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HTC One X+ Review (Video)


It’s hard to believe that only eight months ago the HTC One X was one of the largest, most powerful phones on the market. In the period since, we’ve seen quad-core chips become common and 720p displays the status quo.

And yet, the One X has held up remarkably well since its release. Its design is still largely unmatched in the Android ecosystem; its unibody polycarbonate body is tremendously hardy and its Super LCD 2 display phenomenally sharp.

So it’s bittersweet that, eight months or so later, HTC’s follow-up to the phone that started its design revolution is one that looks identical. That it arrives in Canada days after the release of the company’s next-generation Droid DNA doesn’t help matters. Where does the One X+ fit in TELUS’ lineup, and despite the speedy 1.7Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 chip and 64GB of internal storage, how quickly will be it replaced?


Specs:

- Android 4.1.1 with Sense 4+
- 4.7-inch 1280×720 Super LCD 2 display
- 1.7Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 SoC
- 1GB RAM / 64GB internal storage
- 8MP back camera / 1.6MP wide-angle front camera (with ImageSense)
- 2100mAh internal battery
- 850/900/1900//2100 MHz HSPA+ / 700/850/AWS/1900 MHz LTE
- 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
- 135g

What’s Good

The One X+ takes everything that made the One X a great phone and improves upon it. That includes a LTE-capable Tegra 3 chip at speeds faster than the original international version; triple the internal storage of the former Rogers- and TELUS-sold One X; and a larger 2100mAh battery inside the same frame.

While this doesn’t change the experience dramatically — the One X, even running Ice Cream Sandwich, doesn’t feel slow to this day — it certainly adds some zip to app loading times, and improves upon the already-great benchmark results of its predecessor.

The screen and build quality are superlative. The black finish on the phone looks a lot nicer than that of the original white, though I am still a fan of the grey model that came to TELUS this summer. The two phones share the same 720p Super LCD2 screen, and even after eight months it’s still the best on the market. Nothing has beaten it for clarity, viewing angles and sheer beauty — not even the Nexus 4.

While the One X+ uses the same 8MP back camera with ImageSense, the front camera has been upgraded to a wide-angle 1.6MP shooter which also plugs into the ImageSense chip. The updated camera software offers a timer for front-facing shots, and the back camera appears to take photos slightly faster than its predecessor.

Battery life on the One X+ is also improved over the original, though that feat shouldn’t have been difficult to achieve; the One X always had disappointing uptime. Nevertheless, we were able to attain over a day on a single charge, and that was even without the persistent nagging Power Saving feature turned on.

Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean on Sense 4+ doesn’t look too different from its Sense 4 predecessor, but expanded notifications and Google Now are appreciated additions. The UI doesn’t feel any faster or more fluid than the already-polished experience under Ice Cream Sandwich, but the extra 48GB of internal storage is certainly appreciated. Because the One X+ uses a Tegra 3 chip, you have access to the “Tegra Zone” gaming portal, where developers have created apps specifically for the hardware. These games usually have smoother frame rates, more detailed textures, or added lighting/water effects over their non-Tegra counterparts.

What’s Not So Good

Whomever decided that it would be a good idea to have a persistent “Power Saver Off/On” switch in the notification bar needs to lose his or her job. Not only can it not be removed, but even if you fully disable the Power Saver mode it sits there unused and unbidden. It’s a waste of space and an abhorrent abuse of Android’s customizability by HTC.

And while TELUS does not include any bloatware (other than one app portal, which upon launching directs you to download it from the Play Store), there are still a ton of preloaded apps here, many of which will never be used by the average consumer.

We’re also concerned that the Tegra 3 SoC, despite its extra 200Mhz per core, is showing its age. It is built on a 40nm process and is inherently less energy efficient than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chipset. The One X+ would have been better suited for the quad-core S4 Pro SoC with the Adreno 320 GPU, a graphic chip far more powerful than the anemic ultra low power GPU in the Tegra 3.

Conclusions

The One X+ is a great phone, and HTC has every right to improve upon a timeless design and an excellent feature set. But when it comes mere months before the inevitable launch of the Deluxe, and the constant forward momentum of next-generation chips and high(er)-definition screens, we wonder if the One X+ is merely a stopgap phone on the way to something better.

Most consumers who would have appreciated the One X+ have likely already invested in a One X, and few will see it is an essential upgrade. Indeed, while the synthetic benchmark scores are 20-30% higher than the dual-core version, real-world performance improvements are barely noticeable, and once the original gets upgraded to Jelly Bean, many of the advantages of the One X+ will be rendered moot.

If you’ve been holding off buying a One X in hopes of something better, here’s your chance to unload $129.99 on contract or $649.99 outright. You’d be buying one of the top Android phones on the market today — you just never know how long that qualification will last.

  • mikkey

    Great review. Thanks.
    I think I’m going with the SG3.

    • SAM

      SPLOOSH SPLOOSH!!
      o sammie!! o sploosh!

  • Ali

    Guys where’s Xperia T review?

  • lelo

    I’m very impressed by HTC design

  • zzZZzz

    HTC, you keep pissing off many of your customers with these refreshed releases for One X and One S. But hey, maybe it’s just me

    • jjyc

      When has there been a refresh of the One S?

