Interface and functionality

HTC hasn't gotten much in the way of Android Jelly Bean with its Sense 4+ interface edition, leaving Google do its natural recognition thing with Voice Search, whereas Samsung has it as an option to its inferior S Voice service.

Now that Jelly Bean's Project Butter 60fps interface fluidity has disposed of any perceived lag in the performance feel and transitional animations of both Android handsets, things boil down to looks and functionality.

The Sense UI seems more polished and uniform across all of its levels, compared to the rather squarish icons and more ragtag feel of the Nature UX on the Galaxy S III, but when it comes to new functions Samsung takes the cake.

Things like the Smart Stay feature that keeps the screen on by recognizing you are looking at it, the Pop Up Play function that allows you watch video while doing something else, or the S Beam feature to swap files with fellow Samsungians might not be everyday staples, but come pretty handy at times. A most useful feature, like the dual-window mode allowing you to split the screen and operate two apps at once, is also coming to the handset, and this one we'd imagine to be helpful on a daily basis.

Sense 4+ also has its thoughtful touches, though, like going directly into the camera app when you unlock the screen, and have been taking pictures before it went to sleep or was locked. The personalization options like themes, skins and widgets of HTC's interface are also vast compared to Nature UX, where your main option to customize is change the wallpaper. Another handy option we find in the gallery, which is now a starting point not only for the pictures and videos stored internally, but also for the albums you have uploaded onto Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox or SkyDrive, not only Picasa.

The keys on the One X+ virtual keyboard are taller compared to the spaced-out ones of the S III, but it feels more compact now that the arrow keys are off by default. Both phones offer handy Swype-like input method out of the box, which is a bit easier to use on the One X+ thanks to the flashy yellow trail on a dark grey background your finger leaves behind, and the trace color can even be customized further.

Processor and memory

The 1.7 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 AP37 in the One X+ compares very favorably to or even tops in benchmarks the 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 in the Galaxy S III, despite its older 40nm production method. When it comes to the US versions of the Galaxy S III, which are powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, the upgraded Tegra 3 in the One X+ excels even further. The downside is that it is not as power efficient and heats up the phone quite a bit under heavy load.

Both chips make sure you have an Android powerhouse in your hands, and can deal with any app or mobile game thrown at them easily, with some graphics advantage going to the GPU in Exynos. NVIDIA has its Tegra Zone, however, which offers exclusive game titles for Android phones with its mobile processors.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
HTC One X+72441343956,7
Samsung Galaxy S III53351201658,6

The handsets come with 1 GB of RAM, but HTC allows you to run only eight apps at once, and will automatically close the oldest when you open more, which can be a nuisance if you start a lot in a short time, and want to go back to where you left the first ones. The S III, on the other hand, lets a much wider task list run unabated at all times, with rarely you or your phone having to chuck any due to lack of resources.

When it comes to the all-important internal memory, the HTC One X+ wins hands down, thanks to its 64 GB of the good stuff supplied. The basic version of the Galaxy S III ships with 16 GB, and you can easily add more via a memory card to even things out, but still that huge out of the box storage on the One X+ is a major drooling point.

Internet and connectivity

Both Samsung and HTC use default browsers of their own, though HTC supplies Chrome as an alternative to its Sense one. Both stock browsers do an excellent job at zooming, scrolling, panning around, and reflowing text, with a slight fluidity advantage going to the Galaxy S III.

The HTC browser is more versatile and easy to use, however, despite the annoying habit to reload your tabs each time you switch between them. It offers full Adobe Flash support, which can be easily turned on and off from the context menu, whereas if you come across a page you need Flash with the Jelly Bean-ed S III, tough luck.

Bookmarking or saving pages for later reading is also easier in HTC's browser, due to the handy bar at the bottom that appears when you scroll up towards the address field. When we add the one-tap Read mode of the One X+, which strips an article of ads and pics, leaving only text for no-distraction reading, we can declare the HTC browsing experience a winner.

Both phones offer 100 Mbits LTE versions on carriers that have such networks, and HSPA+ connectivity for the rest, with the One X+ offering 42 Mbit/s theoretical speeds, compared to the 21 Mbit/s of the Galaxy S III.

As far as the other radios are concerned, we get the works with both – Wi-Fi, Blueooth 4.0, A-GPS, FM Radio, DLNA and NFC. The two devices have an MHL port for wired connectivity, and the One X+ now supports USB OTG, too, for hooking up flash drives and other paraphernalia, just like the S III.

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