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HTC One X Review [AT&T]

ATT HTC One X

 

HTC is out to reinvent their brand this year after they struggled during 2011. To kick off 2012 the right way, they have presented their newest flagship device, the HTC One X. We have already published our full review of the unlocked Tegra 3 variant of this phone, but this one is branded with an AT&T logo and is powered by a Snapdragon S4 chip to support their 4G LTE network. Could this be the device that saves HTC in the US handset market? Let’s take a look. 

The Good:

  • Display:  Since the display is the same on this One X as the unlocked version, I am going to pull from Kellex’s review since I agree word for word with his breakdown of it. “Easily the most beautiful smartphone display you will find anywhere. At 312ppi and 4.7-inches of Super LCD2 glory, the colors and details are natural, defined, and simply put, stunning. We probably won’t find another display that will compete with the One X’s until Samsung puts out a phone with their HD Super AMOLED Plus. Even then, the vibrant and sometimes oversaturated colors on the AMOLED may not be preferred over these LCD2 displays that HTC is using. Experiencing this screen in person is something that each and every one of you should attempt to do.”
  • Design, Look and Feel:  I am not ashamed to say that this is the best and most beautifully designed phone on the planet. The subtle, smooth, milky feel of the back against your hands is one of the most satisfying sensations you can hope for when touching just a phone. Keeping it in your pocket is almost a crime and it should never be kept in a case. We wouldn’t want it to think we’re ashamed of it. And yes, we’re weird like that. All creepiness aside, the phone’s curves are just fantastic examples of symmetry and I have found myself just staring at it in amazement.  Did we mention that no other phone has attracted as much curiosity from strangers and friends than when we pull this device out? You have to see it to believe it.
  • Hardware:  Inside this beast, you have a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (kind of a downer), 8MP f/2.0 camera in the back, 1.3MP camera in the front, a 4.7″ HD Super LCD2 display, NFC chip, MHL port, and a 1800mAh battery. It doesn’t get any more top-of-the-line than this. As far as the average Android user is concerned, this device leaves almost nothing to be desired.
  • Battery:  Unfortunately, I am not in an area that supports AT&T’s LTE network, so giving it a true battery test was not possible. Although, I will say that while running on HSPA+, that this device has the best battery life I have ever experienced. From the shot below, I went a solid 25 hours without having to throw it on the charger. And when merely idling the device is a slow drainer. I give big blue ribbons to Qualcomm and HTC for making this possible. Once the Portland area gets some AT&T LTE we will have to retry this though.
  • Performance:  With only a dual-core chip and 1GB of RAM, there may seem to be a lot of devices that can match up to this device on paper, but that’s just paper. In reality, the Snapdragon S4 cruises through tasks without even a stutter. In my attempts at trying to slow this thing down, I came up empty handed. You can open multiple apps in a row, switch to the camera, snap photos, toggle off and on settings, flip home screens, open your app drawer, and more without ever noticing a bit of lag. Well, you may see them from time to time in HTC’s Sense UI, but without that, this phone is unbelievably fast. We performed a set of standard benchmarks between the Tegra 3 version and the Snapdragon S4 variant that can be viewed here.
  • HTC Sense 4.0 (parts of it):  Um, where should I start with Sense. I am a passionate Nexus lover and if you throw a skin on top of my Vanilla Android I might have to cut you. But you know what? This new Sense isn’t completely unbearable. In fact, it sort of kicks butt in some cases. Previous versions were highly intrusive and made Android look like a completely different OS in my opinion, but with this new version, they leave a lot of the Android experience alone basically and just sort of revamp the look. It has a great way of managing your contacts, pimping out the camera, and tying into your social network feeds. Not bad, HTC.
  • Camera:  The rear camera weighs in at 8MP with a f/2.0 aperture and is better than your average smartphone shooter. After spending most of my time with the Galaxy Nexus’s camera and liking that, I can now see why people despise it so much. This camera is a serious upgrade in that department and I just hope and pray that we can see more devices get shipped with a shooter such as this one.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich:  I would expect nothing less from a flagship device in 2012. With companies like LG and Motorola releasing phones that still have Gingerbread, a shout out should be given to HTC for keeping up with the times. They may have tossed their new Sense 4.0 on top of it, but the features that were introduced with Android 4.0 are all there for you to enjoy to their fullest.
  • Call Quality:  Had nothing but pleasures when speaking to people over Big Blue’s network. No disconnects, no static, no nothing. And in fact, reception in general was fantastic. Everywhere I went, including the woods and the lake had mid to full bars. Knowing that I can go anywhere and still be receive my tweets is a huge plus(/s).

