Software Development

HTC One X teardown reveals an internal design that isn't DIY repair friendly

Bill Detwiler cracks open the HTC One X, finding an internal design that isn't exactly DIY repair-friendly and a difficult-to-replace battery.

A month after releasing the Titan II Windows Phone handset, HTC is back with its highly anticipated Android phone--the One X. In this week's episode of Cracking Open, I show you what's inside the HTC One X and why it can be a real pain to work on.

Our U.S. version of the One X had a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor (MSM8960), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 4.7" HD super LCD (1280 x 720 resolution), 802.11 b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth, a 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. It measured 5.15" (H) x 2.55" (W) x 0.3" (D) and weighed 4.6 ounces.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the HTC One X

Cracking Open observations

  • Single-piece back cover: Given that the One X and Titan II look alike and are both from HTC, it seemed logical that they would have a similar internal design and be cracked open in roughly the same manner. But no. Unlike the Titan II, which has a three piece cover held on with screws, the One X has a single piece cover which snaps onto the device's frame. I used a thin metal tool to pop the cover loose from the display/frame assembly and then lifted the display and frame away from the cover.
  • Not a Titan II clone: The One X may look like the Titan II on the outside, but it's different on the inside. The main circuit board is mounted above the battery and partially protected by an internal cover. The board extends along the phone's left edge and eventually meets up with a smaller board, which houses the phone's docking connector contacts.
  • Not DIY repair friendly: Instead of conveniently placing the battery and display assembly connectors on the side of the motherboard that faces the phone's outer cover, the One X's designers put connectors on both sides of the board. This arrangement makes it difficult to re-attach the connectors when you're putting the phone back together, and it means you'll need to remove the motherboard to replace the battery. Why HTC did this on the One X when they didn't do it the Titan II is beyond me?
  • U.S. version lacks quad-core processor: The U.S. version of the One X has a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor. Which, I find a bit disappointing as the European variant has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. But, the loss of raw processing power may have an upside. The One X's Qualcomm chip contains both the application processor and a 3G/LTE modem. This eliminates the Tegra 3's need for a separate LTE modem chip. Given that both variants have a battery with the same capacity (1,800 mAh), U.S. buyers may get better battery life. And as CNET's Brian Bennett notes, the One X "flies through Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC's Sense overlay with oomph and agility."

Bottom Line

Despite its lack of a quad-core processor and microSD card slot, and my complaints about its internal design, the One X gives U.S. Android fans a lot to be happy about. As of this writing, it's available for between $149 and $199 (with a two-year AT&T contract) or $629 without.

Read Brian Bennett's CNET review of the HTC One X (US) for more information on the phone's software features, real-world performance, and battery life test results.

Internal hardware

Our HTC One X test unit has the following hardware:

  • 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor (MSM8960)
  • Samsung K3PE7E700D-XG2 8Gb LP DDR2 Mobile DRAM (1GB)
  • 16GB Samsung KLMAG4FEJA-A002 storage chip
  • 4.7" WVGA display (1280 x 720)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 3.7V, 1,800 mAh Li-Ion battery (BJ83100)
  • RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver for LTE bands (RTR8600 AFN907.0 E520200A)
  • SWr GMD44
  • NXP 44506 14 11 ZSD1324
  • Invensense MPU-3050 MPU-3050 Triple Axis Gyroscope with Embedded Digital Motion Processor (MPU-3050 Q4S453-D1 EL 1203 K)
  • Silicon Image SiI9244 MHL transmitter for HD audio and video (924480 PFR974A 10K2206)
  • Qualcomm WCN3660 dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio combo chip (WCN3660 PFN634G6 A201002)
  • Qualcomm PM8921 power management IC
  • Avago ACPM-7251 Multi-Mode, Multi-Band CDMA/LTE/UMTS power amplifier (ACPM-7251 K1208 FC008)
  • Avago A5052 K1206 EK020
  • 77707-3 16839.1 1202 MX
  • 77703-2 69436.1 1208 MX
  • Synaptics S3202A touch controller (S3202A 2091AD AC3G684)
  • Audience earSmart A1028 Voice Processor (A1028AOF NAP268.0011 1144G)

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

5 comments
kd1982
kd1982

This phone sucks. My wife HTC one x screen died 3 months after purchase. We brought to the service center and they changed it with a new one after 2 weeks.. New phone's screen started getting funny last week again. It flickrs and show weird lines and graphics. How can this happen twice to us? It is definitely a crap low quality product. 


draco vulgaris
draco vulgaris

The ability to remove the battery may, or may not be a problem. If the phone locks up and the ONLY way to restore function is to remove the battery then the ability to remove the battery is essential. If this is the case, you need to have some serious discussions with the manufacturer and/or the retailer who sold you yours. The "lockup" problem also clearly needs some work! It's amazing the kind of crap that makes its way through quality control unnoticed! Or maybe they know but hope that no one else will notice!

LJSearles
LJSearles

I was all ready to jump on one of these phones, but not being able to pull the battery easily bothers me. What happens when you need to pull the battery to shut down a frozen phone than won't do anything as i have had to do almost daily with my Galaxy S?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Maybe HTC went to school after all.