. In saying that, the 32gb standard storage is sufficient for my needs (so far); I just would have liked the extra storage just in case. I'm not bothered by the fact that the battery isn't replaceable, unless the battery dies on me of course :-). I also like that I can change the SIM card from the top of the phone (rather than removing the case).

Another major feature that bought me over is the fantastic audio that the phone produces. It's loud enough, but more importantly, the quality of the audio is the best I've heard from any phone I've used. I love it!

So overall, really happy with the HTC One X and looking forward to see what other manufacturers come up with in the future to top this product.

LukeF Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Amazing smartphone, with some improvements needed to make a perfect 10."

LukeF posted a review   
Australia

The Good:It's very fast, looks nice, thin, great screen size, amazing colour, brilliant sound and really nice pictures.

The Bad:No hard camera button. Would be nice to have a cap over the USB connector.

I used to own an Xperia X10, for a couple of years, up until buying this beast outright. It's a huge jump in performance. Especially considering the Xperia X10 wasn't even supposed to have it's previous two software updates, so it felt hacked... ANYWAY! This is about the One X.

It's an amazing phone, super, super, super fast. Really noticeable compared to every other phone out there (for now). The camera quality and speed is really great, I expected a really fast shutter speed, and it is, but I was hoping to be able to get crisp photos while moving at a slow speed, which I cannot. Overall the camera is excellent. Fast, crisp (if you stay still enough), and very UI friendly. Biggest downfall of the camera is there's no hard button. This needs to be on every phone with a camera.

I love it's sleek look. The camera lens does protrude an odd distance. It's not a bad thing, it just looks funny.

I'm an open tech user, by that I mean I have a very public digital life. So no lock code. I played around using the Face Unlock, which is amazing! Very sci-fi! But I just found it to be a waste of my time, having to make sure my face was more or less in the same position as the set up photo.

Another improvement I think would be beneficial, is the option to swap the Back and Recent Apps buttons around if you're right or left handed. I'm right handed and I find it a slight stretch to make it to the Back button, which is certainly used more than the Recent Apps button.

OH YES! And the sound! All though it's not as loud as an iPhone 4S, but almost, it's certainly a clearer sound. There's the option when playing music to turn the Beats software on or off, and it's a very noticeable change.

I would rate this at a 9.3 if I had to use a decimal. It's very fast, looks nice, thin, great screen size, amazing colour, brilliant sound and really nice pictures.

mmurray
4
Rating
 

"Buy a cotton wool cover."

mmurray posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Face recognition unlock

The Bad:FRAGILE! Buyer beware.

The second day I had my new One X I placed it face down on my desk and the screen cracked. One fine crack from the side to the top running across the screen.

Gorilla glass supposedly.

$350 to replace ("because it's Gorilla Glass mate") was what I was quoted.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S III

It'll be here by Xmas ;)

 

Will1505 posted a reply   

Quoted by who? That is ridiculous. Think about taking it to one of those iphone screen repair shops, they generally will do other phones too. I would not imagine it would be more than $170.

 

mmurray posted a reply   
Australia

The quote was for Gorilla Glass 2 which is the original part, the screens on eBay are cheap copies. I haven't encountered a shop that is confident, in any event it's $250 (installed) for a cheap copy screen, not that I want that.

 

PranoyG posted a reply   
Australia

Shouldn't it be under warranty?

 

mmurray posted a reply   
Australia

You'd think so PranoyG. The re-seller wasn't interested and HTC said $350.

It still works, just a large crack across the screen.

But it's the battery life that is the killer. You can't be out & about all day & expect it to last. Not good enough.


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User Reviews / Comments  HTC One X

  • Pavlicious

    Pavlicious

    Rating3

    "I have had this phone for about one nearly two years now, the first week I got the HTC One x, it decided to break and become faulty, the three sensor buttons on the bottom didn't work. So I got the..."

  • ohioisonfire

    ohioisonfire

    Rating5

    "I upgraded my iphone 3gs to a htc one x, i've had it for 7 months now and have just sold it to go back to an iphone 3gs. The battery life makes this phone unusable; if i'm going out for the day it'..."

  • cam747

    cam747

    Rating9

    "I made the switch from iPhone to the HTC One X because my iPhone 3 died, I didn't like the iPhone 4 and didn't want to wait for iPhone5.
    I'm so glad I made the switch because I love this ph..."

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