HTC One XL (Telstra): Review


review Boasting the killer combination of a large 4.7″ screen, the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google’s Android platform, HTC’s trademark build quality and most of all, support for Telstra’s 4G network, on paper the HTC One XL looks to be Australia’s new top dog in the smartphone market. But how does the One XL perform in practice? Read on to find out.

Over the past two years, we’ve become increasingly big fans of HTC’s design philosophy. The Taiwanese consumer electronics giant got our attention with the strong build quality of the original Desire, introduced in Australia in April 2010, and since that point its offerings have only gotten stronger and stronger when it comes to their design; from the Desire range to the Incredible S, to the Sensation line-up and now its new One series, HTC’s build quality continues to impress, and the One XL represents the pinnacle so far of that process.

The One XL is one of the larger models in HTC’s line-up so far; with a 4.7″ touchscreen, this is no small phone. If you hold the One XL next to iPhone 4 or 4S, the difference between the current generation of Android and Apple thinking makes itself very apparent. The major Android manufacturers — Samsung and HTC — have shifted much of their top-range line-up to a 4.7″ or 4.8″ screen size. In comparison, the 3.5″ screen of Apple’s iPhone 4/4S range feels cramped and a bit too small.

In some Android models, such as the quickly thrown together HTC Velocity 4G (which has a 4.5″ touchscreen), this screen size feels too big. It means the phone doesn’t necessarily sit comfortably in your hand or pocket, and it can be tough for users with small hands to reach all of the available screen real estate. However, in the One XL, this problem has been minimalised by great design.

The phone’s extremely thin design — it’s only 8.9mm thick — and its light weight at 129 grams (despite its much smaller size, the iPhone 4S is heavier at 140 grams) means that the One XL sits easily in the user’s hand. In addition, the size of the touchscreen is reduced as an issue by the fact that it extends almost to the edge of the smartphone’s casing, meaning there is very little excess real estate on the ever so slightly curved front of the phone.

In addition, the materials of the One XL are stellar. The back and surrounding case of the handset are composed of very dark grey (or white, if you have the white model; we reviewed the black one) matte plastic, which just feels wonderful on the hands. The word ‘graphite’ comes to mind when we think of the material. It’s just lovely to fondle, and anyone we handed the phone to remarked on how much they loved the material.

The end result is a phone which just feels great in the hands. It’s light, with lovely curved edges and a thin style which makes it feel like a hand tablet from the future, rather than a device with its legacy in the traditional mobile phone world. We encourage you to get into a Telstra store to test it out for yourself; pictures don’t do it justice. This is one phone which you will not want to put down. You will want to put it in your pocket and walk away with it. It’s just that great.

The rest of the One XL’s design is largely as you would expect. There are volume buttons on the right hand side, a micro-USB port for charging and PC synching on the left, and a power button and 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. There are quite small but lovely looking speaker grills on the top front and bottom back, labelled with HTC’s Beats Audio partnership and the camera and flash are also on the back. There’s also a small and surreptitious front-facing camera. All of this has become quite standard for HTC over the past several years, and if you’ve used a HTC Android phone before you’ll feel 100 percent at home.

If you’re looking to buy a new phone, there are three key features which you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to the HTC One XL.

The first and most important is 4G connectivity to Telstra’s Next G network (currently the only 4G mobile network in Australia). That network currently reaches across 1,000 or so base stations across major slices of all of Australia’s capital cities, and offers typical download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and typical upload speeds from 1Mbps to 10Mbps — as compared with the 1.1Mbps to 20Mbps available on the 3G portions of Telstra’s Next G network in most non-4G areas.

Currently, the One XL is one of only three Android-based smartphones which offer access to Telstra’s 4G network, the other being the HTC Velocity 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II 4G. While the Velocity 4G is a decent model, it’s pretty much been superseded by the One XL in many way (especially with respect to its design), and we wouldn’t recommend the Velocity 4G as an option now that the One XL is available. Similarly, the Galaxy S II 4G is a great phone, but it’s last year’s model, while the One XL is much more up to date. So basically if you want to access 4G speeds (and why wouldn’t you?), and you want an Android phone, the One XL clearly your best option at this point.

Secondly, the One XL is unlike most of last year’s and even many of this year’s Android smartphones in that it runs the latest version of Google’s Android platform, Ice Cream Sandwich. Again, as with access to 4G speeds, we can’t recommend this feature enough.

