Sunday, April 15, 2012
source - www.techradar.com
Camera and video
The HTC One X has an 8MP camera on the back of the device, with a 1.3MP sensor on the front. The rear of the phone also packs a single LED flash, and enhanced optics to help increase the depth of photo.
HTC has made great strides with its camera software over the years, but with the One X it's really outdone itself, allowing users to create so many more varied styles of photos and using the raw power of the quad core processor to good effect.
There are two sides to the camera - the large amount of settings you can tweak to actually get the photo in the first place, and the effects you can place on top to alter the output.
We'll concentrate on the former first: you can tweak a vast number of settings from within the handset to help improve your picture quality on the go. Exposure, colour saturation and sharpness can all be controlled by separate slider bars, and a simple tap anywhere on the screen will auto-calibrate the brightness levels and focus on the desired object within a second.
There's no dedicated shutter button, but if you've got the camera set up as one of the icons on your lock screen you can whip the phone out of your pocket and be snapping away in just under two seconds. It's not the fastest on the market, but in real world tests we found it to be quick enough never to miss any important moments.
There are a variety of scene modes on offer as well - and these aren't the bog standard 'firework' or 'beach' scenes that everyone intends to use but never gets round to. We're talking the High Dynamic Range option, which takes a number of brightness levels from a single photo and interpolates them to make the best quality image, or a macro mode that can scarily close to any object.
The HDR mode is a little bit of a letdown if we're honest, as it can blur very easily while processing the photo - it's nowhere near the level of Apple's HDR photography, which has been wowing us for some time now.
The other effects are very easy to use though - you can do things like simply making your photo black and white or covered in sepia, or you can get a little bit fancier and alter the depth of field to blur out the edges of a shot and only focus on the object at the centre of the photograph.
And on top of that there's the fantastic shutter speed as well - you can set the HTC One X to capture photos at the rate of around 10 per second, allowing you to get some cracking motion shots.
Not all the pics come out clearly, but overall the option can be used well.
Normal shutter speed, with the auto focus on and flash in play, is a little slow - we clocked around four seconds between each photo, which isn't terrible but can be bettered by the competition.
The HTC One X can record in 1080p from the rear sensor, and 720P HD from the front camera. In short, we can't see you ever wanting to go any higher on the resolution front... but we know we're going to regret that statement in a few short months when the next level of cameraphone emerges.
There are a number of cool features on the HTC One X when it comes to video recording: for instance, you can capture in slow motion, or while shooting in Full HD at 30 frames per second you can take pictures while recording.
This is a really awesome feature when you want to both film and photograph at the same time.
You can even take pictures while viewing video back after it's been shot - that's the sort of thing that had our friends wowed down the pub.
However, the overall video quality wasn't wow-worthy when shoved onto a larger screen - it seemed a little grainy in our eyes, and the sound recorded from the dual microphones didn't really do the power of the phone justice.
It's not awful, but not the smooth footage other cameraphones are able to manage from dual-core processors.
Battery life and connectivity
The HTC One X comes with an 1800mAh battery that's unfortunately sealed within the chassis of the phone - meaning no chance of being able to swap it out in the event of a power-outage on the go.
Sadly, and this is one the major failings of the HTC One X, the battery life on this device follows many others from the HTC range: meaning it's terrible.
We were actually shocked to see how poorly it fared at times, with one instance requiring us to charge the phone twice in one day and still running it down before the evening. However, before you completely give up on the One X at all, we should qualify that statement a little bit as it's unlikely you'll experience the same thing.
When we test any mobile phone we obviously run it through many tests and try to work out what the main selling points of it will be. With the HTC One X, we found there to be so many plus points that we really had to run the device hard to test it all out, leading to a quicker battery run-through than usual.
For instance on the fateful 'Two Charge' day, we downloaded three movies from HTC Watch, played a number of Tegra 3 compatible games, watched said movies and went for a run with the GPS turned on - plus messed around with most of the features.
This is very atypical usage, so we doubt many people will ever achieve the same power rate as we did - but we believe that if a phone has something worth doing, then the battery should hold up, and even with medium usage levels, the battery powered down by about 11PM at the latest. Having seen the same sort of output from the HTC Desire and Desire HD, we also know that the phone will likely start to do more poorly over time as well.
The reason for this is the screen - it's sucking a huge amount of power, likely because the graphical processing power needed to fire all those new pixels is really taxing the device. It's also a new type of technology for the firm, and it seems that HTC hasn't quite worked out how to optimise it yet.
Playing powerful games predictably drained a lot of power too - for instance, playing RipTide for 15 minutes caused the One X to heat up quite a bit and drained 5% of the overall battery power, which is more than a little worrying.
Calling seemed to take the same level of power as well, as did movie watching for extended periods. If you're not going to use the phone very much, then you'll likely sail through a day on a single charge, but given that this is an awesome powerhouse of a device we're really, really disappointed that the battery is the one thing that's really letting it down.
We hoped that the first samples might have had faulty battery meters, but we recalibrated it and still got the same results. It's a real shame, and a factor any user should really think about before picking up this otherwise practically flawless phone.
The HTC One X comes jam packed with every top-end connection we can think of - be it Wi-Fi 802.11n (the fastest kind) to Bluetooth 4.0, it's all present and correct under the hood.
The addition of Bluetooth 4.0 is particularly exciting, as it means the One X will be able to take advantage of a number of cool accessories coming onto the market soon.
