HTC One X Review: Quad-Core Power, Looks to Spare

By Michael Oryl on April 2, 2012, 2:50 PM

Many in the industry believe that HTC, which was once most beloved among Android fans, has fallen from grace. That the company has lost its way, its edge. I am here to tell you that those people are wrong. I offer as evidence the new HTC One X.

The One X, the company's new flagship Android smartphone, is the kind of phone that just leaves you breathless. Its single-piece polycarbonate body is unique in the Android world, and it is as comfortable to hold as it is drop dead gorgeous. The X's 720p resolution touchscreen display is just as attractive and functional as it is expansive, measuring 4.7 inches across the diagonal.

The One X's two marquee features, however, are likely its Android 4 OS with the new Sense 4 user interface and the phone's powerful NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, which has 4 processing cores that can run at speeds of up to 1.5GHz. The real world impact of a quad-core processor might be negligible for most tasks, but there's no denying that the marketing appeal it offers is great.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 28

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Guest said:

Great review, thanks!

princeton princeton said:

It still can't quite compete with Super AMOLED for black levels and color saturation, but it is getting quite close.

No it really really isnt. This statement sounds more like a typical journalist rather than a tech journalist. SLCD2 is still 18bit + dithering and 1000:1 static contrast ratio. Not even remotely comparable to 24bit color and near infinite contrast ratio on OLED displays.

Guest said:

I have Samsung, I was a fan of HTC, like the article says.. fans thought HTC slipped, I am one of them. I am SURE Samsung will have an equivalent, but I do like the One, I am going to upgrade when it comes out.

Guest said:

I'd have to say that's probably the best looking HTC phone I've seen, except for the camera area. I think it's a bad idea to have the phone resting on the camera lens.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

princeton said:

It still can't quite compete with Super AMOLED for black levels and color saturation, but it is getting quite close.

No it really really isnt. This statement sounds more like a typical journalist rather than a tech journalist. SLCD2 is still 18bit + dithering and 1000:1 static contrast ratio. Not even remotely comparable to 24bit color and near infinite contrast ratio on OLED displays.

I am quite intrigued, as I admit screens are not exactly my forte. Since not included in the review, and since I know you know what you are talking about, could you elaborate on how OLED displays are better than SLCD2? Because I've seen the One X briefly, and it does look great, like really great. Then again, when I compared it to my Lumia's ClearBlack, it kind of doesn't in some cases; it's weird.

I need a more elaborate explanation.

Guest said:

Nice that they've adopted Nokia's design with a different polycarbonate shape.

Guest said:

Quad core? wow, so much faster then the dual core /s

syb said:

One hex .... :-)

I tried my hand at the one x, bought it last night, it refused to power up ......

Tried charging it, both the charger and the battery were cold after 3 hours.

Screen did not come on all I had was a phone which looked smart but of no use.

Could call it a phone because the box said so... :-)

Any ways, I'm getting a replacement today, and maybe, just maybe I'll be able to experience all that "Magic".......

s0199539 said:

I was getting quite excited about this phone reading the review. Then one game changing downfall (which is a big reason I never buy Apple) - built in battery! After the battery performance of my HTC Desire, no way would I ever buy this phone, I want to be able to replace that thing easily when it starts going downhill.

Guest said:

I can't believe that this phone does not have 4g, that's enough to send me elsewhere to get a phone. And and non replaceable battery, PASS.....

Arris Arris said:

s0199539 said:

I was getting quite excited about this phone reading the review. Then one game changing downfall (which is a big reason I never buy Apple) - built in battery! After the battery performance of my HTC Desire, no way would I ever buy this phone, I want to be able to replace that thing easily when it starts going downhill.

Have to say the battery thing is off putting to me as well.

psycros psycros said:

Arris said:

s0199539 said:

I was getting quite excited about this phone reading the review. Then one game changing downfall (which is a big reason I never buy Apple) - built in battery! After the battery performance of my HTC Desire, no way would I ever buy this phone, I want to be able to replace that thing easily when it starts going downhill.

Have to say the battery thing is off putting to me as well.

Yep. Total, inexcusable deal-breaker.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nice phone, shame they didn't bring this out nearer the iPhone 4S release, I probably would have chosen this over the iPhone then.

Only thing that bugs me about moving platform is that I can't transfer my £50 TomTom app

Guess one day i'll just have to man up and take the plunge...

princeton princeton said:

lawfer said:

princeton said:

It still can't quite compete with Super AMOLED for black levels and color saturation, but it is getting quite close.

