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First look at the HTC One XL

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 12, 2012

7 min read

Today I had the opportunity to test drive the latest offering from HTC – the One XL. Over the years I have experienced many product launches – and occasionally I get the feeling I am about to see something truly remarkable. I’m pleased to report that this was one of those occasions!

The One XL is packed full of refreshing features, and I honestly believe the folk at HTC really do listen to customer feedback when designing their phones. I will concentrate on some of these features today, and hope to delve deeper into them in a future posting.

To say the One XL is fast would be an understatement. Operating on the Telstra LTE (4G) network, this phone flies. I ran a standard speedtest.net test and then compared it to the HTC EVO 3D with the following results:

PING Download Upload
HTC 3D 240ms 5.79Mbps 1.14Mbps
HTC One XL 44ms 32.76Mbps 20.87Mbps

Both devices were located on my desk in Melbourne and were within the 4G network coverage. Even when outside the ever expanding 4G footprint, the One XL is fast. Powered by a dual core 1.5GHz processor, the One XL can certainly perform wherever it is. Proudly boasting the Telstra Blue Tick, this handset is also recommended for handheld rural use.

Built tough

The One XL has a super strong polycarbonate unibody design – yet is light in your hand. To protect its 4.7″ super LCD 2 HD 720p display, HTC have included the latest Gorilla Glass 2. Gorilla Glass will help prevent your phone’s display from getting scratched in your pocket, and should cope with the usual day to day bumps we all give our phones.

Picture this

HTC-One-XL-blog-inpostWe have become accustomed to capturing anything and everything on our mobile phone cameras. How often have you wanted to take a few shots in a row – but your phone needed time to write each image to memory, and by the time its done it, the opportunity had passed? No longer an issue. With camera features that you expect only on an expensive digital SLR, the One XL takes just 0.7seconds to start up to shooting the first pic, and can rapid shoot up to 99 – yes 99 pics -at a rate of 4 frames per second! That’s a shot every 0.2 seconds. (Read the last two sentences out loud – takes about 13 seconds!)

Because mobile phone cameras, in general, fall under the “point and shoot” category, you have little control over the output. The phone/camera thinks for you and delivers what it’s algorithms calculate to be the best composition of light and focus etc. The One XL’s 8 MegaPixel camera allows up to 44% more light than most camera phones through its F2.0 aperture lens. This is certainly a feature that should prove popular with the anyone who loves to “capture the moment”.

I particularly liked the video capture that allowed me to take a 5 MegaPixel still pic whilst I was videoing. No need to stop, change the setting from Video to Camera – just touch the shutter button and your image is stored. When reviewing a video, you can also capture a specific image and save it as a pic as well. The videos can be shot in full HD video at 30 frames per second or at 4x slow motion standard resolution. What’s more, it records in Stereo!

Watch it on the big screen

So you’ve taken the videos and pics – and want to share the results with family and friends. Using the MediaLink HD accessory (plugs into your HDMI port on the TV) – Coming soon and a three finger swipe the screen of your One XL – you can push your videos, pics, music and even your applications to the big screen.

The Media Link HD opens a range of possibilities. I can see it now – rocking up to that business meeting with the HTC One XL and Media Link HD – connecting to the projector’s HDMI port, and running the whole meeting from my handset. After a busy day of meetings, relaxing in the hotel, downloading a movie to my handset and watching it on the 42″ screen. The world is definitely changing.

Music Music Music

beats audio is built into the One XL. If you have never experienced the audio quality of a pair of beats headsets, I suggest you might want to. The richness of sound is unbelievable. Even without beats headsets, you will notice the enhanced quality of your music, videos and even video games, thanks the beats Audio.

With a large amount of music stored on my iTunes account, I tend to avoid loading music onto handsets I review. HTC obviously want me to. They have released the HTC Sync Manager (currently for PC and soon for Mac) that allows you to import your music library from iTunes or Windows Media Player to your One XL. So not only do you keep your library, you can retain your playlists!

The HTC Music Center gives you access to your own library, online music services in your area and internet radio, all in one place. I found this refreshing, as I am constantly searching for different music applications on other handsets.

Customers purchasing an HTC One XL can also purchase a beats solo™ or urbeats™ headsets at the promotional price of $179 (beats solo) or $99 (urbeats)( limited offer whilst stocks last – check with your Telstra Shop for details).

Down to Business

The One XL comes with the latest Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. The User Experience – Sense 4.0 allows you to personalise your phone. This means you can truly have what I refer to as a “work and play” phone. Whilst not the first phone to allow you to personalise the setup, the One XL really does allow for different identities.

I enjoyed the ease of use the wifi printing feature. I’ve lost count of how many times I have emailed a pic to my laptop before I could print it. Another clever feature is the colour coding of email groupings – especially handy with my multiple email accounts on the one device. (I hate it when I send an email from the “wrong” account – mainly because the reply does not appear in the area I was expecting!).

Polaris Office is included so that you can edit or view Word and Excel documents remotely, and review and save PowerPoint documents. Sync Exchange with Tasks –  linking a “to do” with a caller. (This feature could even turn me into a hero!). Imagine you are about to drive straight home, not a worry in the world, and the phone rings. It’s your significant other – and the linked task reminds you it’s your wedding anniversary. (You had totally forgotten of course). Instantly you can tell the caller – will be home shortly – just picking up something special for our anniversary dinner! HERO!

Storage

Cloud is all the buzz these days. The One XL has 32GB of shared memory and a further 25GB Dropbox FREE for 2 years. Of course you can purchase additional storage if required

I am currently reviewing the accessories available for the HTC One XL and will share my findings with you shortly.

Conclusion

Take a great handset, add in some clever accessories, run it on a world leading network, and you really do have the complete package. Exclusive to Telstra, the HTC One XL has my vote as the product of 2012.

Tags: Android,