on May 7, 2012
The phone was only released yesterday for AT&T, so this review will only encompass what I've experienced in the short amount of time I've owned it. That being said, I'm confident this is the best Android phone currently available for AT&T. The phone looks incredibly sleek thanks to its unibody form; the negative aspect of that is the lack of a removable battery. Luckily it seems the battery life is pretty good, and most tech review websites have confirmed that. The 4.7 inch display is incredible, and IMO the perfect size for a smartphone screen. I'm blown away by how snappy this device is; the dual core processor combined with Ice Cream Sandwich make everything about this phone silky smooth. HTC Sense 4.0 definitely takes away from the stock Android experience, which I'm sure will not sit well with the "purists" out there. However it is still a decent skin, and very user friendly. Those who are not too tech savvy will definitely appreciate it's intuitiveness. Finally, the LTE is ridiculously fast. My previous phone was a "4G" (HSPA+) phone, but LTE simply leaves that technology in the dust.
- Sleek design and lightweight
- Very snappy, virtually no lag or slowdown
- Well above average camera for a smartphone
- Blazing LTE speeds
- Beautiful HD display
- Intuitive for Android novices
- Impressive battery life (will follow up with this since this is really just a first impression)
- No removable battery
- No micro-SD slot (only 16 gigs of storage on the phone; not a huge deal for me since I utilize cloud services for the most part)
- HTC Sense 4.0; Only really a con for fans of stock Ice Cream Sandwich experience
**UPDATED ON 5/8/12**
I previously gave the phone 4 stars for lack of storage capacity and non-removable battery, but I'm changing the score to a 5 star for various reasons. Firstly, I found out yesterday that when you use Dropbox on this phone, you are automatically upgraded to an extra 25 gigs of storage for 2 years. Awesome. Since cloud storage is the way to go (IMO), this completely makes up for the missing SD port. Secondly, the battery life is incredibly good thus far. I've been using my phone non stop the past two days and by the time I went to bed last night it was still at 25% battery; I couldn't believe it still had that much juice left. I wish they would have included a number to represent how much battery % is left, but there are plenty of apps/widgets that will do this for you. Thirdly, because I'm a bit annoyed with several other "reviewers" who are giving this 1 star for ridiculous reasons (because this AT&T variant isn't available on Verizon, you're giving it a 1 star? Really dude???). This is flat out the best phone available for AT&T, and probably the best phone available on the market right now. I strongly recommend this phone to anyone looking for an upgrade, especially if you are in an LTE enabled area.
**UPDATED ON 5/29/12**
It's been 3 weeks since my last update and I still have nothing but praise for this phone. It flat out rocks. I've had lots of time to utilize the camera, and it's simply amazing. In fact, the camera on this phone is FAR better than my point and shoot digital camera, which sadly is now obsolete. Pictures are taken almost instantaneously when you hit the button, and the quality is incredible. If you hold down the picture button, it will snap upwards of six pictures in the matter of seconds. There have been a few complaints about the multitasking on this phone, and I would tend to agree it is a bit sub-par. Occasionally I will open my Chrome browser to read a webpage, open a newly received email, and then immediately switch right back to Chrome only to have it reload the entire page. Again, this only happens occasionally, but I do recognize the issue. However I'm confident HTC will come up with a software release in the near future that will correct the issue; us early adopters should expect things like this to pop up. Multitasking aside, it appears the locked bootloader issue has been resolved with no thanks to AT&T. Battery life is still consistently good, even with LTE enabled. Standby battery life is outstanding. Overall I'm still very impressed with this phone, I can't recommend it enough.
on June 22, 2012
See update below.
I had been trying to decide which to buy, coming out of a Blackberry either one is going to require a learning curve for me. The One X looks totally new and fresh, the S3 looks like the S2 with softer contours. The specs are pretty much even and while an SD card is convenient, I am used to using 8 GB, so since both have 16 GB, that is more than enough for my needs. Plus, the One X has 23 GB Dropbox storage free for two years, the S3 on ATT and Verizon won't. The One X has a sealed battery...so what? So does every iPhone and that hasn't stopped Apple from selling a gazillion of them.
