March 5, 2013

HTC One X+ Reviews


Introduction
There's no denying that the HTC One X was an amazingly solid smartphone. On the surface it even looked like as good a package as its main rival at the time, the Galaxy S III, and having a head-start to the market it was almost expected for it to become a huge success.
The devil turned out to be in the details though, and the One X never quite managed to get the same traction as its Samsung rival. There must have been so many if onlys around the HTC HQ for missing an opportunity like that, that the company didn’t even wait for the successor to come and fix the issues, but released a refreshed model.
  
HTC One X+ official photos
Enter the HTC One X+. It's faster than its predecessor, offers more storage and an ampler battery – quite nice upgrades. True, they don’t make too dramatic a difference, but as we said – the starting package was pretty great already and it's just the details that needed polishing.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and 3G support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.7" 16M-color Super LCD 2 capacitive touchscreen of HD resolution (720 x 1280 pixels); Gorilla glass 2 protection
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with latest HTC Sense 4+
  • 1.7 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPUs, low-power companion core, ULP GeForce 2 GPU, Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 32/64 GB of storage
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging
  • 1080p and 720p video recording @ 28fps with stereo sound
  • 720p front-facing camera for video-chat
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS; GLONASS
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and auto-brightness sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • MHL TV-out (requires MHL-to-HDMI adapter)
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Office document editor
  • Beats audio enhancements

Main disadvantages

  • No microSD card slot
  • No dedicated camera key
  • Non-user-accessible battery
  • No native video-calls
  • Video framing is tricky
Despite taking a few punches in this year's flagship wars, HTC isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, the updated One X+ comes at the perfect time to turn things around.
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HTC One X+ studio shots
And while the One X+ is certainly better prepared, the challenge has also become harder. During the One X facelift, a new contender emerged in the face of the LG Optimus G and its quad-core Krait CPU. The LG flagship smartphone is certainly the most powerful currently on the market, but the One X+ is the more mature device and has Jelly Bean on its side.
Grab the popcorn – this one is going to be a thriller.


Retail package

The contents of the HTC One X+ retail package are identical to those found inside the box of its predecessor and, more recently, the Windows Phone 8X.
There's a pair of cheapish-looking headphones inside, and the usual charger/data-cable combo. Given the One X+ has no microSD slot, we couldn't have expected a memory card inside, but there are no Beats headphones either.
HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC One X+ retail package contents
The final item in the box is the pin required for extracting the microSIM tray.

HTC One X+ 360-degree spin

The brilliant use of space is one of the best things about the HTC One X+. Just like its predecessor it stands at 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, which makes it slightly more compact than the Galaxy S III (136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm) in each dimension.
It's true that the Galaxy S III has a slightly larger screen (4.8" vs 4.7") to show for it, but HTC still deserves credit for the good job it has done. The weight has increased slightly compared to the One X, due to the increased battery capacity, but still stands at the easily tolerable 135g.

Design and build quality

At first glance the HTC One X+ design is identical to that of its predecessor, save for the red accent around the camera lens and the red capacitive touchscreen buttons. Take a closer look (or simply put the One X and One X+ side by side) and another difference shows up.
The HTC One X+ is actually made of darker polycarbonate than the One X. This helps the One X+ look slightly more stylish as the greyer color looks a bit worn-out. The darker back also works better with the red rim around the camera lens and feels nicer to the touch. There's some extra texture which we find more pleasant and grippy, even if the difference is minor.
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The HTC One X+ next to the HTC One X
All in all, the slightly refreshed polycarbonate unibody might not be as ground-breaking as it was six months ago, but it's still quite impressive.
Above the screen, we have the proximity and ambient light sensors to the left of the earpiece and the 720p video call camera on the right. There's a tiny status LED under the earpiece grille.
HTC One X+
The usual sensors and the video-call camera flank the earpiece
Underneath the screen, we find the three controls typical of HTC droids. The haptic-enabled capacitive touch Back, Home and Task switcher keys are well spaced and very responsive.
HTC One X+
The capacitive keys are red this time
The left side of the HTC One X+ features the microUSB port, which is used for data transfers, charging and, thanks to its MHL support, TV-out. With an MHL adapter you'll be able to output 1080p content to your HDTV directly from your phone, so purchasing one is probably worth it.
HTC One X+ HTC One X+
The microUSB port on the left side
On the right side we find nothing but the super slim volume rocker. A camera key would have been nice, but adding one in the short time the One X+ took to arrive to the market was probably impossible.
HTC One X+ HTC One X+
The volume rocker
At the top we find the 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone pinhole and the Power/Lock key, which is easy enough to hit when needed but still reasonably secure against accidental presses. The microSIM slot is located nearby at the sloping part of the phone's rear body. You need to insert the SIM eject tool located in the retail box or a pin inside the hole next to the slot to access the microSIM tray.
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It's quite crowded at the top
As usual, at the bottom of the phone, you will see the mouthpiece.
HTC One X+
There's nothing but the mouthpiece at the bottom
The back of the HTC One X+ features the 8MP camera lens and the LED flash right next to it. As before, the camera lens is placed on a bulge, but judging by the One X the protective glass is strong enough to resist picking up starches with time.
The other elements at the back are the loudspeaker grille near the bottom and the Beats audio logo right above it. You should keep in mind though that the audio enhancements are only available when you have connected a pair of headphones and not when using the loudspeaker itself.
HTC One X+ HTC One X+
The 8 megapixel camera is the star backstage
The HTC One X+ is powered by a non-user-replaceable 2100 Li-Ion battery (that's 300 mAh more than what the One X has). We ran our tests and ended up with an endurance rating of 44 hours. The number would have been higher, but the phone's standby is not very efficient. Otherwise, the One X+ does very well in the individual categories.