No it really really isnt. This statement sounds more like a typical journalist rather than a tech journalist. SLCD2 is still 18bit + dithering and 1000:1 static contrast ratio. Not even remotely comparable to 24bit color and near infinite contrast ratio on OLED displays.

I am quite intrigued, as I admit screens are not exactly my forte. Since not included in the review, and since I know you know what you are talking about, could you elaborate on how OLED displays are better than SLCD2? Because I've seen the One X briefly, and it does look great, like really great. Then again, when I compared it to my Lumia's ClearBlack, it kind of doesn't in some cases; it's weird.

I need a more elaborate explanation.

Ok I'll go in depth but it's basically just restating in more detail.

SLCD2 is a fancy name for TN panels used by HTC, Motorola, Sony etc. The panels can do 6bits of each primary color, so 18bits total. 2^18=262,144 colors on TN based devices. On an IPS panel or an OLED one it's 8bits per channel so 2^24=16,777,216. That's a huge difference in the number of colors the screen can display. The TN on the One series of devices uses either dithering or frame rate control to emulate 24bit color, but that doesn't make it a true 24bit display.

As for contrast, the TN display uses a backlight to illuminate the screen and thus has limited levels of black and a low contrast ratio to match. Somewhere around 1000:1 static. OLED displays don't require a backlight and can turn the pixels off when they're not in use or displaying black. So the contrast ratio is essentially infinite with perfect black levels.

The one thing I hear people say about OLED displays is that they're "oversaturated". This typically comes from ignorant non technically knowledgeable people who work with TN displays when they use a computer. Anybody who has ever seen a monitor like a Dell U2711 or U3011 knows that OLED displays are not bad at all for accurate colors. For example, the Galaxy S II is calibrated to cover 110% of the sRGB gamut out of the box. I forget where the source was exactly on that figure, I believe it was http://www.oled-display.net . Regardless, the TN display on the One series covers around 10% to 26% of the gamut as do all TN panels. Even if you were to argue undersaturation is better than oversaturation, the TN screen misses the mark by a mile. I would also like to add that the previously mentioned U3011 made for professional art designers also ships out of the box with 110% sRGB coverage. I don't think that's a coincidence.

So essentially. Shitty black levels and 1/64th the number of native colors. Packing in 1280x720 doesn't mean a damn when you've got those downsides. Using Engadget as an example, they claimed the Galaxy S II screen was better looking than any qHD display at the time, even IPS ones. Pixel count isn't everything and HTC may have addressed people's complaints about their shitty Qualcomm processors, but they didn't address the ones about the screens.

badgerboy1977 said:

princeton said:

It still can't quite compete with Super AMOLED for black levels and color saturation, but it is getting quite close.

No it really really isnt. This statement sounds more like a typical journalist rather than a tech journalist. SLCD2 is still 18bit + dithering and 1000:1 static contrast ratio. Not even remotely comparable to 24bit color and near infinite contrast ratio on OLED displays.

The difference is the reviewers going on real world results rather than paper stats which don't always tell the whole story, which is why you shouldn't always go by benchmarks and tech stats. They're a good guideline but definitely not the be all and end all. Also the vast majority of reviews are placing the One X's screen as one of the best if not the best screen around at the moment so I'd tend to side with the reviewer's rather than cold hard stats.

Guest said:

Hard to Understand why no replaceable battery?

Why is everybody goes behind Apples way.

does that make them sell more..

or putting 4 core (or 5 core ) in a phone makes any applications use them?

princeton princeton said:

badgerboy1977 said:

princeton said:

It still can't quite compete with Super AMOLED for black levels and color saturation, but it is getting quite close.

No it really really isnt. This statement sounds more like a typical journalist rather than a tech journalist. SLCD2 is still 18bit + dithering and 1000:1 static contrast ratio. Not even remotely comparable to 24bit color and near infinite contrast ratio on OLED displays.

The difference is the reviewers going on real world results rather than paper stats which don't always tell the whole story, which is why you shouldn't always go by benchmarks and tech stats. They're a good guideline but definitely not the be all and end all. Also the vast majority of reviews are placing the One X's screen as one of the best if not the best screen around at the moment so I'd tend to side with the reviewer's rather than cold hard stats.

