We've made an extensive hands-on and video review of Sense 4.0, the new interface of HTC made for Android ICS, and that's what both the One X and One S come with, so you can check out the new looks and functions there. 

Both the quad-core Tegra 3 and the Snapdragon S4 processors plough through the interface with ease, as can be expected from the best silicon currently on the market. Still, with Tegra 3's implementation in the One X we did experience some annoying hiccups, like the phone taking a few seconds to load back the interface when we pressed the home button to exit the browser, with the loading circle appearing for a while. 

With the One S, on the other hand, we couldn't use the new ICS screenshot-taking ability in landscape format, as the phone always froze and went into dump mode, so we had to reboot it with the volume rocker and power key – you can't just take out the battery on those, you know. So both phones have some teething problems with the new interface, which we easily expect from the first ICS efforts of  most manufacturers. Launch and then update to iron out the kinks always seems to be the mantra. In fairness, the phone recognized when the abnormal reboot happened, and asked us to send the log to HTC for improvement.

Despite the interface changes made by Google with Android Ice Cream Sandwich that allow buttonless fronts, both phones sport three capacitive keys underneath their displays. This makes for the somewhat redundant two layers of navigational buttons in 3rd party apps – the capacitive buttons on one hand, and a virtual context menu key stacked on top of them in the on-screen navigational strip of Android ICS. In default apps, the virtual menu key is up right, easily accessible with just a slight thumb move.


Tegra 3 is in a bit of unfair competition here, as it has to power a large 720p display, but we'll pit the best mobile processors currently on the market against each other anyway.

The HTC One X will stay in history forever as the first smartphone with a quad-core CPU, not that there are numerous applications that can use all four cores, but it's nice to shout “first”. In the other corner stays the HTC One S, which is the first with the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset, that is made with the 28nm process, ensuring a huge performance boost, yet a gentle run on the battery. 

We won't say it's because Tegra 3 is still on the 40nm process, but it actually generates quite a bit of heat, which is felt when the HTC One X is under benchmarking or gameplay pressure, whereas the HTC One S keeps its cool regardless.

We got 5136 on Quadrant at first run from the One S, which is a pretty high result, 7015 on AnTuTu, and 204.9 MFLOPS on the Linpack multi-thread test, also quite a good score for the CPU. The Adreno 225 GPU turned out capable too, maxing out NenaMark 2 at the phone’s 60.3 fps cap. The graphics scored 49.13fps on the taxing Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji 3D benchmark.

The One X clocked in 4919 on Quadrant, 9749 on AnTuTu and 135 MFLOPS on the Linpack multi-thread test. The 12-core mobile GPU eked out 47.6fps on NenaMark 2 and 13fps on Taiji, but Taiji is known for working better with Adreno GPUs, and, hey, the Tegra 3 GPU has to power a giant high-res display, which sure counts for something. 

Yet, we'd give the silicon round to the 28nm S4 on the HTC One S, be it only because you can hardly touch the metal camera rim when benchmarks are running on the One X, that's how warm Tegra 3 gets inside.

Messaging, Internet and Connectivity:

Despite the smaller screen, we actually give the typing preference to the One S, since we could easily shoot quick text message replies with one hand and our thumb, while it's quite a stretch (literally) to do that on the wide HTC One X.

The Sense 4.0 default browser works well overall on both handsets in terms of scrolling, panning and zooming, but has a choppy and inconsistent text reflow, which is on by default. HTC is trying to introduce an intuitive way to remove both the top and bottom navigational strips when checking out a website, leaving you with just its full screen glory. The idea is that each time when you start scrolling up, the address bar and the bottom strip would appear, sensing you are trying to navigate away from your current section, but when you lift your finger off they hide, leaving you in full screen mode, so you don't have to go through the settings to gain screen estate. 

The result is hit or miss, though, with the strips sometimes appearing to get in the way of a good scroll, and sometimes not even showing up, regardless of the inertia you set, and these inconsistencies are more pronounced on the One X for some reason. Some people found the bottom navigational strip meddling with their browsing experience, some found it handy for quick saving of pages for later read or access to bookmarks and open tabs, so it might take getting used to.

The HTC One S has one less connectivity option compared to the One X, and it is NFC, which for now is not a big thing to miss. Both handsets sport the full suite otherwise, including Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL and DLNA.
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