That brings it down to UI, and from everything I have read (a LOT) it seems Sense 4 is much better than Touch Wiz, in fact, from my perspective, the only people who seem to prefer Touch Wiz over Sense are Samsung owners / fans. Also, I find it funny that professional reviewers who are supposed to be providing a fair comparison, and certainly private individuals, are actually pretty biased for one phone over the other. When discussing the specs, where it is close but the numbers favor the preferred phone, it gets the win, but when the other phone is a bit better, it is a tie. Also, there are some specs that are not measured in the same fashion, yet the the preferred phone wins again. Bragging rights being what they are, the better numbers mean size does matter to those who have nothing else going for them. Get out of your GT500 and hop into my 911, or my friend's Lotus, then tell me how your machine is superior because of the numbers.
From the view point of someone with smartphone experience, but not with Android, I really don't care about little differences in the specs. No one I know is going to care about numbers, we care about performance and results: ICS; dual core 1.5GHz with LTE / HSPA+ for fast browsing; battery power to get through 8+ hour work day; music and video access for down-time; computer sync; multiple live email accounts; reliability and durability; ease of use; a decent camera with useable cutting edge goodies. What we don't want is a lot of clutter; gimmicks (I work daily with seven people with iPhone 4S and not one of them have used Siri after the first two weeks of owning the phones) or having to put up with unnecessary crap to make the phone function as we want it to. ICS works the way it is, you really don't need to mess with it.
I have decided on the One X. I tried Sense 4 in the store and compared it to Touch Wiz on the S2 models... I know the new version is "lighter" but not by that much based on what I have read and understand from talking to users/experts. Also, as I am learning the use of the phone from square one, and never having used an Android before, the HTC seemed much more natural, intuitive (simpler?) than the Samsung. Not having any preconceived notions about which was better, to me HTC was the clear winner. I also think the look of the One X is very different from other phones out there, whereas any Samsung looks pretty much like every other Samsung built in the last two years - squared vs round corners not withstanding. And just so there is no doubt about my motives, initially, it was my intention to replace my BB with the Galaxy Note; then I read about the One X being developed, followed by the S3. I decided to wait for both devices and compare each to the other and to my needs, and to the Note. The Note fell away from the other two, the One X took a narrow lead but my options were still wide open. Then I saw the S3 and the One X was like Secretariat at Belmont, pulling away fast and I didn't plan on looking back.
Now, about build quality / durability; take a look at some of the drop tests on You Tube for both of these phones (and any other you may be considering) from waist height, shoulder height, from the roof of an accelerating car, even thrown into the air down a street! The Gorilla glass does eventually shatter, but the One X keeps on working as designed: the touch screen works, so does the browser and the phone function. The S3 was completely dead! The reason is that Samsung fused the screen to the glass, so when the glass breaks, so does the screen, not to mention having to pick up all of the pieces of the S3 to put it back together again. The One X, you know, has a solid polycarbonate shell that is very strong in its own right. This was the final deciding factor for me. Yes, I know there are protective cases that will solve this problem, but then I would be carrying around a thick, flat slab instead of a thin, sleek sculptured work of art (or in the case of the S3, a thin, flat slab of an electronic device).
The bottom line is a smartphone is a tool to be used in the real world, and it needs to be tough enough to survive, even if it is only used in a business or social environment. How many times have you seen someone's phone get knocked off a desk / counter top / bar / dining table and crash to the floor? The S3 is a great phone, absolutely, and on paper it may be the best thing out there... until the next best thing arrives next year, next month, next week. People with too much money wanting the latest and greatest will snap it up, as they will whatever comes out next to replace it. I want a phone that will function for as long as I want to use it, does what I need it to do, looks good and is dependable; and if I drop it, it will not only survive the fall, but will also keep working. The One X is the right answer for me, look over your needs and options carefully; it will likely be the correct answer for you, too.
I have owned the phone for one week now and I am still learning the ins and outs. Battery life is fantastic. Today I left with a full charge at 7:30, made two calls, sent texts to my kids for half an hour and read my emails, that's it. Now, 14 hours later it has 58% left. Yesterday I played games, read my emails, downloaded a couple of Apps, made calls and sent texts, and browsed my favorite web sites to see just how fast it worked (HSPA+ only - unbelievable - I can't wait to see LTE). After about the same 14 hours it showed 31% power remaining.
