The HTC One X for AT&T Reviewby Brian Klug on May 1, 2012 6:00 PM EST
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
The HTC One X is quite simply the smartphone we wished Google had launched Ice Cream Sandwich. It has an amazing display, arguably the best balance of performance and power efficiency in an SoC and a truly outstanding design. In a sea of Android devices that mostly look the same, the HTC One X definitely stands out. It really is the best Android smartphone on the market today.
The industrial design and build quality are easily the best HTC has ever put forward. The One X feels incredibly solid and just looks great. The slight curve to the front surface lets you glide your finger smoothly over the display without hitting an abrupt edge as you approach the end of the device. The back of the One X is distinctly HTC, but obviously more modern. Of anything that has launched thus far, it's probably our favorite looking Android smartphone.
The conclusion for all of HTC's One series reads pretty much the same - HTC has done an extraordinary job both creating its next generation of devices (the One S and One X specifically) and identifying the importance of a concise, unified message. Getting behind either a single device or series and being consistent about it is quite honestly the only way to do battle with the Samsungs and Apples of the world, both of which get this concept and have practiced it for a while now. Unified camera experience, software experience, industrial design, and accessories will make or break this next iteration for the rest of the handset makers. We're still working on finishing our review of the other HTC Ones (One S International, One X International, One S T-Mobile) but my thoughts remain the same for the One X International with Tegra 3 and the other One Ses with Krait - these are without question the best phones HTC has ever made purely because the experience of everything else is kept continuous across the board.
Thankfully the praise doesn't stop with aesthetics. Internally HTC has put together the best hardware available on the market today. The 720p Infinity Screen has the best contrast ratio of any smartphone we've tested, and is among the brightest we've used as well. There's no PenTile to worry about, it's simply one of the best displays if not the best we've reviewed in a phone.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (MSM8960, "Krait") SoC is easily the fastest or among the fastest on the market today. Android feels very smooth and snappy on the AT&T One X. Applications load quickly, as do web pages. Although the GPU isn't all that new, GPU performance is still quite good. The big draw however is the power efficiency of the hardware platform. In many cases the AT&T One X delivers either the best or among the best battery life of any smartphone we've tested.
For those of you wondering about the Snapdragon S4 vs. Tegra 3 comparison, the answer is pretty simple. It's very difficult to tell the performance difference between these two SoCs in day to day usage. Qualcomm has the scalar performance advantage, while NVIDIA has the heavily threaded performance advantage. On the GPU side, there's likely an NVIDIA advantage there as well. However in practice, you'd be hard pressed to tell the international (Tegra 3) One X and AT&T (S4) One X apart based on performance. Battery life however is a different story entirely. Today, the AT&T One X offers tangibly better battery life than the international version. There are software updates on the way for the One X (Tegra 3) that may narrow the gap, but we'll have to wait and see.
Then there's the camera. Once again, HTC is able to deliver one of the best if not the best smartphone camera with the One X. Low light performance in particularly impressive. The new Sense camera UI is a great match for the hardware as well. The ability to take photos while recording a video without a costly mode switch is both innovative and incredibly useful.
For months we've been recommending waiting for the first 28nm based smartphones before making a purchase. Our biggest fear was that the first 28nm LTE products would show up and be unimpressive, prolonging the wait. Thankfully HTC has put our worries to rest. The One X is an amazing first productization of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4. It's absolutely everything we wanted. Furthermore, unlike phones released over the past 6 months, you aren't buying into an aging platform. There will be further revisions on Qualcomm's 28nm silicon, and a bunch of exciting stuff coming out early next year, but the One X's hardware won't be immediately obsolete.
If you've been waiting to buy a high-end Android smartphone, the One X is really the only one to get on AT&T.