HTC One XL Android phone
HTC One XL review: HTC's One X gets the superfast 4G treatment. Is the extra speed worth it?
- Super fast 4G speeds
- Elegant design and superb screen
- Some great camera features
- Poor battery life
- Inconsistent Sense UI
The addition of LTE 4G connectivity adds a new dimension to the HTC One XL. Fast mobile data speeds combined with an outstanding design, an excellent screen and good overall performance make the One XL a great smartphone. Poor battery life, inconsistent HTC Sense software and limited internal memory are the only real downsides to an otherwise excellent Android phone.
The HTC One XL looks almost identical to the HTC One X but has one major difference: the XL is a 4G smartphone and is therefore capable of the fastest mobile data speeds. The One XL delivers seriously impressive 4G speeds provided you regularly use your phone in a Telstra 4G coverage area.
Note: Our review unit is an imported model from Australian online store MobiCity. The HTC One XL is available through Telstra from Tuesday 5 June.
The HTC One X is a great phone in its own right but adding 4G connectivity gives the One XL an extra dimension. Telstra's LTE enablement of its Next G network runs on the 1800MHz LTE network band but "switches across" to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available. When it is officially released in Australia, the HTC One XL is likely to be just the third 4G smartphone in the country following the HTC Velocity 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G.
The HTC One XL we imported from MobiCity worked without any issues on Telstra's 4G network, but you need to adjust a few settings to get it functioning initially. You'll need to manually edit the APN in the settings menu to Telstra.Internet, restart the handset, then ensure the LTE option is selected under network mode. Once these settings are applied, the One XL will automatically give you 4G coverage where it is available. When you're in a 4G coverage zone the phone will display LTE next to your coverage indicator instead of H or 3G.
The HTC One XL's appeal will ultimately depend on your location. The telco says it is continually improving and expanding 4G coverage but right now 4G is available in all eight capital cities (5km from GPO) and their respective airports in Australia, along with 80 regional and metropolitan centres (3km from city centre). There is no 4G coverage in my home but the HTC One XL managed four bars of 4G at the PC World offices in North Sydney. Whether or not a 4G phone will benefit you will ultimately depend on where you use your phone and if those areas are in a 4G coverage zone.
At its peak the HTC One XL is blazingly fast. It regularly achieved download speeds of up to 28 megabits per second (Mbps) in North Sydney, though it usually hovered around 25Mbps in our offices. The highlight of our testing was at an NRL match at Sydney's Leichhardt Oval, where the HTC One XL managed to produce speeds of up to 56Mbps despite a crowd of over 16,000 people. The presence of HSPA dual-channel technology on the One XL also means 3G speeds are fast, too. We regularly managed speeds of between 14Mbps and 19Mbps which is much faster than you'll get on most other smartphones including Apple's iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the One X.
Much more of the same
LTE connectivity aside, there are two other key differences that differentiate the HTC One XL from the One X. Firstly, the One XL is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor rather than the Tegra 3 quad-core processor of the One X. It also comes with just 16GB of internal memory compared to the larger 32GB capacity of the One X, though the Australian model sold through Telstra comes with 32GB of internal memory. The dual-core processor has no impact on performance at all, as we felt little difference in performance during everyday tasks. If you are importing your HTC One X though, the 16GB of memory is a downside, especially given the lack of a microSD card slot. Though the rise of cloud storage will help, many potential buyers, particularly those used to the flexibility of Android phones, may be reluctant to live with such a small amount of memory.
The differences just about end there, so the One XL has all the same features of the One X sans LTE antenna, processor and memory. This includes a large 4.7in Super IPS LCD2 with a HD resolution of 1280x720, an 8-megapixel camera with backside-illuminated sensor and an attractive polycarbonate design with very impressive build quality. The One XL we reviewed was a dark grey colour, though its not yet known which colour variant Telstra will release when it officially launches the phone. For more details about the HTC One XL's design, display, camera and software, read our review of the HTC One X.
Disappointingly, we once again found audio output via the built-in speaker rather low. It's a problem we encountered on both the One X and the Galaxy Nexus and it often made ringtones and notification tones difficult to hear when the phone was in our pocket. The frustratingly inconsistent Sense UI, while much improved from previous versions, is also a bit of a let down. This will ultimately depend on personal preference and tastes, but the recent apps menu and the on-screen keyboard are two examples of HTC making changes that don't improve the overall user experience.
We found that the HTC One XL has similar battery life to the One X, which means it is a little disappointing. Our review unit didn't manage to achieve a full weekday of use before needing a recharge, even when we turned off automatic synchronising. To be fair the One XL doesn't appear to use much power at all when the screen is off and easily pushed us through a full weekend day without needing a recharge. However, if you're regularly in a 4G coverage zone the 1800mAh battery certainly drains quickly whenever the screen is in use.
The HTC One XL is available for $6 per month on Telstra's $59 Freedom Connect Plan over 24 months (a total of $65 per month). The plan includes $550 worth of calls and MMS messages, unlimited SMS messages and voicemail and 1.5GB of data per month.
Alternatively, the HTC One XL is $0 per month on Telstra's $79 Freedom Connect Plan over 24 months (a total of $79 per month). This plan includes $800 worth of calls and MMS messages, unlimited SMS messages and voicemail, and 2GB of data per month.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google wants to solve the Android update problem once and for all with Project Treble
- Intel concerned about name of John McAfee’s privacy phone
- Low-cost Android phones to get iPhone features with new Qualcomm chips
- Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear
- Apple's next iPhones may cut corners on memory due to price squeeze
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCCommercial ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Solution Designer, Investment and Trading PlatformNSW
- FTProgram SchedulerVIC
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW
- CCdevOps EngineerNSW
- FTData Analyst | $51 p/hrVIC
- CCTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTWEB DesignerQLD
- TPDelivery Coordinator - ProjectsQLD
- CCData AnalystNSW
- TPBI ConsultantNSW
- FTService Implementation Manager BIMNSW
- FTWeb Developer - VR 3D WebGL - Lake MacquarieNSW
- FTSenior PHP Developer - SymfonyQLD
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- FTTechnical WriterACT
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior .NET DevelopersSA
- TPProject Manager | Applications and Project InitiationQLD
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerSA
- TPMS Access/SQL DBAQLD
- FTLead Drupal DeveloperQLD