The times are changing and we are witnessing another leap of technology as HTC launched the first smartphone powered by a quad-core chipset — the HTC One X!
And new entrants are bound to face comparisions with the existing market-leaders. And hence, we, in this case have selected the Google’s flagship phone — Samsung Galaxy Nexus — as the apt opponent for the One X in a head-to-head battle!
So without much ado, lets go straight to the essentials of the devices one-by-one and check out how they stack-up against in each other in various categories.
Form Factor and Dimensions
HTC One X: 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, 130gm
Samsung Galxaxy Nexus: 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm, 135gm
The looks are the first thing of a device that get the consumer’s attention and distinguish it from other devices. But well, we need to say a thing here.. both these devices have almost identical dimensions! And the waistline too, is totally similar as they are both competetively thin at 8.9 mm each. Otherwise, the One X is slightly wider while the Nexus is that wee-bit longer. Hence, both phones almost break-even when it comes to dimensions. The Nexus does have a curved back which makes it a tad-bit easier to hold. Both these devices stand on the larger side of smartphones with some great screen real-estate.
And about weight of the two devices, we encounter the same similarities as both of them don’t differ by more than 5gms with the Nexus on the heavier side.
HTC One X: Super LCD 2, 4.7″ with 720p res. (312ppi)
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: SuperAMOLED, 4.65″ with 720p res. (316ppi)
The display panels on both these devices are outstanding, to say the least. But which one is better? Well, it depends on your specific demands and needs. The Super LCD2 on the HTC One X is arguably the best LCD panels that we have seen and makes the One X among the brightest of the lot. But the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is equipped with an infinite-contrast ratio SuperAMOLED unit which shall render blacks much deeper than what any LCD can. Sunlight legibility of both these devices has nothing to complain about and the viewing angles are also one of the best in business.
Both these phones also have a 720p resolution and almost the same screen size, but wait a minute! There is something which does make a bit of difference. The Galaxy Nexus has a pentile-matrix pixel arrangement. Not that it is much noticeable, but it does give the HTC One X the upper hand when it comes to brightness (not necessarily whiter) and crispness of the screen. So yes, both of them are market-leaders in screen tech with not much separating them. But our pick among the two would be Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen.
HTC One X: NVidia Tegra 3 quad-core chipset @ 1.5GHz with ULP GeForce GPU
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: TI OMAP Cortex A9 dual-core @ 1.2GHz with PowerVR SGX540 GPU
Here it’s all about the battle between the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 and the dual-core TI Omap Cortex A9. HTC One X is the first phone powered by the 4+1 core Tegra 3 which essentially has 4 cores running at 1.5 GHz and a 5th power-saving core for optimising battery life when there’s not much need of processing-power, and all this working in tandem with the ULP GeForce GPU. While the Galaxy Nexus has the tried and tested TI OMAP chipset running two Cortex A9 cores at 1.2GHz coupled with PowerVR SGX540 GPU.
While one might say that we are biased since we are pitting a device which might not match the performance of the Tegra 3. Neverthless, the Nexus with its 1.2Ghz dual core processor easily handles most of the ardous tasks thrown at it. But when we checked the benchmarks and frame rates in certain environmentaly challenging games and in certain benchmarking apps, the One X easily gained the upper-hand as it maintained a constant framerate around 50fps even where the Nexus faltered. But in the HTML5 test, the Galaxy Nexus managed to beat the One X by a margin and proved that it’s still one of the fastest out there in-terms of browsing performance. Yet, in-terms of raw processing power, the One X is the device to beat.
Software and User Interface
HTC One X: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with HTC Sense 4.0
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Pure Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
This is an area where the two devices differ by a great margin. The One X has extensive skinning of the HTC Sense 4.o UI over Ice Cream Sandwich while the Nexus is known for providing the stock Android experience which is in the flavor of Ice Cream Sandwich this time. Hence, its all about personal preferences here — whether you prefer HTC’s Sense UI or the stock ICS on the Nexus is totally your call.
