Didn’t you get the memo? Android phones are getting bigger: first the 4.7-inch HTC One X, now the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It’s the law. At least, it certainly seems that way, which is why the more compact, 4-inch HTC Desire X comes as a breath of fresh air, just in time for those upgrading from the original 2010 HTC Desire.
The same curved design and bottom lip are back, but this time, the HTC Desire X comes packing a dual-core 1GHz processor and a five megapixel camera, plus the app-packed, easy to use Android 4.0. Is that enough to stand out with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini just around the corner?
While the absurd Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note sales numbers have shown there’s a big market for even bigger phones, they’re not for everyone. The HTC Desire X is a much more manageable size, with a screen you can actually cover every corner of with one hand.
It’s still running much the same software as HTC’s swankier One series phones though: Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” with a delicious layer of HTC Sense over the top of it, that makes it even easier to use, with superb contact handling, a music hub for all your streaming apps, and Beats Audio for turning your music up to 11 (OK, it’s just an EQ setting, but it works great for pop and dance music).
HTC’s fantastic camera app returns too: although the snaps aren’t sensational, the convenience of its quickfire shutter and ability to take photos and record video at the same time more than make up for the sensor’s shortcomings.
HTC’s also trimmed away some of the excess: its Watch movie service is gone, replaced by Google’s own video download app. And you’ll find Google’s amazing Chrome browser pre-loaded: do yourself a favour and use that instead of HTC’s browser.
While the HTC Desire X is more than fast enough for all but the most hardcore users and 3D gamers - more so in fact than the HTC One V, which is odd since that’s meant to be a classier phone - its specs aren’t cutting edge. The 800x480 panel is bright with great colours, but not hugely sharp: you’ll see the jagged edges and pixels, particularly if you like to read long articles on the go.
The same goes for the design: aside from the new buttons underneath the screen, and the Beats Audio logo around back, this is just a slightly thinner version of last year’s HTC Desire S. The matte black material gets covered with smeary fingerprints instantly, and HTC’s trademark raised “lip” at the bottom sticks out like a sore thumb.
As ever with Android, you also can’t expect regular, annual updates like you can on iPhone. The HTC Desire X runs Android 4.0, rather than the latest 4.1 “Jelly Bean” (and 4.2 may be just around the corner). That won’t be a deal breaker for most as it’s still fast, fun and powerful. But HTC hasn’t yet promised to update the Desire X, so don’t get tied down with a contract assuming you’ll get Jelly Bean somewhere along the road.
The bottom line
HTC’s argument that the Desire X is more affordable than the One series is a little bit odd, given that this is a vastly more powerful phone than the HTC One V. But your hands probably don’t care about technicalities, or the difference between different flavoured Android desserts: they’ll love the size of the HTC Desire X, and everything it can do.
Be sure to shop around first though: the Samsung Galaxy S2 is shockingly cheap on contract these days, and with a Jelly Bean update on the way, it could keep you on the cutting edge for that much longer.
HTC Desire X kindly provided by Clove.co.uk