Display

The main attraction on the HTC One X+ front is of course its 4.7" HD Super LCD2. It's not much different from that of its predecessor, but the second generation of Super LCDs is still one of the most impressive screens we have seen.
HTC One X+
The HTC One X+ screen
The One X+ display remarkable image quality that few other LCDs can match. Not only is it really sharp (at about 312 ppi, it's virtually impossible to distinguish individual pixels), but also has great contrast and nicely saturated colors.
Strangely enough, the One X+ screen turned out to slightly dimmer than that of its predecessor, but the good news is it offers superior contrast when used at full brightness.
Display test50% brightness100% brightness
Black, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratioBlack, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratio
HTC One X+0.2323210160.284211521
HTC One X0.1520013750.395501410
LG Optimus G0.1419714450.334711438
LG Optimus 4X HD0.3436910770.687501102
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III01740330
Apple iPhone 50.1320014900.486401320

You can learn more about the testing process over here.
The viewing angles are splendid - the icons have that look as if they are painted on the screen that we love so much. Sunlight legibility is good, although the lowered brightness and the improved performance of the competitors means that it's some way off the best we have seen.
Overall, though, the HTC One X+ has a display to be proud of and one that will make every user happy.

Handling

The low overall weight is another huge advantage of the polycarbonate body. At 135g, the One X+ is impressively lightweight for its size and that's one of the first things you'll notice when handling it.
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The HTC One X+ held in hand
In conclusion, we have to say once again that we are still impressed with the HTC One X+ design and build materials. The smartphone feels really great in hand, due to its excellent ergonomics and use of space.

Jelly Bean takes over, Sense gets a minor update

The HTC One X+, unlike any other HTC droid we've met before, runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and features the updated version 4+ of the HTC Sense UI. Unfortunately, once you turn on the One X+ you'll have to dig deep to find the new Jelly Bean goodies. On the face of it, Project Butter's optimizations and Google Now are all that remind you what version of the OS you are currently running.
Since the UI is pretty much the same, everyone who has already used an ICS-powered HTC droid will feel right at home. Here's a demo video to get you started:
HTC is famous for its deep customizations to the interface of the host OS and the latest version of Sense is no exception. Despite Sense 4+ being almost the same as the 4.0 version, it runs a lot smoother because of Project Butter, due in large part to the consistent 60fps of all UI animations.
The lockscreen remains unchanged - by default, it has four shortcuts and a ring at the bottom, all of which are customizable. You drag the ring towards the center of the screen to unlock the phone, or to any of the shortcuts into the ring to unlock the phone and launch the corresponding app.
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The lockscreen is great
But that's not the end of it - the HTC One X+ comes with nine different lockscreens preinstalled. You can access the others from the Personalize menu - a photo album, Friend Stream, Weather, Clock, Stocks, Productivity, People, Music or just a plain wallpaper.
The Productivity lockscreen lists the latest missed calls, texts, emails and scheduled events. People lets you pick a group form your phonebook and a rectangular grid of their contact images will pop up on the lockscreen. Grab one of them and drop them on the ring to view their details. You can have more than one page of contacts too.
Music gives you a mini music player on the lockscreen.
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The two new preloaded lockscreens
The homescreen has an auto-hiding indicator of which screen you're on and a dock with five shortcuts - the middle one is locked to the app drawer, while the other four can be customized as you please (you can even put a folder there, if four shortcuts isn't enough).
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Some of the homescreen sections
Leap view is still here - tap the home key (while on the default homescreen) or do a pinch gesture to zoom out (with an awesome animation) to display the thumbnails of all seven homescreen panes at once. Upon a press and hold you can drag to reposition the homescreen panes. A small house icon indicates the default homescreen.
You can have as many as seven homescreens - and with the excellent set of preloaded widgets (and the huge variety available at the Play store), you might want to keep all of them. In case you don't - you can delete the unneeded ones right from the Leap view.
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Leap View lets you quickly rearrange homescreen panes
The Personalize button is absent from the dock since Ice Cream Sandwich, but you can still find all of its functionality in the Settings or use the dedicated app within the app drawer.
The proprietary Scenes is an essential part of Personalize - essentially five custom homescreen setups (Work, Travel, Social, Play and default). Each scene changes the wallpaper and the set of widgets. For instance, the Work scene has a stock ticker, while the Social offers a Twitter widget. Those can be customized, of course, and you can download and assign new ones.
Switching between scenes takes a couple of seconds, but they're a handy feature if you use your One X+ as both work and personal phone.
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The scenes in action • The Skins in action
The HTC Sense has another customization option called Skins. Every skin changes the look and feel of most of the onscreen buttons, application screens, option menus, and other items. They also come with unique wallpaper each and use different colors for various UI elements.
The main menu has the typical grid layout, which is composed of horizontal pages with shortcuts sorted alphabetically. You can set different sorting options - alphabetical, most recent or oldest - but you can't rearrange them manually. There are Search and Play Store shortcuts along with a menu for some options.
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The app drawer
The main menu has a tabbed layout similar to different Sense elements (such as the phonebook). There are three tabs available at the bottom - All apps, Frequent and Downloads. You can rearrange them or remove Frequent and Downloads if you don't need them.
The Personalize app also has Sound customizations - you can pick a Sound set or individual ringtone, notification and alarm sounds.
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The Personalize menu does Sound too
Adding widgets to the homescreen is done in similar fashion to Honeycomb and is one of the less successful changes.
You press and hold on the homescreen and everything zooms out so that the homescreen panes are visible as thumbnails on the top row of the screen. You tap a homescreen to select it and then select a widget to add to it (or you can just drag the widget).
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Adding a widget to the homescreen
There's a search option to speed things along or you can choose a widget from the dropdown menu and then select which size you like, but that still feels like an extra step-the old method of picking a widget and then picking the size (if any) seemed simpler.
Editing the homescreen is different from vanilla Android. You can tap and hold on a widget and you can drag across homescreen panes. While you're dragging a widget (or shortcut or whatever), two "buttons" appear at the top of the screen - Edit and Remove. You drop the widget on either button to perform the corresponding action.
Edit can be used to modify the settings of a widget - e.g. choose a different folder for the Photo Frame album or choose a different version of the Clock widget. This saves you the trouble of first deleting a widget and then putting it on the screen again to choose a different version, setting and so on.
The second "button" is Remove, which deletes the widget as expected.
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Dragging a widget gives you options
The notification area gives you a Settings shortcut here if you need to power something on or off. There's also a Clear button to dismiss all notification or you can swipe them off one by one.
There is just one toggle here which is new to the notification area - the Power Saver on/off switch. It does exactly what it's supposed to do - toggles the power saving mode or (if you tap on its name) takes you to the Power Saver options.
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The notification area has been significantly de-cluttered • Settings
HTC have kept the cool app switching interface in the new Sense version - screenshots are displayed of the running apps, turned slightly to the side. They're ordered horizontally (instead of vertically as is the ICS standard) and you can swipe up to remove them. The not so-good news is that you can only see three of them at a time, even in landscape mode - a waste of screen estate. There's also no way to close all apps with one button.
You get the old task manager too. It's simple to use - each running app is listed with an indication of how much RAM it's using (no CPU usage reading though). You can terminate apps one by one by and there's a Kill All button too.
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HTC's task switcher and task manager

