It seems like just yesterday that the world was fawning over the first dual-core smartphones.
But mobile technology moves at a staggering pace, with quad-core behemoths now the new benchmark. And the One X is the first phone of its kind out of the blocks.
Needless to say, it's one thing to have all that processing power, but another to find a use for it. So how does the Taiwanese titan's latest device fare?
A sleek and safe bet
We freed the phone from its cardboard prison and on first glance, it seemed like HTC was content to play it safe in the looks department.
Mostly made out of polycarbonate, the phone's white casing is devoid of almost any metal. That's not to say that it doesn't look pretty, with the case having a slight concave curve to it and very little breaking up the device's lines.
The one thing that does jut out on the phone is the camera housing, but it's a small price to pay for a great shooter (more on that later).
The One X has its fair share of ports, buttons and jacks too, with a mini-USB port on the left, earphone jack and micro-SIM slot at the top, volume rocker on the right and a tiny microphone drilled into the bottom. The back of the phone is also home to an HTC etching, Beats Audio speaker grille and five metallic dots for docking and the like.
Our sole complaint is that the HTC One X features a power/unlock button at the top rather than on the side, as seen with the SIII. It's an uncomfortable position, as you now have to shift your hand when wanting to lock and unlock your phone.
On the front of the One X is the Super LCD display, with a 720p HD resolution. Choosing between this and the SIII is almost impossible, with both displays featuring vivid colours, great viewing angles and a sharp picture.
From a design perspective, the screen is expertly crafted, with the glass spilling over onto the bezel in a great yet understated touch. Below the screen you'll find the "back", "home" and "task switcher" capacitive buttons.
HTC's software showcase
Turn on the phone and you're greeted by a new version of the Sense skin.
The updated Sense interface is a substantial improvement over previous versions, with users swiping a ring upward to unlock the device, for starters.
The lockscreen also features four icons (phone, mail, messages and camera), with users dragging them into the ring to quickly boot them up. However, you can't change these icons - a silly oversight on the part of HTC. An iafrica.com reader has informed us that this is not the case, you can change the lockscreen icons by customising the launchbar apps, thanks!
Of course, it's still HTC Sense, so you'll have your usual features such as the iconic clock widget and the Friend Stream for social feeds.
Then there are the preloaded applications, such as the 7Digital music store, Dropbox (along with 25GBs of free space, the SIII offers 50GBs), Polaris Office suite and TuneIn Radio.
That's not all though, with the One X also coming preinstalled with Cars for when you've docked your phone, a mirror application and a torch app. They're all pretty useful, making for a great change from the bloatware you'd usually find on phones these days.
Then again, there are plenty of other phones with similar features, so what has HTC done to take advantage of the quad-core horsepower?
Putting the power to good use
For one, the camera functionality is one of the cooler features out there right now, letting you film 1080p HD video while taking snaps. Again, the SIII has this feature as well, but for record-keeping's sake, the One X was out first anyway.
Speaking of the camera, this is one of the best smartphone shooters out there right now. Although there's little to separate the SIII and One X in bright conditions, HTC's effort handily beats Samsung's camera in low light.
The Samsung camera may have a decent amount of options, but HTC's viewfinder features a few more useful features. There's an impressive depth-of-field mode, panorama option, HDR feature and a few more neat modes, making it one of the more versatile cameras around.
Another slick feature is the task switcher, with background apps presented as a line of cards, sort of. Users simply swipe laterally to sift between tasks, while upward swipes close them. It's a fun way of handling apps and one screen you'll actually enjoy using.
Then there are the prerequisite Bluetooth, NFC, Android Beam, Media Link HD, portable hotspot, internet pass-through and WiFi Direct connectivity options. So, there's a protocol for almost every occasion.
However, all of it means nothing if your battery life is not up to scratch, but the phone doesn't disappoint. On standby and with light usage, we were able to eke out between two and three days out of the device.
Moderate usage saw the battery last for roughly the whole day and night, so you don't need to run for the charging outlet every few hours.
Again, it's all possible thanks to the quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which features an additional fifth core. The fifth core takes over when the phone is in standby and for tasks like music playback, saving plenty of battery power in the process.
Choosing between the One X or the Galaxy SIII is no easy task, with both devices sharing advantages over the other.
For one, the SIII has a more visually appealing UI as well as neat features like Pop-Up Play, the Video Hub and microSD expansion. Then again, the SIII also has ho-hum additions like S-Voice and Smart Stay.
HTC's superphone on the other hand, features the superior camera and audio courtesy of Beats. But by that same token, the One X's apps and features aren't as innovative as Samsung's. Instead, HTC has included more practical pre-loaded apps, such as Soundhound, a mirror, flashlight and music store.
In other words, Samsung's strategy was to throw lots of cool ideas at the wall and see what sticks, while HTC took the more traditional route, offering mundane albeit more useful apps.
In any event, the HTC One X is another hit for the Taiwanese giant, and a phone we'd gladly take on a two-year contract.
Score: 9 out of 10
To view a sample video recorded on the phone, simply click here.
To view sample photos taken with the One X, click here.
To read our review of the Galaxy SIII, click here.