One X vs iPhone 5

Next up is the showdown between HTC's flagship One X and the iPhone 5. Much like the Galaxy S3 (Galaxy S III), it's more than just differences in the tech specs, as Android has provided a great base for HTC to deliver a first-class experience that rivals what Apple has to offer.

It's best if you read the previous post showing the comparison between the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, and there are a lot of similarities.

See the numbers, and our thoughts after the break.

Specs

specs

This go around we're comparing both the North American version and the world version of the One X to the iPhone 5. As the One X world version is my daily driver, I'm more confident that I can do a fair comparison than I was with the quad-core Exynos version of the SGS3. But as mentioned, don't worry -- Alex will surely put his talent to work and do the whole battle of the Samsung built quad-core CPU phones up like nobody else can.

The screen

As we mentioned, the new screen size on the iPhone 5 is a really big deal. It's simply better for watching video at 16:9 and we're glad Apple has seen the light. Of course there will be app compatibility issues that come with the resolution change, but we don't foresee anything major.

The real meat of this one will be how Apple's in-cell IPS matches up against HTC's Super LCD2. We've only seen the new iPhone's screen via the Internet, but we're betting it's a beauty. We know how nice the screen on the One X is, and it's pretty universally accepted that it is the best the industry has to offer. We're anxious to see how they match up, as specification-wise they look pretty damn even.

CPU and RAM

The differences in the SoC of the two One X variants really only comes into play when you're gaming. The Qualcomm S4 is as beastly with two cores and the Tegra is with 4. Both are very capable, and the Qualcomm manages to get great battery life even with a power-hungry LTE radio.

We're certain that Apple will also place a high emphasis on battery life, and we expect the new A6 to be a solid performer. We'll know more when we get an iPhone 5 in our hands to compare.

We can't ignore gaming. For the longest time, Apple was the king of mobile gaming. That's changed, as Tegra 3 optimized titles deliver the same smooth gameplay with higher resolution tiles and better specular effects. Whether you love Nvidia or hate Nvidia, you can't deny that they are flexing some powerful muscles on the mobile gaming front.

Storage

You can buy an iPhone 5 with 16, 32, or 64 Gigabytes of storage. HTC doesn't offer the same luxury, as they do not offer a 64GB model. AT&T's version only comes in a 16GB version, and with no microSD card that's going to make a difference to many of you. 

We're admittedly biased Android fans, but we recognize that more choice is better and that Apple has a leg up here. Score one for Cupertino.

Connectivity

Both models come standard with a full range of connection options, from Bluetooth 4 to 802/11 b/g/n Wifi in both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. They also both have a pretty competent array of sensors to cover anything you (or a developer) would need, but again we see where the lack of industry standards holds the iPhone back a bit.

AirPlay is dandy -- it looks really great. So does HTC's MediaLink HD function. Easy ways to share screen content are a  good thing. But HTC does follow the standards of DLNA and HDMI that Apple does not. We like standards, so we have to say the One X takes this category.

And no NFC on the new iPhone? Apple, why not include something that plenty of people want and use daily. 

Size and weight

The only person who can tell you if either phone is the right size and shape is you. They both match up pretty evenly, with the One X's bigger size offering more screen. Go to the AT&T store, play with them both. Decide which one feels better in your hands.

Camera

Again we see high-quality imaging components used by both companies, along with special firmware (and hardware in HTC's case) to bring excellent pictures to life. We know the quality of the One X camera -- I use it to take pictures for the blog here sometimes. It's good awesome. We expect Apple's new camera to be as awesome, especially now that they have stiff competition. 

We're not going to judge camera quality second-hand. We'll revisit this one when the iPhone 5 is available.

The Software

Sense 4

Lots of hate out there for Sense. We hear ya, but you need to know that there's also a whole lot of love for it. With Android 4.0 to build on, HTC has done a great job bringing their OS up to par with any other player in the field. Have a look at our comprehensive Sense 4 walkthrough.

Apple has brought some improvement to iOS 6 as well. Now you can set a do-not-disturb mode, or take a panorama right from the camera app. We can't say too much until iOS 6 goes gold and ships on the new iPhone, but the core issue of Apple's control isn't going to change. See what iOS 6 has in store from Rene and crew over at iMore.