With a huge amount of speed, user interface and feature improvements, Ice Cream Sandwich is the Android platform to be on at the moment. You can find a full list of features here, but suffice it to say that it’s worth it. You wouldn’t want to buy a new Android phone in mid-2012 without Ice Cream Sandwich; your phone will rapidly get left behind. HTC has also built a variety of additional features on top of Ice Cream Sandwich on the One XL with its Sense 4 platform. We don’t agree with all of the modifications and tend to prefer vanilla Android (hello, CyanogenMod), but in general the version of Ice Cream Sandwich on the One XL is still stellar.

Lastly, you’ll want to know about the One XL’s camera. While it’s not as high-end a model as the one on its sister phone, the Windows Phone 7-based Titan 4G (which has a 16 megapixel camera), the One XL’s 8 megapixel model is still top of the range.

Most of the other features which the One XL boasts are pretty standard for a high-end smartphone in mid-2012, although in general they’re supersized, in line with the One XL’s top-end status. 32GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, a Near-Field Communications (NFC) chip for mobile payments, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, DLNA for wireless streaming, 1080p video recording, a 1.3 megapixel front camera with flash and auto-focus, a 4.7″ touchscreen using Gorilla Glass at 1280×720 resolution and a 1,800 mAh battery. One standout is the One XL’s support for Beats Audio technology which HTC has licensed and which is aimed at providing a superior audio experience with the One XL.

No doubt many readers of this article will raise the fact that the One XL does not feature a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core CPU as its One X sibling does. This is because of the need to support 4G connectivity on the same board; the One XL instead runs a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU at 1.5GHz.

One of the most important aspect of the One XL’s performance is how fast it accesses Telstra’s 4G network, and in this area the smartphone shines.
We tested the One XL using the Android in a variety of areas throughout Sydney’s central business district and surrounding suburbs on a wet rainy night, and found some amazing results. In more sparsely populated areas such as on the Anzac Parade bus between Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and the city, the One XL pulled down data at up to 38Mbps, and often above 35Mbps, and uploaded data usually around 25Mbps.

In the CBD, speeds slowed a bit as congestion took its toll, but again download speeds up to 35Mbps were not uncommon, with speeds between 20Mbps and 30Mbps the norm and upload speeds usually between 15Mbps and 25Mbps.

In a more practical sense, using anything related to the Internet on the One XL was just blindingly fast. Loading any website tended to be a matter of a couple of seconds, rather than the between five and ten seconds we’re used to with on normal 3G smartphones, and downloading high-definition streaming media via sources such as YouTube was instantaneous.

In addition, the fact that we were using Telstra’s 4G network seemed to eliminate the congestion headaches which we’ve been seeing with the telco’s 3G network in the CBD. On the night we tested the HTC One XL on Telstra’s 4G network, we often pulled out our 3G Apple iPhone 4 to see how it performed in the same locations. In general its performance was OK, but there were still slowdowns in some areas; areas where the HTC One XL kept on delivering incredible performance after incredible performance. Outside the Sydney CBD our 3G Apple iPhone 4’s performance always reverts to normal as the congestion eases in suburban areas.

The message from this review couldn’t be clearer: If you want to avoid mobile network congestion in Australia’s central business districts, switch to 4G through Telstra. You won’t regret it. And right now, the HTC One XL is likely the best device to switch with, unless you want to wait for the next iPhone or you’re happy with Windows Phone 7.

Other aspects of the One XL’s performance were also exemplary. The model’s lack of a quad-core CPU didn’t appear to have any impact on the device’s software performance, adding to our increasing belief that processing power is gradually fading as a differentiating factor in mobile phones. The One XL’s Android operating system was very, very fast and had no problem keeping up with anything we threw at it.

Its touchscreen is large, vivid and eye-catching, and the way it and the touch-sensitive dedicated buttons interacts with the users’ fingertips was simply delightful, reflecting the fact that hardware and software synthesis on the Android platform has come a long way over the past two years. Apple’s iOS platform currently appears positively utilitarian beside the constantly flowing and changing HTC Sense interface, with its delightful backgrounds and vivid colours.

The One XL’s camera is also fantastic.

We took a variety of shots using the 8 megapixel camera in both low light and well-lit conditions, and had trouble faulting the shots it took. It focused well, the flash worked well, and in general, as with stablemate the Titan 4G, which we tested on the same night this is the sort of camera which will lead you to stop using dedicated digital cameras for 90 percent of your shots. For us, in 2012, it’s generally now our camera phone plus a digital SLR when needed, and we suspect many people will feel the same way.

