Android Central

In spite of all the hype surrounding a certain competitor, the HTC One X was a very strong entrant in the high-end smartphone space earlier in the year. Many of our editors own it. If you’re reading this, there’s an above-average chance you do, too. Though lacking in mindshare compared to the Galaxy S3, the One X remains a formidable smartphone, even besting Samsung’s flagship in many areas.

But as the year draws to a close, it’s time for a successor, as part of HTC’s annual fall product refresh. Last year the Sensation XE built upon the strengths of the Sensation, with a larger battery, a faster CPU and enhanced software. And later this month, the One X will undergo similar augmentation, with the resulting device coming to market as the HTC One X+. Read on for an extensive preview of HTC’s flagship Android phone for late 2012.

First things first -- the One X+ still looks like a One X. To the untrained eye, the external differences are easy to miss. The exquisite polycarbonate chassis returns in the same shape as the original, with the same dimensions. The chassis itself is dark grey, and we’re told that this will be the only color of One X+ available in Europe.

The front is dominated, as ever, by the sublime 720p, laminated SuperLCD2 display -- the same panel used in the One X. Back in April this emerged as one of the best smartphone displays available, and so it remains today. It may lack the sheer pixel density of the iPhone 5, but it makes up for it with a  4.7-inch diagonal measurement. It’s big, bright, and vivid, and in truth, we’d forgotten how stunning HTC’s SuperLCD2 was to behold in the months since we last saw the One X.

The main frontal distinction between the One X+ and its predecessor is its red capacitive buttons. As in the Sensation XE, HTC has adopted a bolder design aesthetic, and red accents are also present around the camera lens, and in the new, larger Beats Audio logo around the back. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but after using the device in person, we found these design changes gave the device a more distinctive appearance.

Despite the prominent Beats branding on the device, HTC will unfortunately not be shipping urBeats headphones with the device as standard. Certain carriers, however, may offer certain Beats products with the device as part of promotions, as has been the case with many past HTC phones.

Android Central.

But it’s the internal hardware that’s changed the most since the original One X. The CPU has been upgraded to a 1.7 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 (AP37) CPU. RAM remains at 1GB, and there’s still no removable storage, but internal storage has been cranked all the way up to 64GB, along with the same 25GB of free Dropbox cloud storage. There’s a new battery on-board too, a 2100mAh unit, replacing the 1800mAh battery of the original. This, combined with the more efficient Tegra 3 CPU, should make for markedly improved battery life in the One X+. This is going to be a big deal for the many people who, like us, were less than impressed with the original's battery performance.

Although there are no Beats earphones included in the box, HTC has improved the rear speaker on the phone, adding a built-in amplifier similar to what’s found on the Windows Phone 8X. And software is included to enable “tap and go” playback through NFC on the range of Beats-ready Bluetooth speakers.

With the exception of its snazzy red trim, the rear camera assembly remains unchanged from the One X -- it’s an 8MP unit with an f/2.0 lens and BSI sensor, paired with HTC’s ImageChip/ImageSense technology. The front-facing camera has undergone some minor upgrades, though. It’s now a 1.6MP shooter, and has the ability to use the ImageSense chip just like the rear camera. There’ve also been some software improvements specific to the front-facing camera. When using the front-facer, it’ll switch by default to self portrait mode, enabling a number of image enhancements described by HTC as “beautifying.” In addition, there’s now a countdown timer by default when shooting using the front-facer, to allow you time to check your hair and strike a pose.

These software tweaks are part of HTC’s new version of Sense, Sense 4+. This is based on the latest version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, meaning the One X+ delivers the latest software from both HTC and Google. Sense 4+ will launch on the One X+, and HTC plans to upgrade the One S, One X and One XL to Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ shortly after the One X+ comes to market. The official line is that everything on the One X+ that doesn’t require additional hardware will be back-ported to these devices.

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Visually, Sense 4+ closely resembles the version of Sense we’ve been getting to know over the past six months. HTC says it’s worked hard to ensure Google’s “project butter” enhancements work well within Sense, and during our time with a pre-release unit, we found it to be as fast and responsive as any smartphone we’ve used. The redesigned Jelly Bean notification area is present, as is Google Now and the new Google Search, which can be activated at any time by long-pressing the home button. In addition, Google Chrome comes pre-loaded alongside the HTC browser, as it’s now part of the standard collection of Google apps.

