First look: HTC One X+ shines

New flagship Android phone could be a hit for troubled maker

HTC's One X+ could be the sort of flagship phone that helps the Taiwan-based phone maker reverse its recent financial misfortunes.

The HTC One X+ smartphone.

The carrier announced this week that its third-quarter net profit fell 79%, but that shouldn't prevent potential customers from looking at this new phone.

I had a chance to play with the new device for a few minutes at MobileCon Tuesday and found the display's brilliance and colors trulystunning. The size, feel and styling were more comfortable and enticing than any other Android phone I've held (and I've held many of them.)

What's more, the quad-core 1700 MHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor's fastness also shows well when swiping through screens and opening apps, even in a quick first-time tryout.

Jeff Gordon, online communications manager for HTC, said he expects AT&T will sell the One X+ in the coming months for about $199, although no official price has been announced. "It really fits the label of a flagship phone," he told me. Some reports have indicated it will launch in November.

With its pre-loaded Jelly Bean (Android 4.1), the One X+ will lure many Android users who want the latest thing, but it will also come with fast LTE wireless and Beats Audio. The value of Beats Audio is not to be overlooked, and contributed immensely to the music playing qualities of the HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless, which I reviewed in July.

But the display deserves more mention. At 4.7-in. and 720 x 1280, it is large and clear. A Super LCD 2 screen seems to make its colors more vivid as well. When held at an angle, the colors don't seem to lose their richness.

HTC also added an 8 megapixel back camera and a 1.6 megapixel front camera, an improvement over the original HTC One X, which sold well on AT&T, Gordon said. A big 2100 mAh battery and 32 GB of internal storage might seal the deal for many potential buyers interested in taking and storing photos or viewing photos and video. The camcorder is 1080p HD quality.

For a quick first-look, the HTC One X+'s size and styling made the biggest impression on me. The polycarbonate case is soft, and the device is fairly light at 4.7 ounces, a little more than the industry average of 4.1 ounces. Overall, it is 5.29 in. x 2.75 in. x 0.35-in.

Just one small design in the One X+ could become a flaw. The rear camera protrudes slightly from the back and would seem to be easily damaged or scratched when it is constantly laid down and picked up. I mentioned this to Gordon, who said he carried the first-generation device for months, and never had a problem with damage to the glass cover over the camera's lens.

Still, given the other qualities, HTC deserves to gain some traction with its One X+ when it finally ships.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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Matt Hamblen

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