HTC Desire X review
|Review: November 2012|
Last updated September 2013
In a nutshell: The HTC Desire X is a strong mid-range phone with no obvious shortcomings. Highlight features include the 4 inch Super LCD screen, fast dual-core processor, 5 megapixel camera with good low-light performance and the larger-than-average battery.
Slimmer model, bigger screen
The HTC Desire X is a mid-range Android smartphone that updates the popular Desire S. The Desire X has grown in size by a few millimetres to accommodate a larger 4 inch display, but it's still a relatively compact smartphone and it's quite a bit thinner than the old Desire S. Subtle curves make it feel even slimmer and it sits nicely in the palm. At 114g it's quite lightweight for a smartphone too.
The 4 inch display is of Super LCD type, so it's sharp and bright and can be used outdoors without too much trouble. The 480 x 800 pixel resolution is sharp enough for a 4 inch screen and is as good as you'd expect in this mid-range price bracket. We'd say that the screen is one of the best in the mid-range.
Ice Cream Sandwich
The Desire X runs Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. This isn't the latest version, and we'd hope for an update to Jelly Bean 4.1 quite soon, but even so it's a good, well-proven operating system that won't let you down.
HTC's own customisations and additions to Android (HTC Sense 4) make the user interface even easier to use, with widgets and tools to help set up the phone and carry out everyday tasks.
The phone is powered by a fast 1GHz dual-core processor. This delivers the right amount of processing power for a device of this type. Whilst it isn't going to set any records, it means that everything runs smoothly, including video playback and games.
768MB of RAM is available to the processor, which definitely marks this out as a mid-range device, but should be sufficient for all but the most demanding apps.
The amount of onboard memory is 4GB, which is reasonable, and you can expand this by adding a microSD memory card to give up to 32GB more.
5 megapixel camera
The camera is a solid performer, with a 5 megapixel sensor, auto focus and an LED flash. Low-light performance is much better than average, thanks to a large f2.0 aperture to let in as much light as possible, and a BSI sensor that gives markedly improved low-light performance. The 28mm wide-angle lens is useful for taking group portraits so you don't crop people off the edge of the picture!
The video capture isn't necessarily the best you can get, as it records in less than HD, but it's adequate for making youtube clips.
A dedicated image chip helps to ensure a fast response when snapping pictures. Continuous shooting mode will take continuous shots at the rate of 2.5 photos per second. You also have the option to shoot video and capture pictures at the same time.
Beats Audio sound quality
In common with premium HTC handsets, the Desire X gives you enhanced studio-quality sound thanks to Beats Audio. This produces deeper bass, crisper vocals and detailed high notes. You'll appreciate this especially if you plug in a pair of headphones via the 3.5mm audio jack.
GPS & connectivity
The phone has a GPS receiver, which can be used with Google Maps to find your location and get directions and access location-based services.
The phone supports dual-band 3G HSPA and quadband GSM (2G) networks.
Wi-Fi support gives you fast data access in a Wi-Fi zone. Bluetooth 4.0 is available for wireless connection to Bluetooth headsets and car kits, and you can use DLNA for wirelessly streaming media to a compatible TV or computer. There's a USB connection and a 3.5mm headphone jack too.
Android smartphones don't get a good press when it comes to battery life, but the 1650mAh battery in the Desire X is larger than most in the mid-range and should certainly get you through one or two days of full use.
Conclusion - a well-rounded mid-ranger
HTC's Desire series have always performed well, and the Desire X ups the performance of the range. The design of the phone may be a little bland, but it's slim, smart and nicely shaped, making it a good choice for anyone turned off by the monster-sized One X+ and similar high-end phones.
The 4 inch Super LCD screen is one of the best screens in this price range, and the dual-core processor packs a punch. The camera has exceptional low-light performance and the Beats Audio feature delivers better than average sound quality.
The phone has all the connectivity options you might want, the memory is adequate and expandable, and battery life is better than most Android phones.
In short, the Desire X is a strong performer across the board with no weaknesses that we can identify. For £15 a month on contract, you really can't go wrong with this one. Similar phones to consider include the LG Optimus L7 and Sony Xperia J, although on balance we prefer the HTC.
