HTC One X Review
As every self-respecting smartphone nowadays, the HTC One X runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. This latest version of the OS has come with tons of improvements in almost every aspect of the system, including the UI, the browser, the core apps, performance and so on. Still, you won't get to see a thing of the ICS interface, because HTC has personalized it heavily with the new Sense 4 UI. Everything from the lock screen, through the widgets, to the core apps has been skinned in order to get this typical HTC look.
The main goal for HTC in terms of the interface has been to simplify it. Indeed, previous versions of the UI had so much options and personalization stuff, that it could easily throw the more inexperienced users into confusion. Indeed, we do find Sense 4 to be significantly streamlined. Well, you still get the characteristic weather clock and big widgets, taking up a whole homescreen page, but HTC wanted to remain recognizable among the ocean of Android handsets on the market. However, gone is much of the eye-candy that was present in the previous version of the software. For example, you no longer get the spinning carousel when you energetically switch between homescreens. In some reviews, you might read that the widgets are no longer 3D, as in Sense 3, but are now simple planes. This isn't true, because the 3D effect is still there, it's just not that pronounced.
We're not going to go into too much detail here regarding the interface, we'll do a separate article on that. We'll just mention that the whole UI is good-looking, pleasant to use and very different from what you get on other Android phones. HTC has also pre-loaded a lot of additional apps like Mirror, TineIn Radio, Weather, SoundHound, PDF Viewer and Polaris Office, as well as the Teeter game and its services Watch and Hub.
So, you're wondering if it's comfortable enough to type long emails and lots of texts out with the HTC One X. Well, let's say that typing is OK with the handset. This absolutely isn't the best phone for this purpose, but it will certainly get the job done. Now, before you reach for that trusty revolver of yours and point it at us, let us share our arguments with you. First of all, even though the display measures 4.7 inches, the portrait QWERTY keyboard isn't so big, due to the aspect ration of the screen. Of course, that would mean that the landscape keyboard should be very large, and indeed it is, but it's not “4.7 inches” large, because there's a column of navigational arrows to its right side, so the whole space isn't dedicated to the letter keys only. Then we have another problem to consider. When in landscape mode, the keys are no doubt big, but there's almost no empty space between them. That makes it easier for the user to mispress a key. In addition, the graphical appearance of the keyboard itself doesn't help much, because the keys aren't of a contrasting color, and thus they easily blend with the background color; besides, the letters are lowercase ones (not as simple as uppercase letters), and to top it off, each key has its alternative function written on it, all of which contributing for an overall cluttered keyboard design. Make it a 5” display if you will, this keyboard isn't going to get much more comfortable.
Of course, every way of using email known to humankind is available on the HTC One X. In addition to custom POP3/IMAP accounts, you can also easily set-up Exchange ActiveSync, Gmail (now, that's a surprise!), Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Hotmail.
And it doesn't stop there. When you're doing pinch-to-zoom, or simply double-tap-to-zoom, the handset, of course, zooms in, and you think you can start reading or whatever it is that you're doing, but then, all of sudden — BLINK — everything disappears, and then reappears, but with your view potentially offset, and the text formatted in a different way, causing an inevitable moment of frustration. That's this browser's way of doing text-reformatting, so that it fits the view width. The trouble here, however, is that it does it when it shouldn't, and it takes a few moments to do it. This way, if you want to zoom in on a certain element, you double-tap it, for example, this gets you closer to it, everything seems to have loaded, then you scroll a bit just to adjust your view, and it goes “blink”, and all of a sudden you find yourself in the opposite end of the page. Frustrating, we tell you, even for us. Imagine how the not so tech-savvy users would react to that. Naturally, Flash Player is supported. In terms of speed, the browser moves swiftly, but it's definitely not the best we've seen. We're willing to believe this is due to the underlying software, rather than the Tegra 3 processor. Unfortunately, we couldn't really resolve these issues with third-party browsers. Opera Mobile crashed, upon loading a page, while Dolphin HD performed in a similar manner to the stock one. Still, we guess there must be a browser out there that can set things right.
The international version of the One X supports HSPA+ at up to 21.1 Mbit/s down and 5.76 Mbit/s up. In the States, the phone will be carried by AT&T and will feature LTE connectivity.
The GPS of the HTC One X works the way it should. It found us relatively quickly without using the aid of wireless networks, and almost immediately when we turned on the A-GPS.
As we told you, the HTC One X is the first handset to launch with a quad-core processor - the Tegra 3 by NVIDIA. We're definitely excited about this new technology, although there still isn't a lot of software that can take advantage of all that horsepower. Anyways, we decided to run a few benchmarks to see what we'd get. First up, we fired up Quadrant Standard, where the One X achieved an average score of about 4500, which is a great result. On the AnTuTu system benchmark, we got an average score of approximately 10500, while on the purely graphical NenaMark 2 test, the One X managed to achieve 47.9 fps. All of these scores are great, and indeed, the One X is one very snappy handset. We didn't encounter any lag or choppiness while browsing through the UI, or when running 3D games. The best thing is that this should get even better, when developers start to optimize their apps to take advantage of the quad-core SoC. Check out the comparison table below to see how the One X's results rank against some of the competition.