HTC looks to take a big step forward with greater focus and fewer products for 2012.
HTC's new flagship phone is a beautiful piece of work. Powered by a quad-core 1.5Ghz Tegra 3 SoC, 4.7-inch SuperLCD2, and 8 MP f/2.0 camera, the One X has specs that will surely make any competitor do a double take before its next launch.
One of the problems with HTC has been the confusing line of product names that don't necessarily relate to one another. (It also didn't help that the company released a new phone almost every three months.) HTC is cutting back and is introducing the "One" series. Basically, think of it as the company's answer Samsung's popular Galaxy series.
Unlike Samsung, however, HTC is launching three phones in tandem in order to attract customers regardless of their budget. The One X is the series headliner, and it's made of out machined polycarbonate, making it feel light yet very strong. The One S is one step down and utilizes a plasma electrolytic oxidation, which basically involves subjecting an aluminum case to high voltage to achieve a crystalline coating supposedly four times stronger than straight up anodized. The One V is more of a budget oriented beast and revives the unibody aluminum design first seen in the Legend of 2010.
Topping it off, HTC's giving all three phones Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 MP camera, 25 GB of Dropbox storage (for 2 years), Beats audio integration, better performance, and improved displays. Those things are rather standard in our opinion, and things you'd expect from any evolving smartphone platform. The thing that really impresses me is the focus on camera quality. The collective sum of HTC's new smartphone features is called ImageSense 4.0, and it's something that any shutterbug should covet.
Camera with ImageSense:
- 8 megapixel camera with auto focus, smart LED flash, and BSI sensor (for better low-light captures)
- F2.0 aperture and 28mm lens
- 1080p HD video recording
- 1.3 megapixel front camera (720p for video chat)
- Dedicated imaging chip
- Capture a photo in the midst of recording HD video
- Continuous shooting mode captures multiple snapshots
- Auto flash smartly determined by distance from your subject
- Video stabilization feature removes annoying, shaky motion
- High quality slow motion video capture and playback
When it comes to smartphones, consider that taking pictures is the second most common task after actually making a phone call. Moreover, last year 45 billion pictures were uploaded to Facebook. Yet, Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, makes an excellent point that the quality of those pictures tend to be poor. Take the iPhone 4S as an example. Even with all the work that Apple has done with the recent A5, image processing on a smartphone is nothing like a decent point-and-shoot camera. That's why it's surprising that HTC really understands that the ideal camera phone is one where you aren't missing the quality of a point and shoot. And for the One series, the company made the critical step invest time and energy to design its own image processor. That's exactly what the professional camera vendors like Canon do.
Now you can take pictures faster due to the F2.0 aperture. But what's even cooler is that you can take pictures while you're shooting a video. There's no performance penalty when we tried the One X for ourselves. For a complete breakdown, watch the press conference video that we uploaded. We're planning to spend more time with HTC One series on the show floor, but we wanted to give you this breakdown as we wound up the pre-show press conferences.