The HTC is a premium product and it looks like one. It’s a large phone, but slim at just under 9mm thick. We love the strong minimalistic design and the look and feel of the unibody casing and the curved Gorilla Glass protecting the screen. It’s available in traditional white and black colours.
The Galaxy S3 is a whisker slimmer than the HTC and has a curvier design. Admittedly it’s more plastic than the HTC, but it’s not necessarily any weaker or less durable. We also like the choice between white and blue colours. But most people agree that it doesn’t have the same premium feel as the HTC One X.
The HTC is equipped with a huge 4.7 inch Super LCD display with a HD resolution (1280 x 720 pixels). It’s an extraordinary screen and one of the best on any mobile phone.
The Samsung has an ever so slightly larger display, at 4.8 inches. It uses Super AMOLED technology and is also HD, with the same resolution as the HTC. Both screens are superb examples of their type, but holding the two next to each other, we think the Samsung has the edge.
The HTC One X was the first quadcore phone to hit the shops and the Galaxy S3 was the second. The One X uses an NVIDIA processor ticking along at an incredible 1.5GHz and the S3 runs at 1.4GHz. Both have a full gigabyte of RAM to back them up. Both phones run incredibly fast and you’ll be hard-pressed to pick the fastest. If you have to pick a winner, the HTC probably just wins.
The One X significantly elevates HTC’s photographic capabilities. An 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and an unusually large f2.0 lens gives it the potential to be a brilliant camera phone, and with the quadcore processor and a dedicated imaging chip, it fully lives up to the highest expectations. A smart LED flash automatically determines the optimum level of light for any given shot. The camera can also record at full 1080p HD resolution, and you can even capture a still shot whilst videoing.
The Samsung exactly matches the capabilities of the HTC, so it’s almost impossible to pick a winner in this respect.
Operating system and user interface
The One X runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) but it also comes with HTC Sense 4. The Sense user interface overlays Android with a wealth of features, making it a much more refined experience than raw Android. Some are obvious, such as the weather/clock widget on the home screen. Others are more subtle, yet just as important.
Samsung have also customised Android, using their TouchWiz user interface. The result is similar, but perhaps less slick. On the other hand, the S3 features some rather advanced technology, such as S Voice, a voice recognition system that reproduces some of the functionality of Apple’s Siri voice recognition tool. Direct Call switches between messaging and voice calling depending on whether you’re holding the phone to your ear. Smart Stay uses the front camera to check if you’re still looking at the screen and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly.
Smartphones are well known for being power-hungry, so a large battery is a must. The HTC comes with a 1800mAh battery, which is certainly larger than most, but with the huge number of power-guzzling features on this phone, you’ll still find yourself charging most nights. Worryingly the battery is non-removable, so if you have a fault or if the battery simply loses capacity over the months and years to come, you’re stuck.
Samsung have provided an even larger battery for the S3, at 2100mAh. And it’s a removable battery, so you can easily replace it if there are problems. That’s a big advantage, especially given the huge power requirements of these Android superphones.
There’s no doubt about it. Both of these phones are superb products, and whichever one you choose, you’ll have picked a winner. For some, the superior looks of the HTC combined with the joys of Sense 4 make the One X the best. But the Samsung has many things in its favour, not least the removable battery. We don’t think there’s a clear winner – it’s down to personal preferences. Hopefully this article has helped you make the right decision.
Overall winner: draw