HTC Desire X review: HTC Desire X

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The Good Good performance from the dual-core chip; Clear, colourful 4-inch screen; MicroSD card slot; reasonably priced.

The Bad Plasticky build quality.

The Bottom Line The HTC Desire X is a decent mid-range 'droid for people who want a capable phone that doesn't cost the Earth. With a bright 4-inch screen, Android Ice Cream Sandwich and a dual-core 1GHz chip, it's a wise choice for budget-conscious Android lovers.

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8.3 Overall

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If you own an HTC Desire or Wildfire -- much loved but realistically getting towards the end of its life -- HTC has lined up a fairly affordable mid-range replacement for your beloved 'droid. And it's got slightly more oomph to boot.

The Desire X has a dual-core 1GHz chip, a 4-inch screen and it runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich, skinned with HTC's Sense user interface.

It's available SIM-free for £240 or for free on contracts from around £15 per month. If you opt for the £20 per month option at Phones 4U, you get the phone for free as well as a pair of Beats by Dre Solo headphones, which sell for £125 on Amazon -- not a bad deal if you're music mad.

I should mention the newly announced Google Nexus 4 is a similar price and, on paper at least, much more powerful, so you might want to hold off until we've reviewed that.

Design and build quality

If you've clapped eyes on the HTC One X, the Desire X will look distinctly familiar. In the looks department, it's basically a miniaturised version of HTC's quad-core flagship, with a sloping metal edge at the top and three touch-sensitive buttons beneath the screen. It's a very typical HTC design, so if you're an existing user it'll probably be right up your alley.

HTC Desire X
HTC has unboxed a mid-range dual-core 'droid, slathered with Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The overall look of the Desire X is attractive. It has some stylish aluminium trim around its face, switching to curved plastic round the back. There's a choice of either black or white models -- the latter has blue plastic and silver metal detailing around the camera lens, while the black version is all black.

Although the rubberised texture feels comfy, it picks up scuffs and scratches rather easily. After a few days of it knocking around on my desk I found it looked noticeably used, and I don't imagine it will get any better over weeks and month of use. You'll probably want to invest in a case as well.

HTC Desire X
If white doesn't take your fancy, HTC has made this all-black creation, which looks seriously noir.

On the top of the phone you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and the power button. On the sides are a micro-USB port and a volume rocker. The buttons are rather more spongy than I'd like, resulting in my normal presses sometimes not registering. It's perhaps not a major issue, but it could be quite annoying if you're trying to turn your volume down in a hurry.

At 118mm long and 62mm wide, it's hardly what you'd call massive. It sits easily in my reasonably large hand and with a thickness of 9.3mm, it will slide into your pocket without any trouble. It's not as slim or sleek as Apple's new iPhone 5, but it's definitely among the more slender of the mid-range Android bunch.


Powering the Desire X is a dual-core 1GHz S4 chip, which provides a respectable amount of power for a mid-range 'droid. It's not going to come off well in fisticuffs against Samsung's Galaxy S3 or indeed HTC's own One X, but it's far from the bottom of the power pile.

When I booted up the Geekbench benchmark test I was given a score of 629, putting it alongside phones like the Galaxy S Plus. In the CF Bench test, it provided a score of 5,506. The excellent Galaxy S2 managed 6,442 on the same test, which isn't a mile away.

HTC Desire X
The Desire X puts in a pretty strong performance in the Geekbench test.
HTC Desire X
The Desire X comes in only a short distance behind the formidable Samsung Galaxy S2.

During my own time with the phone, I found it be pleasingly nippy to use. Swiping through the homescreens was responsive and free of lag and opening menus was immediate. The phone certainly seems as though it could easily handle the mobile basics of web browsing and and at least the lightweight apps, or a spot of photo filtering with Instagram.

More processor-intensive apps such as high-octane 3D water racer Riptide GP played fairly well, with generally decent frame rates. Only on a couple of occasions did I notice the frame rate drop and the gameplay became a little laggy. Playing the most demanding games, such as Shadowgun or Real Racing 2, might not be quite as pleasant.

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