HTC Desire X hands on review

The Desire X matches the styling of HTC's flagship One X – but how does it measure up specs-wise? We get hands-on

HTC Desire X hands on review: build

Borrowing the design language of the flagship HTC One X, the Desire X is a curvy, slender smartphone that feels sturdy yet soft, thanks to the textured polycarbonate material used in its construction. It's not a unibody design – the back pops off so you can insert a microSD card and remove the battery – but the whole phone still feels as premium as the phone it shares a letter with.

The HTC Desire X will be available in black or white – and while we certainly prefer the white version, we know it's not going to stay that pristine for long.

HTC Desire X hands on review: display

A WVGA Super LCD display may not be quite the cream of the crop in the smartphone world, but it's relatively bright, detailed and colours look good. And at 4in, it's large enough to browse websites without needing giant pockets. The ppi count may be lower than that of its pricier cousins, but we had no initial complaints.

HTC Desire X hands on review: performance

Thanks to a 1Ghz dual core processor, which happens to be a variant of the very fast S4 SnapDragon chip found in the HTC One S – plus a few tweaks to the Sense 4.0 user-interface overlay and 768MB of memory – the HTC Desire X is one smooth operator. Incredibly smooth, in fact. Given that it's a mid-range device, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich glides along surprisingly well.

Apps and other features such as the internet browser and camera load very quickly, too – making the Desire X feel more like a slightly de-tuned One X than a sheep in wolf's clothing. Unless you expect the very best, we doubt you will be disappointed.

HTC Desire X hands on review: camera

Without lots of time, it was hard to ascertain how capable the camera is – but the few shots we took were relatively detailed and colours looked accurate. We did spot a bit of blurring when taking photos of a passing car, though, but nothing too damming.

In terms of features, burst mode and 'best shot' features are present and correct. Like its more premium HTC stablemates, the Desire X's F2.0 5MP snapper can even record video and take photos at the same time. A five-level flash and BSI censor round off a very positive camera package. Just don't expect full 1080p HD video recording, as you'll be sorely disappointed.

HTC Desire X hands on review: verdict

Usually the thought of a mid-range device leaves us a little uninspired. A trusty budget handset and a top-end beast can wow you much more easily than Mr middle-of-the-road of Average-upon-Trent. But a combination of the One X's fantastic styling and a large battery in a much more affordable package leaves us feeling just a tad impressed. It looks like the days of ugly HTC blowers could be over.

Ultimately, the Desire X feels like a premium piece of kit, and it shouldn't dent your wallet as much as you might think. HTC says it will cost less than the One V but more than the budget Desire C, which suggests it'll be available for less than £200. Well under half the price of the mighty One X, but not leagues apart in terms of performance? That sounds like a winner to us.

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