As for telephone function, no dropped calls, connections were good, strong and fast. I did learn a couple of interesting things about the call sound. The rear speaker works a lot like a Bose speaker in that it seems to be designed to reflect when laid face up. The sound quality / resonance depends quite a lot on the material it is resting upon; wood, glass, paper, even a desk pad will cause the sound to differ quite a bit. If you hold the phone in your hand and use the speaker function, it will sound dull / muffled depending on hand placement. The One X is actually designed to automatically switch to speakerphone mode when you put it face down during a call; the caller's voice comes through loud and clear.
Now the ear-piece speaker is another story. After first being disappointed with the sound quality / volume, I figured out that there is a sweet spot for the speaker. You have to line up the speaker holes with your ear canal. When you do the sound is loud and clear; when you miss, even by less than an inch, the caller's voice seems far away and quite. A little trial and error, along with some muscle memory exercise and problem solved. Maybe this is a problem for some, but think about it: how many times have you heard both sides of someone's phone conversation because their phone's ear piece sounded like a loud speaker? Figure that if you can barely hear your caller when the phone is next to your ear, the nosy person sitting next to you at the where-ever can't hear them at all. I see this as a plus for call privacy.
The truth of the matter is that the S3 may be the better phone in some respects, on paper and maybe in the real world, too. But to make a decision based solely on the spec numbers when they are so close that the only way to know which is better is by the smallest of incremental scientific measurement is the definition of Geekus Maximus. If we were talking about differences on a generational or even evolutionary scale, where such was obvious to any smartphone user's human senses, then the choice would be simple. Personally, I don't know anyone who walks around with their own electronic testing equipment to challenge others over who has the better device, nor would I want to know such a person.
At this level of performance, it is like deciding on the Ferrari or the Lamborghini; the only ones who quibble are the gear-heads who think their opinion is the only one that counts. The One X and the Galaxy S III are both fantastic phones that are cutting edge. Which one is better? Who cares? The title will only last until the next phone comes out. Don't believe me? What was the undisputed Android champ in April of this year? The One X. Now? Maybe not, maybe the S3 is, and we aren't even into July, and the S3 hasn't even been officially released yet! I guarantee by the end of the year there will be three or four new Androids to claim top honors. Statistics are what you make of them. Decide what is most important to you: name recognition; function; dependability; fashion; style; conformity; individuality; usage/needs; peer pressure; whatever it is, choose the phone that fills those needs best (notice I did not list specs). And don't worry, because if it is your choice, you cannot choose wrong. For me, I will recommend the One X to anyone that asks, and proudly show it off whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Still love the phone, still learning all of the tricks. I went to play with the SGS3, just to compare...there is no question in my mind I made the right choice. The feel of the phones alone makes a difference; sorry Samsung, the S3 just feels cheap. Even the AT&T sales people will tell you the S3 is simply a glitzier S2 with more bells and whistles, but aside from those changes and ICS, not a whole lot of difference. Also, as I stated above, specs not withstanding, functionally, we are talking about speeds measured quite literally by blinks of the eye. Again, nothing wrong with the S3, it is a great phone, but choose based on the whole package, not just a spec sheet.
On a slightly different topic, I just discovered AT&T dropped out of the free 23GB Dropbox upgrade. Not sure why, especially since this was a big selling point to explain why there was no SD expansion. Those who bought early got the 2-year free 23GB promotion, the rest of us got screwed. Not the fault of the phone or HTC, the blame rests on AT&T. Perhaps if enough customers complain they will reinstate the program.
Personally, I think there must be a huge conspiracy between AT&T, Apple and Samsung to sabotage HTC and the One X, because it really is a superior phone compared to what the other two manufactures are offering. Think about it, how many iPhones does Apple have active on AT&T, and how many Samsung phones does AT&T carry? Compare that to what HTC sells. Both of the other two manufactures have AT&T wrapped around their collective little fingers.
