If you're into big displays, fast LTE connectivity, and reducing the number of devices you have to carry around, …Ever since the HTC Evo 4G came out, Android phones have gotten bigger and bigger. Devices with 4" displays are now on the "small" side and there's even a smartphone with a whopping 5.3" display. If you're a fan of this trend, then HTC's new flagship smartphone will catch your fancy thanks to its bright and beautiful 4.7" display.
But if this trend is going to continue, then smartphones need to legitimately be able to replace a couple of other devices in your gear bag while also taking advantage of all that screen space. The HTC One X fits both of these requirements and adds in a few extras like speedy 4G LTE mobile connectivity.
It's also the type of smartphone that I can recommend to both Android aficionados and newcomers.
The HTC One X is a big phone, but doesn't always come off that way when you see it. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is noticeably huge no matter the context, the One X's 4.7" display looks pretty normal next to other big superphones like the Galaxy Nexus, Droid Razr Maxx, or the HTC Thunderbolt. But if you're coming from a phone roughly the size of the iPhone (3.5" display), the difference is dramatic.
Even with a large display, the One X still manages to feel like a phone in your hands. Those of you who value one-handed operation may want to skip this one. If you're used to using two hands to text, surf and other smartphone tasks, the device will still feel comfortable.
HTC One X
The display is not just big, but also really beautiful. You get bright, popping colors and crisp text (thanks to the 1280 x 720 resolution), plus visibility in the sun.
The only disappointment in this phone's design is that fact that users can't change the battery and there's no microSD slot to expand the memory. Still, 16GB of internal storage is probably plenty for average users, but if you're a shutterbug or an app hoarder, this can become a problem. Plus, users who want an extended battery for longer life are out of luck.
HTC focused on three main things with the One X: offering users a great camera, above average audio experience, and Android 4.0 coupled with the convenience of HTC Sense 4.
Android 4.0, nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich, is the latest Android version, so users will get the newest and (presumably) best features in this phone. HTC then adds a "skin" or user interface called Sense that provides some eye candy and extra features. HTC Sense is probably the most extensive skin available for phones and tablets.
On the good side, Sense makes Android easier to use by making it so that features and functions normally buried in menus or in the settings are just one or two taps away. However, Sense also changes some of Android's functionality in the process. Nothing major, but enough that people more familiar with stock Ice Cream Sandwich may find themselves re-confused when navigating the One X.
Still, HTC offers one of the best Android experiences for both people new to the operating system and veterans who dislike having to hunt for things all the time.
Another great addition on the software side is the inclusion of Beats Audio, aimed at people who want to ditch their standalone MP3 player. The quality of audio coming out of the headphone jack is superior to what you'll get from devices that don't put in any effort, though it's not truly well-rounded enough for serious audiophiles.
HTC One X
The 8-megapixel camera on the back can also go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 4S on its best day and is good enough that you can probably leave your inexpensive point and shoot at home. The quality isn't on the level with a really good standalone camera model, and indoor images aren't as sharp as I'd like when the light is dodgy. However, for those out there who are interested in taking better pictures with the phone already in their pockets, HTC offers a wealth of settings (including HDR), filters and editing tools so you can get the best picture possible.
Performance and Battery
The version of the HTC One X being sold in the U.S. through AT&T differs from the one being sold overseas in that it has a dual-core processor instead of a quad-core one. Does this make a huge difference for most users? Not really. The One X is speedy and handles everything from multitasking to playing games without slowing down. In the next year there will be more apps built to take advantage of quad-core phones, but most of those will be games.
HTC One X
In addition to a speedy processor, the One X also runs on a speedy network. The phone is capable of connecting to AT&T's brand-new 4G LTE network for internet access, so users get download and upload rates that may rival their broadband connection at home. The only caveat is that there are less than 40 cities with LTE coverage from AT&T right now.
When not in an LTE area the One X will connect to AT&T's older 4G network (you can tell by looking at then icon in the notification bar) and handles the handoff between them fairly well. However, when you're on "normal" 4G (check out this guide for more backstory on the confusing landscape of 4G terminology) you can really tell the difference. This network is more congested than the LTE network in crowded urban areas like New York City or San Francisco, and it shows.
This older 4G network is still a step up from 3G, but not a huge bump the way 4G LTE connectivity is. If you live in a city that will get LTE soon, then getting the One X now is probably worth it. And if AT&T's network works well in your area, then regular old 4G may not be so disappointing.
I didn't experience any dropped calls during my time with the phone. And call quality on both ends proved clear.
When I first tested the battery the results weren't encouraging. It barely lasted 6 hours in my first few days. This isn't all that surprising given the combination of large display and LTE radio. But when I took the screen brightness off of auto and set it between 15% and 20%, which is bright enough for indoor use, I was able to get excellent battery life — up to 14 hours some days.
HTC One X
The HTC One X is the phone to get if you're into big displays, fast LTE connectivity, and reducing the number of devices you have to carry around. Given the number of features stuffed into it, $199 is a reasonable price on contract.
Current AT&T customers who live in 4G LTE cities now have a big incentive to jump ship from the iPhone for an Android handset with a good camera and a high-pixel density display that's also a great music player.
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