Michael and I got some to spend some time with the fine folks at AT&T at a New York City event where the company showcased their fall lineup of devices. While most of them we have seen before, there were some new devices on-hand that were just recently announced. We used the event as an opportunity to play around with some new devices, like the One X+, the One VX, the Lumia 920, and the Galaxy Camera. Check out our hands-on video below, and scroll down for some early impressions.
When we reviewed the original HTC One X, we had several complaints: the camera wasn’t that great, the device was laggy at times, and there was no user-replaceable battery or microSD storage. Has the One X successor, the One X+, addressed our complaints? Partly. The One X+, with its Tegra 3 1.7GHz quad-core CPU plus the fact that it’s running Jelly Bean, makes it feel significantly faster than the original One X. Opening folders, launching the app drawer, and flipping through web pages did indeed feel faster, though perhaps not as fast as the Galaxy S III. We’ll have to test the One X+ more thoroughly when we get it into our labs.
In terms of camera performance, the software has been updated a bit, though the lens on the rear camera is unchanged. If you didn’t like the photos taken with One X, you’re going to have similar feelings about images taken with the One X+.
Of course the One X+ has no user-replaceable battery (and lately, we’ve become accustomed to this limitation), but it has up to 64GB of storage, which softens the blow of no option to add more storage.
Overall, we’re excited by a faster One X. The display is still second-to-none, the build quality is delicious, and we’re warming up a bit to HTC Sense, which is now called “Sense 4+” (representing some minor changes with Jelly Bean).
The One VX reminds us a lot of the HTC Sensation. It’s a midrange Android 4.1 phone with a 4.5″ qHD Super LCD 2 display which looks quite vibrant, albeit a bit low-resolution. It has a slim design with a nice in-hand feel, and the performance afforded by the dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU and 1GB of RAM was good enough to keep up aggressive multitasking. This phone will be a nice option for those that want the One X+ but want something more affordable.
Michael and Anton were able to play with the Galaxy Camera at IFA, and now it was my turn. I was amazed at the performance of the operating system: it feels faster than a Galaxy S III for some reason. It’s very strange to have Android powering a camera, but it has many benefits, especially when you consider that it has WiFi and cellular data. The 21x optical zoom was terrific, and there were also a host of manual camera tools that digital photography enthusiasts will enjoy.
The Galaxy Camera cannot make calls. You can think of it like a tablet in that it has cellular data (at this time, HSPA+ is the only option, not AT&T LTE). The cellular data is key so that your photos can be instantly uploaded to the service of your choice, or you can use a social network to share your images.
In the end, the Galaxy Camera is a brilliantly executed “super-camera”, but we wonder if there’s a market for such a device. I’m content carrying a good camera in my pocket. Even if I’m going on a trip, I’m happy to rely on the camera of the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III. Do we really need to take a step backwards into a world where people carry two devices?
In-hand, the Lumia 920 is substantial. It’s thick and heavy. And while Michael sees that as a sign of quality, I see it as a sign of cumbersomeness. Make no mistake about it: the build quality on the Lumia 920 is fantastic, the design is unique, the screen is gorgeous, and the performance looks to be top-notch. But in a day of thin and light iPhone 5s and Galaxy S IIIs, I left the event wondering whether the 185 gram heft will be offensive to smartphone buyers.