HTC One X: E.T. phone home

, posted: 16-May-2012 14:51

As I entered the second week of owning the HTC One X, I felt it was time to explore the communication side.  After all, what good is a phone if it’s difficult to work out how to make a call?Dialling a number is as simple as hitting the phone icon, which brings up a nice large dial-pad and recent calls list.  The call quality on the Telecom XT network is very clear and very rarely suffers from drop-outs or fading.  



If you begin to input a number that you’ve saved in your contacts list, the phone directory will recognise it and automatically start populating the rest of the number.  This is extremely helpful and a great ICS feature.   If you want to search contacts manually, you can select “People” from the phone dialling app or use the contacts app on the home screen. 

 

The contacts list will bring up a list of all phone, email, Facebook, Linked-In, Exchange, Gmail, and Google Plus contacts.   However, you can customise the way contact information is displayed so only those with phone numbers, or only selected accounts display.  It also gives you an option to link contacts with matching details. If a contact has a Google account as well as a Facebook account, it will pick up the details and ask you if you want to link them together.  This creates a single contact for 2+ accounts, which is another great automated feature.

Txt2Park with the HTC Sense Keyboard

Texting on the HTC One X is a breeze.  Even those with large fingers - like me - will have no issues hitting the right keys.  In “Landscape” mode the keys are even larger still.  The HTC sense keyboard is great, plus you have the option to install any keyboard from the Play Market.  I ended up using SlideIT, which compliments the screen perfectly.



After testing texting and calling, I decided to tinker round inside the call settings.  After changing a few settings, I came across “SIP” and decided to explore further (SIP is a voice over IP protocol).



Having used VoIP for several years at home, I decided to put my settings in and see how it went;  bearing in mind that I tried it a few years ago when XT first came out and the quality was quite terrible.  I found that the quality has now improved dramatically.  No longer does it echo, or experience cuts. This feature means I can now answer my home phone while on the move;  or dial out from my home phone number  and the billing will get charged to my home account. 



You will need a Telecom data-pack to use VoIP, and it will drain the battery faster, as it is constantly listening for calls.  However, it is entirely worth it, and a lot easier than setting up call forwarding on a home phone.  Please note, however, that while the VOIP quality was good while I was testing it, Telecom doesn’t guarantee it always will be.  This means that VOIP won’t be suitable for everyone.

From the Telecom XT Terms and Conditions:

“Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is not supported, and we cannot guarantee that access or performance levels will be maintained.”

There is similar wording in the Vodafone Terms and Conditions.  2Degrees’ Terms and Conditions state that it can restrict or prevent VoIP use as it sees fit.

To summarise, calling on both the XT Network, and HTC One X, are exceptionally good.  Even over unsupported VoIP, it never skipped a beat.

About the author

I am Vincent Garcia: an ICT Specialist by day; technology geek and DIY handyman by night. I enjoy playing with gadgets, old and new.  Taking most of them through the paces, and to within an inch of their lives! I also enjoy tinkering with things; spending most of my weekends repairing my motorcycles, or renovating my house.  I live in the windy city of Wellington, with my lovely wife Nicola, and my cat Morange. When I was offered the opportunity to review the new HTC One X series, I jumped at the chance.  The short aeroplane trip to Auckland was all part of the fun!  If you want to ask any questions, please add a comment below, or email [email protected]



The Write Stuff with HTC One X

, posted: 14-May-2012 09:22

I communicate with my family a lot via SMS, so having an easy way to send TXT messages is key for me when choosing a phone. I’ve really come to love the conversation view that iOS uses to present TXT messages, as it makes it so much easier to retain context. So it was a relief to see that this same UI paradigm is retained on the HTC One X.

Couple that with a few different ways to enter my messages, and we have a device that meets my primary mobile communication needs very well.



There are a few ways to initiate a TXT message. Firstly you can select the Compose option from the Messages app. You then have the option to enter in a number or name in the To field, which will present a drop down of all people matching the text as you enter it.



Or you can tap on the ‘People’ icon to present a list of all your contacts in a scrollable list. This list will allow you to select multiple recipients, making it easy to send group messages.

Alternatively you could initiate a new message directly from one of your contacts in the People app, or any of the other places that you can interact with your contacts throughout the OS and via the HTC Sense UI overlay. If you have an existing conversation with this contact, you will be taken to the end of that, rather than to an empty conversation window.

As an example of this, there are a few Message and contact widgets which you can take advantage of, and one of these is installed by default. This particular widget presents all your message conversations as a stack, allowing you to easily rotate between each conversation with a flick up or down. Selecting one of these will take you directly to the conversation, allowing you to continue where you left off.



In addition to the various ways there are to initiate SMS conversations, there are also different ways in which to enter the content of these messages. Of course there is the traditional touch keyboard, but one of the first tweaks I made was to enable the Trace keyboard feature. This allows you to spell out words by tracing your way across the keyboard. It does a pretty good job of deciphering what can often appear to be unintelligible or ambiguous scribbles.



Once you’ve got used to this method of input, it really is quite a bit quicker than typing out the words in the more traditional manner.

