Review by Michael Oryl on Tuesday May 01, 2012.
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As is common with carrier-branded devices, there is quite a lot of "bloatware" on the HTC One X. Fortunately, Android 4.0 gives users the ability to "disable" a pre-installed application so that it no longer can run and no longer appears in the main menu. For its part, HTC also loads a number of its own apps on the One X, like the HTC Watch streaming app, but there are also plenty of Google branded apps (Maps, Gmail, Google+, etc). HTC's slick Notes app is also available. It's a slick front-end to Evernote that takes some of its inspiration from HTC's Flyer tablet. Polaris Office and a PDF reader handle Office document editing and viewing, and both are integrated with Dropbox (25GB for two years included) and Microsoft Skydrive support, which is truly useful. If you still need more functionality, then the Google Play Store (formerly the Android Market) offers hundreds of thousands of apps (and books, songs) that you can browse through.
HTC has given the One X a fine new browser that is very fast and smooth in operating - with one exception. The browser exhibited some odd behavior during intelligent "double tap" zooming, often zooming in as desired, only to pan over unexpectedly to the wrong part of the screen. Apart from that, though, the Flash- and HTML5-capable browser worked very well. Still, for my money, you'd do even better by checking out the Chrome Beta browser from Google, which is just fantastic in most every way. Chrome doesn't yet support Flash, but it is expected to be the standard browser in future versions of Android.
Now on to one of my favorite parts of the One X, the 8 megapixel camera. Not only does the camera offer a truly magnificent user interface, with quick access to settings and controls of all sorts (even filters!), but it just takes great photos - both with and without flash. And it does so very quickly. In fact, you can shoot a burst of photos by simply holding down the on-screen shutter button. On top of that, you can record full-resolution 8 megapixel still photos while you are recording a 1080p full HD video just by tapping the shutter button. Both buttons are on the screen at the same time, so you never have to switch modes. It's such a convenient feature to have. I also approve of HTC's fast and wide-angle lens, which makes the camera much more practical for real life situations. It doesn't hurt that a decent video editor, with themed transitions, is pre-loaded on the phone. No other smartphone has been as much fun to use for photography as the HTC One X.
HTC's music player on the One X is very attractive and capable. While it lacks access to the 7digital music store that is found on the European One X, you still get SoundHound's music identification service and Tunein Radio's for streaming live, ground-based radio stations. The music app makes good use of album art and is organized well, but it lacks support for Google's own cloud based music service, which is now part of the company's Google Play properties. There's nothing to stop you from downloading and using Google's music app on the One X, though, so your bases are pretty much covered.
HTC's One X comes equipped with a reasonably large 1800mAh battery that is permanently embedded inside its one-piece body. There's no option to swap out the battery, just as is the case with the Nokia Lumia 800. HTC does not provide any talk time or standby time ratings for the One X on AT&T, but I've found the phone to be a pretty solid performer in terms of real world battery use - though my estimates show that the phone is only capable of about 4.5 hours of 3G talk time. Getting a full day out of the battery is easily within reach, but you still won't get two full days out of it unless you treat it with kid gloves. Even at its lowest brightness setting, the display draws down a lot of energy.
Nothing is sweeter that pulling a victory out of what seemed doomed to be a defeat. That's what the HTC One X on AT&T is. We expected to miss the quad-core processor of the European version and instead have found that we're glad to have ended up without it. Not that the NVIDIA Tegra 3 is a bad processor - it's not - it's just that Qualcomm's S4 is faster, cooler, and more power efficient in our tests. That, and the fact that it supports LTE data connections, means that AT&T users come out of this exchange looking, and feeling, like winners.
And they should, because the HTC One X for AT&T is a real winner. Great camera, blazing speeds in all regards, and a damned sexy design. Samsung's impending Galaxy S III will have some competition this year.
When it hits retail shelves on May 6 for $199.99, it will very likely be the best Android smartphone on the market. Pre-orders are available now.