HTC One X (AT&T) Review

HTC set out to create a device so desirable that consumers would immediately tag it as the “one” for them. So does the HTC One X live up to expectations? AT&T’s version of the device doesn’t carry the same quad-core Tegra 3 processor as its international cousin, but it’s hardly missed. The One X mixes beautiful design, powerful hardware, and refined software to provide one of the most polished Android experiences to date. We jumped right in and put HTC’s flagship handset to the test. Read on for our full review.

Hardware

The HTC One X is a big handset with a screen measuring in at 4.7-inches, but it is by no means bulky. The phone still manages to stay pretty light while feeling solid at 4.6 ounces and measures in at 0.36 of an inch thick. You’ll be thankful for the large display for its brightness and clarity at 720p HD resolution. The 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor is coupled with 1GB RAM and the phone boasts 16GB of onboard storage. Unfortunately, there is no expandable memory via microSD. In fact, the unibody phone features no removable back cover and provides no access to its 1800mAh battery.

 The design of the phone is similar to previous unibody handsets from HTC, but gets a few nice touches including the use of polycarbonate and a screen bezel that curves into the phone’s one-piece casing, creating a gentle flow between materials. Otherwise the One X is rather minimalistic, featuring only microUSB and 3.5mm headset ports, a volume rocker and power on/off/standby button, and an 8MP camera with LED flash framed in the middle of the device’s upper rear. There is also a front-facing camera. A row of contact pins serves as a connection for docks and accessories.

The power housed within the One X was obvious, and the difference between the AT&T version and its international counterpart was hardly felt. Navigating the phone’s interface, surfing the web, viewing media, and playing games were all strong points of the One X. Coupled with the speed of AT&T’s growing 4G LTE network, the One X doesn’t miss a beat. Call quality was as good as any we have come across on AT&T.

Software

The thing with the One X, though, is that it’s software is so perfectly tailored to take full advantage of the device’s hardware, and vice versa. The handset launches with Ice Cream Sandwich and is among the first crop of phones to feature Sense 4.0, which strips out many of the flashier elements bloating previous builds and focuses on speed and ease of use. There is still plenty of customization, including the ability to assign shortcut keys to the phone’s dock, but it all seems to work better.

Other features include the ability to launch apps such as the dialer or camera directly from the One X’s lock screen and a sortable app tray. Beats Audio is directly integrated into the handset and launches a special audio profile whenever a Beats headset is detected. The experience is improved over previous Beats phones like the HTC Rezound, and audio enhancements now apply to any audio source.

HTC has opted to go with hardware soft keys for the Android navigation buttons over Ice Cream Sandwich’s on-screen software alternatives. It’s really a matter of preference, however, and shouldn’t take away from the experience. One curious decision comes with how HTC handles the multi-tasking key. Instead of a series of overlaid tiles that can be flicked off the screen, the multi-task button on the One X launches a full screen dialog with a carousel of recently used  apps. It’s not as intuitive as Google’s solution.

Camera

While the hardware and software of the HTC One X are pretty great on their own, the phone’s best trick comes from the merging of the two. ImageSense is a new technology that takes advantage of a newly developed camera sensor and couples it with software refinements that provide one of the best photo taking experiences ever to grace a smartphone.

The One X can focus and snap a photo with lightning speed, but if that’s not quick enough the camera also offers burst mode, capturing a series of photos in quick succession and letting you choose the best shot later. It’s perfect for grabbing an action shot. If that action is better suited for video, no problem. The presence of both the camera shutter button and the video record button on one screen means you won’t have to waste time switching between modes. If you decide after capturing a video that pictures would have been nice, too, no problem. The One X’s camera and gallery allows you to easily capture still frames from a previously recorded video.

The One X offers plenty of options when it comes to photo settings, and a nice selection of effects can be applied and previewed on the fly. One of my favorites is the depth of field effect, which you can see in the a couple of these sample shots. Color and light reproduction was great, and the camera functioned pretty well in all lighting conditions.

Video was also a treat, with full 1080p HD resolution to boot. Video mode had a similar response to color and lighting as did camera mode, and the results were equally as impressive.

