Windows Phone 8X by HTC review: first look
We go hands-on with HTC’s first Windows Phone 8-powered device: the HTC 8X — or, as it’s also known: the Windows Phone 8X by HTC
Microsoft liked HTC’s 8X handset so much that it decided to make it the official launch device of its upcoming Windows Phone 8 campaign, and even help out with the marketing costs. Looking at the device, it's easy to see why.
The result of this co-op, however, means that the 8X has two names: the HTC 8X and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, although HTC tells us that the handset will be officially marketed as the latter.
Inspired by Microsoft's Windows Phone Tile UI, The 8X will ship in three colours once it's released in the UK – the one we saw was blue. It's certainly a bold looking device although we'd argue that it carries more than a passing resemblance to Nokia’s Lumia 820 and HTC’s own Titan 2 handset.
Slightly smaller than HTC’s hero Android handset, the 8X features a 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass Super LCD 720p display and uses optical lamination, just like the One X. The display itself is crisp and detailed with excellent colour saturation and viewing angles.
Because the official launch of Windows Phone 8 has not yet happened we weren’t allowed to venture past the lockscreen. Microsoft doesn’t want anybody – especially journalists – seeing Windows Phone 8 until its 100 per cent ready, apparently.
HTC did confirm that the 8X features a 1.2GHz S4 Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. There’s no microSD-support, however, so you’re stuck with a rather paltry 16GB for all your media, videos, apps and games. That's quite low for a flagship device.
The 8X uses an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 lens and BSI sensor, as well as HTC’s image processing chip. We didn’t get to test the camera during our briefing, so we can’t say anything too conclusive at this stage, although we’d expect image quality to be on a par with what we saw on HTC's One X.
Skype will be a big part of Windows Phone 8, according to HTC – a development that has necessitated the inclusion of a HD front-facing camera. Again we didn’t get to test this aspect of the device. But it is a 2.1-megapixel f/2.0 setup with a BSI sensor and an 88º wide-angle lens that can now accommodate up to four people in shot.
There’s no LTE-version of the 8X coming to the UK, although the handset will support HSPA+. NFC is also present, as is Beats Audio, although the handset itself will not ship with Beats branded headphones.
It’s difficult to say much else about the device at this stage, so think of this as a cursory first look – a comment on the handset’s design and an outline of its specs and hardware.
The 8X, or the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, will be the company’s flagship Windows Phone and also the face of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 marketing campaign – or so HTC told us.
From the little we saw of the device we were pleasantly surprised. It's a solid piece of kit with above par specs and hardware and while all of this is positive we couldn't help thinking that it lacked the same wow-factor we associated its Android-powered contemporary, the One X.
Both HTC and Microsoft have a lot to prove next month. It'll be interesting to see how consumers respond to this device and whether they'll mind the lack of LTE and low-level storage. Somehow we don't think Nokia will be losing any sleep over this handset, at least for the time being anyway.