Aside from Jelly Bean, Sense 4+ sees the continuation of Sense being enhanced by minor (and sometimes major) software tweaks here and there. “Sightseeing mode” lets you easily jump in and out of the camera app when you lock the phone. Lock the One X+ with the camera open, and when you press the power button again, you’ll immediately return to the camera app, ready to take pictures. The Gallery app has been enhanced with the ability to view content by event, date or map location, and Twitter and Facebook connectivity has been baked in.

Similarly, HTC Watch 2.0 will make its debut on the One X+, though this wasn’t available on the handsets we played with. The new version of HTC’s movie portal will come with the ability to feed in content from other sources like YouTube, ESPN, the Daily Mail and Eurosport. The One X+ is fully PlayStation Certified, too, meaning it’ll be able to play PSOne and other PlayStation Suite titles on the device. PlayStation also works with HTC’s MediaLink tech, meaning you’ll be able to wirelessly stream PlayStation games to your TV from your phone, assuming you’ve got all the right equipment. The relevant PlayStation apps weren’t pre-loaded onto our demo units, so we’ll have to wait and see how this functionality works once the phone’s released.

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HTC will also launch new online services alongside the One X+, including the ability to set up and customize your home screens online before purchase, then have your customizations downloaded to the phone when you sign in with an HTC Sense account. We weren’t able to demo this feature, but it’s nice to see some attention given to the pre-purchase experience. If you’ve ever waited impatiently for a shiny new smartphone to arrive, we’re sure you’ll appreciate this feature.

The HTC One X+ will launch in the UK in early October with 3G/HSPA connectivity, and in the United States with 4G LTE support.

Stay tuned to Android Central for more One X+ coverage as the phone approaches release.

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the HTC One X+ and Sense 4+

87 Comments

Hell yeah AOKP JB or CM10 would make this thing damn near perfect. Although I bet the HTC cameras are better with Sense running.

you would be correct the camera has come a long with with cm10 and AOKP but still lacks some good stuff :D also for me anyway the cm10 and aokp roms auto brightness levels are a bit low screen is very dark . ( yes i know about setting it manually ) but i feel you should have too

Hope its not too little too late. Battery life performance will be key for most after performance of the One X

Cmon HTC I already decided to get an 8X & now this ??? Which one I'll suppose to get now ?

That 64GB alongside the new Amplifier (from what I saw with the 8X hands on its bad ass) & the red cap. Buttons are hard to resist

64GB Beats UrBeats anytime , anywhere

Htc, I hate you ;)

Now that is a flagship phone with 64GB and the fastest tegra on the market.

If this was the One X HTC would have sold millions more :)

Thanks Alex.

Hardware specs don't sell a product, showing how it will make your life easier through usable features and good marketing is what sells a product. This is why apple is number one in sales and this is why samsung is where they are currently, this is someting HTC needs to learn.

Oh and for the record, I am a huge HTC fan.

^ This. The average consumer could care less that this phone has a faster processor and all the other tech info. They want something easy and that can make them get stuff done better. Like themuffinman said that's why Apple and Samsung are killing this industry right now because they can market and make people buy their stuff. I WAS an HTC fan but they have released some questionable products and I'm just over them after the TBolt and the Rezound. Never again HTC, which is too bad because I at one point loved them. Now Samsung gets my money.

HTC Rezound stumbled out of the blocks not because of hardware issues but largely because the OS at release did not fully harness the dual-core processor. With the release of ICS for Rezound, it is a solid, fast phone with a 720p screen that boasts an amazing 342 ppi density.

I used Droid Incredible for 2 years then moved to the Rezound -- they have done right by me. I never used the Thunderbolt but so I can't speak to those issues.

I'm hopeful that the HTC Nexus rumors come true -- it's time for HTC to return to the nexus family. Still though, if they release the 5" beast in November as "just a phone" instead of a Nexus, it does look like the specs will push it to the front of the pack.

I keep hearing the line "This is why apple is number one in sales" and I'm wondering where people are getting this from? Every time the market data comes out, it shows Apple is getting their a$$ handed to them in market share. The latest numbers had Android at 67% and Apple at 17% of the total world market share of cell phones. That doesn't sound like Apple is #1 in sales to me.

