HTCs X factor

Written by Sharad Raghavan | Updated: Nov 8 2012, 05:47am hrs
An affordable alternative to the Samsungs and Apples of the smartphone world

Where Apple has sought a niche market with its iPhones, targeting the more affluent section of society, its main competitor Samsung has gone in the opposite directionmaking available a whole range of phones across price brackets. This strategy has worked wonders for the South Korean company, and the fact that it uses Android software only adds to its appeal. Similarly, smaller companies like HTC have also capitalised on the popularity of the Android OS, designing excellent smartphones that bring out the best in the software while being affordable for the bulk of phone-buyers. Its against that background that we must look at HTCs Desire X.

At R23,499, it would be unfair to compare the Desire X with the top smartphones in the marketthe Samsung Galaxy S III and Apples iPhone 5which cost around double the Desire Xs price. Instead, a worthy comparison would be with a slightly older version of the iPhonethe iPhone 4. Running Androids Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the Desire X catches your

attention the instant you pick it up. Weighing only 114 gms compared to the iPhone 4s 137 gms, the difference is felt instantly. The sleek design, too, is a wonder to beholda 3.5 inch screen dominates the view, with only two physical buttons (one for power and the other for volume control) lending a clean, minimalist style to the phone.

Then we come to actually using the phone, and it doesnt disappoint. With a dual core 1 GHz processor, its not lightning-quick, but it is fast enough to handle most apps. The obvious advantage of running Android is that the software is standardthat is, even a much faster and more expensive phone running Ice Cream Sandwich would look and feel the same as the Desire X, as far as layout is concerned. Even functionality-wise, all the modern features one has come to expect from a smartphonecamera, internet browser, WiFi hotspot, etcare present. There are two truly standout features in the phone that are worth mention here. The first is the camera. Although it is at an average 5 megapixels, the fact that you can select from a range of filters (sepia, vintage, etc) before you take a photo makes life very easy. Many other phones offer the filters, but you can apply them only after the photo has been taken. The second feature is an app simply called Car. As soon as this app is opened, the phone becomes car-ready. That is, the display become horizontal, making space for the main features used in a car (phone, music and, most importantly, Google Maps) to be displayed prominently. This is aimed at making navigating on the phone while driving as easy as possible, thus minimising distraction.

The sound system is simply fantastic, especially if you compare it to the iPhones speakers. Remember the Beats speakers and headphones brought out by famous rapper Dr Dre, which were lauded for being so bass heavy and rich in sound quality Well, thats the sound system youll get with the Desire X. The phone battery is also impressive, with charging required once every day and a half of intensive use (that is, YouTube, phone, messaging, Maps, Facebook, Twitter, etc).

There really isnt much going against this phone, except maybe the fact that the super LCD capacitive touchscreen could be clearerthe same photo taken by the Desire X and the iPhone 4 (both have a 5 MP camera) was much clearer on the iPhone than the Desire X. Also, HTC has a reputation for screens that become faulty after a years use, but that is hearsay. Overall, given the price, HTCs Desire X is an excellent phone.

Estimated street price Rs.23,499