When HTC unveiled the three handsets that make up its new ‘One’ family at Mobile World Congress each model came with a different specification and power. Inevitably all eyes have been drawn to the One X with its quad-core processor. However the mid-range device, the HTC One S, is in fact a decent looking top end smartphone that could end up being more attractive to consumers as it ticks all the boxes but comes with a much cheaper price tag.

The One S could be here as early as April. All three devices, the One X, One S and the entry level One V are to be available at Three Mobile. They, along with the Carphone Warehouse, have listed the release date as April meaning the range could come to the market ahead of many of their rivals also announced the trade show in Barcelona.

Inevitably, the quad-core will make the One X a much faster phone that its little brother. However, the processor will also help the device command a much higher price tag. So if the other specs are considered what difference will it make if you go for a One S instead of a One X?

The One S is billed as the compact smartphone of the range. If the One X is flagship, the One V entry-level then compact seems a strange selling point, perhaps catch-all, or solid offer would be better. While it isn’t a game-changer it is a reliable device that will more than do the job.

The One S comes with a 1.5 GHz dual core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The One X has 32 GB and the One V comes with a microSD card allowing an increase of its storage space so it seems strange the One S does not have the same capability.

On the outside it has the same Unibody design as the rest of the range. While the One X is made from polycarbonate, making it more durable, the One S is in metal. This might make it easier to scratch if it is used to spending its time in a bag with keys and the like but it will also give it a sleek and stylish finish. The device’s 4.3 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen should not get any scratches in the same environment as it is made from Corning Gorilla Glass. That screen is smaller than the One X which is 4.7 inches and it does not have as impressive a screen resolution coming in at 540 x 960 compared with the One X’s 1280 x 720. Pictures and text as well as video will look crisper and sharper on the One X with its 312 ppi.

Both have an 8 megapixel camera on the back – which while it will do the job is far from the best on the smartphone market, that accolade is likely to go to the Sony Xperia S’ 12 megapixel camera at the moment, if we ignore the Nokia PureView 808’s 41 megapixel offer. Each has a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front for video calls and the face Unlock and recognition features of their operating system, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There is also the upgraded Sense 4.0 overlay which runs over the top of the operating system.

The range comes complete with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, although the One X strange has Bluetooth 3.0 which the One S and One V both have Bluetooth 4.09. Each has Beats Audio, a micro USB and Audio Jack.

How much more does the increased price tag of the One X really buy you? A faster processor yes, but not everyone will be interested in that. In truth both the One X and the One S come with similar specification. For someone looking to upgrade but not looking for a hefty price increase, opting for the One S instead of its big brother might be a more realistic option.

At two of the major trade shows where new smartphones are showcased, two impressively powerful devices have been modelled that looks set to be popular with consumers. Both the HTC One X and the Sony Xperia S are flagship devices for new ranges. While the HTC One X is the ‘One’ family quad core flagship, the Xperia S is the most powerful device of the NXT range.

The HTC One X and the Sony Xperia S illustrate a renewed ambition from both manufacturers and the revamping of an existing range to strengthen market position. The Xperia S, for example, is the first device Sony has launched since it dropped the Ericsson brand from its smartphone range and is the next generation of it widely popular Xperia line of devices. Dubbed the NXT range, the new line in Xperia phones aims to be more powerful than its predecessors but also incorporates it ability to target different elements of the marketplace; e.g., music lovers with Play, media lovers with Arc. So far in both the One range and the Xperia, three devices have been announced. For HTC the One S, One X and the V. For Sony the Xperia S, P and the U.

The Sony Xperia S is being tipped already as one of the best mobile phones of 2012, even if it doesn’t have a quad core. It follows the path of the Xperia range with a sleek design which has been moulded from a single, high density polycarbonate material. That makes it feel more durable and more able to withstand bumps. The device has a 4.3 inch screen and is said to offer a full HD experience.

The screen has a 1280 x 720 resolution and is LED backlit. One the back is an impressive 12 megapixel camera, on the front a 1.3 megapixel snapper for voice calls. Under the bonnet there is a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. There is 32 GB on memory and 1 GB of RAM meaning the Xperia S should be quick for moving between applications, browsing and general usage. The whole NXT range will launch with android 2.3 Gingerbread, a disappointment for those who might have been expected Android 4.0 Gingerbread at its launch; although an update is in the pipeline for the range.

The HTC One X has already turned heads and made waves in the smartphone market. HTC says the devices 1.5 GHz quad-core processor will make it lightning quick. It has a 4.7 inch screen with the same 1280 x 720 resolution, meaning the Xperia’s screen is smaller but offers the same crisp images. Under the bonnet the One X also has 32 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. On the back there is an 8 megapixel camera, less impressive than the Sony Xperia’s. The One X launches with Ice Cream Sandwich, as does the rest of the One range.

On one hand it might be unfair to compare the One X and the Xperia S. That quad-core will make the HTC device much quicker than its Sony counterpart, but the chances are it will also command a much high price tag, possibly making the Xperia S, in comparison, more attractive. Speed isn’t everything though and the flagship Xperia device is an impressive smartphone with a great camera and ability to do every activity that is asked of it quickly and effectively. The major disappointment, perhaps linked to the fact that the S isn’t a quad-core phone is the operating system.

Other manufacturers, particularly those from the Far East have chosen 2012 as the year to launch devices within a wider range, starting with a flagship quad-core rolling right down to entry level phones. Not only is the Xperia S not a quad core but it, and the rest of the NXT range, launch running Android Gingerbread while many of their competitors run ice cream sandwich. This might be seen as a lack of ambition perhaps by Sony and could hurt them in terms of sales in the first half of this year.

The HTC One X is being touted as the device to beat in 2012with its impressive spec and lightning quick reaction time thanks to its processor. Might Sony be already playing catch-up before the first quarter of the year is over?

(Photo from GadgetLand)

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