HTC Desire X - Three Quarter

Would you like a medium priced Android based smartphone with all the looks and features of much more expensive competition? Yes, that may sound like a cheesy Verimark ad, but it doesn’t appear that HTC’s other marketing tactics are helping them out. Their current financial troubles are simply beyond me, I have owned a ton of HTC’s, each one better than the next. Their fancy new Desire X is no different and it is poised to take the mid-range smartphone market by storm!

What is it?

The HTC Desire X is a touch-screen Android Ice-Cream Sandwich (4.04) based smartphone. HTC have promised an upgrade to Android Jelly Bean (4.1) in the coming weeks. The Desire X features HTC’s OS enhancement, called HTC Sense. Sense offers a vast array of personalisation to the Desire X over and above the standard Android options. Sense allows the home screen, lock screen, widgets and the colour schemes, all to be customized according to the user’s preferences.

Sense is what sets HTC’s Android based smartphones apart from the Samsung’s, LG’s and Motorola’s out there. Unlike the competition such as Samsung’s ‘Touch Wiz’ interface, Sense it is smooth and responsive with intelligent options such as lock-screen notifications and an integrated social media service called ‘Friend Stream’.

Beyond the enhancements of the Sense interface, being part of the Android ecosystem opens the Desire X up to hundreds-of-thousands of applications as well as a plethora of Google services. Most notably this includes the awesomely powerful Google Maps Navigation, with live traffic. This service is free to use and if the map is downloaded on a Wi-Fi network, the only data it will pull, is that for traffic information. To be fair, Google Maps is not quite as slick or as advanced as Nokia Maps, the current leader in smartphone navigation software, but it certainly puts up a good fight!

The outside

This is a supremely well-built device. The materials used all have a quality feel and gives you the comfort that this cellphone will wear well. The glass and aluminum front of the Desire X is masculine in black and feminine in white, both very well chosen colors.

Something seldom mentioned about HTC is the balance of their devices; they sit comfortably in the hand falling into your palm and not over your fingers. It gives off the impression that thought and effort went into designing the cellphone in your hand. The Desire X was clearly also designed with this balance in mind, and it makes all the difference.

Beyond being very pretty and well built the Desire X has a wonderfully smooth glass touch-screen that houses a beautiful and bright screen. The resolution is 800 x 480 and is perfect for a 4-inch screen. To be honest, I ditched the HTC keyboard and installed SwiftKey. Even so the screen is responsive and requires nothing more than a slight brush of the finger.

The insides

The Desire X is rocking the mighty dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, humming along nicely at 1GHz. This means it’s fast, not blow-your-hair-back fast, but all the animations and transitions are smooth and polished, with zero lag. Opening applications occurs in a heartbeat and it rarely, if ever freezes. That said, while every single game in Google Play app market will work, it is not a true gaming device. If gaming is your thing, look at the Desire X’s bigger brother, the One X.

On the topic of the One X, a feature has been carried down into the mid-range from HTC high-end. Beats Audio. This is a combination of enhanced internals and software equalisers to improve the sound quality when listening to music. This is part truth and part marketing, the sound quality is superior to devices in a similar price range, but it does not make a massive difference.

One caveat, rocking out at high volume with a pair of Studio Beats will eat the battery, aim on a 5% decrease every 7min. That said, when the Desire X is not powering some massive drivers the realistic time the battery will give is 16 to 22 hours.

Overall

This is a solid piece of kit. When it launches in South Africa it will have the mid-range segment of the smartphone market absolutely licked. There has been no confirmation on which carriers will be ordering the Desire X, nor has there been any indication of pricing. Expect it to be in the mid-R3000 if international pricing is anything to go by.

Brendon Ambrose – Managing Editor | About Me – Scared of: Clowns, spiders and Hilary Clinton; Dream Wing Man: Jacob Zuma; Started Writing Tech: 2005 for Gadget.co.za; Favorite cereal: Frosties; Find me on: Twitter & Facebook
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