Google Now is here to help

As we've said, Google Now is one of the most notable new features that the Jelly Bean Android release brings. In the simplest of terms, it is Android's version of Siri for iOS, but much more integrated into the operating system.
Google Now is way quicker than its competitor at recognizing and answering your queries and after its most recent update is probably the best voice assistant currently available on the market. It can now launch apps, schedule appointments and check what you have next on your agenda, so it matches the competition in terms of functionality and even exceed it in certain areas.
Besides being able to recognize voice commands, Google Now will learn from your usage patterns, and display relevant information. For example, if you search for a particular sports team frequently, Google Now will display information for upcoming games you might want to watch and past results you might want to know.
Going to work in the morning? Google Now knows this and lets you know there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office, and will offer you an alternate route.
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Google Now in action
The service interacts with you by generating cards which are displayed on your screen and give you a short overview of information it believes is relevant to your query.This extends to a multitude of other areas, including weather, traffic, public transit stations, and nearby points of interest.
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Google Now
To activate Google Now on the HTC One X+ you need to press-and-hold the Home button. You can either type in your queries or simply speak to it and the assistant will give you one of its aforementioned info cards (if available) and read its contents aloud (you can disable this from the app settings). If there's no card to help with the answer to your question, Google Now will simply initiate a Google web search instead.
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Google Now

Synthetic benchmarks

HTC One X+ runs on a slightly speedier version of the chipset that powers the One X. Instead of NVIDIA's Tegra 3 T30, the One X+ uses the Tegra 3 T33. There are two major differences between these two quad-core boards - the T33 CPU works at 1.6GHz in multi-core mode and 1.7GHz when only one core is enabled (200MHz higher than the T30) and offers a higher RAM clock speed.
The difference doesn't sound like much, but our benchmark tests showed that the One X+ is notably speedier than its predecessor. Of course, the Jelly Bean OS and the optimizations it brings should take some of the credit as well.
The One X+ topped all other quad-cores on the market in the single-core Benchmark Pi test. Even more impressively, the gain over One X is notably bigger than the difference in clock speed suggests.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better
  • HTC One X+280
  • LG Optimus G285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III359
  • Meizu MX 4-core362
The One X+ performance in the multi-threaded Linpack wasn't as inspiring. The latest Exynos chipset inside the Galaxy Note II managed to beat the One X+ score, but neither of those was able to come anywhere near the quad-core Krait processor powering the Optimus G.

Linpack

Higher is better
  • LG Optimus G608
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II214.3
  • Meizu MX 4-core189.1
  • HTC One X+177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III175.5
  • HTC One X160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD141.5
We also ran the Quadrant benchmark, which tries to evaluate the overall processing power of the chipset - CPU, GPU and memory performance. The One X+ managed to come on top here, which is a really impressive achievement.

Quadrant

Higher is better
  • HTC One X+7632
  • LG Optimus G7439
  • HTC One X5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core5170
  • LG Optimus 4X HD4814
The 3D graphics department is handled by NVIDIA's own GeForce GPU. Here the One X+ showed pretty big improvement over the One X, but couldn't do anything against the newer generation graphics processors.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better
  • LG Optimus G29
  • Apple iPhone 527
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II17
  • Samsung Galaxy S III15
  • HTC One X+12
  • HTC One X9
AnTuTu is another all-round benchmark. The One X+ leveled with the Galaxy Note II champ here, topping everyone else.

