HTC First vs HTC One X
The rumor mill in the smartphone market takes peculiar turns at certain junctures. For instance, sometimes the rumor mill comes up with ridiculous claims that are well advanced for our time. However, sometimes they also come up with credible rumors that we can believe to be true. The most recent Facebook Phone rumor was one of those believable rumors because it was a logical step for Facebook to expand their consumer base further by providing their services well integrated with a smartphone. We weren’t actually expecting Facebook to come up with a smartphone and market it under their own banner; but rather provide a software suite. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg revealed in their event on the 4th April. Facebook has come in to an agreement with HTC to build a UI on top of Android operating system to be used in one of their smartphones. This UI has deep integration with OS to the extent we tend to call is Facebook Home or Facebook Phone even. What makes sense with Facebook’s decision is that the UI can be made available to any other Android smartphone given it’s an app running on top of Android operating system. As such, Facebook has already announced that they are making Facebook Home UI available for a couple of smartphones along with the release of HTC First on the 12th of April and we thought of comparing HTC First against one of those smartphones getting Facebook Home UI; HTC One X.
HTC First Review
Facebook revealed their newest venture yesterday when their CEO came to the stage with HTC First. There was a heavy rumor that Facebook was going to come up with a smartphone, and this is actually what’s on for sale. HTC First is a mid-range Android smartphone when we look at the specs on the sheet. What differentiates HTC First is the Facebook Home UI that revolutionizes the way you interact with your friends and provide deep operating system level integration with Facebook. Let us talk about the usual aspects of HTC First before we talk about Facebook Home.
HTC First is powered by 1.4GHz Dual Core processor on top of Qualcomm MSM 8930AA Snapdragon 400 chipset with 1GB of RAM. You can clearly fathom why we had to consider this device as a mid-range device with the prevailing standards of the Android smartphone market. However, that categorization doesn’t entail the smartphone to perform any worse than a high end smartphone. In fact, it will have responsiveness on par with high end smartphones with fluid animations and awesome physiX effects. The only sector it’ll fall short is gaming and performance intensive apps, which will obviously perform better in high end smartphones. However for a layman, we’d like to think that HTC First would be able to provide an adequate level of performance in day to day tasks. HTC has included 16GB internal storage without the option to be expanded using a microSD card. The outer shell is pitch black making the Facebook Home better highlighted with the contrast. It is generally well designed and is built with three capacitive buttons that look slightly different than what we are used to in an Android handset.
HTC First has 4.3 inches Super LCD capacitive touchscreen display featuring a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at a pixel density of 342ppi. The first thing you’ll notice is that HTC has made the screen smaller, whereas the trend is to come up with bigger screens. However, with the 720p resolution in the 4.3 inches screen, HTC is able to score a high pixel density giving birth to a crisp display panel that can reproduce texts as better as their HTC One. It is also rather smaller thanks to the small screen size and HTC has made it significantly lighter, as well. In fact, it feels really light and sturdy in your hands. It is a good thing that HTC has included 4G LTE connectivity in HTC First because the Facebook Home UI may well prove to be very demanding on your data connection. HTC First also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity along with the option to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to share your super-fast internet connectivity with your friends. HTC has included 5MP camera that can capture 1080p videos @ 30 frames per second along with 1.6MP front facing camera. The rear camera has autofocus and LED flash, but nothing grand proving our point on mid-range smartphone.
What makes HTC First special as we pointed out is Facebook Home UI. It is Facebook’s way of providing you with an immersive and authentic Facebook experience. Let’s face it; Facebook app has never been as fluid as it was wanted by the billions of Facebook users and a better Facebook app would have been a good welcome; now that we have a complete Facebook UI, let’s dig in and see what we get out of it. I’m sure you are quite experienced with Android lock screen; Facebook Home UI starts at the lock screen and replaces your entire lock screen by animated content about your friends. It has content like photos, statuses etc. from friends portrayed on the display panel in an immersive way and you can also interact with the content. For instance, tapping on a status would expand it, and double tapping would put a like on it. On the bottom of the UI, you’ll have a circular button that has your profile picture on it, and that will link you to the favorite apps and some shortcuts. Missed call notifications and incoming mail are also available on top of Facebook UI. Facebook has actually thought a lot about the usability experience and designed the UI in an attractive way. For instance when it displays a status, there is a bubble containing the Facebook profile picture on top and the background is that person’s cover photo. So you cognitively realize that the status update is from a certain persona. Facebook has included some amazing physics effects that you can play around, as well. The new messaging app is also a new addition that enables you to message someone while any other app is open. For instance when you start a conversation with someone, you can get his profile picture in a bubble which is called a Chat Head. A Chat Head is basically a live layer on top of any application you are currently running. You just tap on the Chat Head and finish the messaging and get back to where you were which is really awesome! Just because you have Facebook Home UI doesn’t mean you can only use a predefined set of apps in HTC First. Google Play Store is built in, and HTC First supports the wealth of applications it has. However Facebook Home UI doesn’t support widgets as of now, but that might be a possibility in the future. Oh and there’s a good news for everybody else who doesn’t want to purchase a HTC First to experience Facebook Home UI; Facebook is going to release Facebook Home app for high end smartphones like HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II etc. on the 12th of April and we are eagerly waiting for that.