That would make sense, except it doesn't. Specifications directly determine what a display is capable of. This is a 6bit panel using either dithering or FRC, which means the color is not anywhere near the quality of an 8bit IPS panel or OLED one. That's not an opinion. It is a FACT. No amount of reviewer praise will ever change that. The contrast is the same thing. Backlight liquid crystal displays will never be able to get blacks even remotely near what an OLED display does. Not an opinion, a FACT. It's simply set in stone limitations of certain types of technology.

Let me ask you another question. Even if the specs of a display didn't directly translate to capability, who are these reviewers to actually judge display quality? How many of them actually write these articles on an IPS monitor and can actually differentiate 6bit panels from 8bit ones. I would guess less than 5% use 8bit IPS monitors for their work because it consists of typing black text on white pages, and the same stat of 5% for those who can tell a 6bit panel from an 8bit without having to have two side by side to compare. That's just my guess, but I wouldn't expect it to be very far off with how unnecessary IPS monitors are for word processing.

Guest said:

Con: No 4G?

Not something that really matters in Europe as our 3G networks are substantially faster than the 'amazing' North American 4G networks. Seriously, amazingly slow when ever I've tried 4G in the US. Only place I have used a decent 4G network was the Telstra 4G network in Australia.

Guest said:

As far as I know, the One X has an IPS display, not TN. Also, the actual display inside the unit is made by Samsung.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

TBH, multi-core smartphones are pure nonsense. Making them is stupidity in it's highest form. It's bound to consume all that power. I don't see why anyone would need a quad-core phone. If I were to do something that hardware-demanding, I'd rather do it on a computer. With a larger display, less strenuous for my eyes.

I agree with Archean on that.

Guest said:

hi frnds i have an galaxy note n its resolution is 1280*800 hd amoled

but i have compared my note to this phone even though its 6 bit it realy shows real colours n in my note i was very disapointed(as i thought i have d best screen) its shows little blackish, i thought i might check on other note i took 1 from d shop n it was d same n i also checked on you tube some comparision between one x n note n now its an international proof

im getting this one ASA i sell my phone gud day

Guest said:

when i go to store to buy this phone....i had seen tht one guy already complaining abt this, he has just recently purchased....i met him and asked abt the matter...he told me tht DON'T buy this phone...it has battery draining and overheating problem....does anybody has experience like this??

Guest said:

I currently own the One X. The phone in itself is seriously not bad. However, the battery just refused to charge after less than two weeks of usage. Customer service is being a pain about it and frankly, no matter how awesome the phone. The customer service for HTC is a real turn off.

I would suggest don't bother getting this phone, unless you are VERY certain you will not run into problems during the warranty period (with unreliable technology nowadays, I think they would be like striking the lottery) Then yeah, get the HTC. If not, I think the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is pretty good. My previous Android was a Droid, so I am thinking of returning to Motorola now that Google is in the process of acquiring it.

Guest said:

when i go to store to buy this phone....i had seen tht one guy already complaining abt this, he has just recently purchased....i met him and asked abt the matter...he told me tht DON'T buy this phone...it has battery draining and overheating problem....does anybody has experience like this??

My phone batt died and refused to charge in two weeks, so yeah give it a miss.

Guest said:

i just brought this phone, have spent 20 hours on it so far, taking it to its limits. nice dispaly, but it ends about there. it takes the worst photos. has problems with back ground light. no photo button on case. apps crash and shut down out of the box. phone gets extremely hot, and only last for 2 hours of playing with it. gps is slow and has issues finding itself. out side in a clear field with wifi and 3g avalibale. keyboard space bar is to short and you keep hitting the space bar. lens seems like rubbish, fast processor and lots of mega pixels is no use if you lens is junk. navigation is rubbish. they want you to pay $100 a year for region. 3g is slow. reception is weak. im taking it back to the shop and gettting my nokia n97 fixed. ive had enuff of this lemon. i would not recomment it. fail HTC. horrible telephone company

Guest said:

Im just gonna hold off for the galaxy s3. This phone is nice but no microsd slot and no exchangeable battery is plain stupid. Not for me.

JohnGladrey said:

I love the look of this device! As a graphic designer, the subtle details of this phone's design really stand out to me. I plan on getting this phone as soon as my contract expires. Also can't wait to use it on AT&T's 4G LTE! (I live in Dallas, not sure where else 4G covers.)

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As long as you can live with a phone which gets hot under load often resulting in throttling and have a poor battery life, it will be okay.

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