As you have probably noticed, smartphone technology moves even faster than it does on desktop and laptop PCs. Things that were once dream features, like quad-core processors, 720p screens, and 8-megapixel cameras, are now commonplace. So it’s becoming tougher and tougher for each phone to stand above the rest. The HTC One X+ ($199.99) scores with its quad-core processor and massive 64GB of internal storage, all for half the price of a similarly-equipped Apple iPhone 5 . That, plus a slew of other improvements over last year’s version, help keep the HTC One X+ in the thick of the pack, if not quite on top of it.
Design, Connectivity, and Voice Quality
The HTC One X+ measures 5.31 by 2.75 by 0.36 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.9 ounces. It feels like a quality piece, with a soft touch black housing that’s comfortable to hold. A standard-size 3.5mm headphone jack sits on top, while the micro USB port is on the side—an arrangement I prefer, since it makes it easy to charge the handset on your desk while still using it. The 4.7-inch, 720p (1,280-by-720) Super LCD 2 delivers a tight pixel density of 312ppi, which is slightly less than you get with an iPhone 5, but in practice, you won’t notice. Typing on the oversized, HTC-modified onscreen keyboard was easy in both portrait and landscape modes.
The One X+ is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), tri-band HSPA+ 42 (850/1900/2100 MHz) device with 4G LTE and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Here in midtown Manhattan, I saw LTE speeds averaging a steady 13Mbps down and 8-10Mbps up, both of which are solid showings, if somewhat off the pace from when AT&T first turned on LTE in New York City. I also had no problem connecting to the WPA2-encrypted 5GHz Wi-Fi network in our lab.
Voice quality was generally good across the board, with a clear, crisp tone in the earpiece and no background hiss. Transmissions through the mic were a little weak and choppy, but no one had trouble understanding me. Reception was fine. Calls sounded clear through a Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth headset, and Android’s native voice dialer worked fine over Bluetooth. The speaker was disappointing, with a tinny, distorted timbre at full volume, which wasn’t very loud. We’re still testing the 2,100mAh battery and will update this review as soon as we have a result.
Hardware, OS, and Storage
Inside is a 1.7GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 AP37 processor with 1GB DDR2 memory. Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) is on board, along with NFC, HDMI via MHL, and Bluetooth 4.0. The Tegra 3 is a nice bump over the One X’s dual-core processor, but it’s not state of the art for quad-core chips—and it shows. Benchmark performance was surprisingly mixed; the One X+ is extremely fast with CPU-related tasks, but doesn’t do all that well on 3D gaming tests. Also, the One X+ scored slow on the Basemark Program Startup test, at least next to comparable Samsung and LG Android quad-core phones; it looks like HTC Sense 4+, and specifically the Contacts app, remains a bottleneck here. By all means, the One X+ is one of the fastest handsets out there, but I expected more from the graphics hardware.
Otherwise, this is a fun handset to use. There are three customizable home screens you can swipe between, and you can add more. You get free voice-enabled GPS directions with Google Maps Navigation, and at the moment, it’s way more accurate than what you get on iOS 6 devices. Google Play now contains over 700,000 apps, and the majority of them should work fine on this handset, thanks to its increasingly standard 720p screen resolution, quad-core processor, and Android 4.1 OS. There’s some bloatware, as is typical for AT&T phones, but it’s not terrible.
There’s 54.8GB of storage available on the 64GB handset I tested. There’s no memory card slot, but with that kind of storage, you should be fine for a while, and you can sync media via HTC’s own software or by dragging and dropping to the phone as a USB mass storage device.
Multimedia, Camera, and Conclusions
Beats Audio software purportedly enhances the sound of your music on the One X+ when using wired earphones or headphones. In practice, it boosts low frequencies and upper mids, and also cranks the volume, which is cheating; in back-to-back comparisons, anything louder almost always sounds better to the human ear. But once you back off the volume and make it equal to what it was before, I found I preferred music with Beats Audio off. The enhanced headphone amp sounded great through a pair of AKG K 350 earphones.
Standalone videos played smoothly in full screen mode, and looked resplendent on the HTC One X+’s display. I had no problem playing any of my test files up to 1080p in resolution, except for DivX files, which wouldn’t play. Music refused to play wirelessly through Plantronics BackBeat Go Bluetooth earphones, despite being paired properly. I’ll chalk it up to a random incompatibility issue with that set, because music did play fine (albeit in one ear) with the Plantronics Voyager Legend headset, so A2DP streaming clearly works.
The 8-megapixel f/2.0 camera includes a 28mm wide-angle lens, an LED flash, and autofocus. Photo quality was good, if slightly less detailed than the One X’s test photos were; there were some lighting differences in the tests, particularly outside, so it was likely due to the cloudy day I tested on. It’s still an excellent camera. Video recording was less than stellar, though, with 1080p videos hovering around a somewhat choppy 20-25fps and 720p videos from 23-28fps, depending on available light. Image stabilization helps when recording, at least. There’s also a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera for 720p HD video chats.
If you’re looking for a smartphone on AT&T, you’ve got plenty of excellent high-end options right now. The HTC One X+ gives you the most storage and processing power for the money, by far. Compared to the One X+, the Apple iPhone 5 has a smaller screen, isn’t as customizable, and costs twice as much if you equip it with 64GB of storage. But it has a stronger third-party app catalog and a still-better camera and camcorder. The Samsung Galaxy S III , meanwhile, is roughly equivalent to the HTC One X+. The One X+ has real quad-core processing power instead of dual-core, and runs Jelly Bean out of the box, although the Galaxy S III has a better camera and camcorder and is just now getting Jelly Bean as well. Finally, there’s the Nokia Lumia 920, with its stellar 8.7-megapixel PureView camera and beautifully updated Windows Phone 8 OS, but the HTC One X+ runs a considerably wider range of third-party apps.
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|Screen Details||1280-by-720-pixel Super LCD 2|
|Bands||850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100|
|Operating System||Android OS|
|High-Speed Data||EDGE, LTE, HSPA+ 42|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Processor Speed||1.7 GHz|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches|
|CPU||Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-Core AP37|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||64 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc