Say hello to the One X, the most advanced, feature-packed smartphone in HTC’s new One series of handsets, which was announced at Mobile World Congress in February.
We now have the One X in the Wired office, and after spending a few hours with this 4.7-inch stunner, we can report it’s definitely a king among Android smartphones. With Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), a speedy 1.5GHz processor, and a drool-worthy HD display, it may even outshine the current flagship ICS device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
When you pick up the One X, you first notice how incredibly thin it is — 9.27mm thin, which is a hair slimmer than the iPhone 4 and 4S, which measure 9.3mm. The One X is encased in precision-machined polycarbonate that’s textured to feel like smooth stone, so its large but slender body doesn’t feel like its going to slip out of your hands.
Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired
HTC took a bold and simple approach to the physical styling of the handset. Buttons and ports are kept to a minimum: There’s just a microUSB for charging, a headphone jack and power button along the top, and a volume rocker. The HTC logo is emblazoned in silver across the middle of the rear of the device.
On the front of the handset is a 4.7-inch, 1280×720 super LCD display. With a pixel density of 316 ppi, individual pixels are impossible to discern to the naked eye, and onscreen images look crisp, bright and extremely detailed. Zooming in on a photo of a Rubiks cube that sits on my desk, I could see the subtle grainy texture of the color stickers on each cube.
Which naturally brings us to the One X camera. Like an all-seeing robotic eye, the 8-megapixel camera, surrounded by circular aluminum bezel, is centered at the top of the device. When you’re holding the phone in landscape orientation to take a shot, you do need to be careful with your hand positioning, or you may accidentally cover the lens or the flash. The flash is a single LED that auto-adjusts to one of five different brightness levels depending on how much light is coming into the sensor.
Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired
The camera takes great shots that verge on the cool side, ending up very slightly bluer and brighter than original content. The camera app has a variety of built-in settings, filters, and scene adjustments, such as depth-of-field and panorama modes. The panorama mode is particularly handy for taking widescreen shots, providing a rectangular frame to help guide and stabilize the scene you’re trying to capture.
So that’s the hardware. What’s it like actually using the phone? Two words: It’s fast. Inside it’s got a 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Websites load over WiFi incredibly quickly. App switching is equally speedy. Angry Birds Space has never looked so smooth. Watching an HD stream of the Prometheus trailer on YouTube, initial buffering took a mere moment, and the video quality was beautiful and artifact-free. The only problem with this robust processor and extra large display: It looks like it could eat up that 1800 mAh battery if you’re not judicious with your power settings.
HTC’s custom Sense interface is now at version 4.0, and this latest iteration is a welcome upgrade that tones down the previous Sense version’s invasiveness and rampant overskinning. For a pristine, unadulterated Ice Cream Sandwich experience, you’ll have to go with the Galaxy Nexus, but Sense 4.0 at least doesn’t bog down the OS, and looks good to boot.
The HTC One X isn’t yet available in the U.S., and will have one key difference from international versions when it does land: Namely, a dual-core Qualcomm processor instead of that Tegra 3. It will be available on AT&T, but for now, pricing information is unknown.