AnTuTu

Higher is better
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II13562
  • HTC One X+13519
  • Samsung Galaxy S III12288
  • Meizu MX 4-core11820
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)11633
  • LG Optimus G11226
On SunSpider, the CPU-stressing JavaScript benchmark, the HTC One X posted a blazing fast result, beating all droid competitors but the Note II. It also falls behind the recently released ATIV S and iPhone 5.

SunSpider

Lower is better
  • Samsung Ativ S891
  • Apple iPhone 5915
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II972
  • HTC One X+1001
  • Motorola RAZR i XT8901059
  • Samsung Galaxy S III1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core1312
  • LG Optimus G1353
  • LG Optimus 4X HD1446
  • HTC One X1468
The BrowserMark score also came up pretty impressive, suggesting that the HTC One X+ has one of the speediest web browsers around.

BrowserMark

Higher is better
  • Apple iPhone 5189937
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II185034
  • HTC One X+181365
  • Meizu MX 4-core158404
  • Samsung Galaxy S III157176
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890149038
  • LG Optimus 4X HD147582
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)140270
  • LG Optimus G118126
  • Samsung Ativ S64817
So, despite using an older generation chipset, built on 40nm process the HTC One X+ proved that it's one of the fastest phones on the market today. The updated Tegra 3 makes a noticeable difference, and while the GPU isn't as good as on some competitors the overall performance is nothing short of excellent.

Great social phonebook

The One X+ has HTC's all-knowing phonebook with deep social networking integration. It manages to keep things neatly in order, even though it's juggling everything from SMS to Facebook photo albums.
The entire People app (the phonebook) is tabbed - you have the dialer, all contacts, groups (including favorite contacts there), as well as a call log. Once again, you can reorder tabs and remove the ones that you don't need (Groups or Call history).
From a drop-down menu at the top, you can filter contacts based on where they came from - the phone's address book, Facebook, Twitter or your HTC Sense account. If an account has multiple subgroups (e.g. Gmail's groups), they can be toggled individually as well.
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Phonebook • groups • call log • quick contact
Selecting a contact displays the basic details: name and photo, numbers, emails and such. That's just the first tab - the other tabs hold further details and means of communication, including email and a call log.
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Viewing a contact
The second tab holds the texts, emails and call history between you and the given contact. The next one displays social networking contact updates, and finally the "Gallery" pulls the albums that contacts have created on Flickr and Facebook.
When editing a contact, you start off with just one of the essential fields but you can easily add more.
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Editing a contact • Linking Dexter with his Facebook account
The transfer app is here to help you switch from your old phone. It supports phones from all the major manufacturers (including feature phones) and moves the data over Bluetooth. It's an old but useful trick.
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The Transfer app will easily copy your contacts from your old phone

Telephony

The HTC One X+ had no problems with reception and the in-call quality was clear and loud enough. There is no 3G video call support out of box though - you have to install a third party app.
The dialer on the One X+ displays your recent calls and the list of favorite contacts underneath. Once you start typing on the keyboard, contacts will be filtered by name or by phone number.
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The dialer has smart dialing • calling Dexter
The One X packs the standard set of accelerometer-based tricks - turning the phone in the middle of a call will enable the loudspeaker, Quiet ring on pickup will reduce the loudness of the ringtone when you move the phone and Pocket mode boosts ringtone volume if the phone is in your pocket or purse.
Here's how the HTC One X+ fares in our traditional loudspeaker performance test. It scored an Average mark placing just below the halfway point of our ranking and right alongside its One S sibling.
Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Apple iPhone 566.866.167.7Below Average
HTC One X+64.665.874.6Average
HTC One S65.164.676.7Average
HTC One X65.166.075.8Average
LG Optimus 4X HD68.766.679.3Good
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III75.166.575.0Good
Samsung Note II N710070.066.680.5Good
Motorola RAZR XT91074.766.682.1Very Good
LG Optimus G74. 671.382.7Excellent

