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HTC kicked off Q1 2012 with a bang unveiling its new refocused line of premium smartphones in the form of the One Series. A family of three devices, all geared towards bringing the latest HTC experience to consumers. The lesser of the three, the HTC One V brought Android Ice Cream Sandwich and a version of HTC’s latest UI overlay, Sense, to the mid/high end market, but it fell to its bigger brothers to really fly the flag for the company.

Both the HTC One S and HTC One X currently inhabit the market as some of the most significant Android handsets available right now. The One S is technically the mid-level device of the three, using the latest Qualcomm dual-core processor as part of its formidable arsenal, whilst the huge 4.7-inch screen and quad-core processor found in the One X, cement its status as the clear flagship of the lineup. But bigger doesn’t always mean better as is often the case in the mobile world, so we’re pitting One S versus One X in a serious sibling rivalry.

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HTC One X VS HTC One S: Design

Although the One Series share some unifying design elements, such as the three Android ICS-friendly capacitive buttons, as opposed to the previously recognised four, both One S and One X adopt a more sophisticated look over their smaller sibling. Both come in two colour variations and each offers a significantly different feel when handled. The One S is available in both silver and black, whilst the One X can be found sporting either black or white. In both cases the latter colour choices yield a greater effect.

The One S, which features the more luxurious metal bodywork also receives a unique micro-arc oxidation coating (solely on the black variant), which creates an amazing tactile surface that looks great alongside protecting the underlying metal from scuffs and scrapes. Although the larger One X is by comparison of plastic unibody construction, the care and detail to the surface finish, particularly apparent on the white model, is high. The feel of the slim body also renders the One X less obtrusive in the pocket, despite its huge screen, although it is a big phone, too big for some.

Analysing the designs of both the One S and X is like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, both are excellent but it boils down to personal taste – or how big you want your phone to be.

HTC One X VS HTC One S: Screen

The AMOLED of the One S is clear and vibrant and measuring in at 4.3-inches, with its qHD resolution, offers excellent blacks and ample screen real-estate to navigate all manner of applications and UI elements. For those with larger hands however, the One X’s 4.7-inch LCD 2 display will be better suited. Despite the highly capable AMOLED on the One S, the One X’s display has fantastic brightness, depth of colour, clarity and sharpness. It is in fact the nicest smartphone display on the market, trumping not only its sibling, but the Samsung Galaxy S3’s 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED too.

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The screen really is the only key influence here. Both sport HTC Sense 4.0, the latest version of the company’s Android UI overlay. Structured with ICS in mind, the interface is logically laid out, attractive and on both devices, wonderfully smooth. Lag is somewhat of a rarity across the One Series UI experience in general, but the differences between these two are imperceptible.

HTC One X VS HTC One S: Camera

We’ve already undertaken in an in-depth camera comparison between these two devices and based on the fact that the 8-megapixel unit in play is utilised by both handsets, featuring the same sensor, lens and UI, both are very good.

The One S leans towards warmer images (most likely in an attempt to counter the cool colour temperatures generated by using an AMOLED display), which also offer greater noise suppression, but the One X is the greater all rounder, thanks to its ability to capture images in low light faster and with less blur, greater ability to capture detail and its edge when capturing macro images.

HTC One X VS HTC One S: Performance

As the first handset in the world to sport NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor, the HTC One X stacks up as one of the most powerful handsets on the market, but by comparison the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 lurking within the One S is no slouch. But as battery life takes a far more noticeable hit on the One X – even compared to the quad-core Galaxy S3, despite an update it struggles to last a day.

Comparatively the HTC One S is a fantastic balance of both performance and battery life. The dual-core allows greater flexibility, endowing the One S with raw number crunching potential for the trickier tasks it may be posed. But the battery lasts two days – which is fantastic for a modern smartphone.

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HTC One X VS HTC One S: Conclusion

The HTC One X is a device for those who like to consume; users who want cutting edge mobile capability, with its amazing and sizable display, strong gaming and media potential and beautiful design. But it’s not perfect though, battery performance is a huge let down.

For those who want an incredible capable all-round device, it makes more sense to opt for the HTC One S, it’s powerful, with a great camera, screen and amazing battery. 

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Yes, there may be a number of drawbacks by comparison to its larger brother, but on its own merits, the One S could be seen as flagship material in its own right. HTC have made two highly capable devices and the One X is really competing with Samsung Galaxy S3 as the only other quad-core smartphone on the market. In contrast the One S still appears to inhabit the top of the dual-core tower without much competition. We’d pick the One S for a number of reasons, but the One X still means business and if you make it your smartphone of choice, you won’t be disappointed so long as you understand what you’re in for. 


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