Review Price £419.95
Read the review of the HTC One M8
The HTC One XL is essentially a version of the HTC One X that that has had a bit of a redesign to let it take advantage of EE's 4G network. Although outwardly very similar to the One X, internally it's had a bit of a rejig. HTC hasn’t just slapped in a 4G radio, it's actually also changed the processor the phone uses.
The HTC One XL is currently available from Everything Everywhere for £29.99 on monthly contract costing £46 a month over 24 months, which is the same price as EE is charging for Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, so how does it stack up against Samsung's 4G beast?
Thankfully, on the One XL HTC has dumped the shiny sliver strip that cheapened the look of the original One X. Instead the beading around the display is now black so it blends in perfectly with the rest of the screen. Some may find the dark grey finish a bit boring, but it certainly gives off a more professional air than a lot of Android phones we've seen recently. The HTC One XL is very slim too, measuring a mere 9.3mm deep, but despite this HTC has managed to avoid the plastiky feel that afflicts the SIII somewhat. When you pick up the One XL it just feels a bit more solid and sturdy to hold.
The layout of the buttons and ports is pretty traditional. The power button at the top is a bit of a stretch when you're holding the phone single handed, but the volume rocker switch on the right hand edge is long and thin and easy to press. We also like the way the phone plays a series of ascending or descending notes as you turn the volume level up and down. The headphone jack is thankfully placed at the top, just where it should be in our opinion, while the microUSB port is on the left hand edge. This port is MHL compliant, so if you buy an optional adaptor you can use it to output video over HDMI. We tried it with a generic MHL adaptor and it had no problems smoothly playing back 1080p videos in MP4 format.
Beneath the screen you get the usual touch buttons for the back, home and multitasking functions. The only slight oddity is that on the top rear there's an iPhone style pin slot to open the Sim card slot, which takes a microSim card.
On the rear you'll also see a curious line of five metal dots towards the bottom of the phone. It turns out that these are contacts for charging and data transfer that are used by a series of peripherals that HTC offers, such as desktop and car docks.
The One XL has both front and rear facing cameras. The front camera is a pretty mundane 1.2megapixel affair, but as well as being useful for video calling, HTC has also added a mirror app, in case you need to fix your hair or apply some lippy on the train.
The rear facing camera is naturally where all the action is. It's not the sensor's 8Megapixel resolution that makes it special, but rather some of the extra features it offers. For example, you can take stills photos while shooting video and those stills are not just captures from the video stream, they're actual full resolution shots.
It also has a rapid shooting mode where if you hold down the shutter button it'll fire of around four shots per second. In conjunction with the rapid shooting mode there's also a best shot feature. Once you've taken a series of shots you can scroll through them to select the best one and have the camera app automatically delete the rest.
HTC has added a range of filters that have live previews so you can see exactly how your shots will look. These range from depth of field effects to vintage and sepia colour effects, all of which are of a pretty high standard.
The quality of shots is on the whole very good, but they lack that little extra edge to put them up there with the very best. The camera has a slight tendency to wash out brighter parts of pictures and sometimes detail isn’t quite as sharp as it should be. The 1080p video shooting mode is pretty impressive, though, even if detail levels drop off a lot if there's a good deal of fast movement in the frame.
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