HTC's One X+ could be the sort of flagship phone that helps the Taiwan-based phone maker reverse its recent financial misfortunes.
The carrier announced this week that its third-quarter net profit fell 79%, but that shouldn't prevent potential customers from looking at this new phone.
I had a chance to play with the new device for a few minutes at MobileCon Tuesday and found the display's brilliance and colors truly stunning. The size, feel and styling were more comfortable and enticing than any other Android phone I've held (and I've held many of them).
What's more, the quad-core 1700 MHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor's speed is evident when swiping through screens and opening apps, even in a quick first-time tryout.
Jeff Gordon, online communications manager for HTC, said he expects AT&T will sell the One X+ in the coming months for about $199, although no official price has been announced. "It really fits the label of a flagship phone," he told me. Some reports have indicated that the phone will become available in November.
The fact that the One X+ comes preloaded Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) operating system will be enough to lure many Android users who want the latest thing. But HTC's new phone also has other attractive features, such as Beats Audio and support for fast LTE wireless service. The value of Beats Audio is not to be overlooked; the technology contributed immensely to the music playing qualities of the HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless, which I reviewed in July.
But the display deserves more mention. At 4.7-in. and with 720 x 1280 resolution, it is large and clear. A Super LCD 2 screen seems to enhance the colors. When the device is held at an angle, the colors don't seem to lose their richness.
HTC also added an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.6-megapixel front camera, an improvement over the original HTC One X, which was a strong seller for AT&T, Gordon said. A big 2100 mAh battery and 64GB of internal storage might seal the deal for many potential buyers interested in taking and storing photos or viewing photos and video. The camcorder is 1080p HD quality.
In a quick first- look, the HTC One X+'s size and styling made the biggest impression on me. The polycarbonate case is soft, and the device is fairly light at 4.7 oz., a little more than the industry average of 4.1 oz. Its overall dimensions are 5.29 in. x 2.75 in. x 0.35 in.
There's one small design element in the One X+ that could prove to be a flaw. The rear camera protrudes slightly from the back, and it seems like it could be easily damaged or scratched if it is frequently laid down and picked up. I mentioned this to Gordon, who said he carried the first-generation device for months and never had a problem with damage to the glass cover over the camera's lens.
Still, given the other qualities, HTC deserves to gain some traction with its One X+ when the device finally ships.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.