Not in the market for the most powerful smartphone out there? Prefer something lighter, more compact, not to mention affordable? Then the HTC One VX would like your attention.
At MobileCon 2012 we were introduced to the HTC One VX. Just like its bigger brother, the HTC One X+, it will come exclusively to AT&T when it releases in the U.S. While it may be the little brother of the new HTC handset lineup, it has potent hardware behind its plastic polycarbonate backing, and thanks to HTC's Sense 4 UI, it holds onto many of the best features found on the original HTC One X.
With a 1.2Ghz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of DDR3 RAM, it falls in among devices like the new Droid Razr M, which pack a surprising amount of horsepower for a so-called mid-range device. While HTC has not yet named its price for the HTC One VX, representatives assured us that affordability is a priority with this new handset.
Holding the HTC One VX, we were struck by the polished yet grippy texture of its white plastic backing. It has a great balanced feel, with enough heft to feel substantial, yet it was light enough to drop in a pocket or purse and forget about. However, its rubbery construction did have us missing the premium aluminum feel of an iPhone 5 or Droid Razr M, though it was very handsome.
The HTC One VX weighs in at 4.4 ounces (124.7 grams), making it just slightly lighter than the 4.55 ounce (129 grams) HTC One X+. It may not seem like much, but holding the two phones, we could notice the difference. Since it has a 4.5-inch screen, as opposed to the 4.7 inches of display space on the One X+, this handset's dimensions are a little more reigned in.
It may not be as wide or tall, but the One VX is slightly thicker. However, this comes with one advantage. The phone's plastic backing pops off, revealing a removable battery and microSD card slot. Thanks to this handy feature, you'll be able to replace the 1810mAh battery on the go, and swap in up to 32GB of extra storage. On board storage is already a sizeable 8GB.
With the One VX's smaller screen comes a lower resolution. At 960x540 with 245 PPI it starts to show its lower price point, compared with the 1280x720 and 312 PPI on the One X+. Still, this a great corner to cut for customers who aren't as focused on consuming HD video on their mobile device.
For taking photos the VX has a 5 megapixel camera. While this is none too high, it's supported by the many photo snapping features of HTC's Sense 4 UI. It shoots with impressive speed, and can even capture images at a machine gun rate by holding the shutter button. It's also capable of capturing full HD 1080p video. For video chat there's a front-facing VGA-grade camera.
As far as software goes, the HTC One VX had Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC's own Sense 4 UI running on it. The One VX will get an upgrade to Android 4.1: Jelly Bean and Sense 4+. HTC hasn't given an exact date, but we were told customers wont have to wait too long.
They may not be latest versions, but ICS and Sense 4 were a smooth combination on the One VX. Scrolling between the seven home screens was lightning quick. We enjoyed the unlock screen, which boasts a unique HTC take on a now standard ICS feature. To go directly into the app of your choice just drag an icon from the lock screen into the unlocking ring. It's a slick and convenient way to hop right into the camera for a spur of the moment snap or fire off a quick text.
Being an Android ICS device, the One VX has a myriad of apps available to it via the Google Play store. It also has native support for folders, and uses HTC's own Watch 2.0 for streaming media.
Watch 2.0 not only lets customers stream and download movies, it also aggregates your different video players. That way you can have different streaming players like YouTube, Daily Motion and Crackle right in one place.
All of HTC's new mobile phones are getting a musical boost from Beats Audio. Thanks to Dr. Dre's premium audio setup, the VX will have separate channels for high-fidelity sound, and volume boost when the device plugs into your car stereo or other audio system.
Our hands-on time with the HTC One VX had us feeling very hopeful about this upcoming mid-range device. While we'll reserve final judgment for when have a review unit in hand, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to this new AT&T exclusive Android handset.
First, affordability. While we haven't received an exact price on this device, we know it will have the budget phone set in mind. With a 1.2Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM, it's part of a new breed of surprisingly powerful phones that are priced to move. As an AT&T exclusive device, consumers will probably get a great deal if they buy the One VX with a two-year contract.
While the phone's rubberized casing doesn't provide the "premium" feel some phones have spoiled us with, it was pleasant to hold and felt grippy and hard to drop. It doesn't seem like a device that will need to be tucked into a protective case right away.
Even more than the Beats audio setup, we appreciated the removable battery. An 1810mAh cell isn't huge, and being able to change it out for a fresh one is an option that would make us feel prepared for a long day out.
Ultimately, it'll come down to price with the HTC One VX. We're hoping that it will be priced to compete with Verizon-exclusives like the Droid Razr M, which runs only $50 with two-year contract. Is that asking too much? We'll find out as soon as HTC shines a light on this speedy new handset's price tag.