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7/31/2012
03:10 PM
Todd Ogasawara
Todd Ogasawara
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HTC One X: Big Screen In Thin, Fast Phone

HTC's new HTC One X packages a big, beautiful screen in a thin and light phone. Although not perfect, it's a compelling smart phone we'd consider buying ourselves.




"Wow! That's a nice screen." That was the reaction I got from everyone I showed the HTC One X smart phone during my week-long test period. HTC's new Android phone has an impressively big screen that catches the eye. Minimal visible molding and a brightly colored default desktop background makes the 4.7-inch screen look even bigger. Handing the phone over to admirers resulted in a second universal exclamation: "Wow! It's so light," followed by, "and thin!"

The HTC One X is HTC's new flagship Android phone in the One series. Although larger than any phone I have ever used, it was comfortable to hold and use. It's the only model in the One series--the others are One S and One V--with 720p video resolution. It has the most storage--32GB--and is the only model protected by Gorilla Glass. It also comes with near field communications (NFC) capability and can function as a hotspot. The One X runs on the Android 4.0 operating system (also known as Ice Cream Sandwich), but HTC reportedly will provide an upgrade to OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

One of the few features the One X lacks is a microSD slot to expand storage. Also, the One X sold by AT&T Wireless has a dual-core processor; the global version has a quad-core. But the real stand-out features, good and bad, are in the photography. The camera offers high resolution and some great convenience features, but the problems it has with auto corrections and taking close-up pictures might turn off some users.

In case you're wondering, the HTC One X can handle voice calls, too. I had no problem pairing it with a variety of Bluetooth devices. The battery didn't seem to last as long as other phones I've used, including other Android models. This might be due to the power requirements of the relatively big screen combined with the LTE radio. Still, if I were in the market for a new phone today, I would strongly consider the HTC One X.

Name: HTC One X from AT&T Wireless
Price: $99.99 with two-year contract; $449.99 without contract.
The HTC One X is HTC's flagship Android phone. It is based on Android OS 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), has 32GB of storage, is powered by a dual-core processor, and has a very good camera for most uses. Its bright display and light weight are attention getters. Though not without its flaws, it's a compelling smart phone I would consider buying myself.

Pro:

  • Large screen for a smart phone.
  • Light.
  • Fast.
  • Excellent photographs in bright daylight conditions.
  • 4G LTE capable, with hotspot tethering.
  • An upgrade from the phone's current Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) OS to Jelly Bean (4.1) reportedly will be made available.

Con:

  • Overaggressive photo auto-image adjustment.
  • Has trouble focusing on close objects.




The HTC One X's 4.7-inch screen (center) looks huge next to an iPhone's (left) 3.7-inch screen. On the right is an HTC HD7, which has a 4.1-inch screen.


Although a 4.7-inch smart phone screen might seem big, the HTC One X is dwarfed by a small tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which has a 7-inch screen.


The HTC One X sold by AT&T Wireless can serve as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot capable of giving up to eight devices Internet access over a 3G or 4G connection. WPA2(AES) security is turned on. I tried the hotspot mode in a variety of locations and got downstream speeds of between 1Mbps and 5Mbps. I couldn't get the HTC One X's near-field communications feature to work--I was unable to transfer a file between the phone and a Nexus 7 tablet. However, I wasn't able to investigate the problem further, so I can't say for certain that it was the phone's problem.




HTC touts the One X as having an amazing camera that starts up in less than a second (true), and provides rapid-fire continuous shooting (true). It also can take still photos while recording videos--just tap the shutter button on the screen at any time during your video shoot.


The HTC One X takes great photos of distant objects. Images are sharp with nicely saturated colors and good contrast. Note, however, that the default aspect ratio is 16 x 9, which is more rectangular than the standard 4 x 3 format. The 16 x 9 format records 8-megapixel images, but the 3264 x 1840 pixel setting creates 6MP pictures. Changing the aspect ration to 4 x 3 changes the resolution to 3264 x 2448 and creates 8MP images. You can see the difference between an HTC One X 6MP photo taken at the 16 x 9 setting (left) and an iPhone 4's 5MP photo (right) taken at the 4 x 3 setting.


I had problems taking good photos of objects less than two feet away from the lens. It was hard getting close-up objects to focus properly. Also, the One X's automatic adjustments for light levels are very aggressive. This sometimes results in an overexposed, washed-out image. For instance, an iPhone 4 (right) did a much better job of matching the colors and contrast I saw in some flowers than the HTC One X (left) did.


The HTC One X has so many camera options that describing them could fill a separate article. In general, it offers all the photo and video options found on a dedicated point-and-shoot compact camera, including such extras as ISO settings, auto-stitched panoramas, and even smile detection. Many other options are available in the settings screens.




Click on the arrow above to see a sample of the smooth video the HTC One X smart phone is capable of recording.

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