HTC Desire X features include:
- 5 megapixel camera with face detection, autofocus and LED flash
- WVGA video recording
- Display: Super LCD capacitive touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability, 480 X 800 pixels (4 inches) with auto-rotate
- GPS receiver with digital compass and Google Maps
- Music player
- Beats Audio
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email
- Ringtones: MP3 ringtones
- Internet: GPRS, EDGE, HSPA (14.4 Mbps download, 5.76 Mbps upload)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, mini-USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm audio jack, DLNA
- Processor: 1 GHz dual core processor
- Memory: 4GB plus 768 MB RAM plus microSD memory card (up to 32GB)
- Vibration alert
- Quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) plus HSPA/WCDMA (900/2100 MHz)
- Size: 119 x 62 x 9.3 mm
- Weight: 114g
- Battery: 1650 mAh
- Talktime: Up to 600 minutes
- Battery standby: 750 - 833 hours
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HTC Desire X user reviews
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Average rating from 4 reviews:
Reviewed by Chris Wyatt from UK on 12th Apr 2013
This phone disappoints - though expensive bought SIM-free it is a cut down version of the old Desire S which remains a much superior phone and a better buy SIM-free on the usual outlets with many,many more useful widgets on offer.
The apps & widgets for the Desire X are very few and this phone although it is said by HTC that it should should does not work with the new version of HTC Sync.The new sync software refuses to download anything into the Desire X neither music or picture albums which it does superbly with the One X.
The back of the phone that has to be removed to put in the Mini-SIM and SD memory car (which is not supplied) is flimsy in the extreme.It needs great care in both removing & replacing it not to break it and it is not a good fit leaving plenty of gaps for dust to enter the interior of the phone.
In short - don't bother - there are better phones for less money.
Reviewed by Tom from UK on 28th Jan 2013
This is my first smartphone, have been behind the rest of the world with my Samsung Jet for a while now so thought I'd take the step up..
First impressions are great, looks really nice, feels excellent in the hand. Set up went fine, all the syncing etc.
First (slight) problem I encountered was when adding widgets/apps to the screens. Getting them on the screen was fine, but to remove them I held down on the icon; they disappeared so i thought it was all ok. Went to put new widgets on screen and it said the screen was full, despite there being nothing on screen. Confused me for a bit, but eventually had to change the scene, then change it back again, where all the old widgets reappeared. So to delete properly you have to drag widget to top right corner where it says remove.
The selection screen for widgets/apps does seem a bit long-winded. 14 pages of widgets and there is no shortcut, if you're on page 1 and want to get to 14 you have to scroll through them all.
Call quality is good, camera good, internet is quick and easy. Messaging is fine, although I've never used a qwerty keyboard much before so changed settings back to the old-school t9 keypad.
Screen is lovely and still bright enough despite turning brightness down to under 50% to save battery.
I'm probably not best placed to comment on battery life as I used to get 5-6 days out of the Jet, so this would always seem poor, but I'd say you get about 2 days of light/average usage.
Few little issues - fingerprints! I've got the black version and the back does love prints, also they tend to be more difficult than usual to wipe from screen.
Volume keys on side could be a bit more responsive, also this is the only way to change sound profile to vibrate or silent. A widget where you could customise a number of profiles would have been better.
Notification light when you've got a text only lasts for 5 minutes (I think this is standard for HTC phones), would be nice if there was an option to increase this time.
Overall despite a few minor problems I'd definitely recommend this phone, especially if you're new to smartphones or looking for one at a good price.
Reply by john from uk on 1st Feb 2013
Thinking of getting this phone. Had an original Desire, but had to always keep juggling the apps due to low memory. What space is there for apps, after the OS systems installed? Thanks.
Reviewed by Sophie from UK on 30th Nov 2012
After browsing this website and reading a lot of reviews on different mobile phones, I eventually decided to opt for the HTC Desire X. Oh, I'm so glad I did! I love this phone.
