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03 Jun 12 Product Review: HTC’s Android 4.0 phones are not identical twins

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It seems there is a new crop of Android phones every few months, which is great if you’re in the market for a new phone.

I got separate pitches from ATT and T-Mobile a few weeks ago about new phones from HTC.

First, T-Mobile sent me the HTC One S, which arrived promptly and sat on my desk for a week.

Then ATT sent me an email about its HTC One X. I read that email on my iPhone when I was away from the office and quickly replied that I had that same phone from T-Mobile.

It seems I was mistaken.

The phones look similar, cost the same and share a lot of the same features, but there are differences internally and externally.

The One S from T-Mobile retails for $199 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.

Anchored by a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, the One S has a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with 16 gigabytes of internal storage and 1 gigabyte of RAM.

The screen resolution is 960 x 540 pixels.

The body of the One S is aluminum, is 7.8 mm thick and weighs just 4.22 ounces.

The One S has two cameras — an 8-megapixel rear camera with a 28 mm f/2.0 wide-angle lens that captures 1080p HD video, and a lower-resolution camera on the front for video chats.

The One S was the first phone I’ve seen with Beats Audio, a sound-enhancement software to “enrich” the listening experience.

The One S runs on T-Mobile’s 4G network and is the first T-Mobile phone to ship with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

PROS: metal body, slim, fast network, Android 4.0

CONS: no card slot for extra storage; the screen resolution could be better

BOTTOM LINE: a good phone for the money

The One X, offered by ATT, is the big brother to the One S in that it sports a larger display and a slightly larger battery.

With a polycarbonate body, the One X is 8.9 mm thick and weighs 4.6 ounces. The display resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels.

The One X also has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.

The phone has the same 8-megapixel rear camera as the One S, but it has a slightly better 1.3-megapixel front camera.

The X also has 16 gigabytes of storage and 1 gigabyte of RAM, and runs Android 4.0.

Neither phone has an external slot for extra storage.

The One X also has Beats Audio enhancement.

The One X features NFC (near field communication), which allows the phone to support Android Beam or Google Wallet, two technologies for device-to-device data transfer. Think of it as a way for the phone to act like a credit card.

Both phones can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices.

I used the One X as my Internet connection for a weeklong business trip and found the 4G LTE network to be very fast.

I did have to hunt for the setting that disconnected the Wi-Fi hotspot after a few minutes of inactivity, but once I did, the One X had more than enough battery power to last an entire day of surfing with my laptop and iPad.

The One X is $199 with a new two-year contract and a qualifying data plan.

PROS: screen size, NFC, fast 4G LTE, Android 4.0

CONS: no card slot for extra storage

BOTTOM LINE: This is a flagship phone for ATT. One of the better choices for Android devices.



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