Full-featured messaging

Android and the HTC One X+ are capable of handling all sorts of messages - SMS, MMS, email. Social networking is covered by several apps and widgets, and there's Gtalk, which can connect you to Google's chat network and compatible networks too (like Ovi Chat).
SMS and MMS messages are displayed in threads - you see a list of all conversations, each one is listed with the contact's photo, name and the subject of the last message, as well as a part of the actual message (you can choose 1, 2 or 3 preview lines). Tapping a conversation brings up the entire message history with that contact.
To add recipients, just start typing a name or number and choose from the contacts offered - the phone will find the contact you want even if you misspell it (e.g. "drx" matches Dexter).
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All threads • viewing a specific thread • Adding recipients works even if you misspell the contact's name
The compose box covers about a fifth of the screen in portrait mode or about a third in landscape. A tap-and-hold on the text box gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text across applications like email, notes, chats, etc. and vice versa.
Text input on the One X+ boils down to an on-screen custom-made HTC virtual QWERTY keyboard. While it's still not as good as a hardware one, it's the next best thing - the 4.7" screen has enough real estate for big, well-spaced keys, which are easy to hit.
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The on-screen QWERTY keyboard in portrait and landscape modes
Converting SMS into MMS is as simple as adding some multimedia content to the message. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text, or you can get creative with several slides and photos.
HTC One X Plus
Attaching a multimedia file turns the SMS to MMS
The HTC One X+ comes with two email apps - the traditional Gmail app and the generic HTC Mail app, which merges all your email accounts into a single inbox.
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Batch operations let you manage multiple conversations
The Gmail app has the trademark conversation style view and can manage multiple Gmail accounts. Batch operations are supported too, in case you need to handle email messages in bulk.
The HTC Mail app features conversation view in an attempt to mimic the original Gmail client threaded view, which is otherwise missing in the generic inbox. Emails in a thread are grouped and a number of emails and a down arrow appear - tap the arrow to show/hide the messages in that group.
You can add multiple accounts (from multiple services) and view them individually or in a combined inbox. Each account is color-coded, so you can quickly associate each message with its relevant account.
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The standard HTC email app
The Mail app has tabs, but they are hidden by default. You can choose Edit tabs from the menu and pull out the ones you want. You can choose from Favorites, Unread, Marked, Invites and Attached.
Email sorting is enabled (in either ascending or descending order) by date, subject, sender, priority and size. The currently applied filter is displayed in the top right corner of the display.
There's hardly anything we can think of that the HTC One X+ lacks in terms of email capabilities. The settings for popular email services are automatically configured. POP/IMAP accounts and Active Sync accounts are supported.

A capable gallery

The HTC One X+ uses the in-house HTC gallery, which got a new version in the Jelly Bean. When you open the Gallery you can now choose which photos to view - on your phone, Facebook, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Picasa or Flickr. Wherever you choose you'll get to a familiar screen - stacks of photos grouped by folders. There is a dropdown menu where you can sort the photos by date (HTC calls this events). The app automatically locates images and videos, no matter where they are stored.
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The HTC gallery
Ones you pick one of the "stacks" (each representing a folder), you're presented with a grid of the photos inside. Some photos have an icon indicating it's not a single photo but a burst shot instead. You can later go back and pick the one to be used as a thumbnail.
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Gallery options
You can also mass delete images, but you can't copy/paste images across folders - you'd need a proper file manager for that. There are some basic editing tools - crop, rotate and effects (auto enhance, sepia, vintage, etc.).
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Mass delete • Viewing photos
The HTC One X+ supports multi-touch and you can take full advantage of it while browsing your images. You can zoom to 100% with a simple double tap on the screen. The implementation here is extra smooth too. Another thing we admire about the HTC gallery is that it displays photos in full resolution, which we believe is a must on a 720p display.

A capable video player

The video player on the HTC One X+ is built into the Gallery app - there's no dedicated shortcut inside the app drawer.
HTC One X Plus
The video player main view
The video playing interface has a view mode toggle (full screen or best fit) and you can scrub through videos. There's a shortcut that lets you adjust screen brightness and another one to take screenshots of videos (you can disable that one if you wish). Overall the included options are more than enough and they are all implemented in a nice out-of-the-way manner.
Codec support on the video side is very good - all popular video codecs but Matroska (MKV) are supported and videos up to 1080p resolution run without a hitch. Sound is more problematic as AAC and DTS audio wouldn't play.
Speaking of audio, you can enable the Beats Audio enhancements for your videos, too.
Subtitle support is available and you can manually pick a subtitle file - the only requirement is the subtitle files must be in the video folder.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Playing video
DLNA connectivity comes handy too - the One X+ can stream the videos wirelessly to your TV.
There's the MHL port too - if you have the proper adapter, you can hook up your HDTV using an HDMI cable.

Music player and Beats for all

The Music app starts off by offering you several shortcuts - music library on the phone, SoundHound track recognition, TuneIn Radio or 7digital. Below is a line that shows a recently played song and further down is the currently playing song.
Once you get into the music library available on the phone you get a dropdown menu to browse it by artist, album, playlist or genre. There's a search tool, too.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The music player
The now playing interface is a Cover-Flow-like visualization of the current playlist - you can swipe sideways to skip songs back or forward. You can opt to view the full playlist if you need to skip more than a few tracks.
You can tap the ellipsis to automatically fetch album art for a track or look it up on Google or YouTube. From the Menu you get a Select player option, which is how you can play the song on a DLNA-enabled sound system or over Bluetooth.
The One X+ has the Beats Audio moniker stamped on the back, which means your sound can be enhanced by the beats audio equalizer if you apply it.
There are no multiple modes to pick from this time - there's just Beats audio on and off settings. Equalizers are gone too.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The Now playing screen
The lockscreen shows the album art and name of the song and artist along with playback controls. You can drag this card into the ring to unlock the phone and go straight to the music player.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Now playing in the notification area, lockscreen and music library
SoundHound is the track recognition of choice for HTC and they've even integrated it into the music player UI. It easily ID's a song from just a short sample. Or you can say the name of the artist and song and SoundHound will find it for you, including lyrics. The free app however only offers a limited number of uses (99).
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The SoundHound app

FM radio works fine

The HTC One X+ is also equipped with an FM radio, which has a pretty simple interface. It automatically scans the area for the available stations and allows you to mark some of them as favorite. It also supports RDS and allows loudspeaker playback.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The FM radio UI
An FM radio playback controls are available on the lockscreen in case you need them.
Aside from the headphones or loudspeaker choice you also get Mono sound if the reception is poor. There's no Beats enhancement here though.
If you have a data connection, you can use 7digital or TuneIn radio instead of relying on your local FM radio stations.

