Quad-core was the tech term of choice at Mobile World Congress 2012. There were many, many gadgets announced in Barcelona, tablets and phones alike, that either contained Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor (or quad-plus-one-core processor, if you will) or another CPU with four cores.
Whether this means that each quad-core phone boasts the same or similar levels of performance remains to be seen (it all depends on the apps you’re using) and there’s other things such as screen size, battery life, design, storage and connections to take into account too.
We won’t know for sure how well the batteries and cameras of these phones will compare until we get them all in for testing ourselves.
There’s also a little matter of price. Prices for the HTC One X, LG Optimus 4X HD, Huawei Ascend D quad and ZTE Era haven’t all been announced. So it’s a little tricky to compare all four like for like at the moment.
What we can do right now is have a look at the available information and glean what we can from the spec sheets.
HTC One X
With its beautiful polycarbonate body and super-powerful camera, the HTC One X is already shaping up to be one of our favourites for 2012. Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box with HTC’s revamped Sense 4 interface on top, its the most beautiful Android has looked inside and out for our money.
The screen measures 4.7-inches, has a resolution of 1280x720 (720p) and thanks to the IPS technology and HTC’s ‘optical lamination’ process, there’s virtually no air gap. So you get a screen with some incredible viewing angles.
Powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 1.5GHz quad-core processor and a healthy 1GB of RAM, the HTC One X has some proper processing muscle as well as good looks.
As well as this there’s also the option of the HTC Media Link HD accessory. This plugs into your TV via HDMI and lets you sling whatever’s on your HTC One X onto the big screen. You can enable a mirror mode if you want to flick through emails on a big screen or push content to a bigger display (like a movie) and then carry on using your phone for texting and calling or whatever you want.
Speaking of movies, with the HTC One X, you’ll also be able to watch movies downloaded on HTC Watch on a big screen vis HDMI - something you weren’t able to do before.
32GB of memory comes included for on-board storage. Though there’s no microSD card slot, HTC is including two year’s free access to a Dropbox account which gives you 25GB of cloud storage with which to do what you will. This gives you enough space for pictures and video (you can auto-upload to Dropbox as you shoot) while using your internal storage for your apps and everything else.
The HTC One X is due for release in the first week of April.
LG Optimus 4X HD
The LG Optimus 4X HD literally wears its quad-core high-definition heart on its sleeve. Nvidia’s 4-PLUS-1 core CPU (clocked to 1.5GHz) is all present and correct and the 4.7-inch screen is a ‘True HD IPS’ panel with an HD (1280x720) resolution.
The 8-megapixel main camera can also record 1080p video at 30 fps (frames per second) and the microUSB port features MHL, meaning it can be used as an HDMI port. The LG Optimus 4X HD bleeds HD from every corner.
Something of a comeback phone for LG, the Optimus 4X HD which we saw at Mobile World Congress wasn’t finished and some models were running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. We understand that it’s to get the full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich treatment after launch in the summer.
The official specs show that the LG Optimus 4X HD comes with a 2150mAh battery under the hood which (on paper) ought to give us more running time than the HTC One X which has a slightly smaller 1800 mAh battery.
16GB of internal storage comes built in to the LG Optimus 4X HD, not as much out of the box as the HTC One X, but you’ve got the option of adding microSD cards (up to 32GB) so you’ve got a possible total of 48GB - the biggest amount of ‘hard’ storage of these four phones.
Huawei Ascend D quad
The Huawei Ascend D quad is so quad-core it’s even got quad in it’s name. Unlike the HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X HD, the Huawei Ascend D quad is powered by Huawei’s own K32V processor.
On paper the speeds are listed as 1.2GHz and 1.5GHz. We’re not yet sure if this means there will be two versions of the Ascend D quad or if this means the processor speed will slow down (to save battery) during intensive task management.
Huawei is claiming that the Huawei Ascend D quad is the world’s fastest phone to date - a pretty bold claim. Whether or not it’s the fastest, its certainly fast - during our hands-on time at Mobile World Congress the Ascend D quad blazed through general processes and games effortlessly.
Like the screens of the HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X HD the resolution clocks in at 1280x720 (720p) but at a slightly smaller 4.5-inches, the PPI count climbs to 330. Again there’s an 8-megapixel main camera which records 1080p HD video and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich runs the show.
Packing just 8GB of internal storage the Huawei Ascend D quad doesn’t give you much room out of the box, but you can expand this (up to 32GB) with a microSD card. So you’ve got roughly 40GB to play with in total.
It’s as slim round the waist as the LG Optimus 4X HD (8.9mm) despite the smaller screen. Huawei is touting excellent battery life too; the Ascend D quad comes with an 1800 mAh battery - the same as the HTC One X - but the proof will be in the pudding. Or rather, the full Recombu review.
Alongside this, there’s also the Huawei Ascend D quad XL - essentially the same phone as the Ascend D but with a bigger body (10.9mm - 2mm thicker) and a bigger battery (2500 mAh). So if you’re less concerned about size and you want some extra juice, then the Ascend D’s XL-sized sibling might be your weapon of choice.
Solid release dates for the Huawei Ascend D quad and its XL variant haven’t been announced, but we’re told to expect both in Q2 2012; so any time between April and June this year.
The ZTE Era is the most advanced ZTE Android phone we’ve seen to date. Coming with a 4.3-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 960x540 (qHD) the ZTE Era doesn’t have as big or detailed a screen compared to the other three phones here.
But that’s not to say it’s not capable of producing detailed, rich images; the PPI count adds up to 256 which isn’t anything to sniff at.
At 7.8mm it’s slimmer round the sides than any other phone here. Perhaps a deal breaker if you’re after a sizeable Android phone, but you think 4.5 and 4.7-inches is verging on brick territory.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich comes installed with some light custom UI touches from ZTE. It’s not a complete graphical overhaul like HTC Sense 4 on the One X but we think that vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich looks pretty good already.
ZTE hasn’t announced how big the battery inside the Era is yet. For argument’s sake, assuming it’s a 1800mAh battery, it ought to give a better battery performance compared to the bigger, high res screens of the HTC One X and the rest, coupled with the natural power efficiency that you get with a multi-core chip.
Like every other phone here, an 8-megapixel main camera, capable of recording 1080p HD video takes pride of place on the back. Storage-wise you just get 8GB of internal memory to play with, but like the Ascend D quad, this can be expanded (up to 32GB) with a microSD card. There’s no dedicated HDMI port but there is an MHL solution. So you will be able to show off your HD video clips on a big HD TV.
There’s no concrete release date for the ZTE Era so far, only a Q2 2012 launch window.