Why else would AT&T insist on HTC foregoing the SD expansion, and then bring over the 16GB version instead of the 32GB model? The HTC Evo 4G LTE on Sprint is essentially a One X WITH an SD slot (and a removable battery), so you know it could have easily been done. Then, Apple got the injunction to effectively halt the One X sales two weeks after its introduction; and now AT&T has killed the free Dropbox upgrade. Was this part of a deal with Samsung who was going to have to foot the bill for its own 50GB upgrade - also now dead? [Can you tell I'm just a bit pissed?]
What more proof does anyone need to see what a great phone this is? Everyone who stands to lose sales to the One X is so afraid the public will love it, they are all trying to bury it! C'mon AT&T, prove me wrong! Give us back our 23GB of free Dropbox - and then some!! I will get off my soapbox now. The bottom line is the One X truly is a great phone, great performance and remarkable features, definitely worth the price! I am still within my 30 days but I have no thought of changing to anything else. One last remark, in the three+ weeks I have had the phone, I have had no less than five people ask me what kind of phone it is; in the past almost 20 years of cell phone ownership, that has never happened...ever. Clearly, this is a beautiful, and noticeable phone.
I have had my One X (white) for five months now, and I am still finding things I didn't know it could do. I LOVE THIS PHONE! I am very happy with all of the features and performance of every function (calls, text, email, browsing, games, camera/video, basically everything). I have no regrets selecting the One X over all of the others, including the SGS3. Yes, the battery could be more powerful, but it does get me through a full day without a recharge. But just in case, I have an AC charger on my desk at work, so if I am planning a late night out, I just plug it in after lunch - no big deal. No regrets, no worries, an absolutly stellar phone!
However, HTC has released a new version called the ONE X+. I have compared it to the original and find that the improvements are well worth the upgrade, assuming the choice is available to you, meaning you are not going to have to pay the out-of-contract price. Otherwise, it is selling for the same $199 as the original did. But, here is the thing, the original X is due for an update through ATT (HTC has already rolled it out, now the individual carriers have to debug/tweak their systems for it) to the same software the X+ is using: JELLY BEAN 4.1 with the SENSE 4+ UI, (and that won't cost a dime). And, ATT has the original Grey model on sale right now (Cyber Monday) for $0.99!!! (White model - my personal favorite - for $99.)
That means you can buy the original for next to nothing and in a short while, ATT will release the update to the same OS that the One X+ is using. The difference in processing speeds will not be that noticable as the dual-core is actually plenty fast for 99% of the population (the dual-core is faster than the international quad-core, but the X+ is faster than both - nevertheless, read my comments above on "specs"). At that point, the only thing that will separate the X from the X+ will be the memory (16GB vs 64GB - a significant difference if you need to carry loads of data with you, as neither has an SD card), the battery (1800mAh vs 2100mAh - but I understand that the update includes better power management, and the original battery is really no slouch if you are not trying to continuously play games for hours on end), a few new tweaks to some of the features (but I think the OS/UI update will also take care of most of those), Gorilla Glass I vs Gorilla Glass II (more scratch resistant), and the shell (smooth polycarbonate in white or grey vs a rubberized finish in matte black only - no red highlights for US version).
I loved the original when it came out, and I still do. With the update soon to be released by ATT, and the price drop, this is a no-brainer if you are wondering what to do. If you are eligible for an upgrade from ATT and you have the extra $200 to spare, go for the X+ now, you will not regret it. BUT, if money is tight, for $1 or $100 (less from Amazon and some other sellers) you can get an extremely close equivelent and choice of color by buying the original X. Of course, you can always wait till the start of summer when the prices will drop again as newer models are released.
One of my favorite things about this phone is its looks. I do not use any case because I think the appearance of the phone is just that good. Some of my friends bought the Galaxy S3, and though it is newer than the X, it already looks old, (and they really show scratches, nicks, dings, etc.) and so similar to every other Samsung it is hard to tell what model it is. On the other hand the HTC One X still looks brand new and like nothing else (except perhaps other One models). As I stated above, I have people ask all the time what the phone is; or now, recognize it and ask how I like it because they want to either upgrade what they have or are looking for one as a gift.
The bottom line here is just get down from the fence and buy it already. Choose the One (see what I did there?) that your budget will allow. You won't be sorry!