One of AT&T’s most popular Android smartphones of 2012, the HTC One X, will be getting an upgrade soon in the HTC One X+, a device that HTC and AT&T hope to use to entice customers this holiday season.
However, the HTC One X+ is joining an extremely crowded smartphone field this fall and one of its main rivals will be a massive 5.5-inch phablet called the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a device will also be powered by Google’s Android operating system.
Their predecessors, the One X and Galaxy Note, were at the top of the list in terms of high-end Android phones and both remain on our list of the 5 Best Android Smartphones currently on the market. The originals will soon become an afterthought and it will be the two upgraded devices doing battle for the hearts and minds of customers in the United States and elsewhere.
The Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One X+ will arrive less than a year after the older models arrived in the United States, at a time when those looking for a new smartphone have an assortment of tantalizing smartphone options on the table.
Those looking to get a new smartphone would be wise to have the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One X+ on their shopping list and here, we detail just how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 2 fares against the also upcoming HTC One X+.
While both devices will be out this year, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a concrete date and even then, the date is for one of the device’s variants.
Samsung will be hosting a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 launch event on October 24th, a day after the iPad Mini launch, where it will be debuting the device in the United States for the first time. It’s at this event that we should get more concrete information on the release date for the five Galaxy Note 2 variants that will be arriving in the United States this year.
Thus far, only Sprint has confirmed its release date for the Galaxy Note 2 with a release planned for October 25th, just a day after the event. There are clues that AT&T may launch the device in November and T-Mobile only says that it will be coming soon. U.S. Cellular originally said that it would release the phone in October and Verizon has been silent about a release date.
As for the HTC One X+ on AT&T, nothing is known about its release date right now. When the device was announced earlier this month, AT&T claimed that the phone would be here in the fall which means that it has until December 21st to launch the HTC One X+.
Thus far, we’ve seen no rumors in regards to its release date and both manufacturer and carrier remain mum on the subject.
The HTC One X+ features a design similar to the HTC One X but it will only be coming in black, at least for now, and not in a white hue like the original. It will feature a unibody shell that made of a polycarbonate material that will feel like plastic but ultimately won’t feel as cheap.
It is a mere 8.9mm thin and weighs 135 grams which is a tad bit heavier than the original but not so much that it will be extremely noticeable. The difference is 5 grams. It will also come with all of the bells and whistles that one would expect from a high-end smartphone.
It will have a fairly big footprint given the size of its screen but it has nothing on the monstrosity that is the Galaxy Note 2.
Samsung equipped the new Galaxy Note 2 with a design that is slimmer than the Galaxy Note. Unfortunately, both weigh close to the same. The specific measurements are 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm thin with a weight of 6.35 oz. That translates to 180 grams, much heavier than the HTC One X+.
The design also features the usual plastic from Samsung though the Galaxy Note 2′s overall design looks more like a large Galaxy S III with its rounded edges. It’s a step up from the original, for sure. It also features a single home button that is situated at the bottom middle of the smartphone. The HTC One X+ has no such hardware key.
One of the strengths of the HTC One X was its fantastic LCD display. The HTC One X+ will include the same gorgeous 4.7 inch S-LCD 2 display that features 1280 x 720 HD resolution and a high 312ppi. That pixels-per-inch count will make text and images look extremely crisp.
As for the Galaxy Note, while the original featured a massive 5.3-inch display, Samsung decided to bump up the size with the Galaxy Note 2 and bring a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD display to the table.
The resolution of the Galaxy Note 2 display checks in at 1280 x 720 and features a 265 PPI, down from the original. Given the size of the display though, this shouldn’t pose too much of a disadvantage. The aspect ratio of the Galaxy Note 2’s display is 16:9 which means that users can watch true widescreen content.
Both of these phones feature some upgrades over their predecessors, upgrades that will be the main selling points for both devices.
Starting with the HTC One X+, it will feature a new 1.7GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM which HTC says will offer 67% faster performance over the original One X. The original sported a dual-core processor.
Other upgrades include a larger 2,100mAh battery and a whopping 64GB of storage space. This is huge considering the phone will not feature a microSD card slot for expanded storage space. The original HTC One X was hindered by its 32GB of storage.
HTC’s new One X+ will run on AT&T’s 4G LTE network which means that it will be able to pull down speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also brings some upgrades of its own to the table including a 1.6GHz Exynos quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options, and a a 3,100mAh battery which should be able to handle the device’s large screen and 4G LTE data speeds.
