Ushering in the Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC (Update)


Windows Phone 8X by HTC

Ushering in the Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC

*Update: The Windows Phone 8X by HTC will be available in two colors: California Blue and Graphite Black, and can be purchased at all mobile operators and authorised retailers in November. The Windows Phone 8S by HTC is available in Fiesta Red and Atlantic Blue, and will be on sale from December 2012.

Not interested in the latest Android devices or the new iPhone 5? It's a fantastic time to ponder over your choices really as Microsoft and their partners prepare themselves for an assault of Windows Phone 8 (WP8) ready devices. To kick things off, Nokia first announced the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 devices during their Nokia World event at the start of this month. Not one to be slow on the uptake, HTC has swiftly followed in their footsteps with two Windows Phone 8 series by HTC, effectively dispelling previous rumors of an alleged additional 8V device. Also note the naming convention - the latest line of HTC devices is branded as a "new joint franchise" between the Taiwan company and Microsoft. Given that the last major group of HTC Windows Phone devices, which included its flagship HTC HD7 device, were unveiled back almost two years back with the HTC WP7.5 Radar and Titan unveiled a year later, we see this as a much desired and rather timely update.

Software and hardware aside, the new WP8 devices by HTC take on a drastic makeover and showcase, as the company puts it, a "new design philosophy" quite radically different from its WP7 predecessors and even its Android devices. Without further ado, here's a quick look at both devices.
 

Windows Phone 8X by HTC

 

  Key highlights of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC

  • Windows Phone 8
  • 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 / 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8-megapixel camera / f2.0 lens / BSI / HTC ImageChip
  • Beats Audio hardware and software
  • Availability & Price: Available at all three telcos. Price S$828.

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC, like its Nokia Lumia 920 counterpart, is the flagship and top of the line device out of the pair from HTC - think of it as the One X of the One series. It is pretty obvious from the get-go, from its larger 4.3-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) laminated screen - first seen on the HTC One X - that claims to bring "realness to touch", which makes it seem like words are floating near the surface of the screen. HTC has also mentioned that the 8X boasts of a screen of 341ppi (pixels per inch), which theoretically makes it clearer than the iPhone 4/4S/5's 326 ppi screen if you happen to have a discerning eye. Nonetheless, the screen does look good and clear - even under intense sunlight, may we add - during our hands-on experience.

As we mentioned before, the new devices take on a new design philosophy that's different from those currently in HTC's portfolio. Turn over the Windows Phone 8X by HTC on its back and you can clearly see why. The angular smartphone features a matte polycarbonate non-slip casing that forms to adapt to the curves in your hands.






One of the main concerns for smartphone users is its camera capabilities. The Windows Phone 8X by HTC doesn't fail to impress here with its 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 lens and back-illuminated sensor. The same HTC ImageChip that was first built into the HTC One X makes its way here on the Windows Phone 8X, which practically ensures good image performance. Our short test run with the phone outdoors didn't blow our minds away but it is definitely snappy, fast and takes high quality shots. Check out our sample photos below.



The rear camera is not the only one to get the royal treatment. This time round, the front-facing 2.1-megapixel camera features an ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.0 aperture and a dedicated HTC ImageChip which makes for easy portrait and group shots. Supports 1080p video recording resolution too, making it a handy tool for video conferencing as well.






The Windows Phone 8X by HTC showcases the company's signature Beats Audio software and new Beats Audio hardware (as a side note, the Windows Phone 8S by HTC comes only with the Beats Audio software). The phone now features two amplifiers, one to power the speaker and the other to power the 3.5mm headphones audio output jack. This will ensure that the smartphone will project clearer audio with deeper bass.

Of course, given the proximity of specifications between HTC's and Nokia's flagship WP8 devices, potential buyers will be torn between the two. We personally feel it's a close match, with the Lumia 920 clearly winning in some areas. Until we get hands-on experience on the latter (and the official price), we would not be able to compare both the devices effectively. However, here's a specs comparison table for the time being:

 Device

Windows Phone 8X
by HTC

Nokia Lumia 920

OS Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8
Processor 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
dual-core processor
1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
dual-core processor
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB mass memory
(7GB free SkyDrive storage)
32GB mass memory
(7GB free SkyDrive storage)
Display 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 (341ppi) 4.5-inch Pure Motion HD+
Resolution  1280 x 720 pixels 1280 x 768 pixels
Camera
  •  Rear Camera: 8 megapixel / LED flash / BSI sensor /
    HTC ImageChip / f/2.0 aperture and 28mm lens /
    1080p HD video capture
     
  • Front Camera: 2.1 megapixel (front-facing) / HTC ImageChip /
    f/2.0 aperture and ultra-wide-angle lens /
    1080p HD video recording
  • Rear Camera: 8.7-megapixel / Nokia PureView advanced optical imaging stabilization
    / Carl Zeiss optics / 1080p HD video capture
     
  • Front Camera: 1.2-megapixel (front-facing) / 720p HD video
Battery Capacity  1800mAh 2000mAh
(with integrated Qi wireless charging)
LTE Available in LTE and HSPA+ variants
in select markets (Singapore gets LTE variant only)
Available in LTE and HSPA+ variants in select markets

Dimensions
& Weight

  • 132.35 x 66.2 x 10.12mm
     
  • 130g
  • 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7mm
     
  • 185g

Colors

 4 (California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow; only 2 shades avail. in Singapore)

4 (yellow, red, grey, white and black)

Launch Price US$199.99 at AT&T and T-Mobile (at the point of publishing) / S$828 S$899