There’s just the one camera on the HTC Desire X, a 5-megapixel sensor on the rear with an LED flash on-hand for late-night shoots. If you want to video chat with friends from across the globe, this is absolutely not the phone for you.
HTC Desire X Camera
The main HTC Desire X camera doesn’t impress particularly, either. It’ll do the trick for Facebook snaps and pics of your friends to reminisce over within the phone’s gallery every now and then. However, the level of detail captured isn’t too impressive, shots are quite noisy and even in reasonable lighting there’s a lot of chromatic aberration on show.
The HTC Desire X camera is not to be taken too seriously, but it does excel at fun. HTC Sense provides its own camera app that’s replete with distorting and arty effects. There’s vignetting, the Instagram favourite shallow depth of field filter, a dotty mosaic and a fistful of the more commonplace colour filter and tone options.
This camera is out for a good time, but video once again shows up its technical limitations. The highest-resolution video the HTC Desire X can capture is 480p. In a dual-core phone with a 5-megapixel sensor, this is bafflingly poor – we’d expect at least 720p in a mid-range phone like this.
HTC Desire X Music
One of the HTC Desire X’s feature calling cards is Beats audio. HTC signed a $300 million deal with the popular headphone maker that saw several HTC headphones bundled with Beats headphones last year.
This year, the partnership has been toned-down a bit. You no longer get an expensive pair of Beats headphones bundled for free, but rather have to make do with a Beats audio mode and a standard pair of HTC buds.
The Beats sound enhancer is a DSP (digital signal processing) mode that aims to make music sound more alive and exciting. It does make the non-enhanced mode sound dull and a little thin, but the Beats mode does appear to over-emphasise the bass a little. No surprise there, given how the Beats Solo HD headphones sound. A little more control would have been appreciated.
The Music app of the HTC Desire X is otherwise good. It corrals in SoundHound, TuneIn Radio and 7Digital streaming alongside access to your locally-stored tunes. It’s a pity the FM radio doesn’t get a nod too, as there is one, accessible from the main menu.
Basic music navigation is good thanks to the fairly fast processor and responsive capacitive touchscreen. However, the app is a little bit too obsessed with displaying album art. An option to view albums or artists as a simple image-free list would have sped-up matters further.
For all its Beats branding may suggest a music obsession, there is a slight noise bed to the HTC Desire X’s output that’s audible when music is played at very low volumes. It’s so slight that it’s not worth worrying about unless you’re mistaking this for an audio-centric device. It’s not one. Top volume is commendably high for a mobile phone, and output is otherwise clear.
Audio fans will be pleased to hear that the HTC Desire X supports FLAC natively too.
HTC Desire X Video Playback
If native audio support is slightly better than average, video playback certainly isn’t. The HTC Desire X refused to play almost all of our test video files, ruling-out playback DivX, MKV and Xvid without a third-party app. This is disappointing when the lowest-end HTC One phone, the HTC One V, included advanced video support – even though it’s less powerful.
In newer versions of Android, locally stored videos are sidelined into the second half of an app that’s primarily there to flog the videos available on the Google Play store. Movie rentals from Google Play cost around £3.49.
HTC Desire X Battery Life and Connectivity
The HTC Desire X has a 1650mAh battery, but its stamina is not particularly noteworthy. With moderate-to-heavy use you’ll squeeze a full day out of the phone, but this is absolutely a phone you’ll have to charge up every day unless you switch off 3G connectivity. Doing so could be made easier too, as there’s no quick 3G toggle in the pull-down menu, unlike many other Android phones.
If you can spare the battery, the HTC Desire X offers a decent spread of connectivity. There’s Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX streaming for compatible Bluetooth audio devices, and the HSPA, GPS, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA that every good Android phone deserves.
However, it does miss out on a few wireless connectivity extras. There’s no NFC and no 4G connectivity here. This is not a future-proof phone.
HTC Desire X Value
As the key makers of ultra-budget phones, ZTE and Huawei, continue to make more and more capable handsets, the ground underneath phones like the HTC Desire X gets more unsteady. It may be less powerful, but the Huawei Ascend G300 can do just about everything the HTC Desire X is capable of, for less than half the price.
Compared to bigger-name rivals, the HTC Desire X is a much easier sell. One of its key rivals, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, is chunkier, lower-powered and altogether not as pretty without selling for much less cash. If you want a “known” name on your phone, this is one of our mid-range favourites.
HTC Desire X Verdict
The HTC Desire X lops off some features to squeeze its slim body into a lower-mid range pigeonhole. Most of these aren’t too critical. It uses a cut-down version of HTC Sense, has no user-facing camera and the main camera isn’t too hot. But it gets the basics down well. The screen is surprisingly good given its unimpressive specs, the dual-core processor makes sure it’s nippy and it’s generally a pleasure to use.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 8