The One X was a turning point for HTC. Before then, it was doing business the old-fashioned way, adding unique gimmicks -- remember 3-D displays? -- to differentiate it from the market. But in today's homogenized world of Android, smartphones run on the same platform, with similar features. So how do you stand out? Well, if you're Samsung, you do it with marketing and build a Galaxy franchise. If you're HTC, you don't, until now.
The One was the beginning of HTC's new strategy, a page from Samsung's playbook, if you will. It was a good device, but the lack of brand awareness meant it was destined for mediocre sales. The One X+ rides that wave of publicity. Like the X, it's a great all-around device without any major flaws.
So is it better than the Galaxy S3? The short answer: yes, but only slightly. The S3 is backed by strong marketing. Strip away the Galaxy brand, and while it's still capable, the X+ matches up a closer. Either way, if you're looking at the S3 or iPhone 5, make sure to consider at the X+ as well.
If you quickly glance at the X+, you could mistake it for the X. The X+ has more aggressive design for a fancier oomph, with edges that angle in for more comfortable hold. The round corners and rubbery plastic shell are a bit dull, but the grippy feel means you won't accidentally drop it. It's elegant, but not as head-turning as the iPhone or Lumia. But overall, I didn't have any complaints on the design.
The 4.7-inch display is just as super-sized as before, with a stunningly sharp resolution that's as detailed as the iPhone -- 312-ppi pixels compared to 326. You can't detect individual pixels. It's an ideal canvas to watch TV shows on the subway. The wide viewing angle ensured I -- and the person next me -- enjoyed episodes of "Lost" with vibrant clarity.
The 8-megapixel camera goes toe-to-toe with iPhone for true colors and sharp details. Both have similar lenses, filters and tools, but the X+'s BSI sensor gets a slight edge for better low-light performance. Its f/2.0, 28-millimeter lens is incredibly fast too, so actions shots stay rock-solid. It protrudes out a bit, so just be careful not to scratch it.
If you want to take pictures and video, you can also switch to 1080p video or take screenshots of clips. That's really handy if you only have time for one. The front-facing camera is beefed up to 1.6-megapixel, so you'll look better on video chat. There's even a filter to touch up your skin to make you look even more gorgeous. Fun tweaks that these give the X+ an edge over the iPhone.
The biggest advantage, of course, is Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android. What's so great about it? Well, for one, "Project Butter" -- the codename for software boosts the smooth performance. The geniuses at Google designed Butter to make the Android more responsive, so when you touch the screen, for example, you won't feel any lag. You'll also get "Google Now," a Siri-like feature that pulls news and updates using voice search.
The X+, as expected, runs HTC's Sense interface for expanded notifications, pop-up animations and a few widgets like Friend Stream, HTC's social aggregator. Most of the tweaks are cosmetic, and I can't say Sense adds much. Personally, I prefer the stock software on the Nexus 4. It's faster and cleaner. Luckily, Sense is one of the better UIs, and doesn't bog down performance. I can't say it's great, but it's not a big issue, either. And that's good enough.
The back lets you know it has Beats Audio. You can thank Dr. Dre for a full-bodied experience. If you like deep, heavy bass and accentuated treble, you'll love it. It's not for everyone -- you'll either love it or hate it. If you're the latter, you can turn it off for a more natural sound.
With 1.7-gigahertz quad-core chip and 1-gigabytes of RAM, it was built for speed. Everything hummed along, and gaming was, for the most part, smooth. At times, it ran a bit hot, but only after prolonged use. Oddly, I did notice a slight delay while flipping through homescreens, but for the most part, everything ran very smooth and very fast.
There's a lot of memory, too -- 64-gigabytes to be exact. Some high-end rivals, like the Nexus 4, skimp on storage, and you're forced the buy an extra card, if it has a slot. The X+ doesn't have one, but you'll have more than enough room for photos, music and media. Just to be safe, HTC has a deal with Dropbox, giving you another 25-gigabytes of free cloud storage for two years. With NFC, you can also offload files to friends with a tap.
The battery is okay -- not great, but fine. I got a day's worth with moderate use, but playing games, listening to music or browsing the Web saps the power. You can thank the beefy processor for that. You can turn down the brightness and switch off Wi-Fi, but it doesn't save much juice. You can't swap batteries, either, so if you're worried, buy a charger for the car.
The X+ is one of the best Android devices out there. The design is elegant and the camera and display are outstanding. More memory fixed the flaw on the X, though a microSD slot is still missing. Still, if you want a complete package, the X+ is as close as it gets, and a worthy rival to the iPhone and S3.
If you want to check out the S3, it's a comparable Android device, but I wouldn't call it much better. Besides the iPhone, of course, the Lumia 920 is the top Windows device out there. It comes in a wonderful hue of colors and has an unmatched image stabilizing camera. It's better than any lens out there.
