HTC One X+ pictures and hands-on

The HTC One X+ is the new HTC flagship Android smartphone, but we sort of had wind of that some time ago here at Pocket-lint. None the less, the official announcement means we’ve had our hands on the device to find out exactly what it’s all about and to give you a good preview of how it looks and feels.

First up, the clue is in the name HTC One X+. Identical to its predecessor bar one character, it’s of little surprise that the HTC One X+ uses the exact same chassis, screen and screen technology as the plain, old HTC One X. So, what is new then?

The first thing you’ll notice is the look and feel. The HTC One X comes in grey or, more popularly, white but it’s strictly an all black affair with the One X+ - all black apart from the Beats-coloured red accents around the camera and on the touch keys. For the feel, it’s now a fully matte finish rather than the half-matte of before.

Slightly more interesting, though, are the changes on the inside of the HTC One X+. The SoC running the show is the Nvidia Tegra 3 AP37 chip rather than the AP36 and that brings with it a higher clock speed of 1.7GHz on the CPU and maintains the quad-core facility. The RAM stays the same at 1GB but the battery to keep it all ticking over has jumped up to 2100mAh from 1800mAh.

That should make quite a difference, with HTC claiming 50 per cent (6 hours) more talk time. Meanwhile, storage-wise, there’s no 16GB option - just 32GB and 64GB of on-board space, putting this handset very much in the premium space.

The main, rear camera is the exact same 8-megapixel unit with f/2.0 aperture lens but the front-facer has taken a welcome bump up to 1.6-megapixels and is now connected to an imaging chip which allows for corrections - white balance, colour, filters, etc - in RAW before conversion to the JPEG picture. One of the upshots of this is that anything it sees can be passed through a skin beautifier, meaning you’ll never look quite as ragged as you actually do during your video Skype chats.

The camera app itself has had a bit of a tweak, with the upgrade of HTC’s famous UI to HTC Sense 4+. The viewfinder now tells you how many shots/minutes of video recording you have space for, but it’s probably the Gallery where you’ll notice the most changes. Apps and services to where you might upload your snaps are now included in-app for easy access.

More fun than saving a few clicks, though, is the addition of a Gallery view mode where you can see you snaps organised by location on a Google Maps as well as by date, event, type and such. Finally, for the camera, if you put your phone in standby with the camera app open, you can get straight back to it without having to go through the unlock screen.

Much as with the Gallery app, Music contains shortcuts to whatever music services you subscribe to. While that may not be life changing, there is the Beats Audio inclusion in the HTC One X+ to look forward to. What’s slightly frustrating is that one of the major updates here is that the company has added an amp chip before the speaker on the phone but not yet for the headphones jack. What it does is to monitor the signal sent to the speaker against the sound coming out of it but, frankly, if you’re listening to music through any mobile phone speaker, there’s something a bit wrong with you.

Fortunately, the phone is NFC-enabled and will work tap-and-go style to bring music to any Beats compatible speakers that hit the market. Plenty of fun to be had there. Speaking of fun, the HTC One X+ is a PlayStation-certified handset, meaning that you can download and play any Sony PlayStation game from Google Play in the knowledge that you’re getting some kind of authentic experience.

On the TV and film side of the equation, HTC Sense 4+ brings with it an update to the rental and streaming service that will now be known as HTC Watch 2.0. Again, the changes aren’t earth-shattering. There are more services inside, including relevant movie apps, and you can use a three-fingered gesture to fling your phone viewing to your TV if you happen to have an HTC Media Link hooked up as well.

For the operating system, the HTC One X+ will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with updates coming to the HTC One X and One S later in November/December. What we like very much, though, is the introduction of a service called Get Started. It allows you to pre-configure all the settings on your HTC One X+ via the HTC Sense website before your handset has arrived. When it does turn up, you head to the Get Started area on your phone, log in with your Sense account and, hey presto, your mobile jumps into line. Very nice.

So, aside of all that, the HTC One X+ is pretty much the same kettle of bananas. It's the same 4.7-inch 1280 x 700 pixel resolution display with the same 8.9mm profile. In fact, the only other difference to note is that it's a whole 5g heavier, but we're pretty sure you can cope with that.

The HTC One X+ will be available from early to mid-October for £479.99. There are no Beats headphones included in the box as standard and nor is there a charger if you happen to be buying it through O2. The global version of the handset is LTE-compatible but there will be no HTC One X+ LTE in the UK and Europe. You’ll have to go with the HTC One XL for any 4G action over on EE.

iPhone 5 camera review

Motorola RAZR i review