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HTC One X vs HTC One S

Posted: , by Daniel P.


HTC One X vs HTC One S

With its new One lineup of Android 4.0 handsets, HTC said it aims to achieve a more focused and distinct portfolio of handsets, rather than spreading efforts over many names with unconvincing differences in hardware and design – a strategy that proved wrong in 2011 with the Sensation line.

The One series includes the HTC One X, One S and One V – simple, easy to remember naming scheme, which will be marketed under the One brand, and in fact HTC launched its biggest PR campaign ever for it.

With the current comparison we want to help with the choice most HTC aficionados will face when looking at the One series – should I get the HTC One X flagship, or the upper mid-range One S? We leave the One V out, since its entry level status makes it an easy budget-friendly pick.

HTC has the newest Sense 4.0 interface on both the One X and the One S, so we'd mainly focus on the design and performance of those two. Which is the One for you? Read on our comparison to find out...


HTC is clearly experimenting with modern chassis materials with the One X and One S, and the polycarbonate unibody logically went to the larger One X, keeping its weight in check. We first saw this material introduced in the Nokia N9, then the Nokia Lumias, and now HTC is following suit. The advantage, besides flexibility, durability and light weight, is polycarb's deep coloration, so even if you scratch it, the body underneath is the same color. 

HTC is clearly experimenting with modern chassis materials with the One X (left) and One S (right) - HTC One X vs HTC One S
HTC is clearly experimenting with modern chassis materials with the One X (left) and One S (right) - HTC One X vs HTC One S

HTC is clearly experimenting with modern chassis materials with the One X (left) and One S (right)

Does polycarbonate achieve its goal in the One X? Well, let's just say that the 4.3” aluminum Sensation from last year weighs 5.22 oz (148 g), the 4.3” plastic Sony Xperia S from this year weighs 5.08 oz (144 g) , while the 4.7” HTC One X weighs just 4.59 oz (130 g). 

The One X the lightest handset for a screen of this size, and also very thin at 0.35” (8.9mm), but can by no means be called compact. It's long and wide, and pretty hard to operate with one hand, as all big screen phones are. It lies pretty well in the palm, though, thanks to its slightly curved chassis.

The One S, on the other hand, is one of the most compact 4.3-inchers we've ever handled, and certainly usable with one hand due to is narrower elongated profile, allowing your thumb to reach almost everywhere on the screen. It is HTC's thinnest smartphone to date, and despite its metal chassis weighs as much as the Galaxy S II, which is all-plastic and the same screen size.

Moreover, the blue anodized aluminum gradient, or the black ceramic metal coating versions of the One S certainly send a more premium feel to your senses than when holding the HTC One X white or black polycarbonate body. Both phones exude a premium build quality, though, with no creaks or crevices, and have easy to feel and press side buttons. 

The sides of the HTC One X (bottom) and HTC One S (top) - HTC One X vs HTC One S
The sides of the HTC One X (bottom) and HTC One S (top) - HTC One X vs HTC One S
The sides of the HTC One X (bottom) and HTC One S (top) - HTC One X vs HTC One S
The sides of the HTC One X (bottom) and HTC One S (top) - HTC One X vs HTC One S

The sides of the HTC One X (bottom) and HTC One S (top)

Both fronts sport a waterfall design, where the bezel of the display seemingly falls off uninterrupted to the sides, but it is an optical illusion, and the phones actually have the usual wide bezels and slightly recessed screens.

HTC One X vs HTC One S
The HTC One X and One S have the same 8MP camera module with LED flash and proprietary HTC ImageChip DSP that powers it on their backs. Both also carry the unfortunate trend of major phone makers to seal the battery compartments and deprive the phones of microSD card slots. Still, the different price categories HTC has put the One X and One S in warranted a 16GB internal memory upgrade for the One X – it has 32GB vs the 16GB on the smaller One S.

HTC's new premium phones also only take micro-SIM cards, with the One X providing a pin in the box to help you withdraw the tray on its back, and the One S micro-SIM slot having a latching mechanism for the card under a removable plastic section on its upper back.


