HTC One X: two months on…

So, it has been just over two months since I reviewed the HTC One X and I thought it was time for an update now that I’ve been using it for some time. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to do much technical fiddling with it, so I’m impressed that it has not only slotted into my life so seamlessly but that it does help me all of the time in ways that my previous phones didn’t.

Super Software

On a general note, the One X’s software and hardware work together to make every experience with the device good. However, I want to highlight some hidden gems in the included software.

Back in the days of Windows Mobile, I was a big user of the tasks functionality to maintain a list of things I needed to do. However, as I moved to Android for the last few years, I gradually switched to solutions such as Post-it notes on things such as my desk. Now I’ve completely switched back to managing tasks on my mobile device again thanks to the excellent Tasks app on the One X.

The HTC One X's tasks app and widget

The number on the icon for the HTC One X’s tasks app indicates the number of tasks due to be completed today, and it’s very easy to add, edit, postpone and complete tasks

HTC Watch, mentioned again in a section below, provides a decent range of films available for purchase and renting – the latter is often very attractively priced!

Confused Camera

I was correct with my suspicions that in the panorama mode, some feature matching is done to produce better results. What I didn’t realise however, was that this is done on the fly. I also didn’t realise that this overrides the input from the gyroscope and compass which the phone may be using to help work out the relative directions of each photo. Indeed, I only stumbled across this revelation accidentally while trying to take a panoramic photo of a relatively empty room with plain white walls – it was impossible! The phone was confused by the homogeneity of the surface and proceeded to suggest nonsensical directions in which to point the phone in order to take the next stage of the panoramic photo. No matter how I reacted to its suggestions, it would stitch the resulting photos together in an incorrect fashion, demonstrating that the relative positional metadata generated while taking the photos was used in the stitching process.

In the vast majority of situations though, the camera has been superb. Other than the sharpness issues identified in other reviews when you see the photos at their native resolution, the only other issue I could find with the camera software is that it seems to be more reluctant than it should be to use the LED flash. I’ve had to force the LED flash on manually a few times to get a better quality photo. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to take many photos in particularly dark situations, but that should be changing very soon.

Stunning Sound

In my review I was quite critical of the sound produced by the included earphones, but I have since warmed to their sound – relative to my HD2’s earphones, they’re considerably more audible over background noise (e.g. traffic) without being uncomfortably loud. This is a very practical benefit and as a consequence I now consider the audio hardware to be a considerable asset of the device, though I still make sure Beats Audio is off. Less practical tests also reveal the audio hardware to be of a superior nature to some of my previous phones.

More Power!

Weirdly enough, I have encountered two situations where the phone was consuming power at crippling rate. To be fair, both situations should cause considerable power drain but the phone’s (apparently planned) reaction to both was something I’d never seen before.

The first situation involved the phone being attached to a screen via the official MHL adapter, which supplies some power to the phone alongside its primary purpose: putting what you can see on your phone onto a much bigger screen. I have no trouble playing items purchased via HTC Watch (5p to rent films is an awesome price!) via the MHL adapter. However, when I stream content from iPlayer over 3G to the phone and attempt to watch it on a bigger screen via the MHL adapter, I get the message below and the phone continues to use its own battery power at such a rate that I think the available external power isn’t actually used at all.

"Your phone is using more current than the charger is able to deliver. Please power off your phone or close unused applications."

The HTC One X’s reaction to streaming iPlayer video over 3G while outputting it via MHL

That same situation also causes the phone to get close to becoming too hot – something I’ve learned from experience that a flashing red and green notification light indicates. Once it did suddenly die as a result of overheating and I’ve kept an eye out for that flashing light since, cooling it with ice or pausing iPlayer for a short while (the notification light returns to normal when the phone has cooled down enough).

The second situation is one that I don’t regularly put the phone in but is a further confirmation of the power the phone’s components (particularly the large and high-res screen) need. During a phone call if you start the camera application, you are told that you’re unable to use the flash while in a phone call.

"Unable to use flash because a phone call is in progress."

