HTC Windows Phone 8X review: Signed and sealed

GSMArena team, 06 November 2012.
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Retail package covers the basics, little else

Other than the handset itself and a few leaflets, the HTC Windows Phone 8X retail package contains the accessories needed to get you started. You get a wall-mount plug, which connects with the supplied microUSB cable to charge the phone, a set of headphones and a SIM eject tool.

HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC Windows Phone 8X retail package contents

Despite the Beats logo and the custom-made amplifier inside, you are not getting Beats headphones, which is a pity.

HTC Windows Phone 8X 360-degree spin

The HTC Windows Phone 8X looks super slim and is built to exceptional standards but we're sorry to say, its size was a source of disappointment. At 132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1 mm, it is just too big for a smartphone with this kind of screen. To put things in perspective, the Motorola RAZR M measures 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm and packs a display of the same size. Not impressed? How about the HTC HD2 then? Three years ago it was a massive phone by the standards at the time. Now, that is more compact than the Windows Phone 8X, and it even had hardware keys - five of them, to be precise.

We really can't stress this enough - the whole point of having a device with a smaller screen is for it to be compact. The Windows Phone 8X is virtually the same size as a One X+ (the slimmer waistline offsets the subtle difference in width), which is quite a letdown. At least the 8X weighs 130g, which is far easier to swallow.

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The HTC Windows Phone 8X sized up against the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Samsung Ativ S

Design and handling

The size out of the way, the HTC Windows Phone 8X is actually quite nice to look at. HTC are a back to what they do best - unibodies. Not that they ever gave them up - the brand is so much associated with the design that the unibody label is somewhat randomly applied even to some of their phones with detachable rear covers.

Anyway, the Windows Phone 8X is quite understated - there's nothing fancy along the lines of the HTC One S and its anodized ceramic coating. The WP 8X is quite like the One X - a little less premium feel perhaps but the same level of comfort and durability. The rubbery feel of the rear is quite nice to the touch and grippy. It looks good too and we really like the sloping edges.

HTC went for an LCD screen (which is rather good, mind you) and you can clearly tell where the screen ends and the bezel begins, which causes another minor issue. There are three different hues of black to be seen at the front: the lighter polycarbonate sides, the darker glossy bezel and the grayish-black background of the LCD screen. It's not too irritating, not at all, but it's no match for the borderless look of AMOLED on a black phone.

And the thing is, the most important part of smartphone design is that it's functional. And while, the tapered edges contribute to the looks of the WP 8X, they may've been better off etched. It's pretty obvious too that the omission of a microSD card slot has something to do with the polycarbonate unibody.

So, in conclusion, what we have with the HTC Windows Phone 8X is a cool looking smartphone, that doesn't serve its purpose - delivering the WP8 flagship experience in a compact body. Everyone is free picking their priorities, of course, but we are not too happy with the deal we got.

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The HTC Windows Phone 8X held in hand

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