HTC One X vs HTC One S
The HTC One X has one big advantage before the One S, and it is the 4.7” display. It's easily the most radiant big high-definition LCD screen we've encountered to date, and a pleasure to look at. It is a second generation Super LCD of Samsung's make, with technology similar to IPS, sports way more accurate colors than the One S, has excellent viewing angles, and to top it all off, is very bright as well, helping with outdoor visibility.

It is also with normal RGB matrix arrangement, unlike the PenTile AMOLED display on the One S, which makes certain elements look pixelated. The smaller 4.3” display also sports lower 540x960 pixels resolution, but it still results in 256ppi pixel density. This is smaller than the 720p screen on the One X, but still above average and enough for everything thrown at it, including reading smaller text. 

The AMOLED display has much wider than the standard color gamut, resulting in way oversaturated colors, which seems a bit off in the interface, but thoroughly enjoyable when watching movies, for example. Don't get us wrong – the screen on the HTC One X also sports a very good contrast ratio for an LCD and accurate gamut, but it's hard to beat the true blacks and jolly colors of the AMOLED displays.

The AMOLED screen on the One S, however, is plagued by the same cold colors that most OLED displays of Samsung's make exhibit, with white rapidly deteriorating into a very blueish tint here when the screen is tilted further from 30 degrees or so. It compensates with high brightness and very good outdoor visibility, which is almost on par with the One X.

HTC One X 360-degrees view:

HTC One S 360-degrees view:

  • Options

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:39 1

1. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Looking forward to buying this BEAST soon!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 17:34 1

7. Jonathan41 (Posts: 532; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

Awesome! Just ordered mine a few days ago!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:42

2. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

I hope they get the 1080p fps issue fixed on the Evo LTE when that comes out.

posted on 07 May 2012, 18:03

13. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)

probably wont have that problem in the first place, its a different phone, with a diffferent ROM

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:44 4

3. toaster (Posts: 114; Member since: 13 Sep 2011)

Good to see that the One X got more of a fair shake this time around. I would personally get the One X, but that's because nothing about the One S makes me regret buying my GNex like the One X does. I will admit, though, that it's hard to beat the One S's bang for buck. It helps that we're getting the S4 version here in Canada which has proven to be superior to the Tegra 3, so the difference in performance may prove to be practically null.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 14:33

6. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)

I cant wait for the One S on Telus!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:39

4. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)

Hey Daniel, I have a few questions.
1) Did you notice any dust being trapped underneath the glass in either the One X or One S? It's a problem I noticed in my Sensation 4G.
2) Also, how many hours of constant web browsing can you get on the One X and One S?
Please answer!

posted on 10 Apr 2012, 01:30 3

9. Daniel.P (Posts: 108; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)

No dust on both, and if you get about six hours browsing on the One X, like we got with it playing video, you'll get less than five on the One S, since the websites are mostly with white backgrounds, where AMOLED saps the most energy...

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 14:09 1

5. iskra2122 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)

sory off top but i can't open HTC One X display comparison.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 17:57

8. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

one s with 720p screen and 2000mah would have been a killer phone

posted on 10 Apr 2012, 04:21

10. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

i'd like to have a One X but its too expensive for me. i think i'll go to One S i also like its premium look and feel! but i have to think carefully lumia 900 is luring me because of its price tag hahaha!

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 06:59

11. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

its also wp7 which is much less customizable and less apps than android.....it has promise true but it needs better multitasking and more developer support

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 08:18

12. Maestro1999 (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)

Love my HTC Inspire but noticed that most HTC phones overall are great but is supported by a battery that can't match up to the power of the product. Poor battery life has always been my concern & turn-off from HTC. Produce a battery with more mAh power & stamina. My Inspire had only 1230 mAh & that's extremely low when a basic smartphone should at least have a minimum of 1500 mAh. Hope HTC get it right this round or I'll probably be awaiting the Galaxy S3!!!

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