There's also a first from the Taiwanese brand in the shape of NFC, brought in to take advantage of Google's Android Beam service. Right now it's a pretty rudimentary offering - all you can realistically do is tap the One X against another Ice Cream Sandwich-enabled phone (with an NFC chip inside, obviously) and share things like Map directions, YouTube videos and contact details.This means personal area networks, allowing easy connection to a range of sensors and devices within proximity, will be easy to achieve and will make the One X the centre of your connected world. If you want to find out more, check out our 'What is Bluetooth?' feature that explains it all.
You have to activate the service on both devices and then tap to make the connection, and in truth it's a little cumbersome and not as cool as this video would have you believe. However, once NFC becomes mainstream in the next year, you'll be able to take advantage of contactless payments and a wider gamut of connectivity options, so stay tuned for that.
We've already mentioned the DLNA software that's built right into the HTC One X - for those of you unfamiliar with the term, this means you can connect the device up to a internet-enabled Smart TV or computer and stream content from your phone easily across. The fact it's within the media player is a really nice touch, as it means you don't need to jump out to another application as you have to with the Samsung Galaxy S2 at times.
In terms of wired connections, the HTC One X will also let you connect up to a TV using a MHL lead, which is sadly not supplied in the box. This mini HDMI connection uses the same microUSB port that powers your phone, which makes it really easy to mirror the content on the tiny HD screen on a much larger one.
If there's one thing HTC has definitely got right with the One X in our eyes, that's the inbuilt applications. There are far too many for us to mention here, but from things like the weather forecast popping up when you pick your phone up in the morning to being able to use the internet radio from within the music player, the One X is a phone that feels very seamless at times.
Some people don't like 'bloatware' (apps pre-installed that they might not want) but we think the mix is pretty good. HTC has set up a number of partnerships that really expand the functionality of the phone - for instance, Dropbox with 23GB of additional storage.
This means your new phone comes with a massive storage locker in the cloud to keep all your content backed up - and you can even auto-sync your movies and photos, in the same way as PhotoStream works on Apple's iCloud service. There's also EverNote included out of the box, meaning you're less likely to forget appointments in the future thanks to the synchronised system.
Notes is another really clever application - it's not got the cool geo-locational functionality of its iPhone counterpart, but it allows you to write, record and connect with your calendar to swiftly and easy keep a track of your life on the go.
Car Mode has had an overhaul as well, allowing large icons for applications like Phone, Maps Navigation, Music and Internet radio – plus a large clock icon with weather and easy access to connections.
Swiping left and right will bring up the apps with large font information, such as upcoming appointments in the Maps app that can be associated with directions to said meeting. It's a very handy mode, and one that will work well when the dock is finally released for the phone too.
We could go through and list all the apps on offer here, but we think it's best you go in and have a play. Some will irk you (7Digital is far too expensive in our eyes, and the Movie Editor does very little other than make a mess of your photos and videos) but there are other excellent choices like those we've listed above, and we think overall HTC has got the mix right.
Maps and gaming
There are two mapping options on the HTC One X - usually we get annoyed at the confusion, but this time we think the two sit next to each other rather nicely. Google Maps 6.5 has been released for this ilk of devices especially, with high resolution maps on offer to make the experience a really visually arresting on when zooming in on the streets of London or New York.
You've got all the usual wonderful features here - 3D buildings that you can swipe around using multi-finger gestures, a free sat nav service with traffic guidance, and now even the ability to search through public transport networks to help get you to where you need to go. And that's without talking about the excellent Streetview service, allowing you to glide around the map in a photo-like environment.
However, and this is something we didn't expect, the mapping software on the HTC One X seems slower than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2, which has a slower and less powerful processor chugging things along. It's not hugely noticeable, but in real terms you don't get that buttery-smooth feeling we're used to with these kinds of devices.
HTC Locations is another ball game altogether and one that you probably won't be using all that often. It's mostly a sat-nav service, but one that's far more in-depth than the Google maps Navigation offering that most will use.
With HTC Locations you're given access to speed cameras, more in-depth traffic and voice guidance from a larger range of personalities. It's also got wide-ranging information on cash machines, petrol stations and more – and you can download the maps to enable offline viewing of practically anywhere in the world.
The only real downside is the fact you've got to pay for most of it – we highly doubt many will fork out £4 a month to get access to most of the features on offer here. It's a good service, but one that's mostly out-flanked by Google Maps.
Gaming on the HTC One X is something that we think deserves a special mention as it brings such a new level of realism to a mobile phone. We're talking console-quality graphics on a handset for the first time, and graphical processing power that shares a lot of traits with the PS Vita, for instance.
We tried a number of Nvidia Tegra-optimised games on the One X, and they all shared one thing in common: they looked better than anything that we've ever seen on a mobile phone and had a greater level of detail too.
The downside is that all the games so far are really nowhere near the gameplay level of a console game; for instance, RipTide is a splendid Jet Ski game that whips through underwater tunnels and jumps with dizzying speeds. The water effects are sublime, and the physics that knock your craft around are on another level when it comes to the mobile.
But the graphics still look cheap in places, meaning the water will lap over objects and not interact with them - nor will gravity play a proper part in the gameplay. What we're trying to say is that the games are excellent and the power is clearly there, but there's a lot of potential left to be exploited when it comes to titles that really push the quad-core power of phones like this.
Of course, there's a bundle of casual games that look amazing on a phone like the One X - Angry Birds and Cut the Rope look phenomenal, and the likes of Draw Something really benefit from the larger screen size. Gaming is going to be huge on the HTC One X we think... it's just a shame the battery isn't able to keep up at times.