Last week I bought the HTC One XL Android phone from my mobile operator to try out the 4G LTE service. Never did I expect that I would become so happy with the HTC phone that I have now replaced my iPhone 4S with the One XL as my primary work phone. Here's what I like about the phone:
- Amazing download and upload speeds over LTE: At a local shopping mall I was able to hit nearly 50 megabits per second upload and download bandwidth, as tested with the Speed Test app. LTE coverage is not yet available in all parts of Singapore, and the outdoor coverage is better than indoors, but the phone falls back gracefully to 3G and HSPA in areas without LTE coverage. Fortunately, my office has excellent LTE coverage and I'm using LTE instead of my office Wi-Fi because it's really that fast.
- It works well as an LTE-Wi-Fi hotspot. With Android 4.0, it's very easy to share the LTE connection with my colleagues over Wi-Fi. Tapping the hotspot icon brings up the Wi-Fi sharing function; it's easier than tapping through iPhone's Wi-Fi sharing menus.
- The 4.7-inch IPS LCD display is big and beautiful. It looks just like a larger version of the iPhone 4S screen. Photos look gorgeous on the 720p HD screen. With LTE connectivity, I can easily download huge HD videos from my Google Drive and play them in an instant. Sharing videos with my colleagues and friends has never been so quick and impactful.
- In spite of the "XL" name, the HTC One XL is light and thin. The white ceramic back feels nice, better than the plastic backs of Samsung phones.
- I like the customisable lock screen. I can put, say, the Evernote app on the lock screen, and I can just swipe the Evernote icon on the lock screen to launch it.
- Battery life on the LTE phone is acceptable, no worse than the iPhone 4S. I can check on the power consumption of each app through the Android settings. Too bad iOS 6 still lags behind Android in this aspect of power management.
- I would have been 100 percent happy with the HTC One XL if not for two problems: typing on the on-screen keyboard is not quite as accurate as the iPhone keyboard, and the Google Play market for Android apps needs better quality control. I write this blog using Evernote and I had to wait one week before I could successfully download and install a working version of Evernote from Google Play.
Overall the HTC One XL is a very impressive smartphone. It sets the bar high for all future LTE phones, including the iPhone 5. I have never been so impressed by a HTC product ever since they created the iPAQ 12 years ago.