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HTC One X+ review

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HTC has given its top-of-the-range One X smartphone a tune-up with some new internal components to produce the One X+. The handset promises improved performance, battery life and extra storage.

Design

On the outside, the One X+ doesn't look any different than the One X. HTC has only made changes inside so it's still 8.9mm thin and 135g. Here's what we said about the design of the One X:

HTC One X+

"The device has a nice but subtle curve to it making it nice to hold in the hand with the only intrusion to its slender 8.9mm profile being the large camera lens on the rear."

"This protrudes a couple of millimetres from the back of the phone but doesn't interfere when holding the One X normally in portrait mode. However, its position does make it trickier to support in landscape while not getting a finger in the way of its view. Five discreet metal contacts on the rear are for use with a customdocking station."

Build quality

Although the One X+ has the same appearance than the One X we found build quality to be better.

We said "A lot of care and attention looks to have gone into putting the One X together in its one-piece shell. The screen and touch-sensitive buttons are flush with the case; the only removable part is the MicroSIM tray, located on the top of the phone." And this is still the case with the One X+.

The good news is that the worrying ripple effect of the screen which occurred if the handset was squeezed along the side is not present on our One X+ sample.

HTC One X+ performance

Hardware and performance

As we mentioned earlier, it's the inside of the One X+ which has been upgraded in comparison with the One X. It has the same 1GB RAM but a faster 1.7GHz nVidia Tegra 3 processor.

It's only marginally better than the One X's 1.5GHz chip but we saw a big jump in benchmark results. The One X+ scored a healthy 1529 in Geekbench 2, a much better score than the One X's 592 and a much bigger increase in performance than the 27 percent touted by HTC.

We didn't exactly find the One X to be a laggy phone but the One X+ is slightly nipper from a user perspective.

In the SunSpider JavaScript test the One X+ did reasonably well with a time of 1403ms, but this is a little way off the Motorola Razr i and iPhone 5 which managed 1079ms and 903ms respectively.

We also tested the graphics performance with GLBenchmark and got a frame rate of 18fps. This isn't bad but the iPhone 5 and Nexus 4 managed close to 40fps.

There's no change when it comes to adding storage because there's no microSD card slot. However, the One X+ has a generous 64GB of internal storage - three times the amount of the similarly prices Samsung Galaxy S III.

The screen is another element unchanged from the One X which is no bad thing. When we reviewed the One X, the 4.7in Super IPS screen was the best we'd seen on an Android smartphone. We said: "The screen has such a high pixel density it gives the illusion that you're looking at a glossy printed page instead of a screen."

There's much stiffer competition now with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S3 which has an equally fantastic display. Even with the incoming wave of Full HD smartphones, the One X+ still looks great.

Like all of HTC's phones, the One X+ comes with Beats 'sound enhancement'. For us, switching this on does nothing more than pump up the volume and crank the bass which is only handy for certain genres of music.

The One X+ is comfortably equipped in its connectivity with microUSB, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, DLNA and NFC.

HTC One X+ camera app

Cameras

The main rear facing camera remains the same as the One X at 8Mp which takes high quality photos and video content.

We said: "The camera app is fluent, fast and easy to use. There are also a couple of tricks thrown in to impress. Holding down the shutter button takes continuous photos and there's also the ability to take still shots while recording video - which can be shot in full-HD 1080p."

The front facing camera has received a small upgrade from 1.3Mp to 1.6Mp but still shoots video at 720p quality.

Software

The HTC One X+ runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but it's not the stock user interface since HTC uses its own overlay called Sense. In this instance the One X+ has Sense 4+.

HTC Best Deals

The interface is much like it was on the One X but is quite different to the vanilla Android found on Google's Nexus devices. For example, there's no two finger pull down quick settings bar, although there is a link to settings in the normal notifications bar.

There's also no option to put widgets on the lock screen but HTC offers a selection of information including weather, friend stream and notifications which do a similar job.

Luckily HTC hasn't got rid of Google Now, the latest version of Google's search facility which is one of the best new features of Jelly Bean. It provides everyday information like weather, travel and local attractions before you search for them.

Although there's a few things missing when compared to vanilla Android, Sense has a number of benefits. For starters it looks visually attractive which is a good start. We like the large amount of widgets on offer and pre-loaded apps such as Facebook, TuneIn Radio and Polaris Office. One of HTC's latest additions is Best Deals which offers users discounts on local products and services.

HTC has customised the recent apps part or Android to display in a separate window, like Windows Phone 8 but with a 3D view. Although this is not necessary it looks good and we like the fact you can select to use the recent apps button below the screen to bring up menus when held down.

Battery life

Since the design of the One X+ is identical to the One X, it comes as no surprise that the battery is non-removable. But there's less reason to remove the battery of the One X+ because it has a higher capacity, 7.8Wh (2100mAh) compared to 6.7Wh (1800mAh).

The One X only lasted us a day which was the phone's main downfall for us. However, the One X+ comfortably lasted two days with general usage which is a great result. This difference is far more important than the performance boost.

Our good battery life was helped by the power saver which is permanently displayed in the notifications bar where you can easily switch it on and off. You can also customise how it saves battery power.



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