Once a relatively unheard off OEM company tucked away in Taiwan to one of the top smartphone manufacturers today, HTC’s rise to fame (and fortune) is nothing short of amazing. It is now one of the key players in Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform and its selection of Android phones keep growing by the dozen. HTC really upped the game when it launched the One series. The design and choice of materials just screamed premium, and the One X continues to be one of the best built handsets in the market. HTC was so pleased with its success and response by the masses that it has decided to make it even better. Introducing the One X+, a beefed up One X with a more refined UI. Let’s see if this is enough to take away the top spot from the Galaxy Note II.
HTC One X+ video review
Design and build
If we were to keep the old one and the One X+ side by side, there’s no way to tell them apart. The only clue that gives the new one away is the red backlit capacitive buttons and a red ring around the camera. It pulled off this style with the Sensation XE as well, so its not surprising the One X+ gets the same treatment. We won’t go too much into the design and build here since it’s virtually identical, but yes, the beautiful polycarbonate shell is back along with that gorgeous S-LCD 2 screen.
Connectivity remains pretty much the same as well. You get a microUSB port on the left while the right houses a volume rocker. The power and 3.5mm headphone jack take their rightful place on the top. While the One X+ hasn’t grown physically, it has become slightly heavier at 135g (as compared to 130g on the One X). Another small change is the addition of Gorilla Glass 2, which is supposed to be better than the first iteration.
One of the highlights of the phone
Like before, the battery is non-removeable, but this time HTC has managed to squeeze in a larger 2100mAh battery, which they say should provide up to 50 percent more battery life. There’s no room for expandable storage, but you probably won’t feel the need since the One X+ doubles its internal capacity to 64GB, which is plenty. Even with just these additions, the One X+ already feels like a more complete phone. Doubling the internal storage and adding a larger battery was a smart move by HTC. But wait, there’s more.
As if having four cores running at 1.5GHz wasn’t enough, the One X+ now features an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC running at 1.7GHz. This isn’t just an overclocked SoC we found in the One X though. Instead, it is using the Tegra 3+ AP37 (predecessor was the AP33H) SoC that runs natively at 1.7GHz. Nothing has changed in this new one though, as the feature set remains virtually identical to the old one. Along with this new hardware, you also get Jelly Bean and the new Sense 4+ out-of-the-box. While it’s quite similar to Sense 4 in functionality and aesthetics, it feels smoother and quicker. It's not completely lag free though. Despite Project Butter, there’s this very tiny hint of lag that creeps up when swiping between homescreens. We can’t believe we are saying this, but TouchWiz on the Note II felt a lot more buttery compared to Sense.
Slick user interface
One notable improvement you’ll immediately appreciate is the keyboard. It’s a lot more usable this time around and the annoying lag that was present in the old one is now gone. Word prediction and auto-correct also works very well. One thing that we still found missing was power toggles in the notification bar. HTC had this in its previous versions of Sense, so we aren’t sure why they would get rid of it.
The music and video player are same as Sense 4, with the addition of DivX playback. The audio quality is good and Beats Audio does help enhance the low frequencies, but with the nasty tendency to drown out the others. HTC had some really good EQ presets before, which they’ve surrendered to Beats Audio.This is one area where we feel HTC could have done a lot better. The speaker is quite loud as well, which makes it easy to hear the phone even in crowded streets.
Music player is feature packed
Video playback is simply superb here as Full HD videos playback without a hitch in the default player. The colours are rich and vibrant and more natural as compared to AMOLED displays. You can adjust the brightness of the video independently of the screen brightness as well as lock the controls or stream the video via DLNA to a TV. FM Radio is also present along with 7 Digital and TuneIn Radio.
The One X+ is a quad-band GSM handset with quad-band 3G support. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi with hotspot capabilities and Wi-Fi Direct, GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, TV out via MHL and NFC, which covers all your connectivity options. It would have been nice to see USB On-the-go added as well. Browsing through image-heavy websites didn’t pose problems of any kinds, as panning and zooming was smooth and lag free. Social networking and other services are baked right into Sense as well, which includes Skydrive and Dropbox. All your contacts are automatically synced with various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the Friend Stream app gives you quick access to all the feeds and updates in one place.
The keyboard is actually usable this time around
Besides the usual assortment of Google apps, you get plenty of HTC centric apps like the Mirror (uses the front facing camera), a Task Manager to kill apps and services, Flashlight and Notes that syncs with your Evernote account to a Data transfer app that works between compatible devices. Foxit PDF viewer is also present on board for viewing PDFs. HTC’s Car setup gives you a landscape display with oversized icons that make it easy to access features on your device while you’re driving.
The main camera is still the same 8MP shooter, but the front camera has now been bumped up to 1.6MP. This makes for better video calls as well as self portraits. The interface and features are very similar to Sense 4. You get autostitch panorama mode, smile/face detection, slow motion video capture, group portrait mode and a burst mode. Focussing and capturing an image is lightning quick. The moment you hit the shutter, the image is captured instantaneously. So you can literally capture those priceless moments that you’d otherwise miss. There’s good amount of depth of field as well when it comes to macro shots. The phone still gets quite warm when shooting stills, especially in burst mode. The quality of outdoor images is really good, with good amount of detail and accurate colours. Indoor shots are still just about average without the flash.
Captures good colours
Indoors, without flash
Video recording tops out at 1080p at 30fps, so you get stable and stutter-free video. Video stabilisation also helps cancel out the jerks caused by your movement.
The larger 2100mAh battery coupled with the Power Saver mode manages to give you a proper daylong usage, unlike before. Under regular use with an hour of calling, music, EDGE and all social app like Gtalk, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail running in the background, we were easily able to get a full day’s worth of use or even more, before reaching for the charger. In our video drain test, we managed to get a battery life of 9 hours and 20 minutes, which is a decent improvement from the One X (which lasted 8hrs).
Verdict and Price in India
Although HTC has officially launched the One X+ at Rs.40,190, we’re yet to see it in online stores. Seeing how this is the MRP of the device, we expect the street price to be a little less at around Rs.38,000. Compared to the old phone, which still retails for Rs.35,000, the One X+ is definitely a worthy successor. Unlike Sony’s Xperia SL, the One X+ has plenty of improvements both on the hardware as well as software front, which makes it worth shelling out the extra bucks for. The phone now feels complete and just better in every way. If the Note II is too big for your pocket, then we highly recommend the HTC One X+ for its excellent build and extensive feature set.
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