Saturday, January 19, 2013

HTC ONE X and Powerskin battery case review

HTC ONE X and Powerskin battery case review 

My journey from the iPhone world to the Android one began a few months ago when a friend gave me his old HTC Inspire to use in place of my iPhone 4s. I was immediately smitten by the Inspire's relatively large screen.  While this particular droid had its drawbacks,  a slow single core processor and the older Gingerbread version of the Android OS,  I was sufficiently impressed with it to decide to make the jump into the Google smartphone universe.   

I was very happy with the overall build quality of the Inspire so I wanted to go with another HTC offering as my main communicator.  I eventually settled the HTC One X.  So far,  I'm very happy with it.  As nice as the 4.3 inch screen was on the Inspire, the 4.7 screen on the One X is even more terrific.  All that screen real estate makes reading emails and websites very easy on my 47 year old eyes.  My iPhone's 3.5 inch screen looks tiny by comparison.  Even the 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5 seems dinky to me too.  It's amazing to me how our expectations change so quickly these days.  When the iPhone came out,  I was astounded at how it was possible to get real use out of it.  Now that working and playing this way have become normal,  that novelty has worn off to some degree.  The HTC One X,  with its much bigger screen feels fresh in comparison.  That increase in screen real estate,  coupled with another droid screen feature,  was enough to get me to put my iPhone away for keeps.

The One X comes loaded with version 4 of the Android OS, commonly known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Google seems to like sugary names for its OS versions. Gingerbread was the previous one and Jelly Bean is rolling out now. I've read that the One X is slated to get Jelly Bean at some point soon. The phone is powered by a 1.5 GHz microprocessor that speeds things along smoothly and with little, if any, noticeable lag. Storage is 16gb internally that is not expandable via an sd card unfortunately. There is a 1.3 megapixel camera up front for video chats and an excellent 8 megapixel shooter in the rear.  Sound quality both on calls and for music is great to my ear. Data speeds on AT&T's LTE network are very fast indeed. Lastly, battery life is adequate for a day's use but I went one better as described below.

I mentioned earlier that there was another feature of the droid screen that I found very compelling. This would be the way that text auto wraps and scales to fit the screen when you pinch to zoom. I doubt that many dedicated iPhone users realize that droids can do this since iPhones cannot. When you pinch to zoom on an iPhone, the text gets bigger alright but it goes right off the screen forcing the reader to then scroll left to right. The HTC One X, and other droids I believe, are able to scale the zoomed text to word wrap on the screen and thus eliminate the need for lateral scrolling. That little feature alone makes reading anything on my One X a pleasure. 

Here is the Wall Street Journal Home Page

Here is an example of the same Wall Street Journal with the text zoomed and scaled/word wrapped to make reading easier

Another pleasant surprise for me was Google Play. This is the Google equivalent of iTunes and the selection of available apps and music is plenty big. Except for Matching With Friends, I've been able to find my other old iPhone favorites in their Android form.

As for the battery life of the One X, it's acceptable out of the box but there is an extended battery solution as well. The large black case you see on my phone is called a Powerskin. Like the popular Mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone, the Powerskin is a protective case with a built in battery. Powerskin opted for a form fitting silicon design which combines good protection with an additional 1500 milliamp battery. It doesn't quite double battery life but it's close enough for me. It does, to be sure, add some bulk to the sleek One X but that is an acceptable compromise in my opinion. The Powerskin is also very easy to grip and your phone won't slide around in one.

I'm pretty confident that I'll be using this combo for a long time to come. As much as it pains me to say it, Apple's iPhone has been passed by in my opinion. And, for a long time Apple fan like me, that's not an easy thing to admit. 

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