For comparison’s sake, we took these three shots on a rainy night this week in Sydney’s CBD. The first was taken with the Titan 4G, the second with the HTC One XL, and the third with an iPhone 4 we had sitting around. If you get up close, you’ll see that the iPhone 4, now several years old, has a bit less fidelity than the newer phones. The Titan 4G shoots a bit warmer than the HTC One XL, and the One XL seems to have a bit more light bleed from bright lights such as traffic lights, but they both seem to take excellent shots, and quality-wise, we didn’t see a lot of difference between the eight megapixel camera of the One XL and the 16 megapixel camera of the Titan 4G. Both, however, beat the iPhone 4’s camera. The iPhone 4S has an upgraded model which gives both a run for their money, however — we didn’t have one with us on the day.

Shot taken with HTC Titan 4G:

Shot taken with HTC One XL:

Shot taken with Apple iPhone 4:

Lastly, battery life. With a high-powered CPU, a graphically intense operating system and, most of all, 4G access, the One XL’s battery life is not fantastic. This particularly shows when you’re accessing Telstra’s 4G network.

However, in general, you can expect to get at least a day and usually between a day and a half and two days out of the One XL. We recommend you switch off as many Android background apps as possible and pull down data when you need it instead of having it pushed to you. If you keep the limitations of the device in mind, you’ll be quite satisfied with it. Just don’t expect to go much beyond two days with the One XL … we found it dead on our desk a couple of times over the week we had it with us, and we weren’t actively using the phone for all of that time.

All of this is a fairly common for an Android or Windows Phone 7 smartphone in mid-2012. We still think Apple’s customised CPU hardware gives it an edge on its rivals in this area, and we’d like to see some battery life innovation out of Samsung and HTC over the next few years. But given the sheer power which the One XL throws at the user, you need to expect some compromises. Battery life is the most obvious one — but it’s still definitely within acceptable boundaries, and most people won’t find it a problem. Hell, if you’re the sort of person who wants to be a 4G early adopter, you’re likely going to be near a power point most of the time anyway ;)

Right now, in June 2012, the One XL is clearly the best smartphone available in Australia. With absolutely stellar design and build quality, a fantastic implementation of Ice Cream Sandwich, an incredible touchscreen which begs you to play with it constantly, a great camera and most of all, access to Telstra’s revolutionary 4G mobile network, this is the best of the best right now, beating out even Samsung’s Galaxy S III and giving Apple enthusiasts a strong reason to stop waiting for Cupertino’s next iPhone and jump into the Android market right now.

Several of my friends have already bought a HTC One XL with Telstra, and I’m strongly considering buying one too. It won’t be cheap — I’ll being paying at least $65 a month on a plan through Telstra — but then brilliance never is, and paired with Telstra’s 4G network, the One XL is nothing short of brilliant. We can’t recommend it highly enough. Stop dipping your toe into the 4G water. Finally, Australia has a top-end smartphone to go with Telstra’s world-beating 4G network, and now is the time to jump right in.

Image credit: HTC


  1. Good stuff Renai! :D

    Can I add:

    Good Stuff

    – the HDMI streaming works BEAUTIFULLY with no noticeable lag. I have not yet streamed an HD movie, but I have streamed a Google Play movie (Jurassic Park- not “HD”). It was reasonable quality, probably slightly lower than DVD, but not noticeably. 850Mb size, so fairly small. I’ll be streaming an “HD” movie from Google Play soon….but most of their HD selection is crap….Iron Lady….REALLY? I’ve also streamed an HD (1080) clip I took on the phone of Customs House 3D projection during Vivid, via HDMI. I’m putting the clip up on YouTube for anyone who’s interested…..except it’s uploading over WiFi….so It’ll be a while! Will post the link when it’s done. It struggles a bit with focussing because of the dynamic changes from bright, bright colours to almost totally black, as it was at night, but it’s not bad even so.

    – The WiFi strength it gets is REALLY good. And its’ performance has 2 levels. Great and if you switch the toggle in WiFi->Advanced->Best WiFi Performance, it goes Turbo. It increases speed a bit, but it does seem to stabilise a dodgy signal more importantly. It’s Dual Band too. YAY! Now to go buy those even MORE expensive Cisco 5Ghz routers….

    Bad stuff:

    – Battery life is a bit meagre if you’re a power user, but having a charger at home, in the car and at work makes it pretty much a non-issue as you say. Plus a powerpack is always handy too.

    – I said this before Renai, it doesn’t like Delimiter with any more than about 50 comments… crashed the Sense Launcher when coming out of either Dolphin HD browser or the stock one. It also jumps and misses all over the place when navigating these pages with so many comments. Probably a Javascript thing.