The Not-so-Good:

  • Bloatware:  The number of applications that come pre-installed and serve a general useless purpose isn’t as bad as I first thought it could be. There are definitely some that take the cake such as AT&T Navigator, YPmobile, and Device Help. I understand for people new to Android that these apps may be beneficial, but come on. This is a Google device. We already have Google Maps and a Google Search feature built it, so just give us those things instead of confusing people even further as to which app they should use for each task.
  • Hardware Navigation Keys:  It’s a major bummer that this device has been shipped with actual hardware keys, seeing as how the Galaxy Nexus has been out for months now and HTC had plenty of time to see that people really loved that concept. Either way, this isn’t a complete negative. They feel pretty good, but we just sort of wish HTC stayed completely current and ahead of the design curve.
  • Non-removable Battery:  The internal battery is 1800mAh and should be strong enough to get most people through an entire day of use. But not everyone is the same and there will be times that having a non-removable battery will hamper your abilities when it comes to extended options and things of that nature. In the long run, if you are the traveling type or like to be unplugged from a wall outlet every 24 hours, then you will definitely notice this downside. With most Android devices featuring removable batteries, it is definitely a different approach for HTC that may not pay off in the end if users experience sub-par battery life.
  • Top Lock Switch and Headphone Jack:  I share Kellex’s beliefs on the placement of these two items, so I shall piggyback from his review of the International variant. “The top lock switch, sucks. As does the top headphone jack. The thumb lock switch on the side of the device, makes so much sense, that there should be a law created to make top switches illegal. Same thing with the headphone jack. If I’m listening to music on my phone through headphones, a plug at the bottom simply works better. The cord doesn’t have to hang out the back of the device or dangle to the side if I’m looking at it, and when I place it in my pocket top down (like everyone does), the cord pokes right out, without me having to think about it.” Couldn’t have said it any better myself. When will the manufacturers learn? At least Samsung has it right.
  • No Camera Lens Protection:  While we may crown this device as having the most beautiful design, the camera placement almost kills it. My girlfriend said the design looks like a nipple and after looking at it for five seconds, I agree. The lens is out in the open for anything to come along and scratch it, so you might find yourself placing the phone screen-side down, just to make sure you don’t damage it. If the camera was flush with the body, then it would be money.

Full Gallery:

Screen Comparison:

Unboxing:

YouTube Preview Image

HTC Sense 4.0 Overview:

YouTube Preview Image

The Verdict:

Easily a 9 out of 10 star performance from HTC on this device. Without a doubt, the best device I have had the pleasure of reviewing and it easily replaced my Nexus during the trial time. Superior camera, performance, and design make this the best device on the market. American customers who are on AT&T or were thinking of making the switch should put this device at the top of their lists when shopping for a new phone.

Unfortunately for Verizon customers, it looks like we may be getting a less impressive variant such as T-Mobile’s HTC One S we reviewed earlier. Let’s hope that later down the road Verizon has plans of picking up a superphone such as this one.  And with Samsung’s Galaxy SIII being unveiled in just a matter of days, who knows how long the HTC One X will sit atop the Android device kingdom.

  • jeff

    i just bought an iphone 5 and the pictures are not that good as they all say and all indoor pictures of my self are really bad all white color hue so much and not clear and noise. i’m going to send it back and get the htc x+

  • AndroidPhoneUser

    Review Title = HTC One X Review [AT&T]
    Video for HTC Sense = 
    HTC One X International version
    FAIL !!! 

  • blairh

    “The cord doesn’t have to hang out the back of the device or dangle to the side if I’m looking at it, and when I place it in my pocket top down (like everyone does), the cord pokes right out, without me having to think about it.” 
    Like everyone does? Really? Then tell me about the countless amount of people who I see walking around with their iPhone’s in their pockets everyday. The cord attaches to the top of the device and I don’t see them having any issues with that. 

