The HTC One X its being touted as the comeback smartphone for HTC, a company which stumbled last year with some uninspiring designs that had issues.
While Samsung and Apple have opened up a lead in the smartphone marketplace, after spending a week with the One X ($199 with a two-year contract with ATT), I think it stands a good chance of being one of the top phones of 2012.
Camera: While there are hundreds of Android phones on the market, the camera is one clear way a phone can differentiate itself. The HTC One X is packed with the best smartphone camera features I’ve used. Two onscreen button allow users to switch between video and taking a burst of stills with the same viewscreen and without hesitation. Shutterbugs can even shoot stills while recording 1080p video or capture stills when playing back recorded video.
While the 8 megapixel camera’s controls are awesome, the results were only adequate. Video didn’t seem to have image stabilization. There is no physical camera button.
Keyboard: One of the better onscreen keyboards, the HTC design uses a Swype-like interface that gives users the option drag a finger across the screen to each letter to draw words.
Setup: When starting the phone up for the first time, ATT offers a way to enter most of a user’s setup information for accounts via computer and have it synced to the phone automatically. Apps that I had on my other Android phone also were automatically installed on the One X.
Performance: The dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor handled every app I threw at it with ease, and I had only one crash.
Hardware design: Tired of black slabs of smartphone? The white One X is an attractive design that held up well to my abuse for a week. It packs 16 gigabytes of storage and can connect to ATT’s high-speed LTE network, which is not available yet in Michigan. Despite the relatively large size, it is only 9.1 mm thick and not a burden to carry around.
Screen: The 720p 4.7-inch screen is stunning and easily on par with the iPhone, which is considered top in the market.
Audio: The speaker on the One X delivers clear and loud sound. Beats Audio, which basically boosts the bass on music, also is touted and can be turned off.
Battery life: Most Android phones I test need to be charged midday at some point, but even with above average use, the One X always lasted at least 12 hours before hitting a low battery warning. Under average use, it easily lasted the full day.
Tweaks: The One X runs Android 4, the latest version of the smartphone operating system from Google. I enjoyed most of HTC’s tweaks to the system, including an option to put shortcuts to apps and notifications on the lockscreen.
Unlike most Android phones, the HTC allows users to zoom in on text to place the cursor precisely where it is needed.
ATT coverage: Compared to Verizon, there are some rough patches in West Michigan, including the office I work in downtown Grand Rapids.
Sound control: In all Android 4 phones, it is still impossible to keep different volume levels for new email notifications and phone calls.
After 18 months of using an Android phone, I’ve begun counting down the days until I can switch back to an iPhone. But the HTC One X is the best Android phone I’ve used. If you have good ATT service in your area and you don’t mind tweaking settings on a phone, the HTC One X is a great option. I’m hoping HTC’s latest batch of phones for other carriers can match the One X.