Excellently clean audio output

One of our greatest disappointments when reviewing the HTC One X was its audio output. The One X+ predecessor had high distortion levels and a general performance that didn't suit a flagship device. Luckily, HTC has managed to solve whatever issues it had this time and the One X+ really managed to ace our test.
The new HTC top dog delivered some of the cleanest audio output we have seen both with an active external equalizer and with headphones. There are no weak points to its performance whatsoever and if its volume levels weren't only average we'd be recommending it to every audiophile out there.
Don't get us wrong - the One X+ is still a great choice for anyone who finds audio quality important - it's just that it's not alone at the top.
Check out the numbers and see for yourselves.
TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC One X++0.27, -0.61-82.482.40.00640.022-81.5
HTC One X+ (headphones attached)+0.25, -0.61-82.282.30.0170.065-68.4
HTC One X+0.02, -0.08-82.182.10.1370.393-80.7
HTC One X (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.10-80.680.60.1740.459-60.8
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III+0.03, -0.05-90.390.30.0120.018-92.6
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.04-90.290.20.00920.090-53.1
LG Optimus G+0.13, -0.11-82.582.50.00920.022-81.6
LG Optimus G (headphones attached)+0.05, -0.30-80.880.90.0120.061-59.4
Apple iPhone 5+0.06, -0.51-91.391.30.00150.0093-76.5
Apple iPhone 5 (headphones attached)+0.00, -0.26-90.690.60.00350.111-56.2

HTC One X+ frequency response
HTC One X+ frequency response

An improved 8MP camera

The HTC One X+ packs an 8MP camera that does stills of up to 3264x2448 pixels and records 1080p video @ 28fps. There's an LED flash to help it in low-light environments, too.
The camera interface is the same for both the still camera and the video camera - no they don't "look alike", the camera just has the UI shared between both functions.
The right-hand side features the Effects button, shutter key, camcorder record key and a shortcut to the gallery that shows the last photo taken. On the left is the flash setting toggle, a front camera switch, general settings and shot mode (we'll get back to that in a moment).
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X+ camera interface
To snap a photo, you tap the shutter key. To record video you tap the button below - and you can still tap the shutter key to snap a full-res photo, even while recording video. Another cool option is the burst mode, which we mentioned in the gallery - you press and hold on the shutter key and it will snap multiple photos and let you pick which one to keep (you can keep all of them of course).
The effects button brings out a tab on the left with the usual set of color effects (sepia, solarize and so on). There's also some other cool effects such as shallow depth of field , which lets you blur parts of a photo that fall outside a predefined circular area. It's like having Intagram built right into the camera app UI.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Additional options and effects
All this is pretty cool, but we had one problem with this combined interface - if you want full 8MP resolution still shots, you have to disable the Widescreen option. But then it becomes hard to frame a 16:9 video in the 4:3 view finder. That's made even worse when shooting 720p video. The field of view in that mode is narrower than what the viewfinder shows and framing involves a lot of guesswork. We hoped the Jelly Bean update would fix these problems, but we were in no luck.
The HTC One X+ has touch focus and face detection. Geotagging and smile shutter are also available.
Continuous autofocus is supported, too, which is good to have on a phone like the One X+ with no hardware shutter key (the virtual shutter key cannot trigger autofocus either, it does burst mode). On the downside, the continuous autofocus may be way off in some shots - the only way to be certain you have it right is to tap and hold on the spot of the screen where you want the focus to be.
The shot mode button offers some more cool stuff - HDR photos, Panorama (with a gyro horizon), portrait, group portrait, landscape, whiteboard, close-up and, finally, low light.
Group portrait is quite cool - we've seen something like it before in the Scalado Rewind. It snaps multiple photos and for each face (and the One X can track many faces), the phone automatically picks the one where that person is smiling and didn't blink.
Just like the One X, the One X+ features a camera with a bright f/2.0 aperture, which lets it gather more light and do better in low-light. The image quality is close on the two smartphone, with the One X+ offering a slightly more mature noise reduction algorithm, which allows more of the fine detail to be retained in the final image.
The colors are usually slightly off on spot, but are pleasant and lively. The only major problem we found is the color fringing around certain edges and lines. Good thing is that the effect is mostly visible in high contrast fine detail areas such as our resolution chart, while on in real-life scenarios it's barely noticeable.
Surely we've seen better sharpshooters within the 8MP league, but the One X+ camera is certainly good.
We've prepared a bunch of samples for you guys below, check them out.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X+ camera samples
The camera captures images really fast, thanks to the built-in image processing chip. We also liked the fact that images (by default) don't get in the way - once you've snapped a shot it quietly pops-up in the preview box in the bottom right, without instant preview, and you're free to snap away.
Here's a comparison of a scene with HDR off and on. The smartphone tries to fit too much dynamic range in the photo, which results in a rather flat and unrealistic images. We like the more conservative approach of the Galaxy S III better here.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HDR Off and ON
We also snapped a couple of close-ups with the HTC One X+. The focus innately captures macro photos but opting for the dedicated close-up preset does give you an extra millimeter or two to work with. Overall we're pleased with the amount of resolved detail and quite happy with the One X+ macro performance in general.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X+ macro samples
We also tested the HTC One X+ ability to capture high-res photos during video recording. The photos are taken in 16:9 aspect ratio and are in 3264 x 1840 resolution. The idea is that you can snap fast-paced pics while you're recording a video.
HTC One X Plus
HTC One X+ 16:9 in-video sample