Sadly, the S3 will get more attention. HTC lacks the brand awareness and marketing muscle. If you see the X+ hidden behind the S3 in the store, don't let it pass you by. ♦
Other Reviews From Around the Web
I got the 64-gigabyte version of the One X+, and I can say, it's a great phone and a significant improvement over the Desire HD and Galaxy S2 devices. I thought I was in love when I bought my Desire, boy was I wrong. The One X+ is so much better, and then some.
I'll start with the exterior. The design is very sleek -- an understated elegance you don't find elsewhere. Some phones have a tacky look about them, but not the X+. The materials are high-quality and the finish makes it nice to hold in the hand. It's a shame to cover it up with a case, but you'll probably want one to protect your device.
The nice thing about the X+ over Samsung phones is the ability to personalize the launcher shortcuts. You only get five home screens, as opposed to the seven you get on the Desire, so you'll have less real estate to work with. But now you can create folders too, which means less need for home screens I guess.
The virtual keyboard that comes included is fantastic. It's so much better than the ones on the Desire and S2. The autocorrect is intelligent and fixes most typos of the thumb. I'm a fast typer, so I'll often mispress keys, but with the X+, I don't have to worry words will come out wrong. Typing longer forms like e-mails, is no longer a chore.
Android does a pretty good job optimizing the battery life, but you can tweak the settings even further to maximize the juice, so to speak. There are third-party apps out there to do it too.
HTC added Chrome browser to the X+. It's better than the stock Android browser, in my opinion, and it's a lightweight program that loads pages quickly. The device comes with a bit of bloatware, but you can remove most of it painlessly.
I've had a few problems with the X+. The back button, for one, is inconveniently positioned on the left, which means if you're right-handed, you'll have to stretch your thumb across to reach it. If you're holding the phone with one-hand, and you reach over, you'll feel like you're about to drop the phone. I play it safe and just use both hands, but it's annoying.
Another issue is the location of the micro-USB port -- it's on the left again, rather than the bottom like most phones. When you're charging the phone, it just feels awkward in your right hand. When the port is on the bottom, it's really comfortable to curl a finger around the cord to keep it steady.
Lastly, the exterior attracts fingerprints like crazy. I'm constantly wiping it. It's a shame because it's such a beautiful phone, but it's not designed for function, only form.
Other than those few gripes, the One X+ is an awesome phone. If those minor issues don't scare you away, you'll be satisfied with this phone.Was this review helpful to you?
I'm a bit of a smartphone expert, if I say so myself. I've owned several iPhones, Android devices and even Windows Mobile. So I know a little about what I'm talking about.
As far as phones go, the HTC One X+ is right up there with the best of them. Google really blew me away with Jelly Bean. The software is so fast and smooth, it blows the competition away. In terms of hardware, the One X+ can stand toe-to-toe with any phone.
The design is splendid. The materials are high-quality and don't feel the least bit cheap -- like plastic-y feel of the Galaxy S3. The touch screen is large and bright and the quad-core chip and Jelly Bean make everything run as smooth as butter.
The battery life is marginal at best, though. If there was an Achilles Heel, that would be it. I can get around 20 or so hours on a single charge, so you'll have no problems lasting through the day. Still, there's a battery saver mode, if you're a heavy user like me. With Wi-Fi and 4G activated, you're looking at around 10 to 15 hours of usage. 4G really does a number on the battery. And if it's on all day, you'll lose a good four or five hours of power.
Another issue I have is the lack of any expandable memory. If you buy the 64-gigabyte version, you shouldn't have any problems, or you can connect a micro-USB backup your files to a flash drive -- sold separately.Was this review helpful to you?
I'll give you the lowdown on the One X+. It's a great phone. Period.
HTC did a wonderful job on the design. It's sleek and smooth and elegant. The touch display seamlessly blends into the matte casing. And the screen is large, but not too large, so watching movies and browsing the Internet is easy on the eyes. Coming from the iPhone, I was a bit hesitant about moving to a non-Retina screen, but rest assured, HTC is every bit as good as Apple. The colors are vivid and the pixel density is solid. Simply put: the screen is stunning.
As for the features, the camera captures detailed photos -- some of the best I've seen from a phone. The image sensor is really sensitive. Not only that, but videos recorded in HD are just as clear played on a PC monitor. And while you're watching the video, you can snap a photo. Brilliant.
I'm not usually a fan of the custom interfaces manufacturers add on, but Sense is actually sort of useful. I'd still prefer vanilla Android, but it's still better than most.
Jelly Bean is awesome. That's one of the reasons I got the One X+, and it doesn't disappoint. The phone runs on a quad-core chip with 1-gigabytes of RAM, so it's blazing. Don't worry about opening up a tray of apps; it can handle anything you throw at it.
One thing that bugs me is the camera lens. It sticks out from the back, so there's a curve to it. There's also some bloatware. You can blame AT&T for that. Fortunately, you can disable most of it. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the One X+. I'm sure you will be too.Was this review helpful to you?
I was debating between the One X+ and the Nokia Lumia 920. Eventually I went with the One X+ because of the screen size -- which is simply amazing, I might add. I thought my friend's Note 2 had an awesome screen, but man was I mistaken. The One X+ crushes the Note's display when you look at them side-by-side. Hands down. The One X+ is also faster than the Note.
