Three generations of HTC smartphones:

On the left is the trusty HTC Wildfire I’ve been using since I finally entered the world of contracts and smartphones nearly two years ago. In the middle is Laura’s HTC Sensation. And on the right is the new *switches to dramatic deep, echoey voice* HTC One X.

I just upgraded from one of the least powerful Android phones available to one of the most. The Wildfire served me well, but it was getting very slow, or maybe it was always slow and I just didn’t notice before. Sending or receiving a text would freeze the whole phone up for several seconds, sometimes longer. I was starting to dread adding new music or installing new apps as it would mean deleting something else to make room for them. And various popular apps wouldn’t even install, either because of the low screen resolution (I’m looking at you, Skype… why the hell do you need a big screen anyway?) or the old processor (528MHz ARMv6). The battery also wasn’t lasting as long as it used to. But anyway… I was sufficiently impressed with HTC to want another one of theirs. (I also very much approve of their policy of making it easy to install whatever operating system you want on their phones, and felt like I should support them even if I don’t end up taking advantage of that myself).

The One X is an impressive little device, and when I logged onto Orange and found I could upgrade to one straight away for only a slightly increased monthly payment, I ordered it immediately before they changed their mind. It has a quad core 1GHz processor and NVIDIA GPU – more powerful than my netbook, and capable of emulating not just old 8-bit systems, but even PlayStations and older PCs. The screen resolution (1280×720) is massive for a phone, and actually the same as the 32 inch widescreen TV in our living room!

Things I like about it (so far): it’s blazingly fast compared to my old one, as it should be. Apps install in seconds rather than minutes. Things like sending texts happen instantaneously. Transferring my number from the old sim to the new one was a piece of cake. A couple of clicks on the Orange website and it was done. The screen is really nice – photos and videos look great on it. Most apps seem to adapt to the much higher resolution fine, although one of the ones I tried looked a bit small.

I’m enjoying being able to install as many apps as I want without worrying about space. I was also pleasantly surprised that even though I’ve jumped a number of Android versions (2.2 to 4.0.3), all the apps I use work exactly the same, including the ones I wrote. The Google store remembered which apps I’d paid for (more accurately, which app I’d paid for) and let me reinstall them (it) without having to pay again. Oh, and Dropbox gave me an extra 25GB of space just for getting this phone! (Though I’m afraid to use it because it will expire at some point or I’ll have to start paying for it).

Things I have reservations about: it’s very iPhone-esque in some ways, and not all of them are good ways. There’s no SD card slot so I’m stuck with the storage that’s built into it (though it has 32GB built in which was the size of the largest SD card I could put in the old one anyway, so it should be fine as long as I keep my music collection sufficiently tamed). It’s also not possible to easily take the battery out and replace it, so I’ll just have to hope it lasts. (Reviews seem mixed about battery life on this phone – some say it’s terrible, some say it’s quite good… I haven’t had it long enough to tell yet). It only takes micro SIM cards so I can’t put my old T-Mobile SIM in for going abroad like I did with the Wildfire (though I’m assuming the One is locked to Orange anyway).

The “menu” and “search” buttons that previous HTCs had have gone and are replaced with a “recent apps” button. I hardly ever used the search button, but I miss the menu button, even though it appears on-screen when it’s needed. I also slightly miss the optical trackball that the Wildfire had, it was handy for moving the cursor around in text, but I’m getting used to dragging the bobble thing that appears on the screen around instead.

Verdict: pretty impressed so far 🙂


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