The design is great. The phone sits so comfortably in the hand (I'm not a fan of huge phones...a reason why I didn't want the Samsung Galaxy S3 etc) thanks to the curved design. The back of the phone is good too - some say it's a bit flimsy but for me it wasn't a problem.
Internet browsing is good too. Very easy and loads fast. Texting is good, buttons are very responsive and are easy to hit, can also rotate the screen so keypad is bigger and more spaced out, if that's your preference. Only problem is the language key is too close to the comma key - something the below reviews also acknowledges as well. This is a only a small problem though, and it shouldn't be too big a problem if you are mindful of it.
The battery is good as well, it manages to last me about 1-2 days without charging. The phone will also tell you what is using your battery the most, so if your battery is draining a lot it's good to see what might be the problem. I installed a live wallpaper (it was a Christmas one where it constantly snowed - I loved it) but I had to change it because it drained my battery too much. However, I still put it on from time to time, although I find that the battery doesn't tend to last me as long as usual.
There's a lot more factors which I could mention, but in short, it's a fantastic phone. I highly recommend that you buy it if you want an affordable droid with all the capabilities you need, and then some.
Reviewed by Rod from UK on 17th Nov 2012
Having been a long-time Blackberry user(and before that Palm) my first impressions of this phone were 'wow'. The screen is superb (and plenty big enough), it's lightning fast and the user interface is very easy to use. The virtual keyboard was always going to be a challenge but I was so impressed with everything else I put that aside initially.
It was easy to navigate from the outset and within a few days I felt completely at home with it. Set-up was very straightforward and connections and syncing all went smoothly and quickly. Within minutes of turning it on email accounts were active, GPS had found my location, wi-fi had connected and my Google accounts had been synced.
It might be lacking a few high end features but its crammed with everything I need, and then some. The excellent screen is just the right size for viewing text, pictures, web browsing etc. and the phone fits in the hand perfectly. The camera is more than adequate, fires up quickly and gives excellent results. Call quality is better than any phone I've had since an old Nokia 6210 (which was probably the best ever!) and the output from both headphones and speaker is very good. Email is not quite up to Blackberry's standard but is plenty good enough. The notification bar contains all the info you need - incoming messages, facebook etc. as well as events that happen in the background.
I always personalise my phones with new apps so I'd soon downloaded and tried loads before deciding which were useful and which could be dumped. I've now got all I need to automate many functions and make the phone even easier to use. Not one app caused a crash or any sort of conflict and the whole system seems very stable - very impressive. The choice of apps is enormous and installing from Google Play is very easy and super-fast (as is uninstalling).
So to the keyboard. I knew moving from physical keys would be tricky and initially it was. But the HTC keyboard is actually very responsive so once I got used to the fact the keys didn't need to be hit so hard it soon became quite easy to use. Word prediction is good and gets better as it learns from your typing and the tactile feedback is just right. I tried out third party keyboards but found the HTC version was just as good, so I've kept to that. I'm a couple of weeks in now and typing speeds are nearly up to my Blackberry speeds, so I'm quite happy. My only niggle is the voice recorder key is too close to the comma key and it's easy to launch the recorder by mistake.
My only real gripe is the battery - it's woefully inadequate in everyday use. I know all smartphones are hungry but so far I've not had one full day out of it. According to the system manager more than 70% of the usage is the screen (yet I have it set to about 75% brightness and it turns of after 30 seconds). GPS, wi-fi, bluetooth and syncing (and I use all of them daily) account for less than 5% each, which is surprising. So clearly this brilliant screen comes at the price of battery life. Having said that the battery does seem to be getting better as it settles in so perhaps it takes a while to reach peak performance?
Of course, this is my first Android handset and I'm comparing it with a Blackberry, so Android aficionados might find some flaws, but for me this phone excels. It's only classed as a mid-range phone but I can't see how any top-end model can do any better. In a word, it's fantastic!
Reply by tony k from UK on 19th Nov
Whenever I use GPS on my old HTC desire the battery drains in less than a day compared to over a day when it isn't on. So - it's the gps usage doing the draining.