- Reception and call quality Pretty decent. Audio quality's not the best I've heard but the ability to pull in signals is decent
- Display One of the best displays I've used. Exactly the sort of screen that should feature in a "superphone".
- Battery life Pretty dismal unless you're constantly nursemaiding apps. It's well and truly done at the end of the day.
- Camera I just don't get why bloggers bang on about the performance of these cameras. Somewhat worse than a near decade-old P&S
- Ease of use It's Android. Everything that's bad about a computer, with only some things good about a smartphone. Sense's attempts to make it usable = still crap usability
- Design and form factor Svelte, snappy looking & is of still manageable size despite overall resemblance to dinner tray. That it can make the Lumia look slightly dated is achievement
- Portability (size / weight) While I dislike giant slabs of phones, it is also undeniable that despite it's titanic screen the OX is light and svelte
- Media support It's Android. If you can't find something to play back whatever obscure codec you're rocking, you probably aren't looking hard enough.
- Durability Polycarb feels really solid but really not sure how it would hold up in a drop. Haven't yet.
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) App availability is undeniable, but hardware ecosystem definitely is on the sucky side
The 'skin feel' is excellent. There's a silky touch on handling the polycarbonate body, and it doesn't feel unduly plasticky or fragile - though with such an expansive glass area, I doubt it'd stand up to a serious drop. The moulding / machining is to a high standard. Of course, you wonder how long the white will stay white but the phone does make much more stylistic impact in this colour than a black or grey.
Reception is pretty decent - better than the iPhone, and marginally to a lot better than other Android/Windows Phones I've used bar the Lumia. Handset earpiece sound and mic pickup can be a little tin-laden at high volumes but still a good usage experience in this respect.
Camera-wise, well - it works pretty well in terms of overall function, besides the fact that the lens being so close to the edge means that fingers can often cover the shot in a hurried snap. But more importantly for me, as mooted in the summary above I just don't get why cameraphones are such a big deal for some. And then, after reading things like the iPhone 4S love-in on Ars, I realise that the iPhone is the only camera that Apple makes, and that a certain type of blogger is going to hype it up no matter what. But for Android? I'm not sure why. Do both iPhone and One X represent the top of the tree in smartphone imaging quality? Certainly from what I've seen, Yes. Do both suck in an absolute present-day camera perspective? Yes. Will I use either as a matter of course over the P&S I carry unless I desperately want to share something I took right that moment? No - I object to smeary memories.
Despite being a card-carrying audiophile of the old-but-objective school, I'm not going to rag on Beats. It works - it doesn't increase the quality of the music, but it does certainly liven it up and you can always turn it off. The native quality is absolutely adequate for any and all casual listening. The branding isn't over the top and the built-in speakers also works as well as it could be expected to.
I haven't had a chance to properly check out the other wireless features such as APTX audio and NFC. Perhaps I'll modify this when I get the chance.
Overall, it's the best Android phone I've had to date. And yet it's still relegated to third-string status in my handset roster behind Windows Phone and iOS in that order - and that reason is simply Android.
The current iteration of ICS may be ballyhooed by a certain type of blogger and Sense may also be criticised for spoiling the 'pure' ICS experience by some, but I don't think a) ICS addresses any of the complaints I have about the overall chaotic state of Android and b) I don't think Sense actually does anything particularly bad at all (apart from some over-enthusiastic power/task management which definitely affects your use of apps, which Android frankly desperately needs anyway but Sense doesn't do it well). Even visually, and even if you take Sense out of the equation, Holo is still... well, plain, and not in a particularly efficient or good way.
I don't know about you, but I expect to be able to use my smartphone without thinking about how I use it. I just want to have my apps work in the way I want them to and that's it. And that isn't what's served up by Android. Either way, as delivered on this phone (and to those saying CyanogenMod or whatever fixes the issues - do you have any idea of how ludicrous what you are proposing is on a consumer handset? If you don't, you should) the UI approaches a messy disaster, the packaged OS is heavyweight without any particularly good reasons, and the multitasking is out of control - which leads to poor battery life and consequent severe heating of the handset especially in warmer climes, which Sense attempts to mitigate by chopping off tasks willy nilly.
As a result the One X is still easily my worst phone in terms of 'maximum getting in my face'-ness by a country mile. But seeing as the 'unsullied by Sense' GNex isn't much better, this is first and foremost an Android (and you could argue, general Play app QA) issue and it's still what makes Android useless to me as a primary phone - and the only reason I hang onto a handset is that I need Android specific apps at times.
Executive summary: Stunning hardware - in almost every category, the best or among the best I've used - crippled by a 24-carat joke of a mobile OS (who genuinely wants a slightly crippled 'full' PC in their pocket? Not me). I just wish I could get this with Windows Phone instead.
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Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review