Another option, although probably more novelty than actually useful, is voice dictation. While this can work reasonably well for short messages, if you’re trying to communicate anything more complex than “See you soon”, you’ll find yourself constantly correcting misinterpreted words. Thats the price we pay for having an accent too awesome for developers to parse accurately, I guess.

The one feature I do miss from my iPhone is the ability to assign a custom tone to received TXT messages. You can chose from a list of canned ones, but I like to assign my favourite riffs to such events. I’m also struggling a little with selecting single words in messages, as the implementation seems to be quite fussy about the double-tap required to do so. But with practice I’m sure I’ll prevail over this.

In summary, the HTC One X works well at serving my primary mobile communication needs. The Trace keyboard feature is an excellent addition to my TXTing arsenal, and for this reason alone I’d probably rate this over my iPhone as my SMS weapon of choice.

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.



HTC One X Initial Setup

, posted: 10-May-2012 15:35

The setup of my HTC One X was one of the most annoying things. Nothing to do with the HTC One X itself, but just the amount of stuff that I have on my existing phone! I had probably about 200 applications installed on the SGS2, and deciding what I did and didn't want to put on the HTC ONE X was the main task.

The problem with getting a new phone, is that it's not my phone yet. None of my accounts are on it, none of my apps, none of my wifi networks, VPN servers etc.

HTC did supply an app that would Bluetooth over to my existing phone and suck the contacts off it, but as that is one of the few things that does work thru the Google accounts without issues it is largly redundant from another Android. I can see that it would be a great start if you are moving from a feature phone or other smartphone platform however.

I was always under the impression that the Google account was supposed to bring across my wifi details, passwords and apps. That did not happen. But probably a good thing since the SGS2 is full of junk I installed and lost interest in. Sorry Zynga Poker - not getting a spot on the HTC ;)

I use lastpass to store all my website passwords, paying for the premium service so I get the Android app. This has proven to be worthwhile for setting up the the phone as I am able to copy and paste my passwords from lastpass into the various apps on the phone. But I can't help feel that there could be more done by Google to help people moving between Android phones in this respect, vs having to copy and paste from a third party app.

Throughout the first week I constantly found myself cursing at the phone as I couldn't find apps where they should be on the homescreen as I gradually laid the phone out closer to the way I used the last one.

So anyway, about a week on and the phone is now my phone, and it is working for me instead of the other way around.

Since setting it up I have found the scene options, which gives me even more scope to separate work from play from other stuff, so more playing around is in order.

Data Usage
One big deal that I did have is that in the in between process of getting the new SIM card in the phone and finally getting things setup and then going to the Your Telecom link is that I had well burned thru the casual rate data and had ended up going thru about NZ$30 of credit. So basically I had paid most of the price of a 2 GB pack of data at the casual rate. This wont be an issue if you are setting up on a plan with data, but if you are on prepay then perhaps think about getting it on a 2 GB addon before doing the setup.

About the author

I am 34 years old with most of that spent playing with technology of some sort from an old Sinclair thru an Apple II clone finally onto a long course of Windows machines and recently getting a couple of other vintage machines to play with, I have quite a background in computers. Initially started off doing a b.tech in electronic and computer engineering at Manukau tech I gave up on that when I saw how much more fun having money from a job was than being a struggling student. A few years at an ISP was fun till it was sold to Australians and lost the magic, and by that stage internet was just another service like power and water so after moved on. Decided to partially leave IT and did a bachelor of product design at Unitec. Hobbywise I am still into the electronics side of things and the recent purchase of some arduinos and hopefully a raspberry pi has reignited my interests in this. I am quite a fan of the opensource hardware movement lead by adafruit, seeed and sparkfun etc and hope to be able to contribute to it soon.



HTC One X first impressions

, posted: 9-May-2012 15:25

Being selected for the Geekzone HTC One X blog reviews was an amazing honour. I’m going to be doing at least 2 posts a week on various aspects of the phone, the first week will be my first impressions (this) and my experiences setting the phone up (next)

It’s been a week or so since receiving the HTC ONE X for this blog, so I have got my first impressions of it so far.

We received the phone in a plain white box with minimal documentation so a detailed writeup of this wouldn't mean anything as the retail packaging will be different.

Shape and form
The first thing that hits you when you see the HTC ONE X, is how they have made it so slim. The slight curves of the front glass extend all the way to the edge of the phone, with the 3 touch sensitive buttons being at one end of the display, opposite the handsets speaker.

There is a gentle curve to the back of the phone, the only thing on the back detracting from this is the camera lens which protrudes a couple of mm from the surface. The lens itself is flush with the end of the bezel so it doesn't offer any protection for the lens. This is something that concerns me, as a damaged lens will render the camera permanently impaired.

The curve on the back and the slight screen glass curve make it look even slimmer than it is. this thing looks tiny.

The loudspeaker is on the back along with five pogopin connectors that I have yet to find any accessories for, I am assuming that it will be for a car dock or loudspeakers or similar, vs using the USB connector.