    Other than that, I love it to bits. :D

  2. Re: build quality. I ‘kind of’ disagree. My unit’s polycarbonate body is creaking really bad when pressed — mine is the Australian version too. Considering I paid $744 and it’s 5 days old, it’s rather unacceptable. It could be an anomaly. I hope the carrier-branded shop I bought it from replaces it with a brand new one.

    Good phone, but now questioning the use of a wrap-around unibody plastic shell.

    Here’s a video that I took of the occurence:

    • Hey Francis. Looks like you got unlucky. Mine’s solid as a rock. I’d take it back. Telstra?

      Telstra should just swap it straight out. I’ve got nothing like that on mine. Shame it’s given you a bad first impression.

  3. I swapped out my Samsung Galaxy Nexus for the HTC One XL. The Galaxy Nexus was hopelessly bug ridden. Had to disable the SIM PIN as it crashed so many times a day I’d miss calls.

    HTC has been great in comparison (no creaking, no crashing).

    There’s also a deal with Dropbox – get 25G for 24 months free if you link it with the phone.

    One gotcha if you are getting one, make sure you either are ok to trim your normal sized SIM or have a blank micro SIM on hand.

  4. +1 for Renai’s comprehensive and very accurate review of HOXL… Have had mine for almost 3 weeks (outright buy from Glebe importer with great service!) and must say the handset is amazing…

    ICS is an extremely well developed UI and Sense 4.0 is a highly functional and attractive overlay by HTC, who are proving to be the masters of this android adaption.

    The phone utilizes the Telstra 4G network faultlessly and as I live just a few kilometres from Sydney CBD, I experience lightning fast data speeds that are often a jaw dropping 45-50+ Mbs around UTS and Glebe areas.

    I use Juice Defender Ultimate to ensure the best battery usage and highly recommend it as a very worthwhile purchase especially if you take the time to set it up (learning curve is medium difficulty).

    Definitely take time to look very closely at this outstanding handset… I feel it is quite “future proof” and can stay ahead of the other brand’s flagship phones for some time!

    To those who take the leap… Enjoy!

  5. Took the leap from iphone yesterday. Great phone, and Telstra 4G is just incredible compared to Optus 3G.
    My thoughts on Android (first time user) are that it is definitely a much more complicated OS to use than iphone OS though. Not as intuitive as iphone.

    • I had the same experience moving from an iP4 to the One X.

      It all depends on what you’re familiar with, I guess. I struggle with iOS now. Too used to having common/physical ‘go back’ and ‘menu’ buttons.

      I’ve also started to notice that the ‘cancel’, ‘back’ and ‘edit’ GUI button placement seems to be interchangeable in iOS, even in stock applications.

    • “My thoughts on Android (first time user) are that it is definitely a much more complicated OS to use than iphone OS though. Not as intuitive as iphone.”

      I had the opposite experience going from Android to iOS. I suspect it has more to do with what you’re accustomed to than anything to do with the OS itself.

      • Hello James/Jeremy,
        Suspect you are both correct and it is a matter of changing from what you are used to.
        I feel like I am on a steep learning curve, but am enjoying it!

  6. You neglect to point out the HTC One XL’s biggest shortcoming – the lack of a micro-SD expansion memory slot.
    And why are all these Android manufacturers copying Apple and switching to these ridiculously small micro SIM cards? This of course makes it impossible to switch back to any older mobiles if needed.

    • I know a lot of people care about micro-SD expansion slots, but in my opinion the vast majority of people do not. I think for the overwhelming majority of people, 32GB of internal storage and USB synching is fine.

      • Whilst you are probably correct that the majority of people don’t care, the people that DO care are exactly the sort of people (the technophiles) who might be interested in the HTC One XL. Those same people are also likely to be those that read Delimiter.

        Most of the people that don’t care will buy an iPhone (and probably don’t read Delimiter).

        • you have perfectly described why i think the iphone is so popular: because people don’t care and will by what is popular, not necessarily what is the best (which is subjective anyways).

          htc isn’t marketing to the people that do care, they are targeting the people that don’t care. these people will hear the buzzwords of ‘4g’ and ‘fast network’ and will (correctly so) gravitate toward the onexl.

          once apple release an iphone that is 4g capable, they will buy that one because it is the most popular choice amongst consumers, not necessarily the ‘best’.

          • Oh thats fine then, but on that note why do we care about the camera? Why do we care about the 4g? since its all just about popularity… why even do a review? Lets just release statistics about how fast the phone sells, and then people can just buy the one with the biggest number.

