After being shown up by many shinier, more powerful handsets last year, HTC is strong comeback this year. The HTC One X leads the charge.
We love the way the One X looks, which is easily identifiable from the horde of slate-style smartphones that bear similar styling. Instead of an aluminum unibody, HTC opted for a single of polycarbonate plastic. While that should have been a bad thing, the result isn't -- for some reason, the body feels very high-quality, apart from looking really good.
The 4.7-inch Super LCD screen has a 1280 x 720 resolution, allowing for native playback of 720p movies. The display is very bright, with super viewing angles, rich color and very high contrast. I actually prefer this over some Super AMOLED screens I've tried in the past (not all, though).
The 8.0 megapixel camera comes with a dedicated image processor (which HTC buzzes on as ImageSense), giving it quick performance to go with the high resolution. The camera settings are among the most complete set I've seen, giving the user plenty of room to play around with their captures. Image quality lived up to the potential, with outdoor shots displaying sharp details and accurate colors. Indoor shots are surprisingly good, too -- better than a lot of phone cameras with similar 8 megapixel sensors. The 1.3 megapixel front-facing video cam works well enough.
All the usual Android smartphone features are onboard, from the numerous messaging options to the full set of wireless connectivity to Google Mobile Services. The big differentiator, though, is Sense 4, which adds plenty of features on top of Ice Cream Sandwich. Notables include a few custom browser tricks (including a text-only view and offline reading), tight social integration and lock screen shortcuts.
Know how everyone expected this phone to come with quad-core guts? Well, it doesn't. The dual-core 1.5Ghz processor does perform up to par, though, making for a seriously zippy device. Combined with 1GB of RAM and 4G LTE data, it's plenty fast.
Call quality is good, with audio coming through clearly on both ends of the line. Speakerphone could lack a little volume when used in noisy environments, but it's loud enough for most situations. Battery is rated at a generous 8.5 hours of talk time.
Access under the hood is seriously restricted. As such, the battery can't be replaced. There's also no space for an SD card, so you'll have to make the 16GB onboard storage suffice.
The lack of an SD card slot never stopped people from making the iPhone a big seller, so we don't know how much it will hurt the HTC One X. If you can look past that, though, it's one seriously beautiful phone with a tight set of features. It's available from AT&T for $199.99.