There's a reason why so many people jailbreak their iPhones. The hardware is capable of so much more than Apple allows, and not all users are technically challenged and require big brother to hold their hands. The static grid of icons is stale, and having to void a warranty and visit Cydia is uncalled for in 2012. Those same Apple customers who were ecstatic over iOS 5's notification center would probably like some dynamic and useful content on the bigger screen. 

A fifth row of icons just doesn't cut it, and HTC is an easy winner here.

The ecosystem

Google Play

Google is trying hard to match Apple in content, but providers and copyright holders are taking things slow. You won't be missing any essential apps, as Google Play's appstore is well rounded and has over a half-million titles. But music and other media are more apt to be in iTunes, especially outside North America. Apple is the clear winner in the content of the ecosystem.

But we can't just ignore Apple's closed system. Call it a walled garden if you like, but for many of us it's more like a jail. Apple (the warden) decides everything for you, choose how you can get it delivered, then tells you how and when you can share it. That doesn't wash around these parts.

With the HTC One X you can get apps and other content from Google Play, or any of the other popular app stores, or even direct from the publisher. This is the kind of open we mean when we talk about Android, freedom to do what you like with the hardware you paid so much money for.

Until Apple changes this, HTC (and all of Android's diverse group of OEM partners) wins.

Conclusion

The One X has been around for a while, but we think it shines, even next to Apple's latest and greatest. Maybe that's why Apple was so adamant about getting the sales blocked in the US. 

We won't hate you if you choose the iPhone 5, in fact if that's what works best for you it's the device you should be buying. But we really do think that they One X offers things that Apple just doesn't, and would recommend it to anyone.

 

Reader comments

HTC One X vs. the iPhone 5

42 Comments

I had the 4s, and I've seen the screen on the HTC. I still have to check when I see a display model, because it looks like a printed photo stuck on the device. Imagine that screen on a 52" tv...

You forget dedicated camera button which is great! I surprise people all the time with it haha they're like o crap it has a button cool.

I never ever use my camera button. It takes better pics using the on screen button and is easier to hold still. YMMV

Without looking at any other rummes I am going for the HTC One X for my AT&T upgrade but I am waiting for HTC announcements and waiting to see the reviews of the Nokia Windows Phones and HTC One X + rumored device but I am lucky my contract end in October.

And it is only better if you compare the Evo LTE to the iPhone 5, because then you can also match the metal casing, add an SD card, add the kickstand, and add the dedicated camera button. All while retaining the superior screen size, resolution, memory, and OS.

Iphone 5 is nice, but not as nice as HTC's flagships. And if you score up the Evo LTE and compare that to the Galaxy 3S, you have almost the same thing.... so iphone 5 isn't as nice as that phone either.

Nice to see Apple finally offering something better than what they had before. But this classic video still applies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg

I had someone come up to me and say (I quote): "Have you heard about Apple's newest masterpiece? It's got some amazing never before seen features. No phone before has ever come before and been anywhere near as amazing!". I say: "What new features?" He says "It has a four inch screen, facetime over 3g, LTE connectivity, turn by turn navigation, and a new panorama mode!" I had to get away before I started laughing in his face.

This is the norm now. The general news stories on this topic are just pathetic. I'm sure the Today Show will have a great informative story tomorrow morning about these same breakthrough never before seen specs. So ridiculous, but that is current culture.

Oh- I love the * F R A G M E N T A T I O N * that Apple will have to deal with now. OMG, so many models of phones and tablets. Different screen sizes. Different resolutions. Different ASPECT RATIOS. Different CPU's. Different amount of RAM. Different radios.

How will they handle all that variation on the platform??? They are FRAGMENTED!!! OMG!!!!

Hardware fragmentation is not really a problem..... Android actully handle that more then iOS which there UI system can't strach like Android's.

Major problem of Android is software fragmentation and slow migration process.... there still 90% of Android userbase didn't cross magical gate of API Level 11 which bring revolutionery changes to UI. You can't use API Level 11 and above features in you app without hacks or support liberies or do dual-app like Instagram, to not kick 90% userbase in the ass.... isn't this sound... like web development horrors? :p Where in iOS devs quicly move on to new APIs and kick support for older systems quicker, once mejor update relese you start to see requirement of that system for over few months over relese.

