Review: HTC One VX for AT&T
The VX offers the stock Android media options, which include the Google Play Store and separate Google Music and Google Video apps, and YouTube. There is also the age-old Android MP3 player app. All of these Google media apps work well.
If you're looking for extras, the VX has an FM radio, SoundHound, TuneIn Music, AT&T LiveTV, and HTC Watch. HTC Watch is HTC's movie rental store. The selection between HTC Watch and Google Play is about the same, as are the prices.
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Music sounded good and video looked good on the VX. I was pleased with the quality of music, in particular, thanks to the Beats Audio integration.
The VX's camera is not as fast as the Droid DNA or One X, but it's still very quick, especially for a mid-range model. We can probably thank the dedicated ImageChip for its speed. There's no physical camera/shutter button, so you have to take care of everything from the display.
The camera app uses the entire display as the viewfinder and reduces clutter to a minimum. Small icons, clustered against the left edge of the display, can be used to quickly adjust items such as the flash or for accessing the entire settings menu.
The VX provides tons of tools to make picture (and video) taking a finely-tuned experience. Some of the stand-out features include continuous shooting, auto smile capture, and easy HDR and panorama modes. As with all One-series phones, you can shoot still images while recording video.
The VX's camera can capture images up to 5 megapixels. For a mid-range model, it does just fine. The more discerning photographer might be a bit disappointed, though. Focus was a bit soft in the majority of images I captured. Many had an overabundance of grain, too. White balance and exposure were generally correct, however. For the majority of people, the pictures will look just like what they are: images taken with a cameraphone.
The VX's video camera is more forgiving and produces better results than the still camera. Focus was better, and I noticed less grain, while exposure and white balance were about the same. It does fine as an HD video camera in a pinch, though it doesn't match the results achievable from today's best devices.
The VX makes few changes to the stock Android 4.0 gallery app. The gallery collects photos based on where they are stored, such a your Picasa or Facebook account, as well as those on the phone itself. The tools let you sort through and organize photos, see them on a map, as well as share them with various social networks.
I am most disappointed by the editing features. You can crop and rotate images, and apply effects/filters. You can't fix red eye or alter exposure, contrast, and brightness. There are a lot of filters, but that makes the gallery app feel more like Instagram than anything else.
There's also a basic Movie Editor app that lets you trim or piece together video clips, if you're so inclined.
As per usual, most of the AT&T-branded services are on board, such as Navigator, TV, MyAccount, etc. Most of these cannot be deleted, but they can be "deactivated." Deactivated apps no longer appear in the main app menu, but still reside in the phone's storage.
The VX's Bluetooth radio works perfectly. It paired with every device I could find. Phone calls, in particular, sounded excellent when sent through my car's speaker. Music sounded very good when sent to stereo Bluetooth headphones. I had no issues pushing files back and forth, either.
The VX ships with the older stock Android browser. There are plenty of alternatives available in the Google Play Store. The installed browser works well, and delivers web sites in a blink thanks to AT&T's speedy LTE network. The browser's controls are easy to master, and it even supports advanced features such as Incognito Mode (for keeping your web history private.)
The lock screen clock is the same old white digital clock at the top of the screen like on every other HTC handset. It can be hard to read in bright sunlight. The only way to change this is to pick one of the lock screen set-ups that prioritizes the clock. (There are 8 different lock screens, each of which prioritizes a different function: messages, weather, stocks, etc.). If you choose the clock lock screen, you can pick from about a dozen specific clocks.
The GPS worked flawlessly. The VX's GPS radio was able to lock on my position in less than 10 seconds, and was accurate to within about 10 feet, Paired with Google Maps or AT&T Navigator, it makes the VX a fine navigation tool.
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