HTC One XL in-depth review -

Look and feel
The HTC One XL is almost a twin to the HTC One X, with the same look and feel. From the soft-touch back to the slightly-jutting camera lens, it’s an iconic and pleasing design.


Ease of Use
The spacious 4.7-inch screen is a great way to waste time on the web, bash out an email or mess around with apps.


Features
The same excellent 8MP camera is present in the HTC One XL, packing all the features of the HTC One X’s snapper. 4G LTE support makes for super-speedy downloads, but the 16GB of storage space can’t be upgraded.


Performance
Whille the HTC One X rocked a quad-core processor, the One XL makes do with a dual-core chip. Thankfully you can still game and enjoy your media without any stutters.


Battery life
Despite that large, bright screen, we still managed to get 24 hours of use between charges, even with Wi-Fi turned on and most of the settings turned to maximum. HD Media streaming knocks it down to four and a half hours, unfortunately.

 HTC One XL Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/5/2012 10:05:52 AM

8

out of 10

Performance

9

out of 5

Look and feel

10

out of 5

Ease of use

9

out of 5

Features

7

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Ultra-fast 4G connectivity; Sharp, bright 4.7-inch screen; Beats Audio; Feature-packed 8MP camera

Cons:

Dual instead of quad-core; 16GB storage isn’t expandable; Just over four hours of video playback

HTC’s One XL looks and feels almost identical to the HTC One X, one of our most favourite media phones of 2012, but there’s a couple of major changes beneath that beautiful exterior. The main addition is 4G LTE support, so you can now download massive amounts of data (think video streaming and gaming) very quickly. However, he who gives may also take away...

 

Cutting back

 

HTC One XL review

 

While the original HTC One X rocked a quad-core processor for top-of-the-range performance, the HTC One XL has scaled back to a 1.5GHz dual-core, backed up by the same 1GB of RAM. This can still handle all of the latest games and apps, as well as media streaming and any other intensive tasks. And while the drop to dual-core means the One XL doesn’t have the same lengthy lifespan as the One X, we’d be surprised if you needed to upgrade before the standard two years is over.

 

HTC One XL review

 

Another area where the One XL has cut back is storage space. The original One X came with 32GB of space for your photos, music and movies, but the One XL halves that to just 16GB. It’s still enough space to carry thousands of photos and songs, but the lack of a memory card slot means you can’t upgrade.

 

Speed demon

 

HTC One XL review

 

The One XL might have made some cutbacks compared to the HTC One X, but its also gained something magnificent: 4G LTE support. This ultra-fast data download service is a step up from 3G, and we noticed the difference immediately. We streamed some lengthy 720p HD clips over YouTube and didn’t spot a single stutter or pause for buffering, something that would be constantly bugging us on our existing 4G contract.

 

We also tested the connection speed with SpeedTest, to get some figures to back up our observations. The One XL produced a mean score of 19Mbps download speed and 23Mbps upload speed using 4G, while our 3G phone on the Three network only managed a 4Mbps download speed and a measly 1.9Mbps upload speed. In all of our speed tests, 4G has always been three to five times faster at downloading data than 3G, regardless of network. If you’re a media fan and have the cash to spare, it’s a no-brainer.

 

HTC One XL reviewOn 4G, the HTC One XL (left) even beat our work's Wi-Fi network (right) for download speed

 

Media machine

 

Although you can’t carry as many movies and albums around, the HTC One XL is just as fantastic for taking in a show or enjoying your tunes as the HTC One X. The same brilliantly bright 4.7-inch screen produces pin-sharp HD images, whether you’re kicking back with a film or simply browsing your photos. And with plenty of viewing space, we were very happy to watch a full-length movie on our lengthier train journeys.

 

This being an HTC phone, the One XL also comes with built-in Beats Audio. This smart software basically pumps up your music and other audio to make it sound as good as possible. With high-quality music files we didn’t notice much of an improvement, with a change in volume and bass more than anything, but low-quality tracks were freshened up and really brought to life.

 

HTC One XL review

 

We enjoyed almost four and a half hours of HD video streaming on a single battery charge, not one of our best results, but we weren’t expecting miracles given the size of the screen. That’s also on full display brightness, our standard measure. Limiting yourself to apps, emails, calls and the occasional use of the camera and browser will give you a full day’s use before you need to plug in.

 

Sharp snapper

 

One component that thankfully hasn’t changed is the excellent 8MP camera. There’s no physical shutter button but photos take almost instantly, and our daylight shots came out both crisp and vibrant. Low-light shots are also impressively bright thanks to the f2.0 aperture lens, which sucks in plenty of light. Our photos did get grainier as the light dimmed, which is to be expected, and you need to make sure your hand is steady to avoid motion blur.

 

HTC One XL review

 

Our true love for the One XL’s camera stems from its excellent features. You can hold down the shutter button to take a series of photos in quick succession (‘burst shot’ mode), then select your favourite and delete the others if wanted. A full range of funky filters is included for arty shots, and you get face detection, geo-tagging and all the usual extra modes. You can also shoot crisp Full HD video and take photos while recording. If you need to take self portrait shots or chat with chums over Skype, a crisp 1.3MP front-facing lens does the job perfectly.

 

When you’re done shooting, you can also edit your photos on the fly, cropping, rotating and adding extra filters. You also get tons of sharing options, from your bog-standard text and email to social networks and cloud storage (DropBox and SkyDrive included as standard).

 

Conclusion

 

Like the HTC One X, the One XL is a slick media phone that’ll please music and movie fans (despite a less-than-stellar battery life when enjoying your vids). Full 4G LTE support means you’ll be able to stream HD movies without any stuttering or buffering, which is just as well as the 16GB of storage isn’t expandable.