HTC One X is the best HTC device I have ever used (review & gallery)

HTC is focusing on quality instead of quantity this year with the HTC One series their premier launch device line. The HTC One X is fantastic and I have never used a better HTC device.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Samsung is dominating the cellphone and smartphone world at the moment and HTC has some serious competition in the Android space. One area where I find them better than Samsung in most cases is with the phone hardware and I have to say the HTC One X is the BEST HTC device I have EVER used. HTC kicked off their new strategy of quality over quantity this year and the HTC One X shows what can be created with a serious focus on design.

AT&T customers have some amazing choices now with the HTC Titan II, Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Galaxy Note, and Apple iPhone 4S. I personally find the HTC One X to be my favorite phone while I use the Galaxy Note more for a mini-tablet. Check out my image gallery of the HTC One X and photos taken with the device.

Image Gallery: Check out photos of the HTC One X on AT&T.
Image Gallery: Back of the HTC One X
Image Gallery: HTC One X in hand

In the box and first impressions

The HTC One X comes in the traditional small AT&T orange and white box along with a microSIM removal tool, USB cable, USB charger, and excellent QUick Start Guide.

The HTC One X has a large display and is constructed primarily of white polycarbonate material (there is also a gray version available that I did not test out). It feels absolutely amazing in your hand with a smooth, matte finish on the back, glossy finish on the sides and a front primarily constructed of Gorilla Glass. The white and black contrast is reminiscent of a Star Wars stormtrooper (such a slide was shown by the design team) and I can't think of anything at all to improve on the design of the device.


Specifications for theHTC One X AT&T modelinclude the following:

  • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor
  • GSM phone with HSPA+ and LTE support
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS with HTC Sense 4
  • 4.7 inch HD (1280x720 pixels) Super LCD display with Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 megapixel camera with new HTC ImageChip
  • Front facing 1.3 megapixel camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi
  • NFC support, including Android Beam
  • Beats Audio available universally in the device
  • 16GB integrated storage with no expansion capability
  • Integrated 1800 mAh battery that is non-removable
  • Dimensions of 5.31 x 2.75 x 0.35 inches and 4.6 ounces

The international HTC One X has 32GB of integrated storage capacity, which is what I expected on a high end device. Then again, with the included 25GB Dropbox account and many other cloud storage options I am finding less and less of a need for large amounts of integrated storage capacity.

While NFC is included on the device, I get an error when I try to run Google Wallet and hope this gets addressed soon since I do use it quite a bit. I see that the unlocked Galaxy Nexus supports Wallet on AT&T so I am hoping when the official release of the device comes around an update supports Google Wallet.

The international One X has a 1.5GHz NVIDIA quad-core processor, but all the data I have seen shows it gets less battery life with very little noticeable difference in performance. I am not a huge gamer on my phones, which is where a quad-core processor may shine, so I am just fine with the dual-core processor in the AT&T HTC One X. This AT&T HTC One X is zippy and I have not yet seen any lag or slowdown in performance so I would rather have better battery life. Unfortunately, LTE coverage is very limited on AT&T at this time so I could not yet test out this data network.

Walk around the hardware

The Gorilla Glass 2 display wraps around the sides of the HTC One X with a thin black gasket around the frame and the display feels fantastic as you run your fingers over and around it. The top and bottom areas above and below the display are quite minimized, giving you the impression that the display dominates the device and there is very little space wasted on anything else. The 4.7 inch Super LCD is amazing with a resolution that blows me away as I use it every single time. It also has crazy viewing angles so you can see what is on your display while the phone sits on a table or desk.

There are three capacitive touch buttons below the display for Back, Home, and Task Switcher functions and I like that HTC went with them to make sure you have an optimal display experience. The handset speaker holes are individually drilled into the polycarbonate shell above the display and I found call quality and volume to be excellent. There is a 1.3 megapixel camera in the upper right front that is great for video calling and chats.

I love that HTC minimized covers and buttons on the HTC One X since I find covers usually to be a pain that end up getting broken or lost. On the left side you will find the microUSB port, the bottom has a mic opening, the right side has the volume button, and the top has the power button, second mic opening and 3.5mm headset jack. The white polycarbonate material is glossy on the four sides.

