How do you make a very good thing even better? If it's a smartphone you add a few more cores while cranking clock speed, increase battery capacity and cram in 64 gigs of internal storage. That's the HTC One X+, available exclusively on ATT in the US. It's the holiday spec bump to keep the phone competitive with the Samsung Galaxy S III, LG Optimus G and other high end phones.
If you've read our review of the HTC One X, you know it was one of our top picks in May 2012. The iconic unibody polycarbonate design, superb 4.7", 1280 x 720 Super LCD2 display with 312 ppi pixel density and smooth and reliable performance made it stand out. The One X+ moves up to the new NVidia AP37 1.7GHz quad core Tegra 3 CPU, making it faster than both our US One X with the dual core Snapdragon and the international 1.5GHz Tegra 3 One X. The phone benchmarks are at the top of the list in all tests and even more important, it feels fast in actual use. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with its "Project Butter" adds to that perceived quickness and the phone never lags.
HTC Sense 4+ skins Android, and we have no complaints. Sense is never overbearing and it brings good usability tweaks while still letting features like Google Now shine. The display is still one of the best we've seen on a smartphone, and images and text look painted on. Colors are rich and accurate and auto-brightness works perfectly, unlike our Galaxy S III that keeps us in the dark on auto-bright.
The HTC One X+ has a 2100 mAh Lithium Ion battery that's sealed inside (up from 1800 mAh on the One X) and we've so far had no trouble making it through a full day (7am-11pm) with moderate use that includes everything but gaming. 3D gaming will drain the battery more quickly than anything else, and gaming drain is higher on the One X+ than on dual core Snapdragon phones. The One X+ also gets quite warm on the upper rear and near the earpiece when gaming for 10 minutes or more. The same is true when using the LTE 4G connection heavily, say to download 20 apps in one session. It's by no means hot enough to burn you, but you'll notice the warmth.
The phone has an excellent 8 megapixel camera with a BSI sensor, fast f/2.2 28mm lens and an LED flash. It can shoot 1080p video at 30 fps and has features like HDR, burst mode and panorama. It's largely unchanged from the One X rear camera, and it's still among top camera phones in the US (Galaxy S III, iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920), though we'd say the Lumia 920 sits at the top for low light work. The front camera is improved from the One X and is 1.6MP.
The HTC One X+ is available now from AT&T for $199 with contract and $549 without contract extension. It had Beats audio, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a GPS with GLONASS and NFC.
Here's our HTC One X+ video review. Our full written review will follow.