Spoilt for choice

HTC’S lat­est model, the One XL, is primed for 4G, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech -

HTC ONE XL

Mo­bic­ity, $ 829; mo­bic­ity.com.au

HTC phone fans face a tough but ex­cit­ing choice.

They’re be­ing asked to choose be­tween a phone with the speed­i­est hard­ware and a phone with the speed­i­est net connection.

The HTC One XL is the lat­ter op­tion, as it con­nects to Tel­stra’s new 4G net­work and de­liv­ers down­loads up to five times faster than av­er­age.

It doesn’t of­fer the same quad- core pro­ces­sor as its One X ri­val, how­ever, mak­ing the choice that lit­tle bit harder.

De­spite their hard­ware dif­fer­ences, the HTC One X and XL are hard to phys­i­cally sep­a­rate.

The XL is merely 1g lighter than its ri­val and 0.44mm longer, en­sur­ing you couldn’t tell them apart in a line- up. Mer­ci­fully, this first- re­lease ver­sion, im­ported by Mo­biC­ity be­fore its of­fi­cial Tel­stra launch, ar­rives in dark grey.

They are sim­i­lar in other ways too. De­spite its XL ti­tle, this phone of­fers the same 720p 4.7- inch touch­screen as its brother, as well as the same 8- megapixel cam­era with back­lit sen­sor and LED flash, 1.3- megapixel front- fac­ing cam­era and Beats Au­dio tweaks for de­liv­er­ing bass- heavy sounds. Both of­fer the new An­droid Ice Cream Sand­wich soft­ware.

But the big­gest ben­e­fit to own­ing a One XL is clearly its speedy net­work connection. Mo­bic­ity buy­ers must change a cou­ple of set­tings to en­cour­age this hand­set to ac­cept Aus­tralia’s 4G ( LTE) connection but once set it roams to the speed­ier net­work au­to­mat­i­cally.

The big­gest ben­e­fit to own­ing a One XL is clearly its speedy net­work connection

With just three out of five re­cep­tion bars show­ing on this phone, it was able to hit down­load speeds in ex­cess of 12 megabits per sec­ond ( Mbps) and upload speeds of 7Mbps, mak­ing photo up­loads dis­ap­pear in record time.

A walk through the city proved even more pro­duc­tive, with speeds of up to 40Mbps pos­si­ble in some lo­ca­tions. There is a trade- off for this net­work speed, how­ever. While the XL spe­cialises in net­work speed, it swaps a quad- core pro­ces­sor for a dual- core pro­ces­sor to do so.

To have both in one phone may have over­whelmed its bat­tery.

Us­ing the Quad­rant Stan­dard app to test th­ese phones, the One X is clearly the faster of the pair in both over­all scores and par­tic­u­larly in CPU power, where the XL was sim­ply out­gunned.

The 1.5GHz XL is no lag­gard, how­ever, and rates more than twice as fast as a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Users are likely to be pleased with its per­for­mance, as it of­fers few de­lays and solid multi- task­ing de­liv­ery.

Where the One XL does stum­ble a lit­tle is in bat­tery life. In chal­leng­ing net­work con­di­tions, where it was forced to swap from 4G to HSPA and down to 3G of­ten, this hand­set lost bat­tery power faster.

When test­ing its speed in such con­di­tions, the XL can also be­come quite warm; so warm it is un­com­fort­able to hold to an ear.

De­spite the oc­ca­sional bat­tery hic­cup, this phone is an over­achiever. Its com­bi­na­tion of lat­est soft­ware and speed­ier connection should please smart­phone afi­ciona­dos.

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