25 HTC One X tips

HTC's mighty One X is more than just a powerhouse -- its Sense interface is packed full of useful tweaks and handy features.

The One X is HTC's mighty flagship smart phone, and with its 4.7-inch screen and powerful quad-core processor, it could power a battleship. But there's more than just impressive specs to the One X, so join me as I find 25 ways to get more out of this Android hero.

With just a few simple tweaks of the settings, you can make typing in text less of a chore, get more creative with your camera and fine-tune the interface until your thumbs get sore. I used a One X running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4.1 . Read on to find out more.

Home screen, lock screen and app grid features

1. Customise home screens
HTC's Sense user interface has a unique way of quickly adding widgets to multiple home screens. Long-press on any empty space and you'll be presented with a catalogue with tabs for available widgets, apps and shortcuts. There is a horizontally scrolling carousel of all home screens shown at the top of the screen, which enables you to quickly add widgets and shortcuts to multiple home screens.

2. Add and remove home screens

Add and remove home screens

Change the number of home screens by making a pinching gesture to open the home screen preview mode. From there, tap the 'Add Panel' area to add more (up to seven). To get rid of a screen, long press and drag to the 'Remove' area.

3. Home screen calculator widgets

Home screen calculator widgets

The calculator widget deserves a special mention. Having a calculator on your phone is great, but you always have to find the icon. With this widget, you can have a basic calculator only a swipe away.

4. Lock screen modes

Lock screen modes

To change how the lock screen looks, go into the 'Personalize' section of the Settings app and select 'Lock screen style'. Select from various themes -- Productivity for maximum notifications or Friend Stream for the social media junkies, and so on.

Text input

5. Swipe for keyboard sections

Swipe for keyboard sections

With default settings in force, swiping sideways across the keyboard switches between the Qwerty keyboard and the two numeric and symbol keyboards.

6. Get extra predictions via drop-down list

Get extra predictions via drop-down list

If you often find that your intended word isn't in the top three predictions, there is a drop-down button to view additional predictions.

7. Manage your personal dictionary

Manage your personal dictionary

You can selectively remove words from the custom HTC dictionary such as accidental additions. There's also the option to backup or import a custom dictionary. You'll find this in Settings > Language & Keyboard > HTC Sense Input > Personal Dictionary.

8. Switch keyboard styles

Switch keyboard styles

The HTC One X has two alternatives to the Qwerty keyboard. Go to Settings > Language & Keyboard > HTC Sense Input > Advanced Settings > Keyboard types. Options are Standard (Qwerty), Phone (T9), and Compact. The latter has two letters per key, a cross between Qwerty and T9 -- rather like the Nokia E55 .

9. Keyboard trace

Keyboard trace

If you're a fan of the Swype keyboard, the HTC One X has it built in. Go into the HTC Sense Input settings and turn on the 'Trace Keyboard' switch.

Settings

10. Disable fast boot
In the Power section of the Settings menu, the option for 'Fast Boot' is selected by default, meaning the phone can have a quicker start-up time. However, Fast Boot isn't thorough enough when clearing temporary data, which can prevent a reboot from curing a problem caused by a bug-ridden application. If you're using beta software, disable Fast Boot.

11. Select USB connection mode

Select USB connection mode

To use the HTC One X with a PC over USB, you'll need to go into the 'Connect to PC' section of the Settings app, as the default setting is 'Charge only'. To use as a USB drive, select 'Disk Drive'. Choose 'HTC Sync Manager' for using with HTC's desktop software. To use the phone as a 3G dongle, select 'USB tethering'. Finally, 'Internet pass-through' allows the One X to get online via a PC's USB port.

12. Free up storage space
When you have filled up either the internal or phone storage drives, go to the Storage section of the Settings application and look for the respective 'Make more space' options and follow the prompts.

13. Incoming call settings
The 'Call' section of the Settings application has options for several useful call handling features. I recommend that you enable the 'Declined calls' option (this will help with tip 24), and 'Save to contacts' for automatically saving unknown numbers.

Apps to install

14. Google Calendar
Because HTC customises Android with its Sense user interface, some standard applications are replaced, such as the Calendar application (pictured below left). Fortunately, Google recently released its Calendar app to the Play store.

15. Google Chrome

Google Calendar and Chrome

Android's standard browser is good but nothing really beats Google Chrome (pictured above right). It's available in the Play store, and synchronises with your tabs and bookmarks from all your other devices.

Built-in apps

16. Activate Dropbox and photo uploading

Activate Dropbox and photo uploading

The HTC One X comes with Dropbox already installed, and when you sign in, Dropbox increases your limit by 25GB for two years. Be sure to turn on automatic photo uploading, so all of your images will automatically be backed up.

17. Polaris Office accesses Dropbox & SkyDrive
If you need to work with Office documents while on the move and your company doesn't work in Google Docs, do not fear! The HTC One X comes installed with Polaris Office (pictured below left), which doesn't just let you work with files stored on the phone, but also with files saved in Dropbox and SkyDrive.

18. PDF Viewer

Polaris Office accesses Dropbox & SkyDrive and PDF Viewer

If you have PDFs in the cloud that you need to access while you're out and about, load up the built-in PDF reader and look for the Dropbox and SkyDrive icons. These will let you log into your cloud accounts and find your files (pictured above right).

19. Enable 'Quick Controls' for the built-in browser

Enable Quick Controls for the built-in browser

If you've opted to use the built-in browser then go into its settings, then 'Labs'. From there, enable Quick Controls mode. This will remove the URL and tab bars, and will show a radial control interface when you swipe in from the left or right of the screen instead.

20. Camera settings

Camera settings

HTC has completely revamped the Android camera app -- just tapping the 'A' scenes button reveals effects for panoramas, HDR, group portraits and more. Tap the blue button in the top-right corner to reveal another set of effects such as distortion, sepia, vignette and more.

21. Slow-motion video
To film slow-motion video, look to the top of the scenes list for the corresponding option. Don't get too excited as the results are quite jerky, but it's better than nothing, right?

Miscellaneous

22. Taking screenshots
On the HTC One X, take screenshots by holding the power button and volume-down button together.

23. Two-finger fast scrolling
When scrolling through the People or Music apps, speed up scrolling by using two fingers.

24. Managing incoming calls
Make sure you've enabled the options in tip 13. While in a call, switch to speakerphone by laying the phone on its front. When rejecting a call, look for the following two options -- the first lets you compose a text message to the caller and the second creates a calendar task about the caller.

25. Play music with the volume buttons
As you increase and decrease volume, the HTC One X plays chimes. For a some creative fun, you can use this effect to play random tunes.

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About the author

    David Gilson has always revelled in tech and started writing about it in 2009. He covers the smartphone world and is rather partial to a spot of BASH scripting. David is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.

     

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