To give the One X above-average speed, HTC chose NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chipset with a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and added GeForce mobile graphic processor. The Tegra 3 has been optimized for Android OS 4.0, and designed to have four plus one cores. The ‘fifth’ core taken on process maintenance when the others aren’t needed, which significantly saves battery life.
As this is the first quad-core smartphone available on the market, it can be assumed that it will provide the best results on synthetic benchmarks – better than those provided by current devices with dual-core chipsets, anyways. However, one should keep in mind that there is a newer and better optimized dual-core chipset than NVIDIA’s, and that the processor has to deal with a very high screen resolution in this case, and a very demanding Sense 4.0 user interface upgrade.
According to SunSpider, the One X gives the score of 1752, a dual-core One S gives 1720, while the Samsung Galaxy S II’s score was 1860 (lower is better). On the other hand, according to BrowserMark, which marks ‘higher is better’, the One X scores 96912, the One S 98522, and Galaxy S II scored 104439. According to AnTuTu Benchmark, which states that higher is better, One X wins with 10850, One S has 7201, and the Galaxy S II has 5903.
In reality, with every-day use, these results do not mean a thing – this is a ruthlessly fast telephone which performs tasks at nearly the speed of light.
The hardest task – zooming in and scrolling web sites with several Flash elements – shows that images are not always displayed smoothly on the screen. The situation doesn’t improve much even when Flash support is turned off. The iPhone performs this task with somewhat greater ease, but it should also be noted that the iPhone’s diagonal is over an inch shorter.
The One X easily handles playing video clips (even 1080p ones), zooming in and scrolling photographs, PDF files and other documents. Complex games and applications are opened somewhat faster than on other top models with Android. This means that it can be concluded that the quad-core processor meets all expectations.
Compared to the previous version, HTC’s user interface Sense 4.0 brings several smaller cosmetic changes, but the concept is more or less the same. When compared to the UI of “pure” Android OS 4.0, HTC has added functionality to the lock-screen to allow the user to immediately jump to the app of their choice. It also included several theme ‘scenes’ with which the device adjusts to a certain type of user (for work, travel, social network buffs, gaming enthusiasts…); the creation of up to seven home screens is possible, the status bar has been polished, and more.
What is exceptionally practical is the task manager (turned on with the third capacitive key below the display) that shows running apps in a 3D perspective. They can be rotated and be selected with a finger or turned off by being ‘pushed’ off the screen upwards. Such neat effects are also included in the address book, the dialer, the music player and other classic software elements.
The most touched-up change is included in the interface for multimedia files, especially photographs, whether these are taken using the rear-facing camera or working with already archived photographs. In times of total global frenzy for software like Instagram, the HTC One X is an ideal tool for ‘fresh’ photographers, especially due to Sense 4.0.
The 8 megapixel rear-facing camera takes very sharp photographs, even in poor lighting conditions, because the aperture amounts to f/2.0 with the widest viewing angle – which is 22 mm expressed in units equal for a 35 mm film. Sense 4.0 enables video recording and taking photographs with the same interface and it is even possible to perform these two tasks simultaneously – to take photographs while you are recording a video. Also, HDR photo support is included.
Most praises go to the software’s speed – when one wishes to record something, it is possible to turn on the camera and take the first photograph in under a second; something that other devices from this class cannot boast about. That said, it’s a shame that the One X does not come with a precise key for turning on the camera.
The images are very sharp but the software ‘raves them up’ so that the saturation is increased. Sometimes, this results in noise on the photographs. The same can be said for the quality of video recordings.
In my testing, the built-in 1800 mAh battery can go a relatively long time between charges – with heavy use, I managed to work with the phone for two days without charging it.
During Wi-Fi and 3G data transfer, additional heating of the upper back half of the smartphone can be sensed, as well as faster battery drain, but this is nothing drastic or to worry about.