Maybe I'm missing something...

Are you an idiot? What is the best selling single device on the market right now? This isn't an OS comparison, its a device comparison. It will be easier for android to be the number OS because there are countless devices to chose from but there isn't any single android device that sells close to whatever the current model of iphone does as far as numbers.

Will this phone connect to wifi and network?
Because my HTC X ONE IS A CRAP.
My company just gave me an IPHONE5. Solid.

HTC needs to simplify its product offerings. I think the biggest reason the Galaxy SIII is selling so well is that Samsung offers essentially the same phone on all the carriers. HTC's 'family' of One phones is mighty confusing. I'm guessing it's the telco's that want 'exclusive' hardware, but HTC should push back. As it is, there's no HTC flagship phone that they can advertise, and that consumers can go out and buy on their telcos.

Agreed! HTC was HOT when they had their 'YOU' campaign going. I think it'd be even better if they had a cohesive line to push like the One line.

HTC, who not have this phone LTE ready for the UK? I'm quite sure I'm not the only person ready to upgrade into a new 2 year contract and will be left behind soon as the UK switches over to LTE in the next few months!

GS3 LTE when it arrives or wait for specs on the 'Nexus5' for me then....

You know, I'm pretty sure the One X you currently have is still just as awesome as it used to be. The new One X+ doesn't change anything about your phone.

Also, seriously, this is the mobile technology world. Updates happen, and they happen fast and often. Don't get a phone because its the most powerful on the market since that will change in a few months. Get the phone because you actually like it and avoid the frustration later. My GNEX is technologically ancient at this point, but I still think it was the best purchase I could have made.

Manufactures tend to neglect phones that are no longer the latest greatest. Take the Bionic for example. Moto released the Razr a month and a half later.

Once again, like I stated above, where are you getting the data that Apple is "the leading smartphone manufacture"? Android as a whole is stomping them in market share, and even Samsung by itself now has more market share than Apple. Most of the people on this site are here because we love the technological advancements we're getting with Android and not the "minor" updates that Apple is handing out and trying to convince everyone that it's "the latest technology" even when it's been around on other phones for a year or more.

"They're really excited about this panorama mode for some reason." -Engadget (at the iPhone 5 announcement)

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Android fan, but do you understand that Apple only produces one phone a year? It's the iPhone, that's it.

If you compare the sales of an iPhone and the sales of a GS3, you would notice how Apple outsells not only Samsung, but also all the other manufacturers. You can't compare a company with only one flagship phone with other companies which produce more than 10 devices and are launching even newer mid range/entry level phones every couple of months.

How can you be angry? They could not have released this phone 6 months ago, and why should they not offer the very best phone they can at all times? You buy the best phone you can when you are ready to buy it. I bought a One X because it was the first one with the newest processors and OS. But I knew that within months there would be something better. And I wouldn't have waited for it because I was ready to buy. There will always be something better.

The camera's still the same? (rear one).
And what about the price? Do you know anything about launch in other europeans countries?

So if the one x+ is playstation certified does that mean the original one x is going to be getting this certification too?

really disliking the red, red around the camera and especially the red capacitive buttons. Red is not pleasant to the eye and it makes the other wise nice phone look I dunno... toyish.

Agreed 100%. The Rezound's red keys were hideous to look at and I can't see this phone being any different. It's sad HTC has started designing phones based off of stupid Beats branding. Yuck!

HTC used red accents long before the Beats merger -- their Droid Incredible was released more than 2 years ago with red accent speaker and a completely red interior chassis.

The original Evo 4G was the same way. Event the battery was all red. And my Evo 3D has the red ring around the cameras as well. HTC has been using the "Farrari red" accents for quite some time.

I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The One X is a nice-looking phone, but it isn't distinctive. The One X+ is. Too bad it's AT&T only in the US, otherwise I would buy one.

So does an update on the OneX mean an update on the Evo? When is that getting JB? Can we at least get a mention when we talk about the One X?

+1 for mentioning our EVOs in conjunction with the One X. Yes, it's a carrier-branded phone on a less popular (than AT&T or Verizon) US network, but it's basically a redesigned One XL/AT&T One X with CDMA radios and a microSD card slot.

Apparently the EVO LTE is the red-headed stepchild of the HTC line since they NEVER mention it when they talk about what phones are going to get an upgrade. UGH.

