HTC Windows Phone 8X review: Signed and sealed

GSMArena team, 06 November 2012.
Pages: 1234567891011

Introduction

So, it's all but settled that Windows Phone 8 is the biggest thing to happen to smartphones this year. But are the handful of flagships carrying it the best thing that could happen to users?

Properly powered and engineered to perfection, the Nokia, Samsung and HTC WP8 smartphones are all making a bid to break iOS and Android's grip on the market. They are all fine species of smartphone. With the same screen resolution and chipsets powering them, with the Redmond-mandated hardware specs, they all have Microsoft written all over.

But then, it's only the Taiwanese that actually have it in writing. There's only one Windows Phone 8X - and it's the HTC Windows Phone flagship. Not a bad way to start now, is it? It must be quite a lift for the HTC Windows Phone 8X to feel special among clearly superior rivals. While Nokia and Samsung gave their WP top dogs those massive screens, HTC went for a relatively modest 4.3" LCD.


HTC Windows Phone 8X official photos

On one hand, it sounds like a smart move. The HTC Windows Phone 8X will be the only option for those looking for a more compact premium device that carries Microsoft's latest mobile platform. On the other, this could see the 8X relegated to a lower tier and made to fight it out with the likes of the Lumia 820. Now, that would call for some aggressive pricing and lower profit margins perhaps, which isn't exactly ideal for a company that hasn't had the best of streaks lately.

We'll see if the gamble pays off but there's no rush. Let's see what the HTC Windows Phone 8X is made of, and what could've been better.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Quad-band 3G with 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 4.3" 16M-color S-LCD2 capacitive touchscreen of 720 x 1280 pixel resolution
  • Scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 2 display
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, 1080p@30fps video recording
  • 2.1MP front-facing camera
  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Krait CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • Digital compass
  • 16GB of inbuilt storage
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP and EDR, file transfers
  • Impressively deep and coherent SNS integration throughout the interface
  • Xbox Live integration and Xbox management
  • Data Sense
  • Class-leading JavaScript performance
  • NFC support
  • HTC exclusive apps
  • Beats audio enhancements
  • FM Radio

Main disadvantages

  • Too much bezel offsets smaller screen
  • No microSD card slot, just one storage option
  • Non user-replaceable battery
  • App catalog falls short of Android and iOS
  • Competition has quad-core Krait CPUs already
  • No system-wide file manager
  • No voice-guided navigation
  • No music player equalizers
  • No lockscreen shortcuts

It's not a short list of disadvantages by any means, but most of those are platform-specific and, judging by the reception Windows Phone 8 has been getting, they're not deal-breakers. At least not all of them. Now, the non-expandable storage and the single 16GB option is something to definitely consider, but if you can live with that, the HTC Windows Phone 8X is a must-see.

HTC Windows Phone 8X HTC Windows Phone 8X HTC Windows Phone 8X HTC Windows Phone 8X
The HTC Windows Phone 8X at ours

The Beats audio label has finally been made to count as the HTC Windows Phone 8X offers a specially designed amplifier, while the wide selection of available colors makes it easy to find a unit that best suits your personality. Whether you go for the businesslike black or one of those peppier paintjobs, the HD screen and beautiful unibody design are always part of the deal.

And that, as usual, is what we're going to start with.. Unboxing and hardware are coming up right after the break.

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Reviews > HTC Windows Phone 8X review: Signed and sealed