HTC Windows Phone 8X review: Signed and sealed

GSMArena team, 06 November 2012.
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The best looking office

Office is one of the key selling points of Windows Phone. Document viewing and editing is absolutely free and integrated into the OS. SkyDrive integration is available as well.

Docs are automatically synced between the phone and your computer through SkyDrive.

The Places tab - this lets you browse Office docs stored on the phone, in SkyDrive, through email or in Office 365 (a paid service that includes Office web apps).

The Office hub breaks down into three sections - Documents, Places and Notes.

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Office app

Anyway, let's look at the two most important apps - Word and Excel. They share the Documents panel, which lists all available documents of the relevant types (in order of last used). Both viewing and editing of files is supported.

The Excel section of the Office hub got better too - it grew the all-time favorite Auto-sum function and you can now tap and drag to select multiple cells.

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Editing a Word document • Editing an Excel doc

Editing is pretty straightforward and easy to use even on a mobile device. You type in the text and you can use the Format key to change the formatting of the selected text. You can also insert comments.

Formatting options include the standard bold, italic and underline, as well as text size, highlighting and font color. For highlighting and font colors you have only three colors to choose from, which is a little limiting but should be enough for most cases.

PowerPoint files will thrive in the Documents section too - but they are for viewing only, you can't edit them or create new ones.

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Viewing a ppt file • PowerPoint templates

Collaboration for both Word and Excel files is enabled with SharePoint. It allows syncing, sharing and web publishing but you'd need to use the right SharePoint server. You can attach those files to emails, though you need to do that from the Office hub. You can't do it from the email editor, which caused a little confusion at first.

OneNote is Microsoft's collaborative note taking tool. It has great (and easy to use) support for lists of multiple levels, you can add photos and voice memos and you can send notes via email when you're done. OneNotes can be synced with your SkyDrive or Windows Live account so that they are accessible from everywhere. Pin-to-homescreen is available too and so is the To-Do feature that turns the selected line into a to-do item that can be checked off.

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OneNote

Anyway, the apps support pinch zooming and work very well for viewing even complex documents. But Microsoft's fondness for simplicity may have over-simplified the editors. Still the innovation that Mango has brought to Windows Phone Office is great and shows Microsoft is dedicated to improving the Office experience further.

Organizer and apps

The Calendar can view sub-calendars for each account you have and you can give each a different color to make it easier to tell apart. You can also disable sub-calendars if they're getting in the way.

The calendar offers day and agenda views too for more comprehensive hour-by-hour browsing of your appointments.

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Calendar • Day view • Agenda view

To-dos can be created too. Those can only be synced with Live accounts, and not a Gmail account for example. Each to-do can have a priority reminder, due date and notes. Later, to-do's can be sorted by priority.

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To-Dos • Creating a new appointment

The WP calculator is nothing extravagant - it has the simple portrait view of basically all calculators on the planet, while turning it over to landscape reveals the more complex scientific mode.

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Calculator app

The alarm app is very simple to use. You get the alarm time with an on/off switch to the right.

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Alarm app

HTC have included their HTC app, which went by the name HTC hub in previous Windows Phone releases. It gives you the weather and stocks information and you can select which cities to see and what companies to choose. It relies on Yahoo's services, just like Weather and Stocks on iOS.

You can also view news in various categories and choose the source you want to read from (e.g. CNN, BBC, etc.).

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The HTC app (formerly HTC hub)

Windows Phone provides users with the basics in smartphone organizing but should you need anything more the Marketplace is there too - it offers apps for just about everything - most of which are free.

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