HTC Desire X - Reasonably Good Mid-Range Android Phone

1/9/2013 5:58:06 PM

The Desire X is a new mid-range handset from HTC. Does it live up to its names’s prestigious past?

The mid-range smartphone sector is bursting with handsets: some good, some bad. It’s the most difficult segment into which to release a new phone. There’s none of the attention-grabbing highlights of the flagship models, or the cheap thrills of the budget world. Differentiation is tough in the mid-range market, and there’s a danger your phone will be drowned out among the noise. But none of this has stopped HTC from plonking the new Desire X right into the heart of it.

But none of this has stopped HTC from plonking the new Desire X right into the heart of it.

But none of this has stopped HTC from plunking the new Desire X right into the heart of it.

The Desire brand still radiates cool, even though the original Desire launched way back in 2010. That phone’s sleek lines and fab optical track pad stole a good many hearts back in the day — it was one ok% the first devices to really push Android into the mainstream but the Desire X by comparison feels like it adds nothing new to the party. Considering the features on board, the Desire X does come in at a reasonable price, but there’s not a lot about this phone that actually sells it as an object of, ahem, desire. This is going to be a hard sell for HTC in such a packed market.

Design-wise, the Desire X shares a few of the characteristics of the One X, but none of its premium level class, and just about avoids being called bland thanks to top and bottom edges which taper to a point and a small lip on the bottom that’s characteristic of a lot of HTC phones. The phone is quite thin, and its rubber back plate helps with grip.

The headset slot is slightly off center on the top edge thanks to the on/off switch that’s located bang in the middle. The volume rocker sits on the right edge. We don’t really like the left edge positioning of the micro USB connector, or the fact that the micro SD card slot is underneath the backplate, making hot-swapping cards tricky.

The phone is quite thin, and its rubber backplate helps with grip.

The phone is quite thin, and its rubber backplate helps with grip.

The backplate itself is the noticeable weak link in the chassis design. It is incredibly thin, and while it feels secure when it’s locked firmly in position, when we removed it, it bent and bowed remarkably. We’d be concerned about its prospects for avoiding cracking in the long term, especially if you tend to juggle more than one micro SD card in your Android smartphones.

If there is one high spot in the HTC Desire X it is the screen. It is a four-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels on offer, and while that is far from a show-stopping specification it’s a nice feature to have in a handset of this price. The screen is bright and clear too, its Super LCD making a good job of displaying webpages and other content. And the touch sensitivity is positive too.

The dual-core 1GHz processor is another plus point. We felt the HTC Desire X zipped along nicely with its work, and we didn’t notice any laggy behavior. The software is a version of HTC’s Sense 4 skin seen previously on the One series. Although it makes some rettv considerable changes to the look and feel of the OS, it is mostly quite effective, and certainly not as overblown as we’ve seen in the past. The presence of Android 4.0 is another good thing, and this has allowed HTC to implement the feature of being able to shoot a still while taking a video. We also like the fact that there is a burst mode capable of shooting 2.5 shots a second.

There’s no front camera, and the main camera shoots stills to five megapixels. It has a flash which will use one of five brightness levels depending on how far away the subject is. This is a neat feature, though we still wouldn’t want to rely on the HTC Desire X for indoor photography.

Less good is that the headline 4GB of built-in memory actually hides the fact that there is a paltry 1GB of storage available out of the box. You’re going to need to invest in a micro SD card early on. And in the end, when it comes down to what’s actually here in terms of software, there isn’t anything new or exciting to be had.

What this all means is that the HTC Desire X is a reasonably good mid-range Android handset, with the latest OS version on board, and HTC’s good Sense skin. It does its job pretty well in most areas, meeting and at times exceeding expectations. It just doesn’t offer much to get excited about.

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