Windows Phone 8X by HTC - Signature WP8 Device

Launch SRP: S$828

Overview, Design and Features

Signature Device for Windows Phone 8

HTC has been a steady supporter of the Windows Phone (WP) platform since two years ago when Microsoft unveiled WP7. Its first wave of WP7 devices include the HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Mozart and HTC HD 7. Subsequently, when Microsoft released the WP7.5 Mango in September last year, HTC followed up with the Radar.

As Microsoft made another attempt to fulfil its goal of establishing a three-horse race in the mobile market with WP8, HTC was also one of the four hardware partners mentioned. Not to be outdone by Nokia, HTC and Microsoft jointly announced two signature devices for the new mobile OS - Windows Phone 8X and 8S. 

The Windows Phone 8X is the flagship device from HTC, which will go head-to-head with the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung ATIV S. So how does the signature WP8 device compare against the other WP8 offerings? Here's a quick look at its specs and the comparison among the three leading WP8 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
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5GHz processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage (no memory card slot)
  • 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera / f2.0 lens / BSI / HTC ImageChip
    / 1080p video recording
  • 2.1-megapixel front facing camera / Ultra-wide -angle / f/2.0 lens
    / HTC ImageChip / 1080p video recording 
  • Beats Audio hardware and software
  • 1800mAh battery (non-removable)
  • 132.35 x 66.2 x 10.2mm
  • 130g
     
  • Price and Availability: $828 at all mobile operators and authorized
    retailers in November

From left to right: Windows Phone 8X by HTC, Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Ativ S. 

Device

Windows Phone 8X
by HTC

Nokia Lumia 920

Samsung Ativ S

OS Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8
Processor 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
dual-core processor
1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
dual-core processor
1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
dual-core processor
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB mass memory
(7GB free SkyDrive storage)
32GB mass memory
(7GB free SkyDrive storage)
16/32GB mass memory
(microSD support + 7GB free SkyDrive storage)
Display 4.3-inch Super LCD 2
(341ppi)

4.5-inch Pure Motion HD+
(332ppi)

4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED (306ppi)
Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels 1280 x 768 pixels 1280 x 720 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
Rear Camera: 8 megapixel autofocus / LED flash

Front Camera: 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera
Battery Capacity 1800mAh 2000mAh
(with integrated Qi wireless charging)
2300mAh
LTE Available in LTE and HSPA+ variants
in select markets (Singapore gets LTE variant only)
Available in LTE and HSPA+ variants in select markets TBA

Dimensions
& Weight

132.35 x 66.2 x 10.12mm
130g
130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7mm
185g
137.2 x 70.5 x 8.7mm
135g

Colors

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

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

1 (Gray)

Launch Price S$828 TBA TBA

 

Design

If there's an award for the best designed WP8 device, we would unambiguously give our vote to the WP8X by HTC. Sporting an angular chassis with contoured sides and non-slip matte polycarbonate, the WP8X by HTC is quite a distinctive phone from its peers.

One of the most defining features of the WP8X by HTC is its sloping edges on the back of the device. As its design is one of its kind, the WP8X by HTC is recognizable from far at any viewing angle.

The Nokia Lumia 920 still possess the design traits of its predecessor, the Lumia 900 while the Samsung ATIV S is basically a WP8 variant of the Android-powered Galaxy S III. On the other hand, the engineering team over at HTC pulled out all stops to make sure its WP8 flagship device is unique from the rest.

Due to its design and 4.5-inch display, the Nokia Lumia 920 (right) is wider than the WP8X by HTC (left). 

WP8X by HTC vs. Nokia Lumia 920 WP8X by HTC vs. Nokia Lumia 920 

Compared to the hefty Nokia Lumia 920 (185g), the Windows Phone 8X by HTC offers a better handling due to its lighter weight (130g). Besides ensuring that the device feels comfortable in the hands, the tapering sides also makes the HTC phone look slimmer than the Nokia Lumia when the difference is actually just 0.6mm.

The device feels really good in the hands. Weighing at 130g, it is the lightest among the flagship WP8 devices announced so far.

Like many of the WP devices out there, the WP8X by HTC features the three standard touch-sensitive navigation buttons (Back, Home, Search) below its 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 display. Its front-facing camera resides on the top left of its display, which seems to us as an awkward location since most phones either have it in the center or to the right.

As great as its design is, it is very unfortunate that its Power and volume controls are not well-designed for usability. We find the buttons to be too flushed to the body of the phone, hence we have difficulty pressing them when the need arises. It is especially annoying to see this happening despite the huge amount of effort and time devoted to designing the phone and yet overlooking on this critical aspect of usability. 

 

WP8 with a Spoonful of HTC Goodies 

The new Smart Screen is our favorite feature; it enables you to customize the Live Tiles with three sizes (does not apply for all apps). This helps each user to create a personalized home screen.

We've covered the major features of WP8 in two articles - Top Eight New Features and New Features Unveiled for Windows Phone 8, hence we will not go into detail on them again in this article. Instead, we will focus on what HTC has to offer through its software additions which are Beats Audio integration, HTC and Photo Enhancer. 

 

Beats Audio

The WP8X and 8S by HTC are the only WP8 devices to come with Beats Audio integration.

Exclusive to HTC smartphones only, Beats Audio integration is claimed to offer authentic, studio quality sound when you are listening to music, playing games or watching a video. From our previous experience with the Beats Audio optimizer feature on the HTC Sensation XE, we find the audio experience to be catered for bass-heads. 


HTC

HTC Hub is now known simply as "HTC". It can be pinned onto the home screen.

Formerly known as HTC Hub, it has been renamed as "HTC" and gives you access to weather information, stock statistics and news stories. For all three categories, you can add more countries or cities (for weather), more indices (for stocks) and more subscriptions (for news).

 

Photo Enhancer

No Instagram app yet on WP? No worries as HTC has its Photo Enhancer app which provides some image filters.

While WP8 will get Instagram by the end of this year, WP8X by HTC users can make use of the company's in-house photo enhancer app to add some image filters to the photos they have taken. The Photo Enhancer app and its image filters are also found on the current One series.

8.0
Design
8.5
Features
8
User-Friendliness
8
Performance
8
Value
7
The Good
Unique design
Great handling
Good camera performance
High quality front camera
The Bad
Sub par battery performance
Power, volume buttons too flushed to device
Lack of exclusive apps and services