Today, we’ll be pitting two mighty titans against each other to determine which is the best high-end smartphone in the market if money was no object. We have the best offerings from both camps, the HTC One X from the Android camp and of course, the iPhone 4S from camp iOS. Both these handsets offer bleeding edge technology and are the absolute cream of the crop. Now, if you’re an Apple or HTC fanboi, then we don’t expect you to read this since you already own one of these handsets, but for someone who has this sort of budget and wants to know which phone to pick, read on to find out.
HTC One X
Hot from HTC’s stable is the One X, a quad-core, Android 4.0 running beast. HTC's ditched the unibody aluminium design for their flagship and have gone with a lighter, polycarbonate shell which makes it super light despite its gigantic proportions. The new ‘overflowing’ screen design looks incredibly sexy and gives it a fresh look. The phone features Sense 4.0, which isn’t as graphics heavy as their previous versions but manages to provide a familiar look and feel.
First quad-core handset to hit the streets
The One X also features Beats Audio for enhanced sound quality through the bundled music app. The interface is incredibly slick and with a good pair of headphones, the sound is rich with plenty of deep bass. The pièce de résistance of the One X however has got to be the processor and camera. It features Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 CPU running inside which makes it the first quad-core handset in the market. Although many apps aren’t quite optimised for four cores yet, games like GTA III will definitely see a boost in performance. The camera fares well under low light as well and takes less than 2.5seconds from the time you open the app and capture the image.
Apple iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S wasn’t quite what we were expecting after all the leaks and rumours but it wasn’t a terrible upgrade either. The distinguishable features of the 4S include the new powerful dual-core processor, beefed up 8MP camera with 1080p video capabilities and of course, Siri. Apple didn’t mess around with the design of the phone too much; in fact, it’s practically identical to the iPhone 4 from the outside. The faster CPU does allow for a better gaming experience and also multi-tasking is a lot smoother.
A high-end grudge match without an iPhone just doesn't cut it
iOS 5 made its debut with the 4S and brought with it new features like notification centre, iMessage, reminders, etc. The camera in the 4S is able to capture a lot more detail thanks to the larger pixel count. That, coupled with the faster processor enables you to record in 1080p as well. Finally, we have Siri, the electronic assistant to help you automate mundane tasks. While getting it to work with a heavy accent can be a task, it works well if you speak in a neutral accent.
Both these phones are great in their own right but there can be only one winner. Let’s go to the charts to find out.
Click for larger image
The Bottom Line
On paper, the HTC One X smokes the iPhone 4S and comes out as the clear winner. The hardware present in the One X is clearly better as you get four CPU cores to handle all floating point operations and twelve GPU cores for rendering graphics. Despite this, it’s really tough to clearly decide between the two and ultimately, it depends on how much flexibility you’re willing to live with. The One X is a great option if you do some heavy gaming while travelling as the Nvidia chipset is more than capable in this department. You also get the freedom to customize the look and feel of the phone to suit your liking and it’s also slimmer and lighter (albeit larger) than the 4S. Areas where you might face issues are the battery life, which is not the best, especially if you’re going to be stressing the phone out every day. Timely updates are another issue as even though Google may roll out new updates, it will be a while till HTC rolls it out to their customers.
Apple on the other hand may have a very tight knit ecosystem, but that works in their favour as they only have one phone to worry about. You may not have the flexibility to customize the look beyond a point and transferring data to and from your device is not the easiest as it is on Android. However, once you make your peace with it, it’s not too bad. In the end, both of these handsets represent some of the finest mobile phones money can buy. We’d say go with the HTC One X if you like endlessly customizing the interface, do a lot of gaming on the move and need something slim and light. If you already own an older generation iPhone then I think the choice is pretty obvious.