            You see, it is a talking point. Same as non-replaceable battery. Just because Apple phones don’t have this capability, doesn’t mean other phones should be given a free pass for not having MicroSD/user replacable batteries.

            Apple phones should get a negative mark for it (since it is a feature some of their competitors have – say SGSIII) and HTC One phones should get a negative mark for it too. Honestly, “not many people” care about the camera (front or back) because they don’t use them very much. (I still see people with those horrible old nokia phones taking photos, ‘its a camera’ to them, quality doesn’t matter).

          • Well said PeterA.

            That’s what I was objecting to – not even mentioning the lack of micro-SD expansion.
            I didn’t realize it had a non-replaceable battery – I for one will not even consider it then. A non replaceable battery means the phone is effectively useless after 18-24 months (when the battery only holds 1/2 it’s new capacity).

            Personally I believe all these manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot by copying the iPhone’s features (or lack of them). Next they will all be switching to micro SIM as well – oh wait, they are!

          • i am not disagreeing with either of you, but the ‘technophiles’ who buy phones are severely outnumbered by those that don’t care about the lack of micro sd, the lack of a removable battery, etc.

            the purposes of the review (as you have already stated) are for people like us who read things like delimiter. your average joe who just wants a smartphone probably doesn’t even know that you could have a micro sd slot or removable battery. he just wants a smartphone.

            manufacturers are copying apple because apple is popular. that’s all. you can put up the argument that the iphone is not the best smartphone around, but it is the ‘coolest’ and the best marketed smartphone, hence people will buy them. same as when nokia was the king of dumbphones. most people didn’t know about the other phones available, they just thought of the nokia brand when buying a phone.

            as a wp7 user, i have my own opinions on which smartphone i prefer, but my wife just got her first smartphone and it is a wp7 too, but only because i already had one. no other reason. she doesn’t care about micro sd or the lack of a removable battery. she just wants a phone that works.

          • Well in that case we may as well do reviews like the following:

            Stone iPhone 4 Galaxy S2
            Widgets No No Yes
            Flash No No Yes
            Wireless sync No No Yes
            Customizable home screen No No Yes
            Social clients integrated No No Yes
            DLNA support No No Yes
            Gorilla Glass No No Yes
            Drag, drop and play No No Yes
            Full HD video recording No No Yes
            21Mbps HSPA+ No No Yes
            True multitasking No No Yes
            FN-Radio No No Yes
            Removable battery No No Yes
            Micro-SD expansion No No Yes
            Full size SIM card No No Yes
            Touchscreen No Yes Yes

          • once again, i think you are missing my point:

            three quarters of the people that buy smartphones wouldn’t even know what half of the things you have listed above are, let alone care if their smartphone has it.

            reviews like this are useful for those that know what the review is talking about or have an interest in it (whether it be for research purposes or just general interest).

            what you have listed above is useful as a spec sheet for those who care about that sort of thing, but it means jack to those that don’t. a full review also gives the reader an idea of what the device is like to use in real life. useful information to those that care to read it. just like you have already stated.

            i am bit confused as to what you are trying to say…

          • “A non replaceable battery means the phone is effectively useless after 18-24 months”

            hey Graham,

            I’d like to point out that the majority of Delimiter readers would probably replace their smartphone every 18-24 months, rendering this moot as an issue.

            With respect to the SD card issue (again), I would also like to point out that the majority of smartphones don’t ship with an SD card these days. It’s not a feature that the majority of consumers care about, and so I don’t list it any more as a differentiating factor in reviews.

            The fact that the One XL doesn’t have an SD card or a removable battery doesn’t change the fact that the unit is the best smartphone in Australia at the moment. I’ve tested all of the competition and I can say that, based on my qualified opinion.

            Yes, small features such as this are an issue for some readers, but for the overwhelming majority, they look at the total package. And the total package here is stellar.


          • Sorry, I think we will have to agree to disagree :-)

            As for replacing phones, I think you will find most people replace their phone every 24 months given that is the normal contract period. I’m seeing iPhone and Nokia N8 batteries failing at 18 months and sometimes earlier. That is a problem if you are on a 2 year contract because the battery is not covered by the warranty. The N8 is no problem as it can be user replaced, whereas the iPhone cannot and the One XL battery????

            Just about every one I know with a (non iPhone) smart phone has a SD card in it. The iPhone users are always complaining that their memory is full (of music) and wish they had got a model with more storage! I even know 32GB iPhone users who have filled their storage.

            Even if only 20% of your readers feel SD expansion and removable battery is important, surely you should still be pointing them out. And by the way I really suspect that it is higher than that.

