HTC One XL review

Extra large and extra fast

Just like the One X, only faster

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With a rapidly expanding 4G network, Telstra was quick to push out a device capable of showcasing everything LTE has to offer earlier this year. The One XL takes the best parts of the successful One X, and updates it to work on the 4G network.

The catch, as with all LTE phones, is battery life. While HTC dropped the quad core processor to try and keep the phone active for a longer time, the truth is that 1800mAh isn't enough juice for a phone of this power.

HTC One XL review

We liked

It's a sleek, well designed handset that feels comfortable in the hand, even though its screen is phenomenally large. The unibody design may have its detractors, but it does make for a stylish product.

With the update to Jelly Bean right before Christmas, the One XL is now one of the most relevant Android devices, in terms of software. HTC Sense 4+ makes the phone an even slicker device, easy to use and pleasant to navigate.

The camera is still something special, even though it is almost a year old now. Pictures are impressive for a smartphone, especially in ideal situations. A bevy of manual settings help make this a great option for the mobile photographer.

And then there's LTE. Honestly, who can complain about their signal when their phone can download a web page faster than the office ADSL?

We disliked

Oh, that battery. The One XL keeps the same unibody shape as the One X, but that means there's no extra battery life. We'd happily sacrifice a few millimetres of thickness for an extra couple of hours worth of battery life crammed in there.

Also disappointing is the lack of a MicroSD card slot. While devices like the iPhone 5 also lack the expandable storage option, they also offer 64GB versions, which is something HTC hasn't delivered with the One XL. 32GB isn't too small, but it isn't large enough when HD movies become a part of the picture.

Final Verdict

With a couple of small tweaks, HTC could have delivered a five star handset in the form of the One XL. Unfortunately, battery life just wasn't up to the standard it needs to be.

HTC One XL review

Still, short smartphone battery life is nothing new, so if you're keen on accessing Telstra's LTE network with a stylish device running Jelly Bean, this is easily one of the most enticing products on the market.

Sure, the 4G Samsung Galaxy S3 pips it at the post when it comes to versatility thanks to its MicroSD card slot and replaceable battery, but it also lacks HTC Sense, which is easily a much nicer experience than TouchWiz.

If LTE isn't a must-have, the One X is still a very worthwhile option though. It also struggles from battery life issues, but not to the same extent as the One XL. Either way, you're going to end up with a very nice, functional device.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.