The Decision: HTC One X or iPhone 4?

, posted: 8-Jun-2012 08:42

After spending six weeks using the HTC One X as my primary phone, its decision time. The blog posts have been written, so do I go back to my beloved iPhone 4, or will I be making the permanent switch to HTC’s flagship Android handset? I’ve been a fan of iOS based devices ever since my 2nd Generation iPod Touch, and my iPhone has been a loyal servant.

The HTC One X made an excellent first impression by offering 32GB of onboard storage. I knew this would give it a sporting chance to be a replacement portable music player, a role that has been previously handled ably by my iPhone, and the iPod Touch that it superseded. And as I discovered, the HTC One X also has the software and sound quality to play the part.

Then there is that glorious 4.7” 312ppi display. Photos really cannot do it justice. It is by far the best display I’ve ever seen on a mobile device. Apple may technically have the edge on the spec sheet with their Retina display, but after having lived with them both, my eyes certainly can’t discern the difference. Having to use a mere 3.5” screen now really seems like a backwards step.

I also love the customization freedom that Android offers. Being able to adorn the phone desktop with widgets is great, and a feature that is sorely lacking in iOS. Android also makes it easy to override pretty much all aspects of the phone. Don’t like the stock launcher? Download another one from Google Play and use that instead. Need a new web browser? Download one that meets your needs, and set it as the default for all browser related activities. Keyboard not to your liking? Once again this can be replaced.

Speaking of the keyboard, and as I discussed in a previous post, I’ve really come to rely on the Trace keyboard feature provided by HTC Sense. I had briefly used Swype before on another Android device, so I knew the potential for using a trace based keyboard was there. After using this method for the past six weeks, I find it quite a bit quicker to input text this way than with the more traditional onscreen keyboards. And iOS being the way it currently is, theres nothing I can do to change this on my iPhone.

I was a little concerned about the quality and depth of software available in the Android Play store, as I had not heard good things in this regard. As it turns out these concerns have so far proved to be groundless. The applications I leaned on heavily on my iPhone, such as Evernote, Dropbox, Internet banking, and various social media clients, all have equivalent Android versions. It even looks like it will be a more than capable portable gaming device.

It's not all roses though. One area where the iPhone still has the edge is in terms of quality.  To be more specific, the software isn’t as reliable as I’m used to on the iPhone. I’ve had a quite a few instances where the HTC Sense launcher has restarted, a few spontaneous reboots, and third party software crashes seem more frequent than what I’m used to on iOS devices. The phone does tend to lag after a while sometimes too. The Home and Task Switcher buttons have become unresponsive at times, with a reboot occasionally required to remedy this.

I’ve heard that stability of the core OS and HTC Sense has improved somewhat after the latest updates, but I’ve not had a chance to test this yet. This brings me to the other negative of the Android platform. Unlike iOS, you can’t simply have the latest version of the operating system as soon as its ready. First you have to wait for the hardware vendor to roll in their customizations. Then you’re dependent on the mobile carrier to verify and release the update. I understand the reason for the extra delays, but nevertheless its still a barrier that iPhone users don’t have to contend with.

So whats it going to be? iPhone or HTC One X? At the start of this experience, I was expecting to come out of it wiser in the ways of Android, but thought I’d be shelving the HTC One X, and retreating back to the comfort of my iPhone. Well, I was wrong. With the HTC One X, I have found an Android phone that rivals the iPhone in terms of hardware build quality, and I really love the flexibility that the OS offers. Widgets are great, and the HTC Sense UI really does seem to add something to the Android experience, rather than get in the way unnecessarily.

While I have found the OS and software quality to not always be up to the same level I’m used to with my iPhone, the innovative features and extra flexibility are more than enough to offset this. In comparison, iOS is starting to look quite dated and restrictive to me. With the exception of a few minor tweaks here and there, iOS really hasn’t advanced all that much in terms of functionality since the debut of the original iPhone back in 2007. Finally, lets not forget that awesome 4.7” display. I really feel quite constrained now when using the comparatively minuscule 3.5” screen of the iPhone.

I guess this means I’m an Android guy now.

About the author
Hi I'm David, a self employed software developer on the wrong side of 40, residing in Auckland with my wife and two children. I am a passionate All Blacks and Blues fan, gadget junkie, mature aged gamer, and connoisseur of fine heavy metal (and music in general). I currently own an iPhone 4, but am very open to trying new technologies, and can't wait to see what the best of Android can bring to the smartphone table. I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest technological advances in general, and am encouraged to see that the smartphone market is no longer an iOneHorseRace. I’m very interested to see how the HTC One and Ice Cream Sandwich fares in this regard.

Other related posts:
HTC One X: Bring on the Games!
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HTC One X Movie Editor






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