I like the matte back. It gives the One X+ an anti-slipping feel, something the Galaxy doesn't have. The Beats Audio is great too. It pumps out music, so you don't even need headphones. On the basics, the call quality is crystal clear. And the battery is pretty good.
I don't have much to complain about, except maybe a microSD slot would have been nice. But 64-gigabytes are enough for me.Was this review helpful to you?
After breaking my HTC Inspire, I decided to buy the One X. A few days in, I wasn't thrilled with the batter life, so I took it back and went with the One X+.
I have to say, the X+ is easily worth the $35 restocking fee and $100 extra I paid over the X. I can easily get two days of power from just a single charge -- no problem, even with heavy use.
The design is great. The look and feel is outstanding. The touch screen is fantastic as well. Of course, the improved battery life, and a great camera for photos and video and a speakerphone that pumps out the music with clarity.
On the negatives, I wish the battery life was a bit longer, and the location of the USB port -- on the side -- was relocated to the bottom. But these are minor gripes. Overall, the One X+ is a great, if not spectacular, device. HTC made another winner.Was this review helpful to you?
I couldn't be happier with my One X+. Frankly, after seeing the iPhone 5, I was rather disappointed. So I thought I'd give Android a troy.
Wow. I've never seen a better-looking screen on a phone -- what Retina display? The touch display is ridiculous. It looks great even outdoors, in direct sunlight.
The design is simply gorgeous too. HTC did a fantastic job. Gorilla Glass 2 keeps it tough, while the unibody polycarbonate construction is solid. I haven't dropped it on the floor, but it looks like it can take a licking.
As for the size, the One X+ is bigger than my old iPhone 4, but remarkably it's just as slim as the iPhone 5. The bigger size takes a little time to get used to, but with the extra real estate, it's definitely worth it.
Overall, the X+ is fast. If you're on AT&T, there's no better phone out there right now.Was this review helpful to you?
The One X+ is fast -- very fast. Paired with AT&T's 4G LTE network and I'm downloading at nearly 20 megabits-per-second, and uploading at around 13-megabits.
The touch screen is, of course, exceptional. The design is stunning and the unibody construction keeps dust out of the camera and speaker ports. Meanwhile, if you're a bit rough with your phone, like I am, a rubber coating protects it from scratches. Don't worry about the front either; Gorilla Glass makes sure it's just as solid as the back.
The camera takes great photos outdoors -- comparable to standalone digital camera -- and decent pictures indoors.
If you're used to Android ICS, the setup will be a breeze. Just skip over the Google account sign in when you first start up the phone, and you're good to go.
The only drawback I can think of is the mediocre battery life. I wish it were longer.Was this review helpful to you?
Props to HTC for designing such a great phone. I was lured by the hardware specs, but I'm really impressed by the software. Google has taken it to another level with Android. The number of personalization options is amazing. Half the fun of using this phone is fine-tuning the settings.
The touch display is gigantic. It makes the size a bit large, but playing games, watching video and browsing the Web is so much more enjoyable. The camera is really fast, and photos come out really great. Just a note: there's no dedicated camera button. It's not a big deal for me, but if you need it, it's something to be aware of.
The call quality is awesome. Everyone I call tells me it sounds like I'm talking indoors. The LTE is speedy too. So you'll get the best call and data quality around.
Overall, it's just a gorgeous device. And I'm happy to have bought one.
The battery gets the job done, I suppose. But I was hoping it'd last a bit longer. I use this phone for the multimedia, so it uses up a lot of juice.Was this review helpful to you?
Unlike the other reviews, I wasn't too thrilled with my One X+.
I used the One X+ for a few days and it kept overheating -- usually when I'd surf the Internet or play games. Then, the battery would just drain down. When I'd plug it in, it wouldn't charge either -- saying something that the phone is using more current that the charger can deliver. I'd have to wait for it to cool down before it'd start to charge.
I don't know if it's a faulty unit, or what, but I have the international version, and a quick search reveals a lot of people overseas have this problem. If you're using this overseas, I'd double check before jumping in. I know the hardware and specs great, but for my money, I wouldn't recommend this phone. It's just not worth the hassle.Was this review helpful to you?
I retired my iPhone 4 for the One X+ and I've regretted it since. When AT&T dropped the price, that convinced me to make the jump to Android.
There are a few issues that bug me:
1. The larger screen, while looks nice, is a bit of a hassle to carry around. I sort of miss my smaller 3.5-inch iPhone. To me, it's more practical to use.
2. I miss having iTunes. I have a MacBook so the two work seamlessly. Music still works but it's not the same.
3. The polish. Don't get me wrong, Android is robust, packed full of features. But it lacks that polish that I've come to expect from Apple. I hear a lot of Google fans say Apple doesn't innovate anymore, but why change a good thing?
Anyway, I might be in the minority, but I'm waiting to switch back to the iPhone.Was this review helpful to you?