    This is a great review except for this insistence that the headphone jack should be at the bottom of the device. I have no problems using my iPod’s over the years with the headphone jack at the top and I’ve had no problems doing the same with my iPhone since 2008. You guys are dead wrong that ‘everybody’ places their phone top down in a pocket. I never have and I never will. Furthermore the next iPhone will undoubtedly have the headphone jack at the top. Judging by the worldwide 4S sales I’d say that has worked out just fine for them. (And us the consumer.)

  • Sven Enterlein

    Only thing that I would be missing is the removable storage… Great review that makes me want to try it out at the AT&T store!

  • http://twitter.com/figmentmnj Tim B.

    For me the Non removable battery and no SD card is a deal breaker. I frequently am away from a power source long enough to go through an entire battery, and using the device with one of those external batteries is down right annoying. Considering I’m in a Tiered data plan, the lack of an SD card which would force me to use “cloud” storage would push me into extra data fees every month.  For me, the reason I prefer the soft buttons over the physical buttons is all about size of the device.  The soft buttons can hide when in app giving me more screen real estate without having the extra bezel size needed to house the buttons.

  • Emayfie2

    Which phone(s) from the One series are coming to big red?

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      the Zero……. if you follow.

      You get a Droid Incredible LTE instead.  Which isn’t related to the One series at all.

    • Gabba

      None

  • Felipe Ortiz

    Droid Razr is the top now

  • Jeremy Turnley

    OK, I keep reading over and over how the protruding camera is a problem, but nobody has explained exactly how the camera glass (which is recessed about half a mm from the edge of the metal lip around it on the AT&T version vs flush on the global one) being on the bump is any more exposed to damage than the ones like the one on the iphone 4 that is just as exposed but flush? I have an Inspire 4G, same camera layout, and unless I were to slam the camera glass down on something pointed it won’t break – and doing that would break a flush mounted camera as well.

  • Dain Laguna

    is it just me, or has every review of htc’s ics devices totally gloss over if you can disable apps so that they dont show up in your app drawer? with all the skins ics is gonna be getting, i want to know if folks like htc and moto are going to conveniently disable those features in the OS

    • Evileclipse

      Please Tim o? I would love to know the answer to this. I would have asked a little nicer , but can you please help with that? It would only take a moment to find out.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        I don’t mean to keep repeating this post… but I wanted to be sure you saw this in case you aren’t following the page.  I searched through a whole bunch of other reviews, and found in 2 of them that, yes, you can still use the Disable feature thru the settings->apps menu… as with the Galaxy Nexus tho, the memory usage remains.

        • Dain Laguna

          good to know man. sucks about the memory usage. almost makes the ability to do this seem like it was just googles programmers acknowledging that they cant do crap about the bloat that will end up on most people’s phones

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      I searched through a whole bunch of other reviews, and found in 2 of them that, yes, you can still use the Disable feature thru the settings->apps menu… as with the Galaxy Nexus tho, the memory usage remains.

  • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

    All I can think of now when I look at that camera is nipples, Thanks Tim!

  • Droidfan

    You know I am just about as sick of hearing about bloatware as I can get.   Would I rather it wasn’t there….sure.  But here’s the thing….the way Android manages apps…they are not using much resource if you’re not using them.   And even if they were running at a low level in the background…any medium to high-end Android phone from this point in time on….has more than enough processing power to be totally unaffected by this crap.  As far as space they take up…again modern Android phones have plenty of storage to deal with this crap.   For Christ sake, part of the discount you get when you buy carrier phone is financed by this stuff.  Get the hell over it.  There are lots bigger problems in the world to deal with than bloatware on a freakin…smart phone.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mesasone Camden Peeples

      The problem with the bloatware apps (at least on AT&T) is that several have reoccurring monthly charges that a user might not realize they are authorizing if they are not careful.

  • BSweetness

    Why have someone review a phone when they’re not able to test out one (LTE) of the two (LTE/processor) major features that differentiate this phone from the already-reviewed international version?  LTE is a major change that will potentially have a big impact on battery life.  Battery life is important in a review of any phone, but that’s particularly the case when the battery is not removable.

    It’s a well-written review, but without taking LTE into account, it’s almost the same review as the international version.

  • http://twitter.com/Justinwrites Justin True Anderson

    And its still HTC.  I’m out.  They’ll have to build more than one good phone before I trust them again.

  • Bob Martin

    is that the Galaxy S3?

    • New_Guy

      Who knows at this point…

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  • BulletTooth_Tony

    I must say… in all my 31 years, I’ve not seen anyone put their phone in their pants pockets top-down.