            I haven’t had a go yet at the lack of information on fringe network performance . It has been my experience that the top smart phones have absolutely woeful fringe 3G network performance. That is, they can’t get a signal when other phones can – admittedly mostly Telstra blue tick phones, though the non blue tick Nokia N8 gets a signal in places where the Galaxy S2 cannot. This sort of information is critical for many people like those in the building industry.

          • Renai in my opinion the mold was broken after the Motorola bag phone ;)


          • No, not really , that’s why I keep reading reviews hoping to find one :-)

            I’m currently using a Galaxy S2, and now that Telstra have finally released firmware 2.3.6 which fixes most of the bugs in the original 2.3.3, I’m sort of satisfied, the exception being it’s fringe performance.

            I’m thinking of getting Samsung Galaxy Note at the moment.

          • Mate, I’m sorry, but it looks as though there is no pleasing you at the moment. I’m sorry … but my considered opinion is that you should stop whining and enjoy some of the awesome smartphones available at the moment. The Samsung Galaxy S II is a year old — it’s quite out of date ;)

            Your current smartphone is slower (network and processor), with outdated software and hardware, with less features, compared to most of the smartphones we’ve reviewed in the past six months. No wonder you’re dissatisfied. I would be too. In fact, I am; I have an iPhone 4 ;)

          • I gotta disagree with your disagree Graham :D

            I had my HTC Desire for 26 Months. It’s battery was still capable of 80% of its’ capacity before I replaced it with the One XL a week ago. It had a replaceable battery, but I never really cared.

            While I agree the microSD card may be an issue for some, the HTC One XL comes with 25Gb of Dropbox storage for free for 24 months, 12 times what you can get on the iPhone for free. THIS goes a LONG way to alleviating any storage problems associated with photos and files. ESPECIALLY with upload speeds, even on 3G, being considerably faster than on ADSL these days (2-3Mbps in general).

            Fringe network performance is VERY much subjective and that is why it can’t be covered objectively. My Desire got HOPELESS reception in my place of work, which is surrounded by 20ft concrete walls, often receiving messages hours late. My One XL gets poor, but useable reception in most places, enough to make calls where I couldn’t before. My old Nokia 6110 Navigator didn’t even work here.

            I think one of the problems is, reviews of smartphones are inherently subjective. But I believe Renai has done a good job being as objective as possible in this case. That’s my subjective opinion….you may have a different one :D

          • I don’t think the 25GB Dropbox storage is going to help me using my phone as a USB memory stick to install software on PCs.
            It’s also not much good in poor or no signal fringe areas.

          • No, you’re right Graham DropBox won’t help as a USB stick….but why don’t you have a USB stick, they’re not exactly expensive. I have 4, would you like one?

            I don’t mean this condescendingly. I, as much as any geek, love the idea of integration in gadgets as much as the next person. I LOVE the idea of the ASUS Padfone, although I think it has a ways to go yet to be a viable alternative to 3 devices. But integration only goes so far as we have to integrate with OTHER hardware too, such as PC’s. To be fair, if you have a One XL, you have access to WiFi direct and if you have a WiFi dongle or even the PC is connected to a wireless router on the network and the right software, you could access it completely wirelessly from a PC as I do (Cheetah Sync). Same with bluetooth, although that’s horrendously slow.

            This is a niche use and while useful, most people’s complaints, including my own, about the iPhones/smartphones not being able to be used as external storage have abated, primarily because it’s getting to be a non-issue with cloud storage or the cheapness of physical storage.

            And, once again, your comments about fringe network performance are subjective. As I have said, I work in a “fringe” area (artificial because of the concrete) AND I live in a regional area, so there are many times I’m on fringe networks and I’ve had no more difficulty with the XL than I did with my Desire or my Nokia E65, or my Nokia Navigator before that.

          • +1 for poor network performance of smart phones… abysmal. this is obviously partially the fault of my provider *cough optus*, however the fancier my phone gets, the worse it performs for simple tasks like making calls and dowloading emails.

          • HTC One X, but my iPhone 4 was just as bad before I “upgraded”. Ironically, the iPhone 3 I was using whilst in between phones performed better than either of them for voice / data. Obviously painfully slow to load an app though :)

          • Well, we won’t go into antennagate issues with iPhone 4….I’m sure you know ALL about them :D

            I’m surprised at the One X though. Perhaps it’s the different base band chip as compared to the One XL. I get extended reception on my XL from what I got on my Desire.

