Back when the iPhone 4S launched in October, last year, I rationalized the lack of new design and the same sized display. I thought that there must be a good reason why Apple – supposed market leaders – could release a 4″ plus display with Retina quality resolution. Firstly, it would require a more powerful chip, and a larger battery which would make the phone thicker. At least that was my thought. The Nexus was released shortly after, but its 4.65″ display – although brilliant – lacked a lot of sharpness, thanks to being PenTile based and not RGB, unlike the iPhone’s. Text was a little fuzzier, and it didn’t cope well unless brightness was turned up to max.
Then, Apple more recently updated the iPad range. It features a 9.7″ Retina display. So, Cupertino’s design team can come up with a 10-inch Retina but not 4? Even more frustratingly, HTC released the One X. Its 4.7″ display is stunning. I went in to have a look at one today, and boy was I annoyed. I’m not one for being sucked in by specs alone, but, that thing is impressive. And it’s made by HTC!! Until now, the Taiwanese firm had built a reputation for churning out the same device in different sizes, all with poor displays and cameras. Bluntly: everything between the Desire and One X has plain sucked.
The One X is a different story. Care and attention has gone in to building the unibody design, with individually drilled hole for speaker grills. Its 8.9mm thin body still manages to pack in a 1800 mAh battery, a quad-core processor with enough power to light up a delightful 4.7″ display with a 720×1280 pixel resolution. That’s a pixel density of 312ppi, only 14ppi less than the iPhone, but with an extra 1.2″ of real estate.
That’s where my frustration lies. If HTC can pack in a big display that is – for all intents and purposes – just as sharp as the iPhone’s, and put a much bigger battery, all inside a phone that’s 0.4mm thinner, why couldn’t Apple do it first? It’s not just an impressive spec list, it delivers on the specs and performs well. HTC Sense – which used to be the weak point of the company’s smartphones – has smartened up and looks polished, and snappy. Ice Cream Sandwich – what makes the Galaxy Nexus so great – does the same for this device. It really is incredible. And like I mentioned in an earlier tweet, if my family wasn’t with me, waiting for me, I’d have bought one there and then.
And, although it frustrated me, it gave me a tiny amount of hope. Whatever reasons Apple had for not releasing a 4-inch plus display last time around have surely evaporated. Yes, there may be some frustration on the developer side, having to optimize apps for a new display resolution. But, surely that’s worth it. If devs can get over 200,000 programs optimized for iPad in two years, it wouldn’t take that long to get a good number out for a 4.5″ display. The smartphone market is now full of big displays, and for good reason. We’re very media centric. We love movies, great games and videos of all kinds. I’m telling you now, I’d watch anything on the HTC One X before the iPhone. Sorry Apple, but you now have to catch up – again. Now – for the first time in my life – I’m seriously weighing up the pros and cons of selling my iPhone to get a HTC handset. Today is a sad day.