    • kixofmyg0t

      Neither have I. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/kortesoja Lance Kortesoja

      I do. why would i want to flip it taking it in, and putting it out?

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        Style points.

    • Youllreachus

      Look at your phone and then put it in your pocket.if you rotated the phone in any way,you’ve inserted an extra move (and extra chance of dropping your phone) as opposed to just turning your wrist a little and putting it in top down. and when you reach in to pull it out it is already in the right position (unless you are wearing those God awful hipster skinny jeans and have to go in with tweezer fingers to perform the extraction).

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        No no… no skinny jeans. I don’t care how thin or in shape you are, nobody needs to see what religion you are. ;-) Anyway, my routine is likely due to the length of time I’ve had phones. Since they previously had real antennas that stuck out of the top, it only made sense to put it in antenna upwards… I’ve developed a 2-finger retrieval where I pinch my device and as I lift it, gravity spins it back into proper orientation. I’ve never dropped a phone.

      • Dain Laguna

        i’ve been wearing skinny jeans since i was 14. i’m 27 now. does that make me a hipster? lol

    • kimjongdun

      makes so much more sense… bottoms up!
      hand goes in the pocket, thumb on one side, fingers on the other (screen facing my thigh). pull it out (insert pun here) and rotate wrist.
      hope you enjoyed phone pocket withdrawal 101. 

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        I don’t see it that way.. I only need 2 fingers to retrieve my phone, not my entire hand. Thumb, and pointer or middle finger. Lift, and gravity does the work of rotating it to the perfect position within my palm.

        • bassman418

          And taking the phone out that way will yield finger prints on the screen too. LOL
          I always put the top down too.

        • LiterofCola

          Exactly, I don’t use my whole hand to retrieve my phone, just my thumb and index finger. And what do you know….it ends up right side up utilizing one hand.

    • New_Guy

      Do it all the time. That’s how it is naturally held when going from hand to pocket. The extra rotation makes it easier to drop your phone if you put it top up. I bought my Thunderbolt over a year ago…not a scratch on it because I can honestly say I’ve never dropped it on a hard surface (no case or screen protector either).

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        I’ve never had a phone that I’ve retired that looked any worse than when it came out of the box… if this textual illustration works, phone is in my palm, I place my thumb on the screen, and let gravity pull the heavier part of the phone (bottom) towards the earth… and it slides right in… I don’t even need to put my hands in my pocket with it.

    • Dliuzzo110

      Although I agree it does kinda make more sense in terms of fluidity to put it in up side down I’ve never actually seen anybody do this. I think its just inherently human nature to keep things right side up. Plus axtualy now that I think about it it does make more sense to put it in right side up cuz when you go to lift it out, you put thumb on sxrenn and finger on back and lift…..it automatically falls into perfect position with no twisting of the wrist at all. Bah..I guess its all just semantics

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        Precisely how I take my phone out… and exactly opposite going in. I don’t need to put my entire hand in my pants to grab it, as being upside down would require – a feat that’s not so easy if you’re seated, especially if you’re seated in tight confines.

    • gkinsella2

      Putting your phone in top-UP is like having your gun holster upside down…you don’t reach down and grab the barrel and then turn it around.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        right, you grab it by the handle… my phone doesn’t have one of those. I put it in my pocket heaviest side down… which is the bottom. The looser the article of clothing, like a pair of shorts, the more the weight plays a factor into comfort.

      • Gabba

        Shoulder holsters and cross draw holsters work just fine wit the holster flipped around

        • Gabba

          *with

    • angermeans

      Hats how I do it. I always have but never thought bout it til now

    • zUFC

      Hummm, I must say in my 45 years I have never seen it done your way!!!

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        So you used to stick the physical antennas on your old phones towards the ground? Suuuurrreee ya did.. ;-)

        • zUFC

          Except for back them a million years ago. We were FORCED to do it that way back then. But you know what I mean. there is no way people put it in their pocket top up now, no way!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pedro

    Wow!  What a difference between the HTC X and the Galaxy Nexus on the Chrome icon!

    Then I looked at the Chrome icon on my GNex and realized it was pretty damn good, even with my reading glasses.  Better resolution would be wasted on me.  I’ll take it to work and look at it under a microscope.