The microSIM card slot is on the upper left side of the back. You need to use a pin or included HTC tool to activate the microSIM release and pull out the tray from the top. The camera is centered on the upper back with a silver ring around it to highlight the focus on the camera experience. The glass lens is recessed from the edge so it gets some protection when you have the HTC One X on a table. There is a single LED flash to the right of the camera.

While HTC focuses on the photo experience at the top, the Beats Audio label is down at the bottom so you know that advanced audio integration is supported. The mono speaker is below the Beats Audio label and consists of individual pin holes drilled into the polycarbonate back. The HTC name is embossed in silver in the middle of the back.

There are no seams or edges on the HTC One X and the design is SUPERB! I honestly have not held a device that feels like it has been designed so extremely well and am excited to see what HTC will launch moving forward.

HTC focused on the image experience and after hearing their product team talk about the HTC One X camera design and optics I was excited to try out the camera. I was able to take some great photos with the HTC One X and even better was the ability to capture a photo while capturing video content. HTC didn't just improve the camera optics and design, but they included advanced camera software so you can take photos in continuous mode, HDR photos, panoramic shots, and even slow motion video. Instagram-like effects can be added and include distortion, depth of field, dots, vintage, sepia, solarize, aqua, and more.

Walk through the software

I wrote my thoughts on why I enjoy the HTC Sense 4 enhancements in ICS and after using the HTC One X now for about a month I am a real fan of Sense with ICS and prefer it over the ICS experience on my Galaxy Nexus. The enhancements I find particularly useful include the advanced Exchange email client, settings area, task switcher, and home screen panel customization utility.

Since this is the AT&T version of the HTC One X you will of course find bloatware featured apps on it that AT&T feels they have to add to all devices, but the Apple iPhone. Unlike Windows Phone though, you cannot remove these apps and utilities. The included AT&T titles are AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Ready2Go, U-Verse Live TV, MOG music app, myAT&T, YPmobile, and Zinio.

HTC also includes a couple utilities on the One X such as HTC Hub, Movie Editor, Notes (syncs to Evernote like on the HTC Flyer), and HTC Watch. We held a discussion with the HTCDev.com folks at the HTC Frequencies event and the HTC Hub utility is an area where apps are featured by HTC. These are apps on the Play Store and this is NOT a separate store or anything, but rather a vetted area where you can find some excellent recommended apps. You can also find ringtones, wallpaper, and other customization content to download in the HTC Hub. Sign in with your HTC account details to download content, same as used with HTC Watch.

A cool service now included and integrated with the HTC One devices is Dropbox and now when you sign up with an HTC One device you get 25GB of storage space for free for two years. You can even setup your One X to upload photos you take automatically to Dropbox.

Daily usage experiences

I used the HTC One S on T-Mobile for a couple of weeks, but prefer the HTC One X primarily because of the display and better design. I really like the One S and think it is the best Android device on T-Mobile, but the removable upper back takes a bit away from the fit and finish and the lack of NFC is a bit disappointing. The HTC One X has everything that I want in a modern Android device and feels superb in the hand.

HTC sent along a new HTC Media Link HD to test out the HTC One X since this device supports this accessory and the experience was excellent. I will have my review of the HTC Media Link HD up soon and you will see how the HTC One X can serve as your home entertainment hub while also working well in the conference room. I have been renting and sharing several movies via the HTC Watch service with this combo.

I have a set of Beats Mixr headphones and enjoy the audio experience combined with the HTC One X. I don't think it is a revolutionary audio experience, but it is enhanced and improves on what HTC has had in the past. Beats Audio is a brand that is strong with younger people and having this support on HTC devices should generate more excitement for the One Series of devices.

I am currently using a Straight Talk SIM with my HTC One X and won't even consider adding an AT&T account until LTE comes to my local area. Once LTE arrives, I may sign up for an AT&T account, but honestly HSPA+ is plenty fast for the tasks I perform on my phone and battery life has been excellent on the HTC One X.

Pricing and availability

You will be able to pick up a white or gray HTC One X for $199.99 with 2-year contract ($549.99 with no contract) starting on 6 May and if you like the Android platform then I highly recommend you check out this device. As I said in my video, you also need to be open and accepting of HTC Sense 4 and as a fan of Sense I have no hesitation at all in recommending it.

Full disclosure for this review: HTC loaned me an international HTC One X for a couple of weeks and then handed out AT&T One X devices for HTC Frequencies attendees to use and test out with no explicit request to have them returned.

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