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.