The HTC One X’s reaction to use of the camera during a phone call

The phone also gets fairly warm when playing serious games, though I would expect this with any device. It’s pretty cool to play games of the quality and scale of GTA 3 on the move – the controls for that game in particular have been translated to mobile devices well. Of course, ones designed for Tegra 3 specifically have better controls and graphics though they often feel more like they’ve been designed to show off the capabilities of the hardware than anything else. I do like the scale and ambition of some of the games designed for fifth, sixth and seventh generation video game consoles, which we are starting to see being ported to mobile devices.

Summary

So, in summary, the One X’s software is generally excellent, the panoramic mode on the camera can get confused when there aren’t many visual features to determine the relative positioning of photos, the audio quality and headphones are actually quite good, HTC Watch lets you rent films incredibly cheaply, the screen uses a large proportion of the current the battery or charger can sustain and you can play some pretty cool games (I’ve never really got games like Angry Birds). The phone has also had quite a few updates which have fixed a few of the small bugs that every new device seems to have these days and, in case you didn’t hear, the One X will also be getting Playstation games.

7 thoughts on “HTC One X: two months on…

  1. I wish Google would put a good task manager into stock Android. Ideally coupled with a good web UI. Google Tasks was hopeless last time I tried it.

    • The HTC Tasks app can work with Google Tasks if you like having everything in the cloud. Maybe HTCSense.com will bring a good web UI for tasks when it returns.

  2. One thing that annoys me with the HTC Task widget is it seems to display the date format as yyyy/mm/dd, which I don’t like, but I can’t find anywhere to alter this. Anyone else figured this out??

    • I suspect that that might be something the developers at HTC forgot to make localisable, as it doesn’t seem to change based on the date format settings. Date formats like that are handy for developers as it makes their lexicographical order and chronological order the same. Let’s hope it’s fixed in the big update coming soon with Android 4.1, PlayStation Certification and more…

    • This seems to be fixed in the Android 4.1 update – it’s now displaying as dd/mm/yyyy as I have requested my phone to display dates. Interestingly, it seems to zero-pad only the month (i.e. 1/01/2013), which is slightly annoying.

  3. Hi,
    It’s been almost 7 month since i bought htc one x. Suddenly since days when ever i try to charge my cell using adapter it does not charge and says your mobile is using more current than your charger can deliver. I am not using any app while i charge, its like its not charging at all.
    please tell me what to do.
    thanks in advance

    • I have several steps for you, and explanations if you’re interested:
      1. Try restarting your phone. This does mean that you should use the “Restart” option that shows when you hold the power button – the “Power off” option is unsuitable as it does something similar to the hibernate option on a computer, so the phone can start faster. You should check to see if problem is fixed once you have restarted your device. Explanation: it’s possible that an app or driver may be malfunctioning in such a way that a lot of power is being used – virtually all software has rarely-encountered bugs. The “Power off” option may save the malfunctioning state of the app or driver, ensuring that it resumes with the same bug – this is why the “Restart” option is necessary.
      2. If you have any other mobile devices with microUSB ports or you have any other microUSB chargers, try using a different charger with your One X and/or try using your One X’s charger with a different device. If you find that the One X charges correctly with another charger or another device fails to charge correctly with your One X’s charger, your One X’s charger needs replacing. Explanation: it’s always possible that a power surge damaged the transformer in the plug or something heavy left on the cable may have damaged it. Of course, the charger would have undergone less testing and fewer quality checks too as it is worth far less than your One X.
      3. Try turning off some wireless connectivity (e.g. Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot, mobile data, GPS) and other power-hungry options. As you probably saw in the post above, I managed to get the current required to exceed the current provided by the charger simply by watching iPlayer over 3G and outputting this via a MHL adapter, which also required the phone’s screen to stay on. Explanation: the One X can use power at the faster rate than the charger can provide it – with great power comes great responsibility! As we’ve both observed, it doesn’t appear to use the charger’s power at all if it is insufficient.
      4. As an emergency measure to bring your phone back to life if none of the above works or is possible, try charging your phone while it is off. If it takes a very long time to reach the state where it is fully charged then the problem should be covered by point 2 above or 5 below.
      5. If you’ve exhausted these options, your One X may have developed a physical fault that requires repair. I know that if you’re in the EU, you’ll have a two year warranty during which repairs like this will be free. If you’re outside the EU, I think HTC provides a one year warranty (so you should still be able to get it repaired for free!) – but you should check for your specific region here.

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