Couldn't agree more. I have moved to CM10 on my EVO LTE and it is everything I could have hoped and more. Not sure if you're into tinkering but it's really worth it.

Yeah, CM 10 on the EVO is great. I was on it for about a month before switching back to an ICS ROM because I missed some of Sense's features. I always use Apex Launcher, though.

I wish they would give firm release dates and carriers. If this is released on VZW as is I'd seriously consider return my iPhone5. I've always preferred HTC over samsung so S3 is not an option for me.

I have EVO LTE and im flushing sprint and the phone for the next NEXUS. Although this does look great!!

I was going to get this when it hit T-Mobile but now that HTC has confirmed that the One S will get JB and Sense 4+ I am going to hold on to my One S for another 6 months or so. It really makes no sense to upgrade when you know that they will have something even better down the road and, the One S is a great phone in its own right. I am sure it will be even better after the JB update.

I wish HTC could make a device without one tragically bad feature. This time around it's the red accents for me. They make the phone look like it's been customized by a 16-year-old. It kills the premium look of the One X just when the specs were actually competitive. Distinctive isn't always attractive.

It's impossible to always please everyone, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but HTC has been using the red accents for quite some time. Go look at pics of the Droid Incredible, the Evo 4G, or the Evo 3D. I think the Sensation has them, too. It's not for everyone, but many people like them (myself included). But that's the beauty of Android: there are others to choose from :)

1GB RAM is a non-starter for me these days. GS3, Galaxy Note 2, LG Optimus G all have 2GB RAM. No thanks HTC. Make me a Nexus phone with 2GB RAM and the same other specs that are on the One X+, then we'll talk about taking my money.

I have to give HTC a big high-five, for launching this one with Jelly Bean. Always like their phones.

I like it, they hit everything but the RAM which I'm not even sure is an issue. I think they should have bumped it to 2GB but whatever. This would be a great non nexus phone.

Is this phone able to work with T-Mobile or AT&T here in the states? I'm not really familiar with how all that works.

It looks like an AT&T exclusive, and the specs for their version are 850 & 1900Mhz HSPA+ radios. No 1700Mhz, so it would be EDGE only on T-Mobile. AFAIC, I'm now done waiting for HTC to release something worth a 2-year lock-in on T-Mobile.

Bigger battery does not automatically equal _longer_ battery life. Screen size, CPU, and RAM all factor into it. Given that the CPU is a clock speed bump of 11%, and the battery is being bumped by 17%, there should be more battery, but it may not be as much as you think. Now cpu's can obviously get more power efficient in subsequent generations, but in this case I believe nVidida has just bumped the clock speed.

Oh right, with LTE it will likely get less battery life that the X. Never owned an LTE before, but I am assuming I can turn off LTE and fall back on 3G? I know my my 3G phones, I can turn off 3G and fall back to edge.

~S

If I'm not mistaken, this version of the Tegra 3 is supposed to also use their new manufacturing process, which they finallized shortly after the initial release of the original Tegra 3 which should provide for lower energy usage.

As for battery life, I don't know about the One X specifically, but most people who have "poor" battery performance with Android need to re-evaluate their settings. I can easily get 30+ hours out of my Evo 3D with moderate usage.

Why I HATE HTC?

They introduced HTC ONE X and I paid $700.
The phone has major connection issues that HTC does give a shit.
Now they fixed their mistakes and call it a new model.

TAKE CARE YOUR CUSTOMERS HTC.

I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE SAMSUNG SMASH YOU. All they need is a designer.

DONT BUY HTC. THEIR PHONES FAIL.

HTC is fixing my 1X, as we speak. A phone call of convincing them that it wasn't a software issue was all it took.

I agree that the QC was shite to let that broken antennaes through, but it seems like they have been reasonable about fixing most peoples phones... did they turn you down? I get the impression that they are really trying to promote their good customer service, as hold times have been minimal, email updates, repair tracking website, etc.

I'm also very interested to know the answer to this. If they've fixed the way multi-tasking works I will buy it on launch day. If not, I'm waiting for something else.

Looks great, but after my disastrous experience with the Sprint EVO 4G LTE (a result of which I am no longer on Sprint)I'm a little gun-shy of the whole One line.

