GADGET WATCH: HTC Windows Phone 8X

The Windows Phone scene has been filled with an impressive array of gadgets, from a variety of manufacturers: some good, some not so good. But there’s definitely enough choice on the market. HTC’s latest effort, the 8X, seems like a worthy competitor. Can it bring the goods?

Hardware and features

The HTC 8X is powered by a Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon processor 1.5Ghz, featuring 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM.

The device itself measures 132x66x10mm, while the screen is 4.3 inches wide with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels. The screen itself is made out of Gorilla Glass.

Connectivity wise, the device uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a microUSB 2.0 connector. There are two cameras, the first featuring an eight megapixel lens capable of recording 1080p at 30fps, while the secondary lens offers 2.1 megapixels, although it can record at 1080p as well.

What’s the consensus?

The Verge starts off the reviews on a good note, “you’ve never seen a phone quite like this”. It says that although the device is like the concave-shaped Galaxy Nexus, the shape of the 8X is “recognisable from any angle”.

And that’s a good thing.

“Though it measures 10.1mm thick, the tapering sides of this new handset make it feel thinner than it is. It’s as if someone took all the necessary parts for a smartphone, dropped them into a polycarbonate material, and vacuum-sealed the sides.”

It also noted the device is the most pleasing to touch, thanks to its shape, although this doesn’t necessarily translate into comfortable use over a long period of time.

Performance-wise, over at Engadget there were good things said about Windows Phone 8 running on the dual-core Snapdragon processor. Most Windows phones on the market have been running single-cores, and running well, so giving the device some extra juice is always going to be a good thing.

“We've always been satisfied with the subjective performance of Windows Phone 7, and this continues with Windows Phone 8,” it says.

Engadget also noted that calls sounded clear, and it also said the battery usage was quite good with about a day’s usage gained out of a single charge. That’s through normal, everyday usage.

Now Windows Phones aren’t necessarily known for their cameras. And it seems that tradition has continued, with TechRadar pointing out that while the lenses are good, they’re certainly not on top of the market.

One particular sore point – the LED flash makes the photos look a little yellow.

“The shutter speed is adequate but not amazing. We've seen far better elsewhere, sadly. We don't want to have to take photos of solely inanimate objects. Where's the fun in photographing a pencil sharpener?”

Finally, PCWorld had good things to say about Windows 8, noting that everything moves fast and quickly, as it should. It did, however, note the lack of third-party apps.

“It's not simply about the number of apps here, but the number of important apps that have become popular on smartphones. A few examples include Dropbox, Pocket, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Pulse News and Flipboard.”

“These apps and many more may eventually come to the platform, but they're not available right now. It's an issue that we suspect will prevent most average consumers switching from iOS or Android to a Windows Phone.”

Who’s it for?

There’s no doubt the HTC 8X is a nice device. It’s well built, with a good amount of battery life and an average, albeit solid, camera. It zips along quickly and has the latest version of Windows available for use.

The real deciding factor here is whether you like Windows Phone software. If you can get over the average camera, and the fact there aren’t as many third-party apps available on the software, then you’d do well to check this one out.

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