The Sense 4.0 UI does offer good features and HTC have gone all-out to answer customer feedback with certain fixes here and there. The lockscreen, for one, is now even more interactive and customisable, and, makes it easier than ever to place shortcuts and launch them without needing to unlock the phone before-hand. The notification area too has been tweaked a bit to keep things simple and it no longer houses tabs, toggles, etc. There is the always-welcome deep social-networking integration as has always been the case with HTC Sense. Although too much skinning does have a side-effect on the RAM and processing power, HTC has long distinguished itself from other manufacturers with its deeply customised UI and the One X is no different.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus on the other hand was the first phone with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. This iteration of the Android OS was aimed not only to answer the fragmentation in the Android world but also to offer a refreshed feel. So, the Ice Cream Sandwich update was more of a hybridization of what the Gingerbread and the Honeycomb offered. Also, this is supposed to be the OS which will find a place in smartphones as well as tablets. Anyways, the major eye-catching tweak is the presence of three permanent software keys at the bottom — Back, Home and Recently-used apps. There is presence of pleasing animations throughout the interface and there are quite a few noticeable revamps. The homescreen is now more customisable than ever with a cool inclusion of folder system. To be conclusive, we in particular, are more pleased with the pure Ice Cream Sandwich goodness of the Galaxy Nexus for the time being.
HTC One X: 32GB with 25GB of free Dropbox storage
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 16GB
Here, we have a clear winner. The HTC One X, which has 32GB of internal storage with 25GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years, beats the Galaxy Nexus which just has a 16GB of in-built storage. Both these devices lack any external memory card-slot so we are left to go with the provided storage only. The 16GB storage space on the Galaxy Nexus might be enough for certain people but for users who like to carry there entire music library collection on there smartphones alongwith alot of photos, videos, apps and other content, this limited storage may well be a point of concern and thus they’ll be forced to look towards the HTC One X.
Imaging and Video
HTC One X: Primary - 8 MP with LED flash. Secondary (front) - 1.3 MP
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Primary - 5 MP with LED flash. Secondary (front) - 1.3 MP
Imaging was never one of the strong points of the Nexus and it thus, doesn’t stand much of a chance against the HTC One X. The Galaxy Nexus, much like its predecessor, has the same 5 MP camera with decent image quality and zero-shutter lag. But the HTC One X has got an 8 MP camera with some really good features like simultaneous video and image recording, good low-light performance and zero-shutter lag. The 5 MP resolution of the Nexus is albeit on the lower-resolution side as compared to other top-end phones and hence doesn’t really match the One X. Both devices, on the other hand, record video at the same 1080p resolution at 30fps. But the One X ups the ante here too as it records audio in stereo and also has video stabilization, thus gaining the lead in this department too.
The front-facing camera on both the devices is almost indetical and have the same resolution at 1.3mp and record video at 720p resolution at 30 fps.
The connectivity on both the devices is top-notch with quad-band GSM and HSDPA support. Both have dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and WiFi hot-spot support for sharing your network data connection with your other WiFi-enabled devices. Also, the Galaxy Nexus has Bluetooth v3.0 as compared to v4.0 on the HTC One X, although arguably, its still in its nascent stages of utility.
The battery on both the phones is almost identically rated as the HTC One X has an 1800 mAh battery while the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a 1750mAh one. Now we can’t expect these figures to last much on a quad-core phone. But NVidia have essentially a 5-core mechanism wherein the fifth core chips in when there is no need for much power and hence saving the battery juice. So that definitely increases the battery life on One X compared to Galaxy Nexus and it lasts more than a full day with average-use.
There’s not much of a competition here as the HTC One X is definitely better in terms of performance. The NVidia Tegra 3 chipset on the One X doesn’t really have a competitor here until the dual core Krait CPUs come out which promise to give the best performance from any dual-core we have seen so far. The One X also has Beats audio enhancements which does speak for itself and a really bright and sharp 720p Super LCD2 panel. On the other hand, the ageing Samsung Galaxy Nexus offers the pure vanilla Android experience and obviously, shall always be the first in line for any future update. The screen too, is a 720p SuperAMOLED unit which has been revered since long and offers infinite contrast ratios and deeper blacks than the competition, practically making everything beautiful on the screen.