I wish they had gotten rid of the capacitive buttons and gone with soft ones on the display, and added a dedicated camera shutter button.

It shocks me to think I'm more interested in getting an unlocked Sony Xperia T than a One X+.

All they need to do now is add a removable battery, remove sense rename it "Nexus" and put in the Play store at $400...and they might actually sell some.

So how to reset your phone if it freezes? When my HTC desire freezes or gets stuck in a boot-loop (experimenting a lot with custom ROMS etc), I take out the battery and re-insert it. Now how can I force-reboot it when I'm not able to take out the battery?

Dear HTC. I'm on VZW and don't want a Dinc4GLTE, Or DiX, and Rezound needs updated I want a One X (or X+ if you will). Upgrade is 3 weeks away and I would much prefer an HTC to a SGS3.

Need more market share? I'm over here on VZW waiving my hand with a bunch of cash in it. (And before you say it, no, I'm not leaving VZW)

Proposed DIX specs give it an edge over X+ but we'll have to wait to November to be completely sure. Qualcomm S4 Krait processor with Adreno 320 graphical support? Oh, baby!

You might as well sound the death knell for HTC if you are in the US. They just don't get it. You HAVE to get your flagship on more than one carrier now, otherwise you can hang it up. Samsung figured this out and are selling bucketloads of phones. It's now looking like LG and Sony will also get their flagships on more than one carrier. I actually liked the One X more than anything else out there, in spite of its drawbacks, but couldn't buy it because I refuse to switch to AT&T and it's not pentaband.

You would've thought HTC learned from that experience...but no. They make the One X+, add a ton (64GB) of storage to kill that complaint, add a bigger battery along with a better processor that uses less power to address those complaints, everything except more memory...and then launch on AT&T only. Watch: the GS3 will STILL get more sales on AT&T than the One X+ because a lot of folks will get what their buddy has...regardless of what carrier their buddy is on. I guess it's the GN2 for me unless the Optimus G, Xperia T, or a new Nexus launch on T-Mobile this month to keep things interesting.

I agree, I've been waiting for this for three months, apparently so has my T-Mobile store. Was going to get this for my wife, but will probably get her a GS3 or wait to see if a new Nexus gets announced in the next month, which I was going to get any how.

Could have had some more customers HTC but you made it an AT&T exclusive.

Exclusives are stupid. The end up hurting the OEM in the long run. Samsung got it right with the marketing of the G3.

Ok don't shoot me but I have a 3GS and it is because I was all oh my apple iPhone and now I am like eh apple woopty doo and am gonna switch eventually to android (and possibly from AT&T to verizon) and was wondering which is better all around Htc, moto or Samsung?

Ok don't shoot me but I have a 3GS and it is because I was all oh my apple iPhone and now I am like eh apple woopty doo and am gonna switch eventually to android (and possibly from AT&T to verizon) and was wondering which is better all around Htc, moto or Samsung?

I'd go with HTC if I were you, especially with the One X+ coming out soon. There isn't much difference between HTC, Samsung and moto in terms of quality or specs (at least, not with the top-models) so if I were you I'd go with the one that suits your style the best. The Sony Experia phones are also worth looking at by the way. I'm a happy HTC user for two years now, but the new Experia phones are also very good (and good-looking).

I have a one X and sma slightly dissappointed HTC have already brought out a new handset, but if they continue to provide updates for the One X, its softens the blow a bit.

So the XL on ATT got the S4 with integrated LTE so battery wouldn't suck. GSM X got 1.5GHz T3... Now X+ gets faster Tegra 3 than X, larger battery than X or XL in same size and LTE???

Is there anything different between 1.7GHz T3 and 1.5GHz T3 other than 0.2GHz? Will it really matter cause the S4 benched better than 1.5GHz T3 in many cases.
Also T3 in X had display glitching issues.

Please give me an XL+ w/ 64GB flash and 2100mAh battery but keep the S4 with integrated LTE for supreme battery life!

I keep wondering why they dont stop these exclusivity deals with the carriers. I have been waiting all summer with the hope the HOX was coming to Tmobile. Now to find out only AT&T again. I dont' know if HTC just doesnt consider the smaller carriers or what but this needs to stop if they want success in the US. Iphone and GS3 get their releases on all carriers. What is it with HTC that they seem to cater to AT&T so much? I just am sick dealing with.