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HTC Windows Phone 8X - The Signature Win8 Phone Falls Short

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THE HTC WINDOWS PHONE 8X Was supposed to be the model that would bring Windows Phone 8 to the masses, but after testing it, our overall feeling is, "meh.” The HTC 8X is fairly average in size, but it’s thinner around the edges, giving the impression that it’s more svelte than it actually is. It also has a polycarbonate shell that makes it feel like a premium device, and its unibody design feels solid at the expense of a memory slot and replaceable battery.

The front of the HTC 8X is taken up by a 4.3-inch HD display that includes a front-facing wide-angle lens and three keys at the bottom for back, search, and menu. The display is easily as sharp as Apple’s Retina display, and the top of the HTC 8X features just a 3.5mm headphone jack and the lock button. The left-hand side of the HTC 8X is bare, while the bottom holds a Micro USB port. The volume rocker is on the right and below it is a camera shutter button. The rear of the 8X displays the Beats Audio logo, and there is another camera with LED light and a fast f/2.0 lens.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

HTC Windows Phone 8X

As far as the Windows 8 OS goes, there’s one word that springs to mind, and that’s “elegance.” If you haven’t used a Windows mobile product since the clunky old era, you’ll think we’re joking, but we’re not. We love Windows Phone 8, even more than the desktop OS in some ways. Those tiles that are annoying on the desktop are front and center on the 8X home screen, and each tile represents a program that updates with live information. For example, your mail live tile will show an envelope when you have new email, a number will appear for unread messages, and also for missed calls and texts. The calendar tile displays appointments and updates as they change, but will only show one calendar from one service at a time, which is one of our biggest gripes about the phone.

At least it suffers no lag which just goes to show that you can get away with a dual-core rather than a quad-core processor. We’ll also go so far as to say that we think the contacts implementation on Windows Phone is the best out there, bar none. Here’s why: Rather than simply being an app, it’s a fundamental part of the WP8 OS that runs through it like a vein. When you go into the People section, you’re greeted with tabs that you can swipe through that show social media updates, who you’ve spoken with recently, and a tab called Together, which allows you to create a little group of contacts for a group chat and file sharing, but only with other W8 users.

First off the HTC 8X hardware and industrial design is really quite phenomenal.

First off the HTC 8X hardware and industrial design is really quite phenomenal.

Probably the biggest disappointment with the 8X is that the app store is so deficient, and though it will likely grow over time, consumers have very little patience; nobody wants to buy a phone just to be able to use some cool apps in six months or a year. They want them now, and Microsoft can’t compete with Google and Apple on this front at this time. We also were disappointed by the battery life, which after a day of moderate usage was almost always dipping into the single digits by the time we were heading home.

Overall, we love the OS and the handset design, but the phone has too many drawbacks to be "the one" Windows 8 phone at the moment. Perhaps that distinction will fall to the upcoming Nokia Lumia 920.

Specifications

§  OS: Windows Phone 8

§  Processor: Dual-core Qualcomm SA 1.5GHz

§  Display: 1280x720

§  Capacity: 16GB

§  Cameras: 2.1 MP front, 8MP rear

§  Video: 1080p

§  Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.1, 802.11 b/g/n, HSDPA, LTE

§  Battery: 1,800mAh

§  Dimensions: 5.21x2.61x0.40

 

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