This is our the first smartphone we’ve seen with a 28nm SoC, and thus battery life is the big question. Further, the handset includes all the onboard MSM8960 radio goodness as we’ll mention in a bit. The problem with some HTC phones for the longest time was that they shipped with smaller than average batteries - while the competition continued up past 6 Whr, HTC would ship phones with 5 or so. That changes with the HTC One X, which includes a 6.66 Whr (1800 mAh, 3.7V) internal battery. I’m presenting the same battery capacity chart that we did in the Xolo X900 review for a frame of reference.

Like we did with the X900 review, we’re going to present the normalized battery performance - battery life divided by battery capacity - to give a better idea for how this compares with the competition.

Battery Capacity

As a reminder, the browsing tests happen at 200 nits and consist of a few dozen pages loaded endlessly over WCDMA or WiFi (depending on the test) until the phone powers off. The WiFi hotspot tethering test consists of a single attached client streaming 128 kbps MP3 audio and loading four tabs of the page loading test through the handset over WCDMA with the display off.

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

HTC is off to an incredible start with our 3G web browsing tests. Even if you assume that Android and iOS are on even footing from a power efficiency standpoint, the HTC One X is easily able to equal Apple's best in terms of battery life. In reality my guess is that the 4S is at a bit of an unfair advantage in this test due to how aggressive iOS/mobile Safari can be about reducing power consumption, but either way the AT&T One X does amazing here. The advantage isn't just because of the larger battery either, if we look at normalized results we see that the One X is simply a more efficient platform than any other Android smartphone we've tested:

Normalized Battery Life - Web Browsing (Cellular 3G)

The Tegra 3 based international One X doesn't do as well. NVIDIA tells us that this is because of differences in software. We'll be testing a newer build of the One X's software to see how much of an improvement there is in the coming days.

Moving onto WiFi battery life the AT&T One X continues to do quite well, although the Droid 4 and RAZR MAXX are both able to deliver longer battery life in this case:

Web Browsing (WiFi)

There are too many variables at play here (panel efficiency, WiFi stack, browser/software stack) to pinpoint why the One X loses its first place position, but it's still an extremely strong performer. Once again we see a noticeable difference between it and the international One X.

Normalized Battery Life - Web Browsing (WiFi)

The big question is how well does the AT&T One X do when we're using the MSM8960's LTE baseband? Pretty darn well, when you consider that it's bested only by the RAZR MAXX with its gargantuan battery. Probably the most notable comparison point here is the HTC Vivid or Galaxy Note on AT&T which both are based on the APQ8060 + MDM9200 combination. 

As a reminder, the Verizon / CDMA2000 LTE devices here are at a bit of a disadvantage due to virtually all of those handsets camping CDMA2000 1x for voice and SMS. The AT&T LTE enabled devices use circuit switched fallback (CSFB) and essentially only camp one air interface at a time, falling back from LTE to WCDMA to exchange a call.

Web Browsing (Cellular 4G WiMAX or LTE)

This particular graph doesn't tell the full story however. In practice the AT&T One X seems to last a lot longer using LTE than any LTE Android phone we've tested in the past. Nipping at the heels of the RAZR MAXX, we need to look at normalized battery life to get an idea of just how efficient the new 28nm LTE enabled SoC is:

Normalized Battery Life - Web Browsing (Cellular 4G)

Now that we have 28nm baseband we've immediately realized some power gains. As time progresses, the rest of the RF chain will also get better. Already most of the LTE power amplifiers vendors have newer generation parts with higher PAE (Power-Added Efficiency), and such improvements will hopefully continue to improve things and gradually bring LTE battery life closer to that of 3G WCDMA or EVDO.

Using the AT&T One X as a WiFi hotspot is also going deliver a pretty great experience:

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (4G)

As an LTE hotspot the RAZR MAXX's larger battery is able to deliver a longer run time, however the One X does very well given its battery capacity and size.

Finally, our cellular talk time charts put the AT&T One X in the upper half of our results. Overall the AT&T One X appears to do very well across the board, but it's very strong in the 3G/LTE tests.

Cellular Talk Time

Normalized Battery Life - Cellular Talk Time

 

Software - ICS with Sense 4 Performance
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  • metafor - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    His point is that blacks on an LCD require far more power than on an AMOLED. Since a black pixel on an AMOLED = no power used.

    I'm curious as to how the power consumption of a fully white AMOLED screen of equal pixel density and screen size compares to that of an LCD -- at equal brightness of course. This actually shouldn't be very difficult to test and really would be nice in one of these reviews.

    Take the Galaxy Nexus or the upcoming GS3 and the One X, turn off everything (airplane mode, kill all background processes) and disable auto-lock/auto-dim. Turn the screen to various levels of brightness while displaying a pure white screen (several apps will do this).

    Then see how long the phone takes to go from 100% battery to 0%. Extrapolate based on how large the battery is in WH rating.

    Then compare the two.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Which is why I find it very weird that Samsung didn't go with a more stock ICS dark look for their Galaxy S3. ICS feels like it was made for AMOLED displays, and yet Samsung refuses to use it. Shame. Reply
  • ilkhan - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    I stopped reading at this line:
    "however the device does not work with T-Mobile WCDMA and the One XL page lists the correct air interface support."
    The rest of it was totally irrelevant after that.
    Pity. That screen has been getting tons of praise.
    Maybe the OneX2 will include a proper GPU and TMo support.
    Reply
  • ilkhan - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    (no edits?)
    It was already borderline without a replaceable battery and without an mSD slot. The frequency support just closes the book for sure.

    Which really is a pity. The android phones first got started by word of mouth "expandable storage, easy to hack, total control, function over form", the antithesis of apple. Now they are racing to embrace all the bullshit that apple did 5 years ago. We don't need 7mm thick phones. Gimme the extra 2 extra mm of thickness if it means I get an mSD slot and replaceable larger battery, I'll be happier that way.
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    Having come from a Sensation to a One S, I gotta say, I love the 7mm thin factor over almost everything else (the weight too). With dropbox and Google music, most of my needs for large storage has been eliminated. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    Just wait. When the market goes far enough in one direction, it opens up a niche market in the other direction.

    You might end up having to use a developer device or something like that, but you'll get your wish.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    I would like my 4 hardware buttons too. microSIM I suppose is acceptable, though the use of a special tool for access is not.

    So:
    AMOLED
    microSD
    Physical Buttons
    Trackball
    Swappable batteries would be a plus, if only for easier debugging / full off.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    Oh almost forgot, HTC branding on the top of the glass. HTC's the manufacturer, NOT AT&T. AT&T is just pipe. ;) Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    You can always get an external USB battery to use an an extra battery (and it can charge other things to). Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    That's why they make the One S. Shame that has to be the case, but you might like the metal case better. I wish I could open it like the sensation though. Reply

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