Photo quality comparison

The HTC One X+ joins the other 8MP shooters in our Photo Compare Tool. The tool's page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
The resolution chart clearly shows the One X+ resolves plenty of detail, but the color fringing is all over the place too. The other two charts just prove the One X+ is very good shooter but there is still room for improvement in the processing algorithm.
Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
HTC One X+ in our Photo Compare Tool

1080p video recording is OK

The One X+ records 1080p or 720p videos at 28fps and it can snap photos simultaneously. You can also use touch focus and even toggle the video light - that's during recording!
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The camcorder UI
Videos are stored in MP4 files and use H.264 encoding. 1080p videos have a rather low bitrate - 10Mbps or less and compression clearly takes its toll on the amount of detail resolved. The contrast is slightly low though and while noise is kept well under control, the One X+ isn't as good as most of the other high-end smartphones at capturing videos.
On the positive side the One X+ camera boasts stereo audio recording and keeps the framerate close to the promised fps.
The 720p videos captured by the Once X+ are decent. They only use half the bitrate (makes sense since 720p is about half as many pixels as 1080p). You should keep in mind their field of view is narrower than the 1080p videos.
And here's a video uploaded to YouTube for you to enjoy right in your browser. Don't forget to click 1080p on the FullHD video sample and open the video fullscreen.
We've also prepared a 720p video sample taken with the One X+.
The HTC One X+ also shoots slow-motion videos but the resolution drops significantly - you get 768x432 at 2.4Mbps bitrate. HTC didn't give an official number, but we measured it at about 3x slo-mo.

Video quality comparison

We entered the HTC One X+ in our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with other 1080p mobile camcorders. In good light the One X+ videos tend to be more notably more detailed than those of the One X. Low light conditions reduce the gap in performance, though.
Shooting the resolution chart though unleashes the nasty color fringing even more than on the still photos. Luckily, you'll rarely need to shoot such charts with your One X+, so it's not that bad.
Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
HTC One X+ in the Video Compare Tool

Connectivity

The HTC One X+ packs quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and quad-band 3G with HSDPA speeds up to 21Mbps and HSUPA up to 5.76Mbps.
The local wireless connectivity has Wi-Fi b/g/n and full DLNA support (both client and server, for images, videos and music) and Bluetooth 4.0.
There is no death grip problem we saw haunting some HTC devices of old so there's nothing to worry about. Wi-Fi reception is strong, as is the cell signal.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Starting the personal Wi-Fi hotspot
Last but not least is the HTC Portable Hotspot. It can support up to 8 devices, you can WEP, WPA or WPA2 encrypt the hotspot and you can enable "allowed users" only to connect or leave it open for all (unsecure, but the quickest setup).
The app can be set to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery in case you forget to switch it off when you are done with it.
The HTC One X+ comes with an MHL port, so if you plug a MHL dongle in, you can output HD video over a standard HDMI connection. The phone's UI is mirrored on the TV and with the HD resolution of the display, watching on an HDTV is a joyful experience.

Browser got even better with Jelly Bean

HTC One X+ comes with the latest version of the Android web browser. Coupled with the HD display and powerful chipset of the One X+, the Jelly Bean web browser performs impressively well.
Most of its UI is out of sight, leaving the entire screen to the web page. And even when it does appear it consists of a single bar, which now holds the address field, the Tabs and Menu dropdown shortcuts.
You might want to enable Quick controls - they let you tap on any point on the edge of the screen and move your finger to select the desired option from a jog-dial menu.
Once you select some text, you can copy it, do a Google search with that text as the query or share the text over a message or social networking.
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Web browsing is a pleasurable experience on the HTC One X+
Tabs can be only closed with an X button on their top right corner - they can't be swiped off the screen like you do in the app switcher. Incognito tabs are available if you want to browse without leaving traces.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The bookmarks and History lists • The Tabs interface
The Menu options include a toggle to enable/disable Flash (yes, Flash is supported out of the box within the HTC's implementation of Jelly Bean) and another one to request the desktop version of a site, instead of the mobile one. Another cool feature is preloading search results that the phone believes are relevant, speeding up the whole process.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X+
Playing Flash games in the browser and watching YouTube videos
The HTC One X+ played Flash videos effortlessly and Flash games were no problem either (as long as you find one that works nice on a touchscreen device).