HTC One X Review
HTC One X is indeed the ace of the lot. It is filled with power that is waiting to burst out just like a beast. It follows the unique and ergonomically sound design pattern of HTC with curved edges and three touch buttons at the bottom. It comes in either Black cover or White cover although I rather prefer the purity of the White cover. It has 4.7 inches Super IPS LCD 2 Capacitive touchscreen featuring a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at a pixel density of 312ppi. It is rather thinner although not the thinnest in the market scoring a thickness of 9.3mm and it has a weight of 130g which is equally ideal for a short duration or a long duration.
These may sound like pretty trivial features for an Android smartphone, but this beast comes with a 1.5GHz Quad Core processor on top of Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset and 1GB RAM with ULP GeForce GPU. The beast is tamed by Android OS v4.0 IceCreamSandwich which is suitable for handling multi core processors effectively, thus enabling HTC One X to attain its full thrust. HTC One X is somewhat short with the memory with 32GB internal storage without an option to expand, yet it’s still a lot of memory for a phone. The UI is certainly not the Vanilla Android; rather it’s a variant of HTC Sense UI. In the perspective of usability, we see the normal unique advantages of IceCreamSandwich being featured here, as well.
HTC has given some thought to this handset because it also has 8MP camera with autofocus and LED flash that can capture 1080p HD videos at 30 frames per second including stereo sound and video stabilization. The interesting feature is that HTC claims you can capture a snapshot even while you’re capturing 1080p HD video which is simply awesome. It also comes with 1.3MP front camera bundled together with Bluetooth v3.0 for the purpose of video conferencing. It features HSDPA connectivity up to 21Mbps which is great. The Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n enables continuous connectivity and Wi-Fi sharing through the ability to host Wi-Fi hotspot. It also has built-in DLNA, which enables you to stream rich media content to your SmartTV. We assume the HTC’s claim of having processing power to support a streaming video on the SmartTV while you’re on a call is not an exaggeration.
Apart from these facts, we know that HTC One X comes with 1800mAh battery. To be on a safe margin, we can assume it to be somewhere around 6-7 hours.
A Brief Comparison Between HTC One X and HTC First
• HTC First is powered by 1.4GHz Dual Core processor on top of Qualcomm MSM 8930AA Snapdragon 400 chipset with 1GB of RAM while HTC One X is powered by 1.5GHz Quad Core processor on top of Nvidia Tegra 3 Chipset and ULP GeForce GPU.
• HTC First runs on Android OS v4.1 Jelly Bean with a heavily customized Facebook Home UI while HTC One X runs on Android OS v4.0.1 ICS.
• HTC First has 4.3 inches Super LCD capacitive touchscreen display panel featuring a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at a pixel density of 342 ppi while HTC One X has 4.7 inch Super IPS LCD 2 capacitive touchscreen display featuring a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at a pixel density of 312ppi.
• HTC First has 5MP camera that can capture 1080p HD videos @ 30 fps while HTC One X has 8MP camera that can capture 1080p HD videos @ 30 fps.
• HTC First features 4G LTE connectivity along with 3G HSDPA connectivity while HTC One X only features 3G HSDPA connectivity.
• HTC First is smaller and lighter but has the same thickness (126 x 65 mm / 8.9 mm / 123.9g) as HTC One X (134.4 x 69.9 mm / 8.9 mm / 130g).
• HTC First has 2000mAh battery while HTC One X has 1800mAh battery.
HTC One X might not be the best cat in the market, but it is still a high end smartphone that is offered at a competitive price point. On the contrary, HTC First is a mid-range smartphone that is offered at a competitive price range. We presume that the NVidia Tegra 3 Quad Core processor is going to outperform the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon dual core giving a clear edge on performance for HTC One X. It also has a larger display panel, better optics and multimedia capabilities. However HTC Frist features 4G LTE connectivity while HTC One X lacks that and this can actually cause serious setbacks. In fact, when Facebook Home UI is offered for the One X on the 12th of April, we have our doubts on whether it’s 3G HSDPA connectivity will suffice to the demanding data connection the UI needs. So basically our suggestion is to wait until HTC First is released and compare these two smartphones on your hand to pick up what’s best for you. After all, HTC First seems to come up with adequate performance boost to accomplish almost anything that can be done with HTC One X.