If you’re an Android user looking for new hardware, this was a good week for you. In the U.S., HTC’s One X for AT&T made the review rounds while Samsung finally took the wraps off its much anticipated Galaxy S III. Interestingly, one of the two phones has generated much positive feedback while the other seems to impress fewer.
I haven’t heard many complaints about the HTC One X; in fact, nearly every review calls it the best Android phone available for AT&T right now. Having used one for the past week, I’m inclined to agree and shared my first impressions earlier. Aside from a few very minor nuances — I still don’t like where the power / wake button is — there’s little not to like about the One X.
While the phone is very similar the slightly smaller HTC One S for T-Mobile, HTC made good use of the larger display on the One X and the 1280 x 720 Super LCD display looks noticeably crisper to me than the 960 x 540 Super AMOLED screen on the One S. And I say that as a big fan of Super AMOLED displays.
Since I live 100 miles from the nearest AT&T LTE coverage area, I haven’t tested the LTE mobile broadband on the One X yet. I suspect many potential buyers are in the same category as AT&T only offers LTE in roughly three dozen markets. But the HSPA+ fallback, in my area, at least, is quite good and rivals T-Mobile’s fast service where I live. And Sense 4.0 is very intuitive and useful, although I personally still prefer stock Android 4.0.
So the One X garnered rave reviews and yet Samsung’s Galaxy S III appears to have let down some. Perhaps the anticipation and wait built expectations too high?
Clearly, the new Galaxy offers cutting edge hardware in nearly every aspect, starting with the new Exynos quad-core chip. It’s likely that the U.S. LTE markets won’t see this chip, however, as Samsung hasn’t yet been able to integrate an LTE radio solution. Instead, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 is likely to be in any GSIII variant on Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon. Based on the HTC One line, which uses the Snapdragon S4, that’s probably not going to be an issue.
To be honest, I’m not sure what Samsung could have added from a hardware perspective to make people happy. Aside from using a PenTile Super AMOLED display — which won’t be a problem for most consumers — the hardware is top notch. And that’s likely why Samsung focused much on improving its own software for the phone.
Samsung showed off a customized Android Beam function that uses NFC and Wi-Fi to transfer data between phones, as well as S Voice, a Siri-like voice interaction feature. Pop Up Play allows you to continue watching video in a window while multitasking on your phone, although for $1.49, any Android phone can do the same with Stick It. The GSIII’s camera software now includes a burst mode and best picture function as well. And there’s a way to share video or productivity apps with multiple smartphones on the same network, which is nifty.
Both the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III look impressive to me, and even with some expressing disappointment in the latter, I suspect it will still become Samsung’s best selling smartphone to date.