Windows Phone 8 may not be the most popular OS of choice at the moment but that hasn’t stopped OEMs from delivering truly great hardware. HTC’s flagship Windows Phone 8 device, the 8X, hit online stores well before Nokia launched the Lumia series. The 8X exudes style and elegance and is targeted at fashionable youngsters. However, does the 8X have something more to offer for the power users or is it merely a fashion accessory? Let’s find out.
Design and Build
The HTC 8X features one of the best smartphone designs we’ve come across in a long time. The blend of rubberized polycarbonate and glass gives the phone a premium look and feel and the bright, vivid colour options beg a second look. Sadly, we only get the blue and black trims here in India. The 4.3-inch, Super LCD 2 display takes center stage in the front with a row of capacitive buttons along the bottom. The volume rocker and power button sit flush with the side panel and while this gives the phone a very clean look, it’s not the easiest to use. Like all WP8 handsets, the 8X also features a dedicated camera shutter button.
A handsome looker
Around the back, we have the 8MP shooter along with an LED flash and the speaker grill, placed at the bottom. The 8X also features Beats Audio enhancement for music and video playback over headphones. In terms of ergonomics, the 8X is miles ahead of its nearest WP8 competitor. With a thickness of about 10.1mm and weight of 130g, the phone feels very comfortable in your hand as well as pocket. Due to the moderately large screen size, the entire screen is within your thumbs' reach.
This display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 so it can take a fair bit of abuse before scratches start to appear. The HD resolution on a display of this size means you get a whopping 341ppi, which is great for web browsing or catching up on HD flicks. Sunlight legibility is also good allowing you to easily read the display outdoors. HTC has bundled some of their own apps like Flashlight, HTC Hub, etc. that we’ve seen on their Android offerings. Apart from this, it’s pretty much all stock Windows Phone 8 and unlike Nokia, HTC doesn’t seem to have bothered much with any exclusive apps for the platform.
Easy to use UI
Apart from a slight stutter that creeps in every now and then, the UI is quick and fluid. The display is bright and sharp and manages to produce vivid colours. The handset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC with a dual-core Krait CPU and Adreno 225 for graphics. This, coupled with 1GB RAM, makes quite a potent combination for any type of app you throw at it.
Audio quality is surprisingly good with Beats Audio. The stock music player does a good job of sorting out your music library and you have the option to browse through music and videos in the store as well. Beats Audio is only activated with headphones plugged in.
Good media playback options
There’s 1080p video playback support for MP4 files. There’s only 16GB of onboard storage, which is quite low considering this a flagship device. It wouldn’t have been this bad if we could expand the storage but sadly, HTC has left out that option.
The 8X is a quad-band GSM and 3G handset so it will work on most carrier networks around the globe. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi ‘n’ with dual-band support, Bluetooth v3.1, NFC and microUSB for charging. There’s no video-out option here. The stock browser does a very good job of rendering web pages and zooming in and out shows little to no sign of lag. The keyboard is also very comfortable to type on and the word prediction works well.
Good set of productivity apps
For navigation, we have GPS along with GLONASS as well. The active noise cancellation does a good job of cutting out ambient noise when on a call.
The 8MP BSI sensor comes with some pretty impressive specifications. For starters, it boasts of a large aperture of f/2.0 which means it should be able to do well in low light photography. Apart from the standard tweaking options, HTC hasn’t added too many custom options the way Nokia has with the 920. Still, you do have the option to tweak the Hue, Contrast, Sharpness, etc. In outdoor daytime shots, the 8X manages to capture good colours and but when you zoom in, the level of detail is still only average. Macro shots are a lot better as the camera is able to focus well on a large area. Our shootout test with the Lumia 920 highlighted the performance of the camera in greater detail, so do take a look.
Good for outdoor shots
Indoor with ambient light
Indoor shots, without flash aren’t too bad either. There is some amount of noise that creeps in but it’s pretty good otherwise. Video recording maxes out at 1080p. The best part about this 8X however, is the front camera. Even at just 2.1MP, it has a f/2.0 aperture with Full HD recording capabilities.
The HTC 8X packs in a 1800mAh battery, which delivered a very good 7-hours and 40-minutes of video playback time. However, we noticed that with regular real world usage, which included calls, music playback, EDGE and Wi-Fi usage, the battery tends to drain a lot quicker.
Verdict and Price in India
The HTC 8X is available in the market for Rs.35, 800, which makes it terribly overpriced for what’s on offer. It’s a superbly built handset with a very good form factor, has an excellent front facing camera and a high density screen. Apart from this, there just isn’t a singular strong selling point that would make us shell out this kind of money for it. The handset will do extremely well if priced around Rs.25,000 as it would give some stiff competition to the Nokia Lumia 820. Right now, we wouldn’t recommend the 8X at its current selling price as you’d be better off with the Lumia 920 or any of the more powerful and feature-rich Android handsets.
Widest angle front camera: Twice the picture area, double the excitement: Now a front camera with the widest angle gives you twice the picture area, so you can capture a larger slice of the action. Picture taking is also way easier – with Touch and capture, which lets you focus and shoot with just one touch. Iconic design: The 8X provides a simple, human feel combined with an innovative, unique unibody construction resulting in a phone with a perfectly sculpted, continuous form, without bumps or protrusions – and for the camera, the buttons are completely flush with the body, adding to the iconic design aesthetic. Amplified by Beats Audio: Only Windows® Phone with Beats Audio™: Dedicated amplifier for studio quality sound from headset and speaker. It’s the only Windows device with Beats Audio™. The dedicated built-in amplifier pumps out a full range of dynamic sound, with 10 times less distortion. Coupled with Beats Audio™ performance for thunderous bass, clean treble and enhanced clarity. Better still, it’s optimised to deliver even more awesome performance with Beats headsets. Your world delivered live: These days information is constant and updates are non-stop. Live Tiles let you arrange your Start screen just how you want it and make it easy to see everything that’s going on with the people and passions in your life in real-time. You can make a Live Tile for anyone and almost anything, and pin it right to your Start screen. Pin a person or an app and you instantly know what their latest updates, deals, changes just by looking at your phone. Resize, rearrange and recolor for easy access to what matters most to you.
|Screen Type||S-LCD2 capacitive touchscreen|
|Screen Size||4.3 inches|
|Screen Resolution||720 x 1280|
|Number of Colours||16M|
|Internal Memory||16GB, 1GB RAM|
|Sensor Resolution||8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Features||Auto Focus, LED Flash, BSI Sensor|
|Video resolution / frame rate||1080 / 30fps|
|Front facing camera||2MP|
|OS||Microsoft Windows Phone 8|
|Bluetooth Features||Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR|
|Messaging||SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support|
|Available Colours||California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red, Limelight Yellow|
|2G||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100|
|EGPRS or EDGE||Yes|
|Dimensions||132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1 mm|
|Media Player||Music formats: .aac, .amr, .m4a, .mp3, .wav, .asf, .wma (verison 9 and 10)|#|Video formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, m4v, asf, .wmv (version 9 and 10)|
|Alert Tone||Vibration; MP3|
|Audio connector||3.5 mm|
After Sales Service
|Warranty Period||1 Year|
|Warranty Period||1 Year|