Organizer

The HTC One X+ features the usual set of organizer applications, with a mobile Office app, capable of both editing and viewing documents.
The Polaris app has support for viewing PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions and it can create Office 2003 Word, Excel documents and presentations.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The Quickoffice handles .doc, .xls and .ppt files • Editing a Word document
You can format the style and color of text, as well as justify it, do lists (numbered or bullet points) and that's about it for the Word editor. The Excel editor does support function editing, which some mobile editors don't.
The app also integrates with Dropbox and SkyDrive, which makes syncing documents between your computer and your phone a breeze.
The calendar has four different types of view: daily, monthly, agenda and invitation. Adding a new event is quite straightforward and you can also set an alarm to serve as a reminder.
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The HTC One X+ organizer centerpiece - the calendar
The Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. Invitation view only lists events with invitation info attached to them. The day view also shows the weather forecast at the top of the screen, which is a nice touch.
The Calendar supports multiple online calendars (including Facebook), only one of which you can sync with your computer. You can also easily show/hide the ones you don't want.
There is also a calculator on board. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons. Flipping it horizontally enables some more advanced functions like logarithms.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The built-in calculator
The World clock (also part of the Clock app) is like a mini Google Earth - it shows a 3D globe and you can rotate and zoom in on it freely. You can add cities that are pinned to the globe (and also visible as a list below it).
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
The alarm clock, stopwatch and timer
The HTC One X+ features an alarm clock application, which can handle multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. You also get a stopwatch and a timer in the same app.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Stocks app • Voice recorder • Flashlight app
The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance. You can use the Stocks lockscreen too. The Voice recorder is quite useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo's weather forecast for your area a click away.
There's an HTC-branded flashlight app too - it uses the LED flash and you can set it to 3 levels of intensity. Nice and all, but the Android Market is full of this kind of app already.
HTC Notes app is also onboard. It is somewhat similar to Samsung's S Note - you can take various notes, add drawings, pictures and dictations. Sharing and printing options are also available.
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HTC Notes
There is HTC Tasks app as well. It does exactly what the name suggests and can access your Google Tasks.
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HTC Tasks
Another HTC exclusive app you get is the Movie Editor, which lets you create your own videos from scratch, by adding images, clips and selecting a theme and soundtrack.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Movie Editor

Play Store

The Google Play Store features several scrollable tabs - categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. Apps usually have several screenshots (some even offer a demo video) so you can get an idea of what the app looks like before installing it. You can also check out comments and ratings, as well as the number of downloads and so on, to help you decide if the app is worth it.
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The Google Play Store
There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).
Unfortunately there is no HTC Hub in the Jelly Bean version of HTC's Android implementation. This means you can't get additional HTC scenes, HTC wallpapers, etc.

Google Maps and HTC Locations on board

The HTC One X+ has a built-in GPS receiver, which managed to get a lock in under a minute (with A-GPS switched off). If all you need is a rough idea of where you are (within 150 meters) you can use the Cell-ID and Wi-Fi network lock, which is very fast.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere. You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View.
HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus HTC One X Plus
Google Maps is an inherent part of the Android platform
The HTC One X+ also comes with HTC Locations, an app developed in cooperation with TomTom (software provider) and Route66 (providing the maps).
With HTC Locations you can download country maps for free, or just cache maps as you browse (the size of the cache is adjustable). Google Maps has caching enabled too, but the best part about Locations is that it can even calculate new routes offline, while the Google Maps app only offers rerouting without internet connection.
HTC One X+ HTC One X+ HTC One X+ HTC One X+
Plotting a route with HTC Locations
It will do voice-guided navigation too, but you'll need a license for that. The One X+ comes with a trial version worth 30 days of free worldwide navigation. A license for Western Europe will set you back a hefty €40 for a life-time license, while the US is $30. Annual and monthly subscriptions are available too. You can also get traffic information and speed camera alerts (€10 for a year for Western Europe, for example). Extra voices are free.
HTC Locations has a regular 2D view and a 3D view, which is convenient because it gives you a better look of what's ahead. It's just as easy to work with as Google Maps and has POI too (including your Footprints) and also 3D buildings.
Pinch zoom works in both 2D and 3D modes and you can turn on compass mode - at first it seems choppy, but that's only to avoid wobbling (digital compasses are not the most accurate things in the world). You could use two fingers to rotate the camera manually too.
HTC One X+ HTC One X+ HTC One X+ HTC One X+
Downloading maps and voices

Final words

So the HTC One X+ is more powerful, better looking and more musically gifted than its predecessor. It also offers more storage, a larger battery and the power of Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ out of the box.
None of the updates is ground-breaking, but when you add them together you get a package that is way more desirable than the One X. Had the One X+ came to the market back when HTC released its predecessor, the story might have been different. We probably wouldn't be talking about a Galaxy S III-dominated Android landscape, but about a market split between that and the HTC flagship.
There's no need to dwell on the past, though. The present is all it matters in this business, so what's important is what are the HTC One X+ chances in the current market.
HTC's advantage over the competition is the solid unibody build and the powerful Sense launcher. With the 64GB of internal storage negating the Galaxy S III advantage of featuring a microSD slot, the Samsung flagship finds itself in a significantly weaker position this time.
True, TouchWiz is slightly more capable than Sense 4+, but the HTC launcher offers better looks and superior integration of cloud services. And while the One X+ video recording isn't as good as that of the Galaxy S III, it's low-light performance is superior.
If pricing was equal we'd probably pick the One X+ over the Galaxy S III, even if we admit we will be missing those ultra deep AMOLED blacks occasionally.
HTC's biggest problem is, however, that pricing isn't equal - the Galaxy S III has undergone some price cuts and is now notably cheaper than the One X+. Even if you factor in the price of a 64GB microSD card (which would bring the S III available storage to 80GB), the Samsung smartphone is still slightly more affordable. It's up to HTC to get the carriers to offer some nice subsides and even up the field.
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
And then there's LG with its newly released Optimus G beast. The One X+ can't match that one in terms of pure processing power, but runs a newer Android release and has an edge in terms of looks. So unless LG manages to release a Jelly Bean update in time for the holiday season, the larger fanbase that Sense 4+ has, might help the HTC flagship do better than the Optimus G in the most important period of the year.