Both phones will sport NFC support for use with services like Google Wallet and Android Beam.
One of the unique properties of the Galaxy Note 2 though is its unique S-Pen stylus that returns with a new ergonomic design and some different applications. The S-Pen will allow for users to write and draw directly on the screen, and it’s one of the reasons why the Galaxy Note 2 is referred to as a phablet and not a smartphone.
We haven’t been able to get a hold of the camera on the HTC One X+ yet but we imagine that it will be on par with the fantastic camera that came along with the HTC One X for AT&T. What we do know is that it will arrive with a fully-featured 8 mega-pixel rear camera that is capable of shooting 1080p and will benefit from a number of features including a back-illuminated sensor, burst mode, a fast shutter speed and more.
Here is a sample taken with the original HTC One X camera.
The HTC One X’s camera is still one of the best that Android has to offer and that trend will continue with the HTC One X+.
The original Galaxy Note had a decent camera, definitely usable, but nothing special. The new Galaxy Note 2 will unfortunately continue that trend. Samsung did virtually nothing to the camera on the Galaxy Note 2 and it will, like the last model, feature an 8MP camera that will work for most people but is by no means groundbreaking or top of the line.
Here is a sample shot from the Galaxy Note 2’s camera.
Fortunately, both of the Galaxy Note 2 will be coming with the latest version of Android software in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This means that owners won’t have to sit around and wait for an update like those who buy the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD will have to do. Both of Motorola’s next-gen smartphones run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the previous version of Android.
It’s not that Android 4.0 ICS is bad, it’s that Android Jelly Bean is that much better,
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean features an extremely fast user interface, improved notifications, an better browser and calendar app, more Face Unlock options and more. The best features from Android 4.1 Jelly Bean can be seen in the video below.
Where the two phones will differ is the user interface that the manufacturers will put over the top of Android. While the Galaxy Note 2 will feature Samsung’s TouchWiz software. HTC will be tacking on a new version of its HTC Sense UI, HTC Sense 4+. The new version of Sense includes a Self Portrait mode for the camera which detects the best moment to take a picture of a face using the front-facing camera on top of its other features.
Samsung will also offer some unique applications for the Galaxy Note 2 that take advantage of the device’s S-Pen stylus including a new split-screen multitasking mode where users can take advantage of the massive screen by opening two apps on screen at once.
At the moment, the HTC One X+ is only officially heading to AT&T. That doesn’t mean that it will always be stuck there though. We have seen a T-Mobile variant of the HTC One X+ leak out and that means there is still a chance that it could land on the carrier. Sadly, there are rumors that it may never make it to market and thus far, there is nothing, other than the photo, to suggest that T-Mobile will be getting the HTC One X+ any time soon.
So, a T-Mobile variant remains a possibility but we wouldn’t expect it to happen, at least not soon. This means that those who get the HTC One X+ will be stuck using AT&T’s 4G LTE network which isn’t available everywhere.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s carriers are out in the open and there are plenty of them. The device will be joining the HTC One X+ on AT&T in the near future and while it will also be tempting AT&T customers, it’s also headed to Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular.
This means that those looking at picking up the phablet have options and at this point, that’s a good thing to have. That’s because 4G LTE is not created equal at this point.
Verizon boasts 400 4G LTE markets while AT&T and Sprint lag behind. T-Mobile still doesn’t have a 4G LTE network in place and U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network is very limited in terms of where it’s available.
As of now, only two carriers of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 have confirmed pricing for the Galaxy Note 2, and even then, it’s only for the 16GB model. Sprint and U.S. Cellular will be selling the Galaxy Note 2 starting at $299.99 on-contract. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have not yet said anything about the price but we don’t expect them to offer it for anything other than that $299.99 price tag.
Of course, the Galaxy Note 2 will be coming in three storage options, but thus far, we haven’t see any pricing for the 32GB and 64GB models.
The AT&T HTC One X+ is in the same boat unfortunately. AT&T did not confirm either the release date or pricing which means that its price remains a mystery at this point. We don’t expect it to retail for anything over $199.99, the original price of the original HTC One X, as that seems to be the sweet spot for the prices of high-end Android smartphone these days.
So, right now, we expect the HTC One X+ on AT&T to cost $199.99 on-contract.