Saturday, November 10, 2012

iPhone 5 vs HTC One X, The Battle of Two Interesting Flagships


In the red corner we have the HTC One X, which is world’s first smartphone powered by a quad-core processor, announced in February 2012 at Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. In the blue corner is Apple’s iPhone 5, announced in September 2012, the company’s first smartphone to come with a display bigger than 3.5 inches. The iPhone 5 vs HTC One X battle will be interesting, they both are very popular among the smartphone enthusiasts, they both belong to the high-end segment, making the iOS and Android environments proud.

Even though the HTC One X was announced as the world’s first quad-core smartphone, the limitations of the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset forced the Taiwan-based manufacturer to fit a LTE-friendly dual-core solutions. Even so, the processing power of the HTC One X was not affected by the change, but we will get to this later.

The iPhone 5 is the first Apple product that comes pre-loaded with iOS 6, the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system. After the Cupertino-based phone manufacturer made the iPhone 5 available for purchase, the flagship smartphone became the fastest selling smartphone, with not less than 5 million units shipped in the first weekend after the launch.

The popularity of the iPhone made Apple one of the most profitable companies in the world, while HTC is struggling to stay on a very competitive market. The Taiwan-based company, one of the early dopers of Google’s mobile operating system, posed disastrous results in Q3 2012 and there are some voices saying that HTC won’t be able to stay on the market for too long if the descending trend continues.

But we are not here to talk about sale figures or company earnings, so let’s leave these to the analysts and begin the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X showdown. We will compare the iPhone 5?s and HTC One X’s Dimensions, Display, Connectivity features, Memory, Camera, Processor, Battery, Operating System and Design, giving one point for each round, then sum up and see who is the winner of the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X fight. I have to mention that the comparison is about the US variant of the HTC One X, the one based on Qualcomm’s dual-core CPU. Let’s begin.

The iPhone 5 is the biggest iPhone ever produced by Apple. The new device was supposed to accommodate a bigger display, so the iPhone 5 is bigger than its last two predecessors, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, measuring 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm. As you probably noticed, the iPhone 5 keeps the same with of the iPhone 4S, but now it grew taller. In the same time its profile was dropped to only 7.6 mm, becoming one of the thinnest smartphones on the market. Even though Phil Schiller announced the iPhone 5 as “world’s thinnest smartphone” I will have to mention that Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing had it totally wrong, and probably forgot about Motorola’s RAZR (7.1 mm) and other thinner devices, with Oppo Finder being the thinnest, with only 6.65mm on its thickest part.

On the other hand we have the HTC One X, measuring 134.8 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm. Even though it’s obviously bigger than the iPhone 5 we should’t forget that it has to accommodate a 4.7-inch display. Still there’s no excuse for being thicker, too. Moreover, the HTC One X weighs in 129 grams, being 17 grams heavier than the iPhone 5 (112 grams).

Some say it’s impossible to control a smartphone as big as the HTC One X with only one hand, but many of you probably got their hands on devices with dimensions similar to One X’s and noticed that one hand is enough for most of the tasks, from writing text messages or emails, to pulling down the notifications area.

Because the Apple flagship is thinner and lighter than the Android-powered high-end smartphone, the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X dimensions battle is won by the iOS device. 1 – 0 for the iPhone 5.

As I mentioned above, the iPhone 5 is Apple’s first smartphone to come with a display bigger than 3.5 inches, a size introduced back in 2007 by the first generation of iPhones. The iPhone 5 boasts a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT display (also known as Retina Display) with a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, a pixel density of 326 ppi and 16:9 aspect ratio. The iPhone 5?s display is manufactured using in-cell technology, allowing Apple to keep the waist of the smartphone to an impressive 7.6 mm and is protected by Gorilla Glass and oleophobic coating.

The Cupertino-based company decide to make the new display as wide as the previous ones (you can see that the base resolution of 640 pixels is shared between iPhone 4, 4S and 5) in order to give less headaches to the developers. Each time a new display resolution joins the iOS ecosystem the developers have to optimize their apps for the new resolution, so keeping the same with means less work for them. That’s why some of the applications currently available in the Apple App Store are displayed on iPhone 5?s screen with two black bands in the top and bottom ends.

The HTC One X sports a 4.7-inch display protected against scratches by Gorilla Glass. The display uses Super IPS LCD2 technology, has a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and a pixel density of 312 ppi. The Super IPS LCD2 display has one of the best contrasts on the market, outmatching iPhone 5?s in most of the situations.

