HTC One X Review

The year of 2011 might not have been the best for the Taiwanese manufacturer with too many models missing out on anything special, but let's forget the past. Now tell me, what experience would a car fanatic get if he's offered the chance to ride a Rolls Royce, Bugatti or a Ferrari for that matter? Would that experience be royal? Exhilarating? Awesome? Well those are the exact kind of experiences you'll get when you hold HTC's latest offering - One X. It's mean, charming, exhilarating and power-packed. But is it the smartphone we all have waited for? Will it earn the crown for Best Android phone? Is it really the ONE? Partly, yes! Let's find out more. And a bit warning here, the word 'best' comes across many times, so get used to it.

DESIGN - 9/10

It would have really been an insult if I titled this section plainly as 'Hardware'. It has to be called 'Design' for the One X. Forget all the numerical values on One X's specs sheets, and just give it a look. It's love at first sight, literally! HTC has a long history in product innovation and this one proves to be one of their best creations. The exterior is one seamless piece of matte plastic or call it polycarbonate unibody. There's no place for any flaws, screws or unnecessary hardware crap. It's the best looking phone I have ever seen. There's something really mysterious about the phone's 8.9mm thin design which makes it stand out from the crowd. 

At the front, your eyes are greeted with a long 4.7" display that stays protected by a glass. This glass itself is great to look at. All black, glossy and a bit contoured. Below the display, are three little software buttons - back, home and recent apps. Flip the phone and you're welcomed by an 8-megapixel sensor at the top, HTC written in the middle and loudspeaker grilles at bottom right with a beats audio sticker left to it. The camera's lens is raised up a bit, surrounded by a nice matte grey ring and this design flows in harmony with the rest of the body. To its top-left is an iPhone style micro-sim tray which some might find annoying to get access to. 

Further, the loudspeaker grilles are so minutely drilled within the body that they just look like a part of the entire design. HTC's design effort doesn't stop here, the hardware button like volume rocker on right of the body is built with precision. Rest of the design aspects include MHL port (Micro USB and HDMI) on the left, 3.5mm headphone jack on the top with power-button as its neighbor. The only thing missing out in the design department is the hardware button for camera. Nonetheless, it's still the best looking smartphone out there. 

DISPLAY - 10/10

Stop that someone who says 'Super AMOLED' or iPhone's 'Retina' display is the best display in market. That scenario is about to change. HTC proves that the Super IPS LCD2 display can be stunning. The colors look vibrant, text looks crisp, color reproduction is perfect and watching a movie is a delight. Tilt your One X to 45 degrees or tilt it at any angle possible, the 4.7" display does not loose even a bit of quality. Viewing angles are just perfect even in daylight. I really don't know what kind of technology they've used or may be its 720p resolution combined with ~312 ppi pixel density is the reason behind this perfect display. There's no flaw I could find. After winning in the design department, the One X again wins the crown for the most stunning mobile display I have ever seen. 


It's hard to get excited about processors, but when there's an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset lying inside with some quad-core awesomeness (1.5Ghz to be precise), then you're bound to be salivating. These numbers and names are impressive on the specs sheet but do they perform that good as well? Yes! The One X is a star-performer. Be it a game, an HD movie or some frequent multi-tasking, this quad-core beast doesn't stop to think twice before performing. Menu transitions and animations, browser performance, scrolling through pages, and every other task is handled easily by the One X. I'll be honest here, within 3 days of use; I used the task manager only twice to kill apps. That should suffice my statement of One X being a star performer. 

Now, here comes the first downfall of One X. The device gets a bit warmed at the back if you're continuously playing a game or watching an HD clip for more than 10mins. It's not that it gets overheated or becomes uncomfortable, but yes it does start feeling a bit warmer in your hands after you push the Tegra 3 to its limits. 

CAMERA - 8/10

HTC has bragged a lot about the camera on One X. Their "Amazing Camera, Amazing Sound" catchphrase tells you that. Let's see how much justice the catchphrase really does. 

ImageSense - It's the software used to run the camera and let me enlighten you, it's really one of the most thoughtful and useful camera UI I've come across. The usual camera UI's on other devices involve a switch button to toggle between camera and video mode while the One X ditches that and presents a simpler and faster solution. As you can see above, on the right, you're always using both camera and video modes, thus eliminating the need to toggle between modes and this also saves time. Need to take snap, press the shutter key. Need to record a video, press the video key. Above these keys, is HTC's own version of in-built Instagram. I say this because that blue button gives you access to many color effects apart from the usual B&W or Sepia. These effects are quite handy considering they're built within the camera. Lastly on bottom-right is a shortcut to the gallery which shows the last photo taken. 

