Review: Windows Phone 8X by HTC

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INTRODUCTION

Windows Phone 8 has been out for a while now, but there has been a severe lack of WP8 devices in our country. While Nokia has always been the go-to manufacturer for Windows Phone devices, Nokia Philippines has not officially launched any kind of Windows phone 8 devices in our country, which probably baffles and frustrates the Windows Phone faithful. Thankfully, there’s always alternatives – this time around, it’s the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. This marvel of modern engineering has been a pleasant surprise to us, chiefly because of the people who built it. It’s announcement a few months back took us by surprise because if anything, we expected a Windows Phone branded device to be built by their closest ally, Nokia.

EXTERNALS

When we first saw the Windows Phone 8X when it was leaked before its initial unveiling, our first thought was “why is there an HTC logo on that Lumia phone?” Our initial confusion wasn’t our fault of course – if you’ve spent time with Nokia’s Lumia line of devices, you’d probably think the same. HTC decided to go with a unibody polycarbonate body for the Phone 8X, similar to what Nokia has done with their Lumia line. The difference is that the build quality of the Phone 8X looks more refined than the previous Lumia devices that Nokia has unveiled, which is a testament to the Taiwanese firm’s mastery of modern production methods. The Phone 8X’s polycarbonate body feels amazing, and has a sort of matte finish to it that gives you a better purchase on it.

While not as thin as other smartphones in the market today, the Phone 8X manages to trick you into thinking that it’s thinner than its portly 10.1mm thickness. It achieves that by cleverly contouring the back of the device into a convex shape, which also makes the Phone 8X pleasant to hold in the hands. Unlike other, similar flagship devices, the Phone 8X deliberately avoided larger displays (such as the 4.7-inch displays on the Samsung Galaxy S III and its ilk) and went instead with a smaller, 4.3-inch, 720 x 1280 pixel, S-LCD2 capacitive touchscreen that’s lovingly covered in Gorilla Glass 2. Because of the smaller display, the Phone 8X is a bit narrower than comparable hi-end Android devices which makes for easier one-handed navigation, though it’s still quite as tall as HTC’s One X+.

Like most Windows Phones, there’s not really much in the way of physical controls – the volume rocker is on the upper right of the device while the power button lies on the top. Surprisingly, the Phone 8X also has a dedicated camera button on the lower right of the device. The Phone 8X uses on-screen navigation keys located on the bottom of the display.

As far as imaging is concerned, the Phone 8X uses an 8-megapixel camera on the back. Being made by HTC, it only made sense that the Taiwanese company would put the same 8-megapixel backside illuminated sensor along with the f/2.0 wide-angle autofocus lens and ImageChip technology that’s found in their high-end Android offerings. There’s also a 2.1-megapixel camera on the front of the device that’s able to capture full-HD video, a big step up from the usual 1.3-megapixel front-facing cameras that other devices use.

INTERNALS

Powering the whole shebang is Qualcomm’s S4 Plus MSM8960 dual-core processor, running at 1.5GHz with an Adreno 225 GPU. That particular processor is paired with 1GB of RAM. On the storage side of things, there’s 16GB of space allotted for all the things you want to stuff into the Phone 8X, unfortunately some people may be turned off by that, and the lack of expandable memory isn’t going to change their minds either. As with most of HTC’s high-end devices, Phone 8X carries Beats Audio enhancement.

We’ve found that Windows Phone powered devices has always performed well even with single core processors as evidenced by our time with Nokia’s previous Lumia offerings, so we knew that this dual-core powered device would be more of the same. The Phone 8X zipped through most applications quickly, and made short work of whatever apps we were using. The device was quick, zippy and extremely responsive, which is a testament of sorts to just how well optimized Windows Phone 8 is.While there’s limited benchmarking software on Windows Phone 8, we did manage to get a sense of just how fast the device is on AnTuTu’s Benchmark app for Windows 8. The device managed to nab a score of 11102. Unfortunately because of the differences of architecture on Windows Phone 8X, it’s hard to get a point of comparison for the device compared to Android powered as far as raw number crunching power is concerned.