            As you say, you’re also on Optus and their network tails off ALOT faster than Telstra, whom I’m with.

            Again, I think it’s a very subjective thing. It would be alot of effort to compare them side by side. It would need to be done under almost lab conditions to prove the point. There are however reception indicators you can get on Google Play. I’d encourage you to maybe test it in comparison to your iPhone in similar areas. Easy for you, cause you’ve got a micro sim either way….I had to get a new one from my Desire, cause it was normal sim.

          • Jonathan, I agree with your comments about network performance.
            My Nokia N95 was much better than my Nokia N8 which is better than my current Galaxy S2.

          • +1 Renai. It’s the old Telstra v Optus debate, but it still holds true.

            Remember, the One XL is ONLY available specifically on Telstra now. The One X can be either Telstra or Optus.

          • You’ve written a decent review and I respect your opinion however I have to agree in part with Graham. I believe the non replaceable battery and lack of micro SD expansion ARE points worth mentioning in a review. While not relevant to everyone they most definitely are key considerations when purchasing a smart phone that for a significant number of point ARE deal breakers. I understand how you’re constructing your review but I would presume with the analysis you gave that you were aware of this and it does make sense to list them.

    • what exactly do you need more than 32GB on a phone for? micro-SD slot is such a non-issue for me, although it could work as a lint collector for my pockets i suppose.

      • You will have to ask my daughter and all her friends why they need 32GB or more of music, photos and videos on their phones, but if you suggested that they could do with less I think you might lose your head.

        As for me, I store mostly documents and photos, but also quite a few movies and software installs. It saves me having to carry a USB memory stick or HD around, as is always there if I need it.

  7. I’ve had mine for a week and this morning it appear to be dead. At least the screen is. I’m not sure how to hard reset without access to the battery.

    • That’s unfortunate Adrian. To hard reset, press and hold the volume down button and the power button for a few seconds. It’ll come up with a menu. You should be able to reset from there.

  8. That’s unfortunate adrian. You can reset it by pushing the volume down button and holding as well as the power button. It should come up with a menu and you should be able to reset from there.

    Hope it works for you

  9. I got mine on release at Telstra switching from an iPhone 3gs on vodafone.

    “fringe” network coverage, I say fringe but I live in the middle of the suburbs is pretty bad and 3g is unusable for data at my house, didn’t have a real issue on vodafone with the iphone, just tether to wifi when at home not as useful when I’m out and about in the neighborhood. Definitely doesn’t get 4g in the outer 1/4 of telstras coverage maps which is where I live. Where I work I’m in the middle of the 4g coverage area and the phone is amazing I don’t use hotspots anymore unless I need some heavy data lifting. I’m light to medium usage and don’t have an issue with battery life until late evening but my usage of data services is increasing with the new phone so might start leaving charge cable on my desk.

    With application I’ve had a few crashes and I have an issue with my hotmail account and mail client not fully downloading messages and get remaining button at the bottom of the message doesn’t do anything, the hotmail account receives a number of mail list digests and the phone seems to only pull down about 25kb of each email no matter what the setting is. Works fine with my exchange account and an imap mail accounts.

    • I’ve noticed a few apps crashing too. I have a feeling that’s more ICS compatibility than HTC or the One XL specifically though.

      I’ve also noticed its almost useless for 3G in the Sydney rail airport tunnel. My Desire was getting progressively worse everyday I went through, so I can only assume Telstra is neglecting their 3G data coverage in the tunnel. It could be the XL too, but It’s difficult to tell

    • I’ve delayed upgrading to version 4.03 of ICS on my Galaxy S2 (currently running the relatively stable 2.3.6), because of the many bugs in ICS.
      That is the one big positive with the iPhone – Apple seem to fix bugs quickly and push out updates simultaneously worldwide.
      Android (and Telstra) are very hit and miss as far as system updates go.

      • I upgraded my best friend’s S2 to ICS. One or 2 minor issues, such as her sms app now doesn’t display contact pics from Facebook, because apparently the ICS file location and security is different.

        Other than that no major issues. You also get to use Chrome Beta as a browser….and its is LIGHTYEARS ahead of the stock or even Dolphin HD

        • I will probably upgrade to ICS soon, I was waiting to see if anyone discovered any really serious bugs.
          I’m using Opera Mobile as my browser, but yes, the standard browser in 2.3 is a bit average.