Conclusion

HTC has hit one out of the park with their latest offering. It’s hard to find a better combination of hardware and software in a smartphone, and the whole thing brings a refined, savvy touch that many feel Android is missing. Excellent photo capabilities and enhanced audio only add to the One X’s charm. Sure, it lacks a removable battery and comes up short on removable storage, but that should only deter some of the pickier consumers. On AT&T’s network the One X’s full power is unleashed. So is it the One for you? It sure is for us.

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  • King_James_The_Wicked

    Nice Phone… Wish it had micro SD and removable battery. But a very nice read…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OYEDBWYSGLPNMWRUKYUVCHA27Y Eugenia

      as Karen said I am stunned that a student able to get paid $5198 in a few weeks on the computer. did you read this site link LazýCash5.Çom

  • aeok18109

    Any word on if this thing can be unlocked for Tmo?

    • http://profiles.google.com/webvomit jasper q

      I am also hoping to find a way to use this on T-Mobile. I do not want the One S or the Galaxy III. I want this phone.

  • http://twitter.com/tweetwidraj Rajesh

    Can somebody tell me where can I get unlocked Dual core Snapdragon HTC one X?

    • Aundre Allen

      well that would be hard… S4 is for HTC One S (i think it comes unlocked and on tmo…dont quote me) and HTC One XL (lte variant)/HTC Evo 4G LTE

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    pet peeve alert….. it is ***lightning***…. lightening is a feeling only women experience; as a baby enters the pelvis, it becomes easier to breathe… that is lightening……

    • http://www.phandroid.com Kevin Krause

      It’s called a typo. Sorry, brah. Pet peeve alert: the ellipsis (…) only uses three dots. The only time it might appear to have four is when following a sentence (in this case the fourth dot is a separate punctuation mark, the period, which precedes the ellipsis). Keep on keeping on.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        Thanks Dr. Kevin for that English 101 lesson. I’ve only used the ellipsis all my life, and truthfully never knew it was only three dots. Shocking news!

        The repeated use of “lightening” in place of the proper word, lightning, by this author is not a typo — it’s a several year long pattern that signifies not knowing how to spell the word. Additionally, since this is how he pays his bills, it is best to appear as knowledgeable and professional as possible. I, on the other hand, am not making money on advertising on this site. Nor is it remotely the same as my lackadaisical, or perhaps even artistic, use of an ellipsis to signify a longing effect… or even a lack of words that can be said.

      • Brent

        I’m with Kevin on this one. This is a phone-review site, not about about minimal grammar issues. Kev, Good review. I may consider this phone versus the Galaxy SIII. HTC should put this on more carriers than just AT&T.

      • LawrenceMcatee

        I actually enjoyed the article but what was up with that typo man?
        ruined the whole thing, i don’t even know what is going on right now… oh wait that’s right it’s a review not an english paper. nevermind.

    • Danny Davis

      You pushing a baby through your pelvis Tony. Relax. Breathe easier…

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        This was almost funny, and nearly a burn. Try harder next time.

  • surethom

    There is a problem with the video sound though its the usual Tinny sound recording, so if you going to use a phone for lots of video (like me) especially if there is a lot of noise a HTC is not the phone to have. HTC is very poor at putting decent sound recording on there phones, which is a shame as I love this phone.

    • Butters619

      I have used my Motorola Atrix at electronic festivals and it is freaking amazing. The video quality does remarkable in the dark with LED lights and laser everywhere and there is never any ‘blurt’ noises from the bass. Every time I show people video I recorded, they are amazed that it was shot from a cell phone. I know I am going to miss that.

      • surethom

        I’m on my atrix now. its does good low light video & very very nice video sound quality . but looking for a phone with full he video and zero lag camera. would love this HTC but not with this audio quality. Will wait & and see some test photos & video of the Samsung galaxy s3 or the Motorola razr HD if they ever announce it!

        • Butters619

          Yeah the lag getting into the camera and in between pictures with the Atrix can sometimes be frustrating.

