HTC Desire X review

Reviews 22 Nov, 2012

Can HTC's latest budget-friendly Android smartphone with its Snapdragon S4 chip, fend off the competition from Motorola's Atom-based Razr i handset?

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Verdict: 
The Desire X is a well-built handset, but one that has been planned out to a definite budget and not optimised for business use. The low-resolution rear camera and lack of front-facing camera can be overlooked, but its lack of processing power can cause problems for those wishing to run demanding apps, while the buggy operating system is crying out for a patch. For now it might be better to hold off until the bugs are fixed, or look at alternatives such as the flagship Nexus 4, which is dropping with a SIM-free starting price of £239.

HTC, has typically targeted the top end of the market with its Android-based smartphones. Budget-friendly Windows Phone devices like the HTC Radar haven't translated well to the Android ecosystem, and the cheap devices that are available cheaply tend to be have generally been ill-received, such as the high-end Evo 3D model, and quickly reduced in the face of flagging demand.

The HTC Desire family aims to change all that. This latest model, the HTC Desire X, is a compact, curved handset which manages to convey a premium feel in your hand. Based loosely on a scaled-up version of the company's One V, the Desire X packs a lightweight 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage behind a Super LCD four-inch capacitive touch screen.

The curved casing of the device feels comfortable, but the positioning of the power button in the direct centre of the top is awkward and requires you to adjust your grip rather than just reach up with your thumb as with other devices. The rubberised rear is slip-proof, although removal – which exposes a micro-SIM slot, micro-SD slot and the battery - is a bit worrying due to the thin plastic used.

Performance

It's immediately obvious from the specification that HTC has cut corners: the memory is down by a quarter compared to the far more common 1GB found on Android smartphones, and, while the processors is a dual-core model, its 1GHz clock speed raises concerns about overall performance.

While it's true that the Desire X fairs poorly in benchmarks (scoring roughly half that of the 2GHz single-core Atom found in the admittedly more expensive Motorola Razr i in synthetic benchmarks), that thankfully doesn't translate into a poor user experience. The user interface, HTC's own Sense 4.0 which sits on top of the Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' 4.0.4 operating system, is quick to responds to touch and applications open with a minimum of waiting.

Where the Desire X falls down is in 3D performance. The Adreno 203 graphics processor built into the Snapdragon S4 system-on-chip processor just isn't designed for rendering detailed content. Simple games such as the eternally popular Angry Birds, aren't a problem, but more complex titles may cause some notable lagging prove a problem.

Unless you're a hardcore gamer, this won't be too much of a concern, though. Even the low system memory didn't cause too many problems unless multiple memory-hungry applications were open simultaneously - and even then the only evidence was a delay in switching between apps.

Specifications: 

OS: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Processor: 1GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon S4

Memory/Storage: 768MB RAM; 4GB internal w/32GB microSD card slot

Screen: Super LCD 4in (480x800)

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, micro-USB, 3.5mm headphone jack

Other: Accelerometer, proximity, GPS

Bands: EDGE/GRPS (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz), HSPA (850 / 2100 or 900 / 2100)

Camera: 5MB rear with LED flash and autofocus

Battery: 1650mAh Lithium-Ion (removable)

Size: 118.5 x 62.3 x 9.3 mm

Weight: 114g