How AT&T ruined my experience with the HTC One X

att one - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereAs most of you know, I’m a big HTC fan: I love the HTC EVO 4G LTE for Sprint, I love the HTC One S on T-Mobile, and I really want to love the AT&T HTC One X. But AT&T has really left a sour taste in my mouth, for a variety of reasons, and because of this, I can’t really see myself using the One X long-term.

Today marks one month since I first picked up the One X from Best Buy on its release date. And today is also the day I’m going to return it to Best Buy. Here’s why:

  1. AT&T won’t let me activate the phone on a prepaid plan. Apparently, because this phone is a 4G phone, it’s not compatible with any of AT&T’s prepaid plans. I’ve been told by several different AT&T reps – both in-store and on the phone – that if I were to attempt to put in a prepaid SIM card, my data services would stop working very quickly; this is because AT&T is actively monitoring who is using what device on prepaid plans, and it would cut me off as soon as it detected the One X. It wouldn’t even matter if I purchased the prepaid smartphone add-on; absolutely no EDGE, 3G, or 4G services would work on the phone.
  2. AT&T won’t let me accept any OTA updates unless I’ve activated the phone on an AT&T plan. When I enter the settings menu, HTC’s System updates option has been replaced with AT&T software update. However, even if I have a solid WiFi connection, the phone will not let me check for updates. Instead, I get this message: “Network is not ready.” Essentially, this means I won’t get any updates unless I put in an AT&T SIM card.
  3. AT&T’s post-paid plans still require a credit check and approval, even though I paid full-price for the device and I want to pay month-to-month. My credit is fine, but I don’t want the ding to my credit score that comes with every credit check. And yes, I realize that this point isn’t necessarily unique to AT&T. What’s different, however, is that AT&T won’t activate the device on any prepaid plans. So basically, if I want to get an OTA update, I have to submit to a credit check.
  4. Too much bloat. Yes, most of it’s removable through the Disable feature in Android 4.0. But it’s still a pain: the first time I power up my phone, I don’t want to see: AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Ready2Go, Live TV, myAT&T, Top HD Games, and YPmobile. Also, the default email signature is extremely long and annoying: “Sent from my HTC One (TM) X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone”

For these reasons, I’m returning my HTC One X. Due to AT&T’s restrictive policies, it’s just not a good device to use as a WiFi-only UMPC or as a back-up prepaid phone. Don’t get me wrong: if I were an AT&T customer, I’d be all over this. But for my purposes – and especially since I’m already using the EVO 4G LTE as my daily device – it’s just not the phone for me.

However, perhaps I’m acting unreasonably? Maybe my expectations were too high? I really want to know: what do you think?

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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