          You are already making me miss the video sound quality and I haven’t even changed phones yet.

  • http://memorabiliaexchange.ecrater.com Rob

    KEVIN KRAUSE
    How does it compare to the T-mobile One S?
    Many of us want to know.
    Thanks

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      As a matter of fact, I’m reviewing the One S as I type this. I for one, prefer the One X. Nothing can top that phone right now. Nothing.

      • dancedroid

        not even everyone’s beloved SGSIII, Chris? o.0 lol

        • LawrenceMcatee

          I am an htc fanboy but I am excited to see the sgs3 come out, android already has 20 phones besting the iphone but we all know the 5 is coming soon (october) so it’s nice to ge a hold of these and be assured nothing apple could ever do will beat these monsters!

  • HydroF

    Ive been using this phone the past couple days, and as for the camera quality, definitely over saturated on default settings, took some adjusting to get the colors closer to being true to life. Regardless, its still the nicest camera Ive ever used on android, amazing.

    The screen is stunningly beautiful, and the body is light and comfortable, all better than any other phone available. Everything about this phone, from software to hardware flows and feels amazing. Using this phone really feels like the start of a new generation of super phones. Far better than any other device currently available.

  • avengers

    I wish att should of changed it alittle like sprint did.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EF545LL7BGCJSGHMM5GZRMBQFE yahoo-EF545LL7BGCJSGHMM5GZRMBQFE


    In fact, the unibody phone features no removable back cover and provides no access to its 1800mAh battery.”

    Translation – Fail

  • mcblue

    How does this camera match up to the rezounds? I know the rezound is supposed to have a great camera… Just curious.

    • LawrenceMcatee

      I have the htc vivid running ics and the camera improvements were dramatic as hell after upgrading, making it the best iI have seen so far but side by side the onex absolutely obliterates the vivd .
      this is all my opinion of course but I have access to every phone on the market and have put every phones pics thru photoshop to get a good feel for quality and the onex is hands down the beastiest one out there.
      also the friggin burst mode. I thought it was a gimmick but it actually is practical…

  • Justin

    If the Galaxy S III wasn’t announced, this phone would look nice. Lol

  • Aeires

    HTC and their camera bumps, how about a flat backed instead?

    • LawrenceMcatee

      since the og evo, I have the evo and evo 3d and the 3d bump is a bit much… but alas it sets them apart. also makes for wiping the lens a bit easier…

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/phinnvr6 phinn

    While the size and design is not as good as the HTC One S, this shits all over the GSIII

  • Sid Whitten

    I am either going to get this or the Note,can anyone advise me which.I plan to do a bit of reading on whatever device I finally end up with.I was going to get the Gs3 but it’s just to ugly,wish it had looked like the sg2s even.

    • LawrenceMcatee

      I have both and the note is fun and practical for some but honestly after the novelty wears off… it’s just a cumbersome tablaphone..
      get the onex try it for awhile and if before your thirty days is up you don’t like it, take it back! (gotta love the att 30 day exchange policy)

      • Sid Whitten

        Cheers Lawrence,if one thing puts me on the X’s direction it is its looks,got a week to agonise..only£29 p/m as well!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      I <3 my Note and don't ever see myself going back to a smaller screen. Yeah the camera isn't as fast as the One X and it doesn't have ICS yet, but to me it's worth it. Definitely try both though. Good luck!

      • Sid Whitten

        Thanks for the advice Daniel,I have a week to make my mind up.I haven’t heard one bad word about the Note and the ICS update is going to do it nothing but good stuff.Cheers man.

  • frank

    Cop

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Seems like Htc is moving away from removable batteries and storage while Samsung is doing the opposite having storage built into the phone in addition to an empty card slot. It’s a no brainer where I’ll be getting my phones in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/fightcrazy Vinny

    Great looking phone with a super camera. Too bad AT&T runed the phone with pulling the interior memory and locking down the bootloader. No sd-card with shit for interior storage is what I call ruining a otherwise great device. The development of this phone will fall short. AT&T did what they do best, screw customers and ruin good phones. KEEP IT.

  • Gustavo Gomez