Why Android fails here? Apple support there hardware a lot longer then Android phone manufactures, Apple still supports 3GS which is 4 years old... and it gets iOS6 update! where Android phone is usally update dead after a year or get already outdated system. PDK hopefully will fix that and Nexus S support still being alive is a good sign.

Ok... Why does everyone exclude the EVO 4G LTE when talking about the One X?

It's the same phone, but people rarely even mention it.

Why?

Because the EVO 4G LTE is sold on one operator in one country.

The HOX is sold on several dozen operators in dozens of countries.

That's all the more reason to lump the E4L in with the others. There are what, maybe 4 different versions of the One X plus the E4L... Why not just lump that in with the rest, and when doing comparisons, mention the differences.

If you want a OneX that can handle a 64G SD card, they've got a phone for that... :D

"If you want a OneX that can handle a 64G SD card, they've got a phone for that... :D"

Yes only if you are on Sprint, want slow 3G, no GSM compatbility and a fugly phone. The One X T3 is the most popular One X model.

"If you want a OneX that can handle a 64G SD card, they've got a phone for that... :D"
Yes only if you are on Sprint, want slow 3G, no GSM compatbility and a fugly phone. The One X T3 is the most popular One X model.

You got that right. I'm using the one x right not on just 4G, not LTE and I load full computer version Web pages in about 1-2 seconds. I love the one x to death.

It's only on Sprint. And Sprint pretty much doesn't have LTE support, even in the areas that they say they do.

Oh and Sprint sucks.

Good enough reason?

Well, it is and it isn't.

The main hardware, yes. But the addition of the external memory, larger battery, Kickstand and physical camera button (all have been mentioned here, yes) make it a better phone IMHO.
OK, the biggest problem people have with the EVO LTE is that Sprint hadn't rolled out LTE, YET. I use WiFi most places for data, so 3G is just fine for out and about stuff.
Sprint is rolling out LTE and their upgraded 3G network. This kind of thing takes time. I can be patient.

I love my EVO LTE, and I love paying less per month for unlimited data.
Sprint's new network will be like icing on the cake. Funny thing, my phone is a great phone on Sprint's network. (oh yeah, and these are just phones we are talking about, you know. )

Just take it easy man...

I think we need to have the HTC EVO 4G LTE placed against the iPhone 5. I think it is much more compelling against the iPhone 5 than the One.

Because it's a phone no one wants because it's on the worst network in the country. The One X and One XL are available on many networks, many of whom actually cover areas in LTE that they claim they do.

While I appreciate that the iPhone5 is news, these comparisons are a joke. My Evo3D compares favorably to the iPhone and it's over year old. It has similar specs, ICS, and a 3D screen. Big deal.

I continue to be puzzled by the hate for HTC Sense. It seems to me that there are infinite widgets out there whose sole purpose is to emulate sense on a non-HTC phone (if not the functionality, definitely the look). For heavy-but-vanilla users like me (i.e. not techie, no jail breaking/flashing ROMS, but heavy end-user for business and travel), I find Android paired with HTC to be a great package.

I am also curious about the endless content on Applestore/iTunes, as it seems to me that you have to pay $$ for every little feature/app/widget/etc (I don't know if this has changed recently). Android, as an off-the-shelf application, provides many of the must haves as stock (e.g. Navigations and Maps, Google Talk, etc.), and free apps abound. I have yet [and developers here might want to shutter their ears] to find need to pay for an app (free or ad-supported apps are sufficient). Perhaps I am just contributing to the rash of starving app developers, but it is what it is.

I have the HTC One X, and it is by the far the best phone ive ever had!! I wanted to get to get The Samsung Galaxy note but it's too big, and to me it's just like the samsung S I,II,III; just tablet size.I had the very first Iphone 4, and I did not like it. I'm not really a big fan of Apple. They're always trying to sue over someone with the identical patents of their products. Why be sore losers? If someone can make a device that can outdo yours why go and sue them so that they can't get ahead? And the article is right, I love how I can share apps ,music, and all other kinds of content that I purchase. Who should you be limited with a product that you pay way over a couple or a few hundred dollars, plus the money you spend for some apps.And you can only do what Apple allows you to do with them?? No, that is not cool. Htc always offers great products and their uses are unbelievable.

Thanks for actually going in depth with this one instead of just staging a specs showdown. User experience is paramount, and this post takes that into account. I'll look forward to seeing more of these!