HTC Windows Phone 8X Review
Hello Windows Phone 8! You’ve been teasing us for quite some time now, and with that in mind, there’s naturally a sense of anticipation in our blood waiting to finally experience it fully for the first time. After soaking in the new layout of Start Screen, with its fancy-schmancy resizable and colorful Live Tiles, we’re a bit disappointed with the final outcome. Why’s that? Well, it’s because there’s not much of a leap in terms of refinements and usability from the perspective of being a power user. Without question, it’s visually appealing with its distinct UI elements, the interface formerly known as “Metro,” but beyond that, there have been no worthwhile improvements found with the platform to sideswipe Android’s supreme personalization and function.
To its credit, the lock screen of Windows Phone 8 now provides us up to 5 quick statuses that displays a number associated to the notification – like how many unread emails or messages we have. However, we can only choose one detailed status for the lock screen, with no way of managing through other items unless we change it in the settings menu. Compared to Android’s notification system, this is both trivial and elementary at the same time.
As we’ve briefly mentioned already, the Start Screen has been revamped to now take advantage of the screen’s entire real estate – whereas as before, it was only a small strip that accommodated two live tiles horizontally. On one hand, we like the dynamic look of the live tiles and the ability to resize them as well, giving us a small amount of personalization, but they’re still limited in displaying specific app notifications.
Overall, the interface is distinctively Windows Phone, but it doesn’t offer enough substance to its core functionality to make it compete on the same level to what we see with the latest version of Android. Yes, it’s a pretty looking UI that dazzles us with its uniform layout and dynamic Start Screen, but beyond that, it’s still playing catch up to the competition.
If you’re a veteran Windows Phone user, you’ll surely fit right at home with the HTC 8X’s Windows Phone 8 experience – that’s because there only a few minor additions found with its core organizer apps. Checking out the People Hub, the new “together” section in there gives us the “Rooms” and “Groups” options. With the former, we can select certain individuals whom we can privately share calendars, photos, notes, and group chats with. Conversely, the Groups option provides us the ability to send messages to everyone in the group and aggregates relevant content related to them – like social networking posts and photos. Beyond that, it’s the same experience as before.
Sadly, there’s nothing out of the norm seen with the email experience on the HTC 8X, but then again, it’s pretty functional in getting the job done – though, we would’ve liked to see some kind of “select all” function as opposed to manually selecting everything.
Meanwhile, the on-screen keyboard of the HTC 8X is stock Windows Phone 8, which is unchanged from what we’ve seen in the past. It’s not a bad thing to find per se, especially when it has a spacious layout, very responsive, and employs one of the best auto-correct features out there.
Processor and Memory:
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Windows Phone, it’s has to be that it doesn’t require beefy hardware specs for it to run optimally. Yet another reason to like Windows Phone 8, in addition to it offering support for 720p displays, the HTC 8X performs wonderfully with its dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. On paper, it might not be something worth bragging about, especially when other high-end smartphones nowadays pack quad-core chipsets, but that’s hardly necessarily here as its real-world performance is swift and fluid enough in all of its operations to satisfy our liking.
Out of the box, it’s carrying along 14.56 GB of free internal storage, which should be a sufficient capacity for most people. Even though Windows Phone 8 adds support to memory expandability via microSD cards, it’s not something that the HTC 8X provides.
Internet and Connectivity:
Donning 4G LTE connectivity and the brand spanking new Internet Explorer 10 web browser, the two work in tandem to give us a satisfying experience. Naturally, pages load in no time at all, but even better, the fluidity seen throughout the platform is also evident in IE10’s navigational controls. As for some new features found with the experience, it includes a sharing function to quickly share pages through an assortment of options – such as email, text, or social networking. Thankfully, Windows Phone 8 also reintroduces the “find on page” feature, which was strangely removed with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
Since this is an AT&T bound device, it’s enabled to work overseas as well if you’ll be traveling – though, 4G LTE connectivity is established domestically with AT&T. Finally seeing the love, this Windows Phone 8 powered handset also packs other connectivity features like aGPS, Bluetooth 3.1 with EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot functionality, and most notably NFC. With the latter, its “tap + send” feature allows the handset to share various content by essentially tapping the rear of the phone against another NFC-capable Windows Phone. Interestingly, our PC is able to recognize the handset as a removable device – allowing us to quickly download photos and videos without the need to use Microsoft’s Zune desktop software. Likewise, we’re able to directly copy other items, like music and videos, onto the handset.
1. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Good one .. but still would go with Lumia 920 ..
2. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
I feel the same here too, I love it but there something better around the corner, this doesn't mean I'm saying it's a bad phone.
27. MeoCao (unregistered)
This is a ugly phone: too thick and looks like a toy not a serious device.
31. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 120; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
why such a thick bezel HTC? It makes it look a bit dated,
43. dexter_jdr (Posts: 830; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
48. GMC626 (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
The bezels seem about the same size as those on the iPhone 5.
35. thephonedude (Posts: 36; Member since: 27 Oct 2012)
It is not ugly.. its targeted for the younger crowd. Older business men and middle aged adults are not welcome.
58. thephonedude (Posts: 36; Member since: 27 Oct 2012)
This HTC has similar looks to the Nokia Lumia range... hate this design? hate nokia lumias.
59. nooraldeen (Posts: 48; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
no 1 can hate this design or the Lumia's design , it's true that HTC copied the nokia deign but for some people it's a good thing cuz if some1 hates nokia and likes the lumia design then this is a perfect choice hhhhh :P
65. fredje (Posts: 4; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)
I have one and I like the design and the material. it may be 1 cm thick but I feels perfect in the hand and looks and feels like a 0.8 cm device.
It doesn't look or feel cheap
10. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
this one is pretty good too. I like it
Ill wait until the lumia 920 to make my decision on which one is better
17. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2951; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
'O' Yawwwwn...me wait for the NineTwenty!
22. PotDragon (banned) (Posts: 214; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)
So...you must be on at&t. Good for you. Hope you enjoy the terrible coverage, horrible reception, and worst customer service in history on your 920.
26. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
at&t isn't that bad as it used to be...
28. johnny9000 (Posts: 44; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
I love how anyone who has ever been burned by a company can make blanket statements like that. I've been a customer of AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. I have talked to great customer service reps on all 3 networks, and horrible ones. From what everyone tells me, there is a "best" customer service (US Cellular), but there is no way AT&T is the worst, not by a long shot. And network reception is all relative and depends on where you live.
66. vzwapple83 (Posts: 5; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)
39. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
In short, the phone is exactly as expected: a good, solid product, which runs a good, solid OS with a few small gaps like app count (which isn't that important if the good ones that last a while are there), and it's priced very well to match. There wasn't anything broken, so nothing to fix, thus no sweeping huge UI changes. It's a OneX+ running WP8 with a slightly different body. If this were an iphone it would have gotten a 9.
42. dexter_jdr (Posts: 830; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
13. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
not all nokias have good cameras... my 3310 just gives me black screen
40. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
...you're seriously comparing a 3310 with a 920? Might as well be comparing a disposable camera with a Leica...
62. bayusuputra (Posts: 931; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)
4. _Bone_ (Posts: 1734; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Damn, tech news are STORMING today. Hope everybody will be all right.
5. pookiewood (Posts: 351; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
You forgot about the Live Wallpaper/Lock Screen function.
12. shirtlessrabbit4 (Posts: 39; Member since: 07 Oct 2012)
Amen! I knew there was quite a bit more that pa left out!
14. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)
Not only that, They forgot about Xbox music, The Wallet, the new Skype, Skydrive, the new Office 2013, Smart glass......etc.
23. snowgator (Posts: 3014; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Thank you both. WP 8 devices getting reviewed the day of the announcement? Not buying they spent a ton of time understanding it.
I truly do not expect an Android set of features yet. I am betting it is vastly better then WP 7, and that developers will be happier to develop for the wallet hub, the family hub, the new camera capabilities, ect.
I enjoy the WP experience. I just want improvements. And there are a TON.
24. pookiewood (Posts: 351; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
Yeah I don't get it! Spend some time with it before making a decision on it. Very weird.
6. smallworld (Posts: 360; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
"Few worthwhile improvements with WP8" I expect the same cons for the Lumia 920.
8. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)
Good review, but there are many things missing.
9. Vikranth (Posts: 6; Member since: 27 Sep 2012)
Rock on Buddy..The Hero of Windows Phone Ecosystem is Lumia 920...
15. GoBears (Posts: 253; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
Not a bad device but I think the Nokia 920 is much better. I really hope MS does some fast upgrades to this OS. If this is the OS that Nokia is betting the bank on, then they are in bigger trouble than I thought.
16. Schmao (Posts: 302; Member since: 05 Jul 2009)
Whatever happened to the special audio amplifier? Doesn't seem like it is anything useful...
