HTC 8X review
We take an in-depth look at the HTC 8X, one of the first phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform
We've spent some time with HTC's 8X, one of the first Windows Phone 8 devices out of the gate. Read on to find out what we think of it.
HTC has had a reputation for above average build quality with its smartphones for some time now, but the company’s capability for crafting exteriors went up a few notches recently.
The 8X, as the premium model in the range, has a polycarbonate unibody, but this time things are a little different: the most immediately noticeable thing is its starkly rectangular silhouette, although it does have slightly rounded corners to soften the look slightly.
The 8X does come in black (Graphite Black, to be precise) butthere's also some bolder choices including California Blue, Flame Red and, lastly, Limelight Yellow, which from press shots looks a bit luminous and sickly for our tastes.
As with the One range, HTC has embedded a shiny black panel in the front of the handset which the touch display and capacitive controls sit inside.
This has the effect of narrowing the unibody’s bezel and makes the phone look very sharp, though, as with the One range we expect this effect is lost if you choose the black option.
Our review model was the blue variant, so the contrast caused everything to pop nicely.
Rotating the phone at any angle and you’ll come across extremely thin edges and a back panel which curves upwards in a gentle slope to form a D-shape cross-section.
These design features have a number of ramifications.
But, before we get into that, it’s important to clarify that the external build is brilliant – HTC has treated the polycarbonate with a light coat of soft-touch rubberised material.
It’s extremely robust and well-made and feels fantastic in the hand, but it’s also very light at only 130g which, combined with the svelte profile, means at times you’ll barely notice it in your pocket.
We also haven’t encountered a phone for some time which draws-in onlookers quite like this one.
There are few downsides, and they weren't significant enough to be a deal-breaker for us, but are still worth bearing in mind if you’re considering an HTC 8X as your next phone.
The thin-edges do look sharp at around 5mm thick. However, at the phone’s thickest point – the centre of the arc of that D-shape cross-section we mentioned – it’s 10.1mm thick.
The combined effect of this is a phone which doesn’t sit well in the hand: it’s fiddly and you’re never sure of your grip on it.
It’s also made worse by the shape of the back panel which always ensures there’s a gap between it and your palm.
These factors make one-handed use very tricky indeed as you end up losing most of your thumb dexterity for operating the touch-display.
Another slight foible is the power button, which is annoyingly at the top of the device (we prefer them to be on the side as it’s easily accessible with either hand), fits a bit too flush (making it difficult to find by touch) and depresses too softly.
Despite these complaints we still think HTC has done a sterling job here and the 8X is a truly excellent piece of kit on the outside.
|Typical Price||Around £400|
|UK Launch||November 2012|
|Frequency||GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n,NFC,GPS,Bluetooth,MicroUSB|
|Screen Size||4.3-inches, 1280x720 pixels (342ppi)|
|Screen Colours||16 million|
|Camera||8-megapixel, BSI, f/2.0 aperture|
|Camera Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Video Resolution||1080p HD|