HTC’s new Windows Phone 8X is by itself proof, that the company can not only build great Android phones, but is able of building also an incredibly solid Windows Phone 8 device.
The HTC Windows Phone 8X sports a 4.3-inch Super LCD2 720p display with a pixel density of 342ppi, and it’s protected with Gorilla Glass 2. The display itself is amazing and viewing angles are great, and images and text are really crisp. The back consists of a curved piece of soft-touch plastic that provides a wonderful grip and since it has a smaller 4.3-inch screen, the size of the 8X doesn’t make it overwhelming to hold. Holding the device feels great.
On the top of the handset, you have the headphone jack (enhanced with Beats Audio technology, of course) and the power button, while the volume rocker and a dedicated camera button are placed on the right side, along with the SIM card slot towards the top. On the back, there’s the 8MP camera with the speaker placed towards the bottom right. The microUSB port is placed directly on the bottom in the center (which I have grown to dislike unfortunately, but not a deal breaker).
On the inside, there’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip with a dual-core Krait 1.5ghz processor. Partnered with the S4 are Adreno 225 graphics, and there’s also 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (sorry, no microSD slot on this one either).
The 8X is incredibly fast and snappy, and the animations (which are what makes Windows Phone 8 look really good) are incredibly smooth. Apps opened quickly, and the dedicated camera button on the side of the phone makes it easy to snap a photo, which is always great to have. The 1800mAh battery is adequate, and while you’ll be able to go most of the day without having to keep it near an outlet, you’ll most likely have to charge it up by the evening with average usage.
The 8X has an 8MP rear camera with a 2.1MP front-facing shooter. There’s nothing to complain about here, and while it’s not the best camera on a Windows Phone 8 device, it certainly performs. If you can’t get your hands on a Lumia 920 (which arguably has the best camera on a WP8 handset), the 8X is a good second choice. It handles low-light conditions surprisingly well. Although, even with adequate lighting, images sometimes appear darker than what they should. However, autofocus, as well as auto-exposure and white balance work pretty well.
The dedicated camera button on the side of the device is two-stage, which means you can push the button halfway down to lock in the settings and then all the way down to snap the photo. The button takes a little bit of force in order to push it down all the way, but you can also use the touchscreen as the shutter button for an alternative.
As far as negative points for this phone, there isn’t really a lot to say, but something that must be mentioned is that for the time being, the Windows app store is still a bit limited, and that if you are app crazy and download new apps very frequently, this might not be a great option for you. On the other hand, if you are bored of your iPhone or android, and want something that just work, looks amazing and stands out – this is for sure the phone for you.
Essentially, the 8X from HTC is a great and solid device to test out Windows Phone 8. Personally, it wasn’t my first time playing around with Windows Phone 8, so I was pretty familiar with the user interface, but I’m sure that a non-Windows 8 user would feel immediately familiar with this phone. Sadly my time with the review unit provided to me from Vodafone Malta is over, and I must return the phone soon… I’m sure it’s going to be a sad departure.