On the left side, you have all the settings split with three icons. The first one is for flash, middle one is main settings and at bottom is the shot mode. Main settings offer the usual essential tweaks while the shot mode has various modes like HDR, Panaroma, Portrait and group-portrait, Close-up, etc. All these settings are much easily accessible and the UI is designed with simplicity. 

Now comes in the important aspect, Camera quality. HTC has taken a leap forward in this section and added a special ImageChip. This has helped the One X to become the fastest cameraphone. There's practically zero shutter lag and no visible delay between taking shots. The 8-megapixel backside illuminated sensor with a wide aperture of f/2.0 autofocus lens produces amazing pictures with fine amount of detail and the colors are reproduced correctly. If you turn on HDR in night mode, you'll be surprised by the image quality. 

Captured by Rushabh Thakkar with the One X in Dubai! More camera shots at the end of review.
Some might complain about the excessive noise reduction when pictures are given a closer look, but in totality the pictures just look amazing! The noise starts getting noticed in low-light and thus using the flash is the only option left. There's a burst mode present which gets activated when you long press the camera key and it captures multiple photos without a lag. Later, you can pick which one to keep. The One X has touch focus. 

There's one exceptional feature here - the ability to capture 8-megapixel stills while recording HD video! If you're thinking that capturing stills will lead to lags in the video or the stills wouldn't have top-notch quality, then let me stop you right there. The One X does it so silently that you won't even notice how many great stills you've captured while recording. The extra ImageChip is the reason behind this excellency. 

The One X does both 1080p and 720p @ 30fps video recording. There's continuous autofocus plus touch focus present here, with the ability to toggle video light while recording. Sadly, the top-notch quality I was expecting, is not present here. The video quality is pretty good but not the best in class. HTC has again added a tempting feature for the video department and that is slow-motion video capture which generates 480p video @ 60fps. This runs at rough 24fps on playing back. I'll say neat trick which gives decent results. Well, that's all for the camera department. It's a near-perfect cameraphone.


Aha! Software on One X is a marriage of HTC's Sense 4.0 and Android's Ice Cream Sandwich. The overall experience becomes more sensible with the all-new toned down user interface. People complained a lot about earlier Sense versions which were too heavy, filled with unnecessary animations and features. But HTC listened to those complaints and the result is a refined UI with Sense 4.0. There's a lot of new stuff to discuss, but I'll talk about noteworthy ones in the picture gallery at the end of the review. I liked the new notification bar and recent apps tab. All-in-all, it's a great piece of software combined with eye-pleasing graphics and necessary functionality.  

AUDIO - 7/10  

"Amazing Sound" is the second part of HTC's infamous catchphrase for One X. This amazing part comes from 'Beats Audio' that finally gets a full integration and can now be used in any third-party audio app. But does it deliver? Yes and no. HTC offers the option to turn off beats audio in Sense 4.0 version and quietly frankly keeping it off is a better option, at least for me. This has always been a gimmick. The only thing beats audio does is enhance your bass levels. So if you're happy with some added bass, then go for it. Apart from that, the audio quality is excellent in both, the 3.5mm headphones & loudspeakers. Sounds come out noise-free & are pleasant to hear. This time HTC is providing their own headphones and not offering beats one. But they are good and won't disappoint your ears.  


The One X holds an 1800 mAh battery at its back which isn't accessible. The battery life is something what you generally expect from android devices. On a normal usage of calls, emails, browsing with wifi on and some video playback, I ended up using it for 12hours after which the One X gave up. So, if you leave the house in morning with a full charge, you'll have to juice it up again by late-evening. This has now become the standard battery life for most of the smartphones. 

Now, here's one huge wish or request to HTC. If at all they had used the 3300mAh battery like Motorola did with Droid Razr Maxx, then this device would have scored a 100/100 for me. The Droid Razr Maxx is a battery life hero that runs proudly for a long 20hours at a stretch. I hope the next one series phone will have one of these!

VERDICT - 8.5/10

People have immense number of categories to choose from while buying a smartphone like best display, best design, fastest processor, best camera or the most famous best android phone. Stop that idiotic categorized search and buy the One X. It excels in every class. If this isn't enough to excite you, then to lure you more; HTC's offering free 25GB dropbox storage. This means you'll have 50GB storage including the internal 26GB user available memory. 

Samsung's Galaxy S III has hit the Indian market, but till it reaches my desk, I'm quietly going to adore the One X. It does everything you expect a smartphone to do. And the main aspect here is, it does it with precision. It has its own charm and will attract eyes more than any other phone in the market. It makes all those 'i' and galaxies feel ashamed. It's a geek's device and should go in to every gadget collector's box. One has a perfect display, a beautiful design, an amazing camera with the latest software - what else do you want? Don't think twice if you're planning on spending all your hard-earned savings on buying the Rs.36,000 priced One X. 

Software features gallery:
WordPress plugin

Camera Gallery
WordPress plugin