18. papss (Posts: 2163; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
What others have said.. If its not the 920 it's not worth the Upgrade
19. lzsbleach (Posts: 154; Member since: 20 May 2012)
I thought the windows 8 UI was going to better; maybe the Nokia 920 will get a 9
25. lubba (Posts: 1309; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
How? His review will be the same across the board. If it's not customizable or has an Apple logo, no WP will ever get a 9 plus. You see these people don't pay attention to Joe b. when he does his presentations. All they care about is "where is the phone? What does it have in it?"
20. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Best design out there.. beats the 920 convincingly.
That said, the screen should be bigger and the phone should be thinner to make this look really shine.
33. StreetNerd (Posts: 683; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
bigger? 4-4.3 inch perfect.... bigger is like a brick in ur pocket
29. psysect (Posts: 49; Member since: 27 Sep 2012)
like it..good spc..It has Mini amplifire..
im waiting for it ..lumia too expensive.
34. StreetNerd (Posts: 683; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
yea true story.... i just sold my Lumia 800 for 200 euros and pre-ordered the 8S for 270 euros off contract.
my contract will be till march 2013, by thn i will get a real high end WP8 device(surface phone maybe?)
30. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)
I believe this is the first Windows Phone to get 7.5+ from Phonearena. Hats off to HTC! Great job.
38. snowgator (Posts: 3014; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Both the Focus S and the 900 got "8". I am waiting for the first WP to break that barrier.
36. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
this is already available?!
wow so early!! but still would go for lumia 920 instead!
37. MitchellSheehan (Posts: 5; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
Mr John. Kindly tell me what features are lacking. Id like to know. Please be specific. Coz from where I see it, Its a winning platform here.
41. Joshing4fun (Posts: 960; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
Don't be upset, he also says it can't take good pictures in the dark and has a "blah" internal speaker... like every other phone in the history of everdom.
44. b1acktiger (Posts: 171; Member since: 19 May 2012)
The Display and the Camera makes the difference with 8x. the light weighted design and beats audio amplifier is +1 for 8X. I see the 920 wave is hitting the whole WP8 devices. The range of colours and light weighted of 8X impressed me.
49. dexter_jdr (Posts: 830; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
the audio amplifier has a catch on 8x..coz it only works through headphones..
on the other note, nokia lumia 920 has dolby digital software. i saw it on the settings. its for headphones aswell.. so they are tie on headphones.
lumia 920 built in speaker is louder... reason? because its bigger than htc since thinner phones cant put better speaker inside...
so the +1 is for nokia here.
46. Seanburns (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
Phone Arena,you talk rubbish. Windows 8 & iOS non of these OS need quad core. We don't need quad core in a mobile phone. Android is so resource heavy and laggy even the GS3 lags. Android is the only one that needs quad core. You talk crap reviews
51. picassimo (Posts: 14; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)
The area of Township, NJ that the reviewer took pictures of, I'm wondering how the streets look right now after Sandy.
=%09150+Quakerbridge+Mall++Law rence+Township,+NJ+08648&hl=en &ll=40.212441,-73.943481&spn=2.240029,4.93835 4&sll=42.062327,-87.932094&sspn=0.136111,0.3086 47&hq=150+Quakerbridge+Mall++L awrence+Township,+NJ+08648&rad ius=15000&t=m&z=8
52. Altair (Posts: 250; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Only thing you need to know about this HTC device is:
Cheap copycat -> see how long you can throw it or puke on it!
53. Aslam (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Oct 2012)
HTC WP phone will build a competitive with Nokia Lumia 920 or Samsung Galaxy Note 2 !http://www.gsmsouth.com/
56. nooraldeen (Posts: 48; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
the htc 8x already lost the fight against Lumia 920 , im not saying it's a bad phone. it's good but not enough to beat the Lumia 920
57. GMC626 (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
The initial reviews of the Nokia 920 haven't been decisive over the 8x.
60. nooraldeen (Posts: 48; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
the specs sheet is a thing and the performance is another thing , it's true that there is not a big difference between the 2 but the lumia is better
both have 8MP camera but the lumia's camera is better and the screen is better (u cant tell the difference between the 768 or 720 in res or the 332/342 ppi) but it's considered better and also the lumia got a faster refresh rate so there is reduced blur when moving the UI ir the text . both don't have a SDcard slot . so the lumia is better with it's 32 gigs , the 8x is 16 gigs . so if some1 will have to choose between the Lumia or the 8x the Lumia is a better choice unless that 1 didn't want a bulky phone :)
54. adrikfog (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
The design is absolutely wonderful. Love HTC and can't wait to try out WP8 for myself!