It seems so long ago. Before Samsung grew into the dominant player, the hottest Android manufacturer was HTC. Fast-forward to today, and HTC is trying to regroup with its series of One phones. Its latest offering is the upgraded version of the One X, dubbed the One X+. How does the new phone compare to its predecessor? Let's take a look.
Google gave HTC a shot in the arm with the first Nexus device, the Nexus One. The Taiwanese company subsequently solidified its status with the hot-selling powerhouse, the HTC EVO 4G. Then HTC made the mistake of going all-in on 3D (has that ever worked for anyone besides James Cameron?) and Beats Audio. This led to a disappointing 2011, and 2012 hasn't fared much better.
HTC's attempt to rebound has come in the One series. It rekindles the type of simple, elegant, and powerful device that put the company on the map. The high-end handset of the bunch, the One X, was praised by critics, but hasn't exactly been a hot seller.
Now HTC is continuing its back-to-basics approach by introducing the One X+. Much like Motorola did with the Droid Razr Maxx, Peter Chou and company are taking their flagship phone and tweaking it in several key areas.
Lets break down the specs between HTC's two One X revisions:
Look familiar? As you can see, the phones are physically identical. These are somewhat beefy phones compared to anorexic handsets like the Droid Razr and iPhone 5, but their sleek design should help make up for that.
The One X+ tips the scales a bit more than its predecessor, because of its superior battery (see below).
The display also stayed the same in the One X+. HTC decided that the terrific 720p resolution, 312 pixels per inch (ppi) screen in the One X was good enough to leave alone. You will probably agree.
Here's another big upgrade in the One X+: a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The global (non-US) version of the One X sported a Tegra 3, but the US version had a dual-core chip. With the One X+, everyone gets in on the quad-core action.
Clocked at 1.7GHz, it looks better on paper than just about any other smartphone CPU.
RAM stayed the same in the One X+, with HTC focusing more on the upgraded processor for a performance boost.
Flash memory also got upgraded in the One X+. It ships with a whopping 64GB of internal memory. This helps to offset the absence of a microSD card slot, which the One X also lacked.
Like with the One X, HTC is also offering 25GB of free Dropbox storage (which is integrated into HTC Sense for photo and video syncing) for two years. Combining physical and cloud storage, that gives One X+ owners a theoretical 89GB for storing files and media.
The One X only supported LTE in the US (the rest of the world got Tegra 3 instead). With the One X+, HTC can finally combine NVIDIA's quad-core chip with "true 4G."
Many global customers, however, will be limited to a non-LTE version of the One X+.
In the US, the One X+ will be exclusive to AT&T.; Keep in mind, though, that AT&T's LTE network is still growing and is only available in select regions.
The One X+ also gets an upgraded battery. The One X has solid battery life, but the X+ should last a full day for most users.
No changes here for the One X+, aside from a slightly upgraded front camera. As the One X has one of the better smartphone cameras available, this isn't a bad area to stand pat.
With two nearly identical phones, there aren't many miscellaneous differentiating factors. The One X+ will ship with Android 4.1 Jellybean, but the One X will be receiving an OTA Jellybean update soon.
The One X+ will sport an upgraded version of HTC Sense. Sense 4+ features a few perks, like a Self Portrait mode (face detection helps you take better pics with the front-facing camera), the ability to use the power button as a camera shortcut, and an enhanced Gallery.
The best features of the One X carry over to its successor, but both phones do have Dr. Dre and company's Beats Audio. The reaction to Beats in HTC phones has been mixed at best, but it can enhance your listening experience if you pair it with Beats headphones.
If you're looking for a new HTC phone, you're probably wise to head straight for the One X+. Its longer battery life, improved performance, and extra storage will make it worth the extra cash for most customers.
If you already own a One X, these upgrades probably don't warrant an early upgrade – especially since you'd likely be breaking a two-year contract 17 months (or so) early.
Are these enhancements enough for HTC to get customers' attention again? Or has Samsung already pushed it to the sidelines? Let us know in the comments below.