Since HTC One X comes with a bigger display, it will bring better experiences when it comes to web browsing, email reading, gaming, or video playback, that’s why this round of the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X battle goes to the Taiwan-based smartphone. +1 HTC One X.

The LTE support is a major selling point for the smartphone segment, especially on the North American market where the 4G networks are more widespread. Apple saw an opportunity in the LTE, therefore it has launched its first LTE-compatible smartphone. Besides 4G compatibility, the iPhone 5 also comes with 3G, WiFi a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi hotspot and Bluetooth 4.0.

The introduction of the new Lightning connector of the iPhone 5 annoyed a lot of the company’s customers as now the accessories compatible with the old connector are useless, unless you buy the Lightning dock connector, priced $30.

The HTC One X model introduced in February at MWC 2012 was underpinned by a Tegra 3 chipset manufactured by Nvidia. Unfortunately, the Nvidia SoC is not compatible with the 4G networks in The US. But HTC fount a solution and fitted a LTE-friendly Qualcomm SoC on their flagship smartphone to make it support the high download speeds of the country’s 4G networks.

Besides WiFi a/b/g/n and WiFi Hotspot, HTC One X also comes with WiFi Direct and DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and even NFC chip.

Because since both smartphones come with 4G LTE support, but the HTC One X also packs a NFC chip and a “one size fits all” microUSB connector (in handy when you have to recharge your device and you don’t have the original AC charger, because you can borrow any of your friend’s chargers as most of the phone manufacturers use this technology) the point allocated for the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X fight goes to the Taiwan-based smartphone.

The iPhone 5 has three internal storage options: 16, 32, 64 GB. Because the Apple and the HTC smartphones come with unibody designs and non-removable batteries, neither of them come with microSD card support, so the user is not cable of extending the storage. On the other hand the HTC One X packs 16 GB of internal storage without having an option of choosing for more or less storage, but it comes with 25 GB of Dropbox for two years. Both the iPhone 5 and the HTC One X come with 1 GB of RAM, so, since the two terminals have similar memory, this round ends as a tie.

The HTC One X features an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, plus geo-tagging, face and smile detection, plus full HD video recording capabilities with video stabilization, simultaneous HD video and photo capture, and stereo sound recording. The primary camera of the HTC One X also comes with the HTC Image Chip, which is supposed to improve the picture quality in low light conditions.

The Android-powered smartphone also comes with a secondary camera with a 1.3 megapixel sensor with 720p HD video recording support.

The iPhone 5 comes with the same 8 megapixel iSight sensor that debuted on the iPhone 4S. Apple knew that it’s time to improve the primary camera of their new iPhone, therefore it integrated a BSI sensor and the tests have proven that it one of the best smartphone cameras in low light conditions.

The iPhone 5?s primary camera also comes with LED flash, autofocus, touch focus, allowing the user to take stills while recording HD videos. It supports geo-tagging, face detection, HDR and full HD video recording at 30 fps with video stabilization. The front-facing camera is a 1.2 megapixel unit capable of handling HD FaceTime calls.

Because both cameras are similar, but the real-life tests have proven that the iPhone 5 does an amazing job when it comes to taking pictures in low light condition, the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X camera battle is won by the Apple smartphone.

Apple’s previous product launches has mislead many of the tech publications, as most of them were expecting the iPhone 5 to be based on the Apple A5X SoC. Apple has made a habit out of putting the iPad processors inside their iPhones: the iPhone 4 came with the single-core A4 chipset borrowed from the first iPad, the iPad 2 shared its dual-core A5 processor with the iPhone 4S, so everyone thought that Apple would fit iPad 3?s dual-core A5X SoC on the new iPhone 5.

The Cupertino-based company probably knew that it would be impossible for the iPhone 5 to cope with the power of other Android smartphones powered by chipsets like Exynos 4 Quad or Tegra 3, therefore Apple has put its engineers to work and developed a brand new dual-core A6 processor. The company employed ARMv7 technology borrowing construction elements both from the Cortex A9 and Cortex A15 chipsets, and the benchmark tests have shown that iPhone 5?s 1.2 GHz processor can outscore some of its quad-core rivals. It’s also worth mentioning that the A6 processor is doubled by a triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 GPU.

When HTC announced the One X at MWC 2012, it was presented as a quad-core smartphone underpinned by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 platform. The lack of LTE support of the Tegra 3 pushed HTC to use a dual-core chipset manufactured by Qualcomm but with support for US’ 4G networks.

That’s why the US variant of the HTC One X is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 S4 SoC based on two Krait cores clocked at 1.5 GHz. It also comes with an Andreno 225 GPU that beats Tegra 3?s ULP GeForce.

Still, the GLBenchmark tests have shown that neither the CPU nor the GPU of the HTC One X are capable of outscoring iPhone 5?s processing units, therefore this is a win for the iPhone 5.

This is the major problem of today’s smartphones. All the companies are trying to crowd more and more powerful technologies inside their smartphones, but only few of them are really trying to improve the autonomy of their terminals.

In the red corner is the HTC One X with its 1,800 mAh battery with up to 300 hours of stand by time and up to 8 hours and 30 minutes of talk time. In the blue corner is the iPhone 5 with a 1,400 mAh battery with announced 225 hours of stand by and up to 8 hours of talk time. What are those numbers trying to tell us? Almost nothing.

After you get down to business and mess around with the iPhone 5 and the HTC One X you will notice that you can’t get them past 1 day of normal usage. Of course, if you turn off data connection, play less and browse less you will probably have a battery life of two days, but what’s the point of having a smartphone then?

Because both the iPhone 5 and the HTC One X have failed to impress when it came to battery life and because the two smartphones have similar autonomy, we will call this a tie.

This is a battle of tastes and each of you will choose the operating system based on his persona beliefs. The iOS is known for its stability, while the Android became famous for being highly customizable.

The iOS was introduced in 2007, but since then Apple hasn’t performed major changes in terms of user interface. Apple’s mobile operating system improved a lot since its debut, as the company introduced new features each year, while the App Store continued to grow, too. But the customers get bored pretty fast and many of them look for a change.

Google launched Android 1.0 in September 2008 on the G1, but Android 1.5 Cupcake was the first popular version of the search engine giant’s mobile platform. Unlike iOS, Android’s user interface went through a lot of changes, from goofy looks of Android 1.6 Donut to the modern looks of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. HTC One X runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, but the smartphone is upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

iOS impresses with the large number of applications in the App Store, while Google’s widgets are even making the Apple fanboys drool. The iOS is stable and reliable, while Android allows you to personalize your smartphone and make it behave just the way you want it.

But, of course, there are less cool things about the two platforms, too: you can watch your grandsons grow while waiting for the latest Android update to hit your smartphone, while the new Apple Maps can direct you to jump right off a bridge. And these are only two of the annoying things of Android and iOS, respectively.

Each operating system has its strengths and its flaws, that’s why the OS choice is made entirely by the user, based on his own preference. So, iPhone 5 vs HTC One X operating system battle has no winner.

The design of a smartphone is also a matter of taste, but here we have some pros and cons that will turn the battle around.

The iPhone 5 continues the design language introduced in 2010 by the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S were almost identical, and now Apple decided to make the new generation taller, but keeping the same rectangular with round edges design. It even has the same silver edges like its predecessors. Still, the back is no longer made of glass, Apple now using aluminum for the iPhone 5. Oh, and it’s taller. I’ve already said that, didn’t I? Hey, Sir Jony Ive, what do you do with so much spare time?

One X has a unibody design and HTC used polycarbonate for the case of their smartphone. There are some advantages of this material. On one hand it is lightweight, allowing the manufacturer to keep the weight of their smartphone as low as possible. On the other had is the deep coloration of the polycarbonate, so if your smartphone gets scratched, the scratches will be less visible than on aluminum or glass.

Moreover, HTC didn’t continue the design introduce by one of One X’s predecessors, but decided to start a new smartphone from scratch and see whether the public will like it or not. Fortunately for the Taiwan-based company, the public really like the design of the HTC One X, while receiving positive reviews from the tech publications.

Because HTC was brave enough and came with a new design for their flagship smartphone, not fearing whether the fans will like it or not, and because the Taiwanese designers manged to create what it is a beautiful smartphone, the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X design showdown is won by the Android flagship.

The iPhone 5 vs HTC One X battle is now over. It was a tight one,wasn’t it? The two flagship smartphones ended up tie when it came to Memory, Battery Life, and Operating System, but they were not so close in the other rounds.

iPhone 5 slim profile, sharp camera and powerful processor brought it 3 points for Size, Camera and Processor, while HTC One X scored 3 precious points for its Display, Connectivity and Design, because it has a bigger and brighter screen, comes with NFC and microUSB besides 4G LTE support, and because HTC’s design team was inspired enough to create a beautiful terminal.

Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs the iPhone 5 vs HTC One X fight ended as a draw, but next year Apple and HTC will launch flagship smartphone and maybe we will have a winner then.

If you consider that some of the rounds were unfair, if you have something to add, or if you just want to let us know what you think, we have a comments section below that is all yours. Have fun!

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