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

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42 comments

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:18

Let me rephrase my question: why would having a split-second difference in switching between homescreens make any difference to anyone?

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:20

It's user experience. Some notice, some don't. Others notice, but don't care.

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:24

Yeah, i agree. But in a trade-off i would definately settle for slight lag if it means getting better features.

Livven  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:26

That's your choice ;)

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:26

Let me rephrase my question: why would having a split-second difference in switching between homescreens make any difference to anyone?

Not me, but some people have itchy fingers - they want to be able to quickly scroll and hit a link/icon. The correct link/icon. On my Samsung Galaxy S more than once I hit the wrong stuff, cause, boy, did it lag in its UI... Again, I don't care much, but I have read
literally thousands of comments by users who find a jittery/laggy scrolling experience very annoying indeed - be it Android or Symbian, or BB, or indeed some iOS apps (they aren't all immune, either)

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:33

Lets face it, "better features" is much too personal an expression. People buy WP devices, and often the "smooth UI" is listed as the grand reason. Even when it came out without any multitasking etc etc etc, some still liked it better than iOS or Android. Some think 50,000 apps aren't enough - and hey, if 50,001 is their favourite app, they are "right"... some people obsess about theming - others don't care... Pffft

trob6969  Mar. 3, 2012 at 17:37

janst/ MOD yeah thats right. From what i've seen, none of the current phones/tablets from any of the said companies have enough delay to dishearten me...its just not that big an issue for me.

JoeShaw791  Mar. 3, 2012 at 20:12

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]
I replied to your comment on that, the reason it was laggy is because the app wasn't optimized properly for ICS. And that wasn't the quad core htc one x either.

eteyen1  Mar. 4, 2012 at 19:55

correct me if I'm wrong, but the version of the one x in the video which has the lag is the american one, which isnt actually quad core..

So you cant realistically comment on the quad core one x having lags..?

kore  Mar. 5, 2012 at 02:28

it doesnt matter if its not the quad core, the duel core is the faster of the two anyway. look at the benchmarks and numerous tests, they all show that both cpu's performance is almost identical.

AndyTurfer  Mar. 5, 2012 at 13:31

This demonstrates Google's attitude towards the CPU/GPU suboptimal rendering pipeline issue (whatever you want to call it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9S5EO7CLjo&t=2m00s

I've noticed how jerky scrolling is on Android tablets. It's no wonder why Android Tablets are not selling well.

There's something that's "just not right" with Android rendering, and it manifests as jerky/stuttery scrolling, which in turn destroys the human interaction user experience (the magic disappears).

graddick  Mar. 8, 2012 at 10:17

Can someone clear something up for me? I watched the launch of the one x on youtube and they said the phone body was specially treated alluminium not polycarbonate, which is it?

graddick  Mar. 8, 2012 at 10:21

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.


What about apple's attitude to providing less phone for more money, that doesn't bother you ?

AndyTurfer  Mar. 9, 2012 at 11:13


What about apple's attitude to providing less phone for more money, that doesn't bother you ?


To put it bluntly, no, it does not. I do not mind paying for quality. I have gone through six high-end handsets, and all have been nothing but irritating. When I weigh that up against the cost of a single iPhone that could be upgraded every 18 months, it makes perfect economical sense.

Not only is the user-experience a priority on the iOS platform, you also get better quality apps in the app store.

A little off-topic here, but I've just purchased a Nokia N9 too :). Love it!!

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 9, 2012 at 11:21

Have you managed to upgrade your N9 to PR1.2??? I'm at war with Nokia hahaha Mine's still without an update, and Nokia keep referring me to support sites that son't support the N9 o_O

I loved my N9 - for about 2 hours.
And by the way: mind that screen. It's not nearly as scratch-proof as other Gorilla Glass screens ;)

AndyTurfer  Mar. 9, 2012 at 11:50

Have you managed to upgrade your N9 to PR1.2??? I'm at war with Nokia hahaha Mine's still without an update, and Nokia keep referring me to support sites that son't support the N9 o_O

No, I have not! I didn't even know there was a "PR1.2" update (I've only had the phone for a day)! I will search around the forums for info and report back here if I find anything :).

I loved my N9 - for about 2 hours.
And by the way: mind that screen. It's not nearly as scratch-proof as other Gorilla Glass screens ;)


Thanks for the heads up! I'll be careful with the screen :).

Livven  Mar. 9, 2012 at 15:09

Can someone clear something up for me? I watched the launch of the one x on youtube and they said the phone body was specially treated alluminium not polycarbonate, which is it?
One S is aluminum, One X polycarbonate.

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