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HTC One X+ review

Katharine Byrne
8 Jun 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
410
inc VAT

A great mid-range phone with an excellent battery life but there's better-value phones with similar specifications

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Specifications

Android 4.1 (JellyBean), 4.7in 1,280x720 display

Not to be confused with the HTC One, the One X+ is the update to the once excellent HTC One X. At first glance, little seems to have changed. It still has a large 4.7in screen with a 1,280x720 resolution and it’s exactly the same size and shape as before. It’s a little heavier thanks to its larger 2,100mAh battery, but only by 5g, and it certainly doesn’t make it any less comfortable or easy to hold. Its sealed rubbery chassis gives a good amount of grip, too, but it’s still quite large to use with just one hand.

HTC One X+

The main difference is in the hardware. There’s now twice as much storage thanks to its 64GB of internal storage space, which is great news as there's no microSD card slot. It also has a faster 1.7GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, and 1GB of RAM.

The extra clock speed didn’t make too much difference in our SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, though. Using Chrome, it completed the test in 1,698ms, which is pretty average and slightly behind the top-of-the-range HTC One. In practice, this meant we were able to render the BBC News homepage in just under four seconds, and it felt very snappy and responsive during everyday use, particularly when loading image-heavy websites.

Where the One X+ isn’t quite so quick is its 3D graphics capabilities. In 3DMark’s Ice Storm benchmark, it scored 4274 overall, which roughly translates to an average of 22fps. This is still quite an impressive score for a mid-range phone, but it didn’t get above 9fps when we tried the more demanding Ice Storm Extreme test. Higher end phones have managed around 50fps and 25fps respectively in these tests, but only the most demanding games on the Google Play Store will need to take advantage of this extra power, so you shouldn’t have any trouble playing 2D Flash games.

HTC One X+

We liked the large, bright display as well. Its 720p resolution meant we still had to zoom in on desktop web pages, but its responsive touchscreen was a joy to use and it didn’t stutter over any text or images while zoomed in. Blacks weren’t particularly deep, but colours were rich and vivid with clear and bright whites. As with most LCD screens, its contrast levels still aren’t as good as an AMOLED display, but we had very few complaints.

We were pleased to see the screen didn’t drain the phone’s overall battery life as well, as we managed just over 11 hours in our video playback tests with the screen set to half brightness. This is a great score and a full two and a half hours longer than the HTC One under the same conditions.

HTC One X+

While its predecessor was one of the most cutting-edge smartphones of last year due to its early adoption of Android 4.0, HTC has done relatively little with the operating system this time round. It runs Android 4.1.1 with HTC's Sense 4+ interface, but HTC has confirmed that the new Sense 5 UI (currently on the HTC One) will be available via an update in the coming months.

For now, though, Sense 4+ retains its traditional minimalist look with five home screens, which can be expanded to seven, to house your apps. It’s a little cleaner and tidier than Sense 4. With Android 4.1.1 comes Google Now. This replaces the Google Search app with a deck of info cards that give you instant access to weather forecasts, traffic and travel reports and your own appointments among other useful bits of information.

Holding down the Home button will also take you directly to Google Now so you don’t have to swipe through your home screens to find it. HTC’s Media Link HD feature has a higher place on the settings menu as well, which lets you share your content wirelessly on a compatible HDTV, but you’ll need a separate Media Link HD device to take advantage of it.

HTC One X+

Sense 4+ carries over to the One X+’s camera. The overall interface has only had a few minor tweaks, but it’s a much tidier and user-friendly layout. The switch-camera button now occupies a place on the side bar instead of being hidden in its menu settings, and the zoom slider is now on the side of the screen next to the on-screen shutter button and effects button.

No improvement has been made on the rear camera’s 8-megapixel sensor, but the front-facing camera has been upgraded with a slightly higher 1.6-megapixel sensor. HTC’s dedicated imaging chip also lets you capture 6-megapixel photos while you’re shooting HD video and holding down the shutter button will take a string of rapid-fire quick shots.

HTC One X+

On the whole, we were impressed with our test photos. There was a little bit of noise in the backgrounds of our outdoor shots, but they were full of detail and vibrant colours. Our indoor shots were even better. There was still some noise visible in the background, but images were crisp even in lower lighting conditions. Equally impressive were its video capabilities as our test footage looked sharp and clean in a variety of different lighting arrangements. It struggled to maintain this level of detail when we turned the lights off, though, and our test video became much more blurred and noisy in these conditions.

The HTC One X+ is an excellent phone, but it’s no longer the trailblazer that its predecessor once was. There’s very little to find fault with, but now that it’s been overtaken by the HTC One as HTC’s flagship phone, the One X+ just isn't as desirable. At this price we expected a more marked improvement, and the excellent Sony Xperia SP is the better buy.

Details

Price£410
Rating****

Hardware

Main display size4.7in
Native resolution1,280x720
CCD effective megapixels8-megapixel
GPSyes
Internal memory65536MB
Memory card supportnone
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1900/2100
Wireless dataGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, WCDMA
Size134x70x9mm
Weight135g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 4.1 (JellyBean)
Microsoft Office compatibilitynone
FM Radioyes
Accessoriesstereo headphones
Talk time12 hours
Standby time15 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£410
Price on contract£26 per month, 24-month contract
Prepay price£445
SIM-free supplierwww.phones4u.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.phones4u.co.uk
Detailswww.htc.com

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