  • MattyMattMatt

    2100mah? lol, needs moe.

  • Richard Singh

    Looks cool but as an owner of an HTC Evo 3D and the frustration of (almost) never getting updates for my phone, I don’t think I’ll ever buy an HTC again. Nexus FTW!

    • Adam

      I’ve had the 3D and the One X, and I also probably won’t be buying another HTC.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the quality of the phones, but little things just annoy me.

      3D: 1GB onboard storage. WTF!?
      One X: Multitasking is a complete joke.

      The biggest problem though, is that HTC takes forever to release their source code. There is STILL no way to S-OFF a Rogers one X. THe Evo took a long time as well.

      Unless they sell a phone with the bootloader unlocked out of the box i wont be buying again.

  • Bob

    Does this come with hidden LTE capability as well?

  • E Stewart

    “I don’t get Telus LTE in my apartment.”

    Join the club.

  • simian

    Not to be overly dramatic but the power toggle in the notification tray is almost a deal breaker for me. Like, seriously what’s up with that.

  • Is this Bb10?

    But you can get a Nexus 4 for $309 unlocked! This phone can’t compete.

    • technathan

      Not sure if that’s entirely true; the One X+ has LTE and 64GB of storage…

    • Jay

      And because it’s kinda similar to the original One X, you can buy a slightly used One x for the same price with better camera, more storage and more option like video/photo streaming, etc…

  • Vengefulspirit99

    Wtf you mean… HTC One Xs…

  • zzZZzz

    @jjyc, there is the One S+ (though donnow about the +) which comes in white, has 64gb on board storage, but the rest the same. Also comes with JB, while we, who have the original, keep waiting on an upgrade.

    This is why I’m annoyed by this politic to release refreshed phones down the road. Like Mr. Bader said, whoever wanted the X got it, and now there are better alternatives out there in my opinion.

    Lastly, I love how they go on and on about how there’s no need for external memory but for both the refresh of the X and the S they put in 64gb. Really HTC?!

    You better sweep me off my feet with the Deluxe, as in add freaking 64gb or external possibility. Otherwise, keep that nice piece of hardware for yourself. I think I’ll go Sony next.

    • Carlo

      Think long & hard before you jump on to the “no upgrades ship” Sony. I’ve owned a few Sony handsets through the years but the x10 was my first & last Android based Sony phone. They basically had to be shamed into bringing the phone up to Gingerbread even though they were still selling it. Once they release a new model, good luck seeing support for any previous model. From what I’ve seen on thier own blog they really haven’t learned how to keep their own promises.

  • jay

    The phones are changing to much. Can’t even be happy to get a new phone. Like iPhones they bring every year one and call it an S or Samsung the will announce a S4 in march. But the HTC guy’s the put a + after 7 month? C’mon bring a new phone…

  • Sam

    I will not buy this phone because apple will make money as well

  • Miknitro

    My One XL isn’t going anywhere.
    Besides, my little dually runs at 2ghz on cm nicely with out a hit to battery life, so par upgrade, perhaps a downgrade to XL owners, even with extra storage, IMO.
    Looks nice though.

  • Thomas

    so they can fit a 2100mah battery in a 4.7” device but they can’t put the same or larger into the bigger 5” DROID dna… weird. HTC is going in the path of apple trying to rip off customers with slightly updated phones… just wait until the DROID dna+ comes out.
    altho I really like htc’s built quality and design if they don’t do something with the Canadian or international version of the DROID dna/dlx never buying HTC again..

  • Justin

    Can i use it with wind mobile??

    • Ron Mexico

      ” 850/900/1900//2100 MHz HSPA+”

      No it won’t

  • Sid

    Switching from a Blackberry 9900 to an Android device HTC One S with Mobilicity is worth it. Here are the pros and cons;
    Cons
    -Poor battery life but a simple Juice Defender App can fix it
    -Storage is the biggest problem (5000 pics but only 78 songs)
    -No expandable storage

    Pros
    -Netflix runs smooth on 4G especially with Mobilicity
    -Tonnes of apps to make this a fun phone (especially vs. BB)
    -Camera Camera Camera; this is my favourite
    -Bright screen & highly customizable
    -Beats audio.. you dont know what you were missing until you hear it

  • Joeltime

    I wanted to buy the original oxe x but didn’t because I wanted to see the SGS3. When that came out I was underwhelmed, and the one x is outdated. So this is great in my opinion. Also consider the Nexus 4 isn’t even available. It’s all about timing in this marketplace.

  • anna

    Just picked up this phone yesterday. I had the htc amaze before, which shut off quite frequently. So far i am really happy with the htc one x+.

  • Smoothmoose

    “Nevertheless, we were able to attain over a day on a single charge”, and what type of usage was that?

  • Uriah

    I’ve had my HTC One X+ for a few weeks, and I love it. Being able to watch my shows on my phone is a big thing for me, and the screen looks great. A DISH coworker of mine also has one, and we agree that it’s a brilliant phone. I have the DISH Remote Access app on my phone, which lets me stream live TV through the Sling Adapter that I have connected to my receiver at home. It’s really nice being able to keep up with my shows on my phone!

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