The HTC One X+ is the latest weapon in the brand’s Android arsenal and will sit above the HTC One X, making it the new flagship offering. This new device is best described as a minor refresh of the One X, rather than a whole new handset. HTC has kept the same physical design but simply upgraded some of the key internals — a faster processor, more internal memory and a bigger battery.
What else is new? Well, it’s running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, comes with an updated overlay (cleverly dubbed HTC Sense 4+) and new features that allow easier access to photography and video apps.
HTC has been hard at work under the hood too, upgrading the inner components to ensure a longer-lasting, more hard-working One X is available to consumers. The battery has been updated to 2100mAh, the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor sped up to 1.7GHz, and the internal storage increased to 64GB.
It’s the first and last stats that got us intrigued there, as the battery was the real problem with the original One X, and the larger internal storage makes up for the lack of microSD slot.
We’re a bit perplexed over the need to speed up the CPU, as realistically there’s no need for an extra 0.2GHz on each core, given it could have an impact on battery life.
Consumers won’t notice much regarding use (the original One X was hardly a slouch when it came to whizzing around under the finger), so it’s a curious decision beyond just giving the Taiwanese firm something to shout about regarding headline specs.
Android 4.1 is on board, providing access to Google Now and bringing with it Project Butter to make the OS that little bit smoother again. That’s on top of Sense 4+, which brings slight tweaks like the Hub updates, minor camera UI alterations (you can now see how many pics you’ve got left, for instance) as well as keeping the camera running when you press the power button for easy access.
The front facing camera now raises its game to include a 1.6MP sensor, but more importantly, it runs using the same imaging chip that’s improved the camera quality of HTC’s One series pretty effectively.
Things like auto-correcting pictures and smoothing out skin tone for portrait photos, as well as giving a little countdown before taking, show HTC has thought about the core audience for front facing pictures… It’s a shame it doesn’t automatically add duck lips and a fake tan for the last teenage Facebook profile pic.
Another key feature of the HTC One X+ is the phone is PlayStation Certified, so will be able to make good use of the store when it goes on line later this year for improved gaming and such. Here’s hoping that the Tegra 3 chip is less of a drain on power with the HTC One X+, as it was this area that let the first phone down so much.
The Media Link HD connection is once again high on this HTC device, meaning that a simple three finger swipe will allow secure connection with your streaming device. HTC promises us that this has been updated as an app on the phone as well as on the instrument itself, as our previous tests were hugely disappointing.
However, combined with the reasonably-priced Watch service, we can see this being a bigger hit in the months to come.
The rest of the phone functions the same as the HTC One X did regarding performance, meaning we noticed no visible slowdown in use neither of the phone nor on the internet.
The web browser was phenomenally fast, even on a slower Wi-Fi connection, and even though the HTC One X+ won’t be coming with a 4G flavour in Europe. This is again curious, as territories such as the US will get a quad core LTE version of the phone, but presumably, the bands used aren’t compatible with UK 4G.
Overall, the HTC One X+ is an excellent, good phone. It builds well on the power of the HTC One X and looks to iron out the bugs with the improved battery life and Android 4.1 on board too.
It’s still got the same decent design and upgraded storage to 64GB are more than most will ever need, even with a strong HD video library and too many music tracks.
The display is clear and crisp, and the 4.7-inch Super LCD 2 screen is excellent to the touch as well. We’re fans of the red accents, and the camera software is still top notch.
However, the only problem we can see is the fact it’s going to be a little confusing to consumers how this phone is obviously different from the One X. It would be unfair to call it a whole new name, as it’s too close to the original regarding specs, but adding a + will annoy those that have forked out for the current One X and thought it was HTC’s favourite.
We remember when the Sensation XE emerged to ruin the image of the original Sensation, and unless the One X gets a real price drop, it’s going to struggle to sell anything.
But on the plus side, the HTC One X+ release date has been set for early October, and the price – likely to be under £500 (around AU$790, US$800) SIM free – looks very palatable indeed, especially when compared to the ridiculous cost of the iPhone 5.
We’ll see how this one fares in the market, but there’s an excellent chance it could be our number one smartphone. For all the criticism above, that’s only because it’s so similar to the One X already, and that’s a very, very good phone to be building on.