How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)With a new simplified range of devices, HTC is looking to steal back some marketshare from its rivals, especially after a pretty lackluster fourth quarter that ended a two-year growth streak. The One X is the flagship of the three new Android smartphones HTC has introduced at MWC, and and while it is pretty impressive on its own, how does it stack up against the Galaxy Nexus?

Both devices are roughly the same size and weight (which is to say, very light), and come with huge 4.7in HD displays. The One X features a faster Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, compared to the 1.2 GHz dual-core on the Galaxy Nexus.

While both displays seem to be pretty much identical, in terms of size and resolution, there's actually a huge difference between them. The Galaxy Nexus comes with an AMOLED, which has very saturated colors and, most importantly, pretty much perfect blacks. However, and especially so in direct comparison to the more traditional SLCD (which is really just a fancy marketing term for IPS panels) found on the One X, the PenTile matrix is noticeably less sharp, and colors often tend to look odd. Furthermore, if you decrease the brightness, you'll notice graininess on the Galaxy Nexus.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

Another significant difference lies in the actually available screen estate – while both phones have a 1280x720 resolution, the Galaxy Nexus uses some of that space to emulate the back, home and taskswitcher buttons on the display, while the HTC One X sticks to more traditional capacitive buttons.

In terms of hardware design, the two devices couldn't be further apart: the Galaxy Nexus is extremely thin and sleek, while the One X combines HTC's signature style with some elements found on the Nokia Lumia 800/900 devices: the body is made of a single piece of machined polycarbonate, and the screen is slightly curved outward and goes flush into the polycarbonate, which makes it much more comfortable to swipe horizontally, for example to switch between homescreens. To that effect, the polycarbonate body is matte on the back, but glossy on the side – to further aid your finger gliding from side to side. It may sound trivial and not much to think about, but in practical use, we found it to be an extremely nice touch, giving it even another advantage over the Galaxy Nexus.

Let's look at the software.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

Love or hate Sense, it has been cleaned up considerably in version 4.0, while still adding useful features that you won't found on standard Ie Cream Sandwich builds. For instance, pinch to zoom out on any homescreen and you'll get a helicopter view of all screens, from which you can easily rearrange, add and delete them – which isn't possible on the Galaxy Nexus either, where you're stuck with five homescreens.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

Also, adding widgets is slightly more streamlined with HTC Sense, since you'll get a nice zoomed out view of your homescreens which makes switching between them a bit faster.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

Even in Ice Cream Sandwich, Android still does not have a quick-dial feature that lets you quickly search through contacts and recently called numbers using the keypad.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

The task switcher in Sense 4.0 is also very different, and features an interface similar to Cover Flow. Sure, it's largely a matter of personal taste on which implementation you prefer, but the Sense implementation has at least one thing going for it: it's smooth.

While the shift to a hardware accelerated UI began in Android 3.0, there's still a fair amount of lag even on the Galaxy Nexus. Disregarding third-party apps, swiping between homescreens and scrolling through the task list simply isn't as smooth as on the HTC One X, although that's only noticeable in direct comparison. Much more noticeable is the lag in the picture gallery, where zooming and panning around pictures feels super slow. HTC seems to have done a much better job overall optimizing the performance of its interface, and in contrast to previous versions Sense is now actually faster than stock Android.

How does the HTC One X stack up against the Galaxy Nexus? (from MWC 2012)

Last but not least, there's the camera. The camera app in stock Ice Cream Sandwich has definitely improved compared to earlier iterations, but it's still far behind custom versions from HTC, Samsung and the like in terms of looks, usability and features. HTC's camera app uses screen estate much more efficiently, and comes with fancy features such as photo capture while recording a video. Also, even without a full review, we can safely assume that the camera on the HTC One X is most probably better than the rather lackluster one found on the Galaxy Nexus, which has been critized as a step backwards from Samsung's Galaxy S II.

So, to answer the initial question (sort of), from our initial hands-on impressions we'd say that the HTC One X is, in many ways, clearly superior to the Galaxy Nexus. With a better display, more thoughtful hardware design, faster processor (though I doubt anyone would notice the difference between dual and quad core processors, except for battery life), and overall better software, HTC has created a fantastic flagship device that rivals if not surpasses the current Nexus device.

In fact, considering how fast the Android ecosystem moves forward, that is actually not surprising at all – for those that absolutely want direct updates from Google, or cannot stand any customized Android versions, the Galaxy Nexus is still a great, albeit the only, choice. However, the HTC One X and, later, Samsung Galaxy S III are probably going to leave it behind, just as the Galaxy S II quickly stole the show from the Nexus S last year.

Read more about: HTC One XSamsung Galaxy NexusAndroid

Add a comment
42 comments

lutin  Mar. 2, 2012 at 14:12

Great comparison. Thanks.

AndyTurfer  Mar. 2, 2012 at 14:18

I'm reluctant to purchase another Android device, even one that's a quad-core, as I'm too worried about the legacy Android lag appearing. I've noted Google's attitude towards this matter - they simply don't seem to care and seem to want people to believe there is no problem.

I'll wait, see what Apple comes out with.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 2, 2012 at 15:20

I'm reluctant to purchase another Android device, even one that's a quad-core, as I'm too worried about the legacy Android lag appearing. I've noted Google's attitude towards this matter - they simply don't seem to care and seem to want people to believe there is no problem.

I'll wait, see what Apple comes out with.


I'm too worried about the legacy Android lag appearing
Sorry? Do you mean the delayed/fragmented updates? Not sure I understand.

