HTC recently introduced their flagship device, the Windows Phone 8X based on the latest mobile OS from Microsoft. The device comes at a time where both Microsoft and HTC face stiff competition from other smartphone brands, so it’s interesting to see what’s in store for the 8X.
Build quality and design
The HTC 8x is built beautifully, and feels great in your hands. You’re able to access the screen easily and reach the buttons without any difficulty, though the power/unlock button was a nit hard to press (not sure if it was specific to my unit or all others). The HTC 8x comes in four different colors- Black, California Blue (looks more purple), Lime Light Yellow and Red.
The device has only a few buttons, mainly the Windows button to access the main screen, the back arrow, and a search button. On the right side of the device you will find the volume keys, the camera button, and the micro-sim slot, while on the top sits the lock screen button and earphones port. It’s not flat from the back, since the phone was given what HTC calls a ‘pyramid design’ which means the edges of the phone are thinner. The Windows Phone 8X doesn’t support microSD (although it is supported by the OS) and the battery can’t be replaced.
Specs and Comparison
The device can compete with other flagship devices in the market and was very smooth to use. Apps were quick to launch and everything responded fluidly.
The screen is scratch resistant thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass 2. It’s not the best screen we’ve seen when it comes to using it outside in the UAE sun but the SuperLCD2 technology works really well indoors.
The Windows Phone 8X supports Beats audio which provides you with a better audio quality than your average phone. Without a doubt, you’ll enjoy listening music on the 8X, however, bring your own headphones as the ones bundled with the device aren’t that great.
UI and Apps
Like all Windows 8 phones, Microsoft has improved the UI of the OS allowing you to be personalized with your device by re-sizing the tiles between three sizes and choosing between 20 colors. The lock screen has improved as well, you can now pick up to 5 notifications to be shown it while the background can be picked up from apps such as bing, flixter, CNN, and weather flow as well as HTC’s customized weather lock screen.
Coming to the Apps, although Microsoft has announced that the app store has crossed over 150,000 verified apps (Microsoft verifies the apps to make sure they are virus free before approving them), there are still many common apps like Instagram and Flipboard that are not available yet.
Unfortunately, the apps made by HTC are also not at a level as we saw with Nokia on their Windows Phone 8 based phones such as Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive which can both work offline, City Lens and Nokia music The apps built by HTC are HTC hub that shows you time, weather, stocks and news, a flash light app where you can use your led flash as a flash light, a photo enhancer that can provide you with some effects for your pictures, and a converter app where you can do a conversion for currency, power, speed, time zone, etc.
The pictures taken by the camera were very good in terms of quality and sharpness, though it wasn’t as impressive at low light as say the Lumia 920. The option to use lens effects while taking pictures is also great, and with the support of more apps your photography experience can get better.
Heat and Battery
After using the device heavily, we were able to get close to thirteen hours of usage without roaming turned on, and only when gaming for close to 30 minutes did we feel the phone getting slightly warm. In general the battery can easily last for about a day, but this again depends on your usage.
HTC have worked well to give us a great looking phone that offers a satisfying user experience. If you’re looking for a different experience from iOS or Android, then this is one of the better Windows Phones out there.