Group Test: HTC One X vs. Sony Xperia U vs. Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Huawei Ascend P1 (Part 1)

11/20/2012 8:50:33 AM

Phone processors are getting faster and faster. But is there a real difference between them or is it just a numbers game? We found out...

There are two main ways in which a new generation of Android devices is judged - screen size and processor speed. While the former seems to have hit its limit with massive 4.8-inch displays, the latter is an ongoing bloody battle where bigger numbers are always better, and the numbers can never be big enough.

With clock speeds pretty well exhausted, the focus has moved on to the number of cores a processor has. The theory is that more cores can make a system more efficient, as more horsepower Is put into a single, demanding task (such as a 3D game), or shared between several tasks running simultaneously. But in all cases the software needs to be optimised for this. So while it may be a no-brainer that a quad-core device will offer better results than a dual-core, the reality may be different.

We had this in mind when testing the Galaxy S III and HTC One X, both quad-core handsets, and the dual-cored Sony Xperia S and Huawei PI. In a real world test will you notice the difference, and are those extra cores worth the premium price? Read on to find out...


The HTC One X has a striking design that suits its position as one of the world’s most powerful handsets

Description: Description: Description: HTC One X

Lighter, but heavier!

The feel of the HTC One X certainly emits a strong aura of build quality which could explain why it felt heavier to hold than the similarly sized Samsung, despite on paper the latter weighing 3g more

Camera lens

We felt in some ways that the camera lens, which protrudes slightly from the back of the casing, seems a little less refined. Of course, this was done to prevent the casing from being too thick, but it did little to enhance the design

Description: Description: Description: Camera lens

Camera features

The HTC’s camera does provide a nice range of features including the ability to shoot videos and capture images at the same time. Mind you, for the extra $208 you pay over the Sony, the latter still provided the better images

4.7-inch IPS screen

The IPS LCD2 panel does provide great viewing angles and a more natural tone to the colours, which was evident when watching HD videos or playing games. But, in our opinion, the Super AMOLED technology of the Huawei and Samsung produced more vibrant viewing angles

The HTC One X is a strikingly designed handset, unique in its look and with a real quality finish. It feels slightly heavier to hold than the S III, despite actually being lighter, but this could be due to the choice of materials used which does offer a slightly more premium feel.

The smooth design is spoilt somewhat by the camera lens that sticks out the back of the casing (and leaves the lens prone), and similarly to the Sony, there is no access to the battery or a memory card slot. You get 26MB of available storage for your files, and HTC does supply an extra 25GB of free Dropbox storage, although you will need access to a fast Wi-Fi connection to make this a reliable alternative.

Powering up the HTC gives you your first glimpse of the spectacular screen. The SLCD2 panel produces a more natural colour tone when watching streamed HD content from YouTube for example, and it is bright and crisp to view. You’ll also find HTC’s Sense 4.0 Ul in place, which for the most part offers a smooth Android experience and it’s joined by a nice range of apps, Including its Beats Audio technology which certainly brought headphone playback to life. But in all honesty the Samsung’s Ul felt more exciting to use.

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The IPS LCD2 panel does provide great viewing angles and a more natural tone to the colours, which was evident when watching HD videos or playing games

Also, with the omission of the physical Android Menu button, you’ll find that some games will sacrifice screen space to accommodate the onscreen variant. However, for full-screen games, such as the EA titles that you can try or download like Dead Space, this showcased just how good the platform can be for games, both visually and In performance. We couldn’t praise it highly enough.

Likewise, the large screen helps with typing over the smaller Huawei and it partners well with the supplied Polaris Office for document creation. In the four benchmarks we ran (Vellamo, AnTuTu, CF-Bench and Quadrant) the HTC One X was streets ahead of the dual-core devices, as you would expect. Only the Samsung managed to better it on three accounts by a very small margin.

The One X’s camera also provided a solid range of features such as being able to take photos and videos at the same time, but while the images were good, it still could not match the brilliant Sony in terms of its final image quality.

Battery life was marginally better than the latter device but due to the large screen you’ll need regular charges if you play a lot of games.

Head to head


The phone offers exceptional build quality over Its closest quad-core competitor and feels heavier to hold, despite being lighter on paper. However, the camera lens on the back spoils the design a touch, as does the lack of access to the battery.

General performance

In our benchmark tests it scored 1931 in Vellamo (which tests browser performance) versus the Sony’s 1620, which is not a vast improvement. But in the comprehensive multi-core CF-Bench tests it streaked ahead. Blisteringly quick.


The Ul felt less exciting than the Samsung, but it still proved effective. Its Beats Audio technology also enhanced headphone playback. The 4.7-inch HD screen looked great for watching videos. The camera was good, but still no match for Sony’s.

Battery life

Battery life proved less effective for heavy gaming sessions, so expect daily charges. In our video playback tests (we set the backlight to full with Wi-Fi active) it dropped to 67 per cent from a full charge.


A powerful handset with exceptional build quality, but the Ul and camera quality are not up with the best


Price:  $715

More information:

Technical specs

Operating system........Android 4.0.4 (upgradeable to 4.1)

Processor...........................Nvidia Tegra 3: quad-core 1.5 GHz

Memory...............................1GB RAM, 32GB (26GB free); No expansion

Dimensions......................134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm


Display..................................4.7-inch Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1,280 pixels

Connectivity....................Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps

Camera...............................8-MP rear (LED flash), 1.3-MP front camera, 1080p @24fps


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