AndyTurfer  Mar. 2, 2012 at 17:46

I'm too worried about the legacy Android lag appearing
Sorry? Do you mean the delayed/fragmented updates? Not sure I understand.[/quote]

I mean the 'stuttery/jerky' scrolling that manifests in every single Android handset. Here is an example of it happening on the HTC One X:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWC4l2EsGSU&t=6m58s

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 2, 2012 at 18:33

I'm too worried about the legacy Android lag appearing
Sorry? Do you mean the delayed/fragmented updates? Not sure I understand.


I mean the 'stuttery/jerky' scrolling that manifests in every single Android handset. Here is an example of it happening on the HTC One X:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWC4l2EsGSU&t=6m58s

[/quote]
Gotcha ;)
Yes, I noticed that on both the original Samsung Galaxy S and on the SGS2...well, on every Android phone I used. It can be nagging, though I've experienced worse. But sure, on the iPhone 4 and 4S it rarely happens.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 05:24

So what you're saying is that you won't tolerate an Android phone having LITERALLY a fraction of a second lag, but you're ok with Apple phones lacking a list of features that Android has standard?!...i'll never understand the illogical thinking of Apple's consumer 'zombies'.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 05:30

...i guess it never occured to you that the reason iphones don't lag as much is because its processor doesn't have much to do! You know, due to its lack of features and capabilities! Think about it...

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 3, 2012 at 07:34

TROB,
you are reading a lot into 2 posts about ONE very specific aspect, aren't you?

And please, when did you last really use an iPhone? YOU SEEM to have formed your opinion in 2009 :p
OH, and no, I do not own an iPhone.

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 12:09

Gamers care about fps, which are literally about fractions of seconds. Lag simply ruins the whole user experience.

I guess most who care about smoothness have already either switched to iOS/Windows Phone, or put up with it, so there doesn't appear to be that much pressure from users to fix that.

As for the HTC One X, I've found it to be really smooth. Apart from third-party apps, you won't find much, if any, lag on that device.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 15:34

In response to janst/ MOD: Yeah, actually i read a lot into whatever i read...not only have i used an iphone lately, but it wasn't the "2009" model. It was the 4s. And in comparison to even the low-end Android phones the iphone 4s doesn't stack up to their capabilities. You say lag manifests in every Android handset but you clearly havn't tried many! I own an htc rezound and you are just flat-out wrong! But even IF you were right i would STILL, without hesitation, take an Android phone over an iphone based on the fact that the iphone lacks so many features...why don't you surf the web an research BOTH Apple & its devices, Android & its devices thouroghly then jot down lists of what each is capable of that the other isn't. Then you'll see why i feel the way i do.

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 15:37

Some notice the lag, some don't. Even the HTC One X lags ever so slightly in direct comparison to iOS/Windows Phone.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 15:53

Again, ios phones don't lag as much because its processor doesn't have much to do! Think about it: small screen means less pixels to power, no flash animation to power, and it doesn't have the extra load of 'real' multitasking to keep up with! And even with Android phones coping with those processes, the lag difference is STILL only a fraction of a second if any from what i've seen!

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 15:59

No... the only reason is proper hardware acceleration. Reboot an Android device with 480x800 screen (less than 640x960) without any apps running, and it still lags. But then, force GPU rendering and some apps will suddenly be perfectly smooth (not all though).

And yes, it's only a fraction of a second. Instead of buttery smooth 60fps, you get choppy 20fps. Less than 1/20 of a second makes all the difference.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:07

Trob,
You clearly are not talking to me, because I didn't write that article. And the point about the laggy/jittery scrolling wasn't mine, either.
I use MeeGo and webOS, so, actually, I need no Android aggro lesson about "real multitasking" ;) I actually know what it is. What I do not know is why you are so aggrevated.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:09

What?! Simply NOT true! Your logic is flawed. Everything i mentioned weighs on an electronic device's processor. And the fraction of a second difference in scrolling or app switching is just plain ridiculous to fret over when compared to what you gain in features! C'mon now!

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:11

Well, my logic is not flawed, it's simply fact. You may want to read up a bit, no offense.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:12

Janst/ MOD: me aggrevated?! Sorry if i give that impression, but no im not aggrevated...but my comment does reflect on your's.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:14

And trob, your argument is irrelevant for someone who likes a 3.5in screen, and doesn't need multitasking. Also, not all Android phones truly multitask, and some even have a 3.5in screen or smaller. THEY too jitter.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:16

In response to Livven: actually i have "read up" considerably more than "a bit"! You'ld do good to do the same.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:17

janst/ MOD:...point taken

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:25

GPUs can handle graphics easily, it's what they're designed for. If you let the GPU render the user interface, which is obviously way less sophisticated than, say, 3D games, you'll get perfect 60fps.

On the other hand, CPUs perform very poorly in this regard. If you do some heavy software optimization, it's possible to get everything smooth as well (this is why the Android homescreen, despite being much more heavy with graphics, is usually much smoother than other apps). However, since the CPU is also reponsible for lots of tasks besides graphics, you'll quickly get lag.

This is also the exact reason why forcing GPU rendering on Android will suddenly make some apps perfectly smooth. The GPU doesn't care what the CPU is doing.

And, again, if you compare something rendered in 60fps to something rendered in 20fps, you'll notice a huge difference.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:44

I already know the differences in cpu & gpu specifics and i also realize that in the literal sense a split second makes a considerable difference ONLY in terms of fps rendering! I'm speaking on NON graphics related tasks. But since we're now speaking on graphics processing, i only download games that are heavy in intense graphic rendering & action to my phone and i can honestly say that i have NEVER had an issue with lag on my Android.

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 16:45

I'm talking about the user interface...

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:10

So if you are speaking on ui, then how does a fraction of a second delay have any significance?

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:12

60fps vs 20fps (or even less).

Email:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.

Comment: