HTC Desire X

Feature set summary for HTC Desire X review
The five-megapixel snapper impresses with a great selection of features and impressive results, unless taking shots in low light. Music sounds better thanks to Beats Audio, although we’d have liked to see more onboard storage.
HTC Desire X

Style and handling summary for HTC Desire X review
The handset is slim and neat in size, so fits nicely in the hand. The rubberised reverse ensures it stays in the hand. The back panel fit isn’t quite right, though.

Battery power summary for HTC Desire X review
The battery lasted for more than a day while playing music, emailing and fiddling with apps. Streaming movies sees the battery last for six hours.

Performance summary for HTC Desire X review
The dual-core chip enables the Desire X to cope well with most media and games, and we only encountered one glitch with graphics.

User friendliness summary for HTC Desire X review
HTC has included its Sense user interface, which offers lots of help for newbies, as well as plenty of customisation options and some excellent features. The four-inch display proves responsive, and the virtual keyboard is impressive.

Full Review and Specification for the HTC Desire X
HTC has brought its Desire X into the mid-range market for smartphones, bringing an impressive list of features, including a dual-core chip, five-megapixel snapper and Beats Audio. It’s not the only smartphone coming in at around £200 – there’s the Sony Xperia U and the ZTE Grand X handset to name just two – so does it do enough to stand out?

Good looks

We like HTC’s design, which sees its phones with rounded, smooth bodies, and the One group of handsets are particularly good-looking. The Desire X follows the trend – it fits nicely in the hand, and the rubberised back enables you to grip it well.

There’s a brushed metal edge around the display, and the handset feels like it could cope with being dropped – there’s a useful lip that sticks out to protect the display. Peel away the rubber back and you’ll find the battery, Micro SD memory card and SIM card slot.

The cover felt a little loose by the top right corner and lip, as though it might get flipped off by accident. It took us some time to get the back cover back on, but nevertheless, it should be easy enough to swap memory cards.

Seeing sense
HTC Sense
Setting up the phone is simple thanks to the set-up guides, and if you’re upgrading from an existing HTC phone it’s simple to transfer contacts and the like. If you’re new to smartphones, the folk at HTC have included some useful tips on performing tasks, which is kind of them. The excellent Sense user interface sits atop the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The lock screen, for instance is really useful – drag an icon into the bubble to get quick access to your four most-used apps. The phone book is great too – listing your most-used contacts at the top of the list. Plus the marvellous onscreen keyboard offers speedy access to symbols and numbers and the auto-correct facility keeps up with speedy typists. We fond the handset a total joy to use, even if there were a couple of glitches, For instance, at one time during our testing the phone wouldn’t make any calls and we had to reset it to start calling. And it also kept forgetting to use our Wi-Fi, although it eventually rectified this issue on its own.

Screen star

The Desire X sports a four-inch Super LCD display that is amazingly bright, and even in bright sunlight we had no difficulties checking emails or finding our way around the menus. The screen is not as sharp as the really pricey handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X, but it’s still up there with the likes of the HTC One V and the Sony Xperia U. We enjoyed watching YouTube clips and TV programmes, and found the viewing angles impressive too. Tilting the handset resulted in very little in the way of colour distortion.

Music lovers will love the way that HTC has teamed up with Beats Audio to make the most of the music sound. We tried it out with a range of different music genres and they all sounded better with Beats Audio enabled – the most impressive transformation being when listening to poor-quality MP3 tracks that have a low bit-rate. The lifeless, rather dull music became crisp, bass-heavy tunes that put it on a par with a CD.

Power point

Power comes from a dual-core chip that can cope with the latest games – we tested it with Blood & Glory: Legend. We had one graphical glitch that appeared when we were playing Dead Trigger, where we saw some of our objects flash and become transparent. The four-inch display is a good size for all kinds of games, from first-person shoot’em-ups to puzzle games – and it is responsive enough to enable the user to enjoy their games to the full.

Onboard storage is 4GB, but in reality you only get just over 1Gb of that for storing apps, photos and media. Happily, it is possible to upgrade the memory via the Micro SD slot, plus HTC users get 25 GB of storage from DropBox, which is free for two years.

Snapping away

There are plenty of phone cameras with more than the five megapixels the model on the Desire X sports, but nevertheless its performance is quite impressive. Our pictures proved sharp even when we looked at them on a computer monitor or TV, and the colours were impressively bold on images taken in good light.

The lens take a second to focus, which is not great for taking of-the-moment shots, but hold the virtual shutter button down and the camera will grab loads of shots at once – you can take up to 20 at a rate of one every 2.5 seconds. If you want to focus on a certain area, just tap the screen. Macro shots were good, with our chosen object sharp and the background blurry, although nighttime images were not so good until we fired up the LED flash. There are plenty of features and settings to choose from, including face detection and timers, as well as some fun filters. The camera also grabs full HD video.

Battery life is impressive too, with a good 24 hours of use playing apps, music and downloading files over Wi-Fi. If you’re streaming video the battery should last for about six hours.

Our conclusion

HTC has come up with a smartphone that offers plenty for everyone, especially if you’re new to smartphones. The Sense interface is user friendly and offers some great features, while the snapper is impressive for the price. There’s plenty for media fans, with great games support, a decent screen for movies and the bonus of Beats Audio to improve music quality. If it weren't for a couple of glitches the HTC Desire X would have got the full five stars.