HTC’s One series looks impressive - Will the X succeed my Galaxy Nexus?
From what I’ve seen so far of the coverage at Barcelona, HTC’s new One series of Android 4.0 smartphones look very impressive. Since I’m using a Galaxy Nexus as my current daily driver, I have to be honest and say that the X is the “one” I’m most interested in. A 4.7” 720p display with its new ImageSense camera technology is just the thing to lure me away from the Galaxy Nexus and its mediocre 5 MP camera.
My time with the Galaxy Nexus has been interesting, because I ditched my HTC EVO 3D and went to the Amaze 4G for its stellar camera. I also love the styling of the Amaze, with its beautiful aluminum back and accents. As much as I loved my original EVO 4G, the Amaze was that much better both in design and raw processing power.
It’s main problem was battery life - that 1.5 GHz processor sucked the juice like there was no tomorrow. And as much as I like Sense in general (those gorgeous live weather wallpapers, tight integration with Facebook built in), there really hadn’t been much of a change over the last three HTC phones I’d owned.
The more I read about Android 4.0 the more I wanted to try it, and when the right deal came along for an unlocked GSM version I took a chance, even though I’ve never been a fan of any of the Samsung phones I’ve played with.
My initial reaction when I picked up the Galaxy Nexus was “it’s too light to be any good”, which is strange, but I’m just used to the heft that comes along with HTC phones (I called them “substantial”, not “heavy”). But after firing it up and seeing that fantastic display I was hooked, and the more I played with ICS the less and less I picked up the Amaze.
Its funny how light weight and thinness aren’t “features” until you have them - put the Amaze in your front pocket and you always know its there, where as with the Galaxy Nexus I sometimes double checked to make sure I’d picked up my phone, despite its size.
The Galaxy Nexus won out thanks to ICS, its light weight, thin profile and surprisingly its “native” Android GUI experience. And the battery life has simply been the best of any phone I’ve owned in 3 years, double what I was getting with the Amaze. Those things added together easily overcame its weaker camera, which mercifully isn’t horrible. In fact its a good daytime shooter, the zero shutter lag actually works, and if you use the “party” mode you can get OK shots at night in bars, good enough for Facebook at least. I miss the Amaze’s fantastic shutter button but it turns out I use a lot of other features on the phone more than the camera.
So why am I excited about the One X? Take everything I love about the Galaxy Nexus and give it HTC build quality, what sounds like a fantastic camera sensor, the new Sense 4.0 which seems to blend the best parts of 3.0 with ICS, and the thin profile I now can’t live without and it looks like a winner.
Of course we’ll have to wait and see how the camera really works, its easy to spout a lot of marketing at a trade show and then under deliver. HTC needs to do some other things right as well, like not screw around with the Bluetooth stack so wireless keyboards and my Meta Watch work correctly. And there needs to be good OEM accessories like desktop and car docks. It was very disappointing the Amaze never got any love in that area.
After using my ASUS Transformer Prime with the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor I know I want the One X with that chipset, so I’m probably looking at another GSM import (T-Mobile’s upcoming One S is nice, but that’s not the screen I want).
Overall it looks like HTC has done a good job in listening to its customer base and could be delivering the phones that put them back on top. Looking forward to April and trying them out.