    We may be at the point where good enough is truly good enough, and better isn’t even noticeable in the real world.  Kind of like CPUs.  My computer will wait WAY more cycles than yours…

    • nicotinic

      It’s noticeable when you see it in person without touching the phone to your nose.
      I currently have the Droid X and the Rezound and there’s a huge difference. My buddy has the GNex and in comparison to the Rezound that screen is sub par(when compared!).

      Although your eyes aren’t the best you’d still be able to tell.  

      Okay. I’m done trying to sell you the screen for a phone that neither you or I will ever own.

      • Sobr0801

        Love my Rezound screen. Rezound FTW

        • nicotinic

          I love mine too. Just hate taking the battery cover off. Feels like I’m going to break it almost every time and that’s with me being Mr. Tender-Touch. “Easy now, I’m not gonna hurt cha girl, easy…”

  • languagestrange

    I can’t even imagine going back to stock ICS navigation buttons on the G-Nex at this point. Physical navigation buttons on an ICS device is a deal-breaker.

    • Youllreachus

      Please explain to me how having no physical buttons is an actual advantage. is it the thousands of extra taps over the life of the phone to pull up a home screen button that’s conveniently already there? or the extra finger prints from doing so. maybe is to have an unobstructed view of that massive chin on the nexus? chins aren’t going anywhere. have you ever noticed that they don’t place buttons on the very bottom of remotes and the like? that’s because ergonomically, it wouldn’t work at all. It’s so interesting watching people jump on this no buttons bandwagon, even though it makes no sense practically our ergonomically.

      • Butters619

         Thank you.

      • zkam

        I am also wondering why having no buttons is an advantage.  Forgive my ignorance, but I’m just beginning to shop for an Android phone.  From a (very) brief comparison of the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Nexus at a store, I noted that the Nexus, while having a larger physical screen, actually had less usable screen real estate due to the soft buttons.  Am I missing something?

        BTW. My current (soon to be former) phone is a Palm Centro (go ahead, laugh…)  One of the things I will miss about its tiny bubble keys is the ability to hold down any key as a shortcut to launch an app of my choosing.

      • z66

        Well said. I don’t understand this obsession of zero physical buttons either. Functionality and practically is no longer important apparently. 

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        the DirecTV remote has buttons on the very bottom of the remote…. and worse, it’s the bottom row of numbers.  It’s a colossal PITA.

  • Cvv1984

    Is it true this does not come in black on at&t

    • Butters619

      Go to AT&T’s website and black is there.  Or Best Buy’s website.  And actually it is grey.

  • cb3ck

    Well done HTC! Though I will never have the chance to use this phone I hope to benefit from its raising of the bar for new flagship phones. 

    What drives me absolutely crazy in all of this though, is that this phone will sell for $199 on contract renewal, while Verizon will gouge their customers with an inferior variant for $100 more…

    • Sobr0801

      We can not assume that it will be on contract for 299 till its officially announced.

      • michael arazan

        This is the first HTC phone I have ever actually Liked and would buy

        • feztheforeigner

          It wouldn’t be this phone. It would be the One S variant, big difference.

  • Stephen Morrison

    How does this screen compare to the rezound???

    • nicotinic

      One X is Better. 

      Rezound = SLCD 

      One X    = SLCD2

      • http://twitter.com/TomAce7 Spy Games

        It’s got a “2” so you know it’s good.  That’s 1 better than 1.

        • Sobr0801

          I would love to see a close up side by side myself.

          • Stephen Morrison

            That’s what I was hoping for. I know the Nexus is their favorite device and all, but if you was to compare the latest and greatest, why not compare the One X screen to the Rezound screen, then they can compare whatever else is so much better about the One X with the other top contenders in each category.

        • nicotinic

          I was trying to indicate t

  • Michael_NM

    Goodbye Android Life, I will miss you. It’s nice see you here though. :-)

  • Dlongb13

    Droid Razr HD please.

  • John Baxter

    I’m almost considering jumping ship from Verizon to either Sprint or AT&T for the One X/EVO. Too bad neither gets decent signal here. Guess I will have to wait for the Droid Razr Maxx HD+…

    • http://www.facebook.com/KevinSims1212 Kevin Sims

      Do not get the sprint version. Sprint is not opening up their 4g network until sometime next year.

  • AlexKCMO

    Holy Crap!!!!!

    Please add a break….