Supplied accessories
The supplied charger is a bit of a disappointment to be honest. Where samsung supplied a separate USB sync cable and a AC charger with the cable attached to it, HTC have supplied a short USB sync cable, and a charger that has a USB output. For a high value phone, this is quite a major corner to cut. In Fact the supplied USB cable is so short that I can barely use the phone when on charge in bed with it plugged into a wall outlet, needing to use a powerstrip to get the charger closer. Thankfully as the phone uses a standard micro USB cable I am able to use my existing charger on the phone.

The form of the charger is also larger than other chargers, with the 240v plug size being considerably larger so the charger sits fatter in any bag etc you are carrying it in.

There were earbuds supplied with the phone, but as I can't wear earbuds for any length of time without discomfort I have not put them thru their paces.

Screen
The HTC ONE X has a 720P screen on it, slightly larger than the one on the galaxy S2 I have been using up till now, Its not the size that is a big deal, its the resolution. You can zoom a standard desktop website out to the width of the phone in landscape and its crisp, clear and easy to read. The black level seems to be a little grey, but across all angles and in most lighting conditions there are no problems reading or seeing the screen, no sign of the image losing contrast or getting that “solarized” look that you often see on LCD’s.

Now, the shape of the screen has meant that both my attempts at putting a screen protector on has been fruitless, since the screen curves off the edge of the phone, it leaves the edge of the screen protector sitting where it just lifts a little, gets some pocket lint under it and then starts to peel off. Just not worth trying with a screen protector.

Casing
The phone is white. I would never have chosen a white phone after playing with a white iPhone 4 - but on the HTC the screen glass is black, so that is what you are really seeing when you use it. The white has made it quite distinctive with many people recognizing the phone and asking questions about it when I have been using it. Perhaps that is why we all got white ones?

Made of polycarbonate it does feel quite tough despite its slimness.The matt finish doesnt show any swirls or scratches, it does get dirty easier, but cleaning it is no problem.

I still have relented and put a case on the phone though, old habits die hard.

About the author

I am 34 years old with most of that spent playing with technology of some sort from an old Sinclair thru an Apple II clone finally onto a long course of Windows machines and recently getting a couple of other vintage machines to play with, I have quite a background in computers. Initially started off doing a b.tech in electronic and computer engineering at Manukau tech I gave up on that when I saw how much more fun having money from a job was than being a struggling student. A few years at an ISP was fun till it was sold to Australians and lost the magic, and by that stage internet was just another service like power and water so after moved on. Decided to partially leave IT and did a bachelor of product design at Unitec. Hobbywise I am still into the electronics side of things and the recent purchase of some arduinos and hopefully a raspberry pi has reignited my interests in this. I am quite a fan of the opensource hardware movement lead by adafruit, seeed and sparkfun etc and hope to be able to contribute to it soon.



HTC One X: Heat and Battery Life

, posted: 8-May-2012 08:36

Judging from several threads over at XDA the two most persitant and widespread issues unconvered so far by HTC One X owners would be related to heat and battery life.

While me and the rest of the bloggers here have been told to give HTC a chance to remedy problems and such, I have decided to go ahead with this post. Mainly to inform people of what I have personally experienced so far.

Starting with heat, many users have been complaining about excess and uncomfortable heat around the camera lens. When I play any type of 3D games the upper third of the phone’s back becomes uncomfortably warm over time. One time the rim of the camera lens almost hurt to touch. It does vary from time to time.

Some of this heat then seems to disipitate through the front of the display, I’m not a display genius but it probably isn’t a good thing if half of it is warm while the other half is cool when the phone is actually in use.

When I first got my One X and I was just flicking through the menus and some bundled applications the display was warm to touch and I have no idea as to why. Hopefully this won’t be a persistant issue, although at this stage I won't be surprised.

Now for battery life, as of just 30 mins ago it got noticeably better. The reason? Who knows. In the past week I have almost been able to watch the battery trickle downwards. Just this morning a 15 minute or so session of Reckless Racing HD dropped the battery 10%. This afternoon it’s more like 4%.

The difference? The only modifications I made to the setting were a change of skins and a few tweaks to auto-sync, nothing that I would imagine that would massively increase battery life.

Typically in the last week I’d be down to 35% or less by the time I slept and this only included about 30 to 60 mins of screen time, with the usual auto-sync and auto-brightness settings.

Thinking my battery life was completely buggered I ran HTC's battery test (accessed by dialing *#*#3424#*#*) and by the end of it I was done to 78%, an expected result is around 80% so all seems well here.

Obviously battery life is taking a hit either from Wi-Fi or 3G problems, or my various auto-sync settings. Whatever it might be, the 1.28 update that is currently rolling out to users (and hopefully to Telecom units very soon) should improve battery life.

About the author

I’ll be honest: there was once a day when I got bored and sick of seeing all the smartphone related news in my RSS feeds. This day was literally no more than nine months ago. Well here I stand today; known as Blair the college student in the real world, ArchSerpo in this one. Whilst not even considered an adult by the Government I have established myself as a Android and mobile technology news reporter and in depth reviewer for KitGuru, Android Mobile New Zealand, and now (hopefully) the TelecomTech blog. While bias towards the green team may appear given, I have had experience with all the major mobile operating systems except BlackBerry and MeeGo in the last six months and always keep an open mind.



TelecomTech's profile

Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





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