Super speedy 4G connectivity; crisp, bright 4.7-inch display; Beats Audio; eight-megapixel snapper with plenty of features.
Dual-core chip; can’t expand 16GB onboard storage; Battery dies after 4 and a half hours of video streaming.
The HTC One XL offers support for 4G, something its predecessor the One X didn’t. It still has the same great eight-megapixel snapper and Beats Audio technology, but its dual-core chip and 16GB of onboard storage are a step down from the One X.
At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that the HTC One XL is just the same as its predecessor the HTC One X, but it has one major difference – it offers support for 4G LTE, which means you can take advantage of super fast downloading speeds to get films and games quickly. But there are some other, not so desirable changes too…
Need for speed
So, the major difference with this handset is that it offers support for the latest 4G LTE data speeds – the difference is really noticeable from 3G. Streaming 720p HD videos from YouTube, for instance, came without buffering or stuttering.
To be sure of the speeds, we used SpeedTest, to get some figures to prove just how fast the 4G offering is. The One XL offered 19Mbps download speed along with an upload speed of 23Mbps – to give you a comparison, our 3G phone only offered a 1.9Mbps upload speed and a download speed of 4Mbps. In all the speed tests we have run, 4G has turned out to be between three and five times speedier at data downloads than 3G, whatever network you’re running on. Media fans who have the money to spend won’t need any more convincing than that.
But he who giveth also taketh away – and here HTC has cut back on storage space – there’s only 16GB of onboard storage space and no way to expand on it. In comparison, the One X offered 32GB of space to store music, photos and films. Sure, you can still keep thousands of songs and photos on your phone, but it’s a big drop nonetheless.
Another major cutback has been in the processor – where the HTC One X has a quad-core chip, the One XL only sports a dual-core processor, which is teamed with 1GB of RAM. It still copes with the latest apps and games, as well as streaming media and other power-hungry tasks, but it means that this latest phone is not as futureproof as its predecessor – a major consideration if your contract runs over two years.
One feature that has stayed the same is the impressive eight-megapixel snapper. Although there is no dedicated camera key, snaps are still taken almost instantly and in daylight our images appeared sharp and vibrant. Even in low light the f2.0 aperture lens comes into its own, to offer bright photos. There was some graininess as the light got darker, but that’s not surprising, and the photographer will need to keep a steady hand to stop blur.
But what we really love about this snapper is its collection of great features. For burst shot mode simply hold down the shutter button and you’ll get a series of snaps taken in quick succession. There is a great choice of fun filters if you’re feeling arty, plus geo-tagging, face detection and more are all on offer. The camera also grabs Full HD video, plus you can take still shots while recording. A 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera offers the chance to take self-portraits and make video calls using Skype.
Editing features include extra filters, rotating and cropping, once you’re done, share your images via email, text, on social networks or cloud storage – HTC has included SkyDrive and Dropbox.
Music and movies
HTC is well known for its collaboration with Beats Audio, so it’s no surprise to see the music-enhancing technology on board the One XL. It means any audio or music will be improved – high-quality files might have a few tweaks on the bass and volume, but it is with low-quality sounds that you’ll really notice the difference.
Although the cut in onboard storage means you can’t carry round that many films or music albums, the screen is great for watching a film or looking at your photos. It measures 4.7 inches and is ultra-sharp and colourful. With such a good amount of screen real estate it’s well made for watching full-length films.
If you’re streaming movies, expect the juice to run out after four and a half hours. Not the best result, but then that big bright screen drains a lot of power. If you’re just emailing, playing with a few apps, doing a spot of net surfing, taking the odd picture and making some calls, you should get a full day out of a fully charged battery.
Like its predecessor, the HTC One XL proves to be a neat handset for media fans, despite that shorter battery life when streaming movies. With full 4G LTE support on offer, you’ll be streaming HD films without any buffering or stuttering, which is good news because you can’t expand on the built-in 16GB of storage.
|Type of device||Smartphone|
|Operating System||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|Dimensions||134.8 x 69.9 x 9.3 mm|
|Processor speed||1.5GHz dual-core|
|CPU||Qualcomm Dual-core processor|
|Screen size||4.7 inches|
|Resolution||1280 x 720|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||1.3 megapixels|
|Special camera features||Flash|
|FM Radio description|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||Charger|
|Battery life multimedia||4.5 hours|
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