  10. All this comment is great, but how does this smart phone ( one xl ) work in poor coverage areas?
    How would it compare with my nokia 6720 ( blue tick ) which works just about anywhere and hold a call where a range of other phones cant even get service (on the same carrier) , as i am wanting to upgade soon. Appreciate some informed comment ,Thanks

  11. I’ve asked the same question.
    If it’s anything like the Galaxy S2, very poorly.

  12. Have had the HTC one XL for a week,it runs very smoothly on internet, its coverage range seems to be only just shy of the nokia 6720(talking to a phone salesman he said thesenokias are among the best for coverage) so as a phone which works in poor coverage areas i am really impressed with its performance.Tested indoors in a steel clad concrete factory in a cool room 05 to 1metre difference in range As for battery life, used as phone only with about 5 min of screen time and 5 min of talk time in an 9 hr period it used about 20% of Battery life thought that was fantastic!
    When used as computer,video, to surf internet the battery suffered which is understandable as it is only really a phone

  13. The One XL is a Blue-Tick phone for Telstra. I had to replace my Samsung Galaxy S2 due to coverage issues (at Telstra’s cost as they sold it without discussing coverage requirements – I love the TIO) and the HTC has been extremely fast on data and mapping access in areas in Central Vic where my previous iphone and the Samsung failed miserably.

    The problem I had was after 24 hours and two charges, I woke up this morning to a completely dead phone. This means a 120km one way trip to the city shop where we bought it, to wait in queues and not be helped if past experience is anything to go by, and as a previous poster pointed out, with the micro sim, I have no alternative! So forced to get a prepaid sim for my old phone and pay for two things at once!

    That’s like having to run two cars in case one breaks down. Oh wait. I do already. Don’t ya love the modern world where everything is so much better?

  14. ask the shop for a conversion adaptor which micro sim fits into to convert it to original size
    hope you get a new phone as well

  15. Thanks Andrew,
    I had not realised such a thing existed :)

    According to the Telstra call centre staff, they should replace the phone immediately as it is within 7 days of purchase, otherwise it gets sent to a contracted repair centre.

    That’s almost the first time I got useful information from an overseas call centre!

  16. Don’t recommend this phone, can’t use it as a hotspot, in fact my laptop shutsdown when i connect try to connect it, this never happened with my desire. I think I’ve bought a headache.

        • No offence John, but you’ve jumped to the conclusion awfully quickly It’s the phone. I’ve used my XL on any number of computers and tablets for hotspot and none of them have ‘shutdown’.

          Can I ask exactly what happens when you try to connect?

          • the first time i connected for 2 minutes then a blue screen appeared with info but was a little too quick for me to read, it tells me its going to shut down and then it does. I use my laptop with my wifi at home and previously with my htc desire (no problems). Now when i try I don’t even get two minutes before the blue screen comes up. I then have to start the computer in ‘safe’ mode. I really don’t know what to do, maybe I need a new driver?? Does that sound right?

          • It certainly sounds to me like a driver issue if you’re getting a Blue Screen Of Death. I had a Desire before too and the same things connecting don’t have issues with my XL.

            The XL has Wireless N, whereas the Desire only had Wireless G. It’s possible that your laptop, if it HAS wireless N, has a compatibility issue with the WiFi the XL outputs (I know some Intel Wireless chips had issues).

            If you DO have the option within your wireless control system (either via windows wireless adapter options or if you have a proprietary controller from HP. Dell whoever it’ll be one of your taskbar icons) change from using Wireless G/N to ONLY using Wireless G and see if this fixes the problem.

            The speed loss for using the XL in G mode won’t be noticed, but it may slow down file transfers if you use your wireless on your laptop to connect to a local network at home/work.

            Also, as you said, check the manufacturer of the laptop’s website for an updated wireless adapter driver. That can always solve problems in windows regardless :)

            Let me know if you have more issues or get stuck.

  17. more info… the following comes up iral_not_less_than, so I’m in the process of updating my drivers, thanks very much for your help

  18. I’ve just had a VERY quick trawl through some forums and found this:

    It’s not the same problem, but the result is the same. I’d hesitate a guess at a few things:

    – Bad driver
    – Virus
    – More RAM
    – Conflict between 2 anti-virus or firewalls (Norton and Trend or Mcafee and ZoneAlarm etc.)

    That last one is what solved the issue for that guy in the link. It’s a VERY common problem, Internet Security suites not removing themselves properly and conflicting with new ones OR people doubling up on them and that cause havoc with networking, windows….everything. You can only ever have 1 Anti-Virus program and certain firewall programs also don’t play nice with anti-virus either.

    You can always do a system restore to an much earlier time (when you think the problem might not have been apparent, like before you installed security software) but you’ll lose any programs installed after that.

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