Name: HTC One X
Price: $200 (w/two-year contract)
The Back Story: The Taiwanese mobile giant had techies tripping at Mobile World Congress once it unveiled its new One series. And after the Ice Cream Sandwich-laced handsets made a special hands-on appearance at this year’s exhibition, mobile critics came back from Barcelona buzzing over the Android's new premiere model: the One X. Our impressions with the T-Mobile version, the One S, have been positive to say the least. But all signs point to AT&T's variant getting top billing during this summer's biggest Android release
Great 4G service, a gorgeous screen, up-to-date software, and the best mobile shooter on the block—there's no denying the One X is poised for greatness. But is it Ma Bell’s most prized possession or just another high-profile entry in the carrier’s vast smartphone catalog?
• Phenomenal camera: We praised the One S for having the greatest mobile camera ever built. Its successor comes equipped with the same 8MP shooter, plus the same dynamic software and features. The continuous shot mode lets you snap over 4 frames per second and does so with a shutter speed clocked at 0.7 seconds. Our favorite attribute is the ability to capture videos and photos at the same time. All of this is credited to HTC’s built-in image chip, which takes the pressure off the phone’s dual-core and focuses solely on camera functionality. You'll find a few camera modes to toy with such as HDR and Panoramic, along with several Instragram-esque filters that add more flavor to your detailed images.
• Beautiful display: Unlike the One S, the X boasts a 4.7-inch Super LCD 2 screen that delivers amazing picture quality and rich colors. It easily measures up to the Galaxy S II's display, while carrying a pixel density (312ppi) that nearly matches the iPhone’s Retina Display (326 ppi). Text messages, web pages, and videos look crisp and colorful. Watching Netflix in the park or at the beach just became less frustrating, as the screen’s Super LCD technology produces better viewing angles and makes the screen more visible in bright settings.
• Solid LTE coverage: AT&T subscribers can expect the same data speed performance found on the Nokia Lumia 900 and Samsung Galaxy Note. Our Speedtest.net readings had us pulling max download speeds of 17Mbps and 2.3Mbps for uploads. Google Play downloads came to full completions in an estimated seven seconds. We also had full signal strength across the entire Tri-State area.
• Powerful processor and mass storage: Expect nothing short of zip-like performance from the 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm CPU. On-screen navigation was smooth, touchscreen commands were on point, and apps opened instantly. 3D games and multimedia files ran without any stutter. Of course, half the credit belongs to the 1GB of RAM stuffed under the hood. The device comes pre-installed with 16GB of memory. A small allocation for most Android users, but the addition of 25GB of free Dropbox storage sweetens the deal.
• Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4: Many critics aren't fond of HTC's newest UI and its ICS customizations. Granted, it's an adjustment from the previous skin, but the interface is still efficient, looks great, and comes preloaded with several goodies. You have access to 100 productive widgets and the updated Beats By Dre audio integration adds some kick to the multimedia experience.
• Great call quality and battery life: Let's not forget the One X is an actual phone. Screened calls sound loud and clear, while speakerphone functionality stands out. In addition, the 1,800 mAh energizer generates up to 12+ hours on moderate use, 8+ on heavy use. Above average benchmarks for a mult-purpose handset.
• Overheating and non-removable battery: A few reports have the One X suffering from excessive heating. The story checks out. When overloading the dual-core with tasks for more than an hour, the phone will begin to bake. This is a huge concern, especially since the battery compartment is completely sealed.
• Easy to scuff up: HTC insisted on covering the One X with a white plastic shell to avoid signal interference issues. The phone's soft-touch jacket is susceptible to all types of scuff marks. Leather and suede linen in particular stains the corners of the case.
• Missing SD card slot: The average Android user can live with the built-in memory and additional Dropbox share, but it's the hardcore media buffs that'll sob over the phone's lack of storage expansion.
Final Say: An incredibly sharp display, strong 4G connectivity, and a blindingly fast processor is enough to make us overlook the overheating issue which, it must be said, is being worked on: A recent OTA update is said to resolve the problem. By our measure the One X takes top honors as AT&T's best Android smartphone to date.