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HTC's Windows Phone 8X review: Fast, bright and sleek

Preston Gralla | Nov. 14, 2012
HTC's fast and well-designed Windows Phone 8X is one of the first to use Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 smartphone operating system.

If you're looking for a well-designed phone that really shows off Windows Phone 8, you'd do well to consider the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. This sleek device wraps the newest version of Microsoft's smartphone operating system in a nifty and svelte piece of hardware.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

The phone sports a 4.3-in., 1280 x 720 Super LCD 2 screen with a 341ppi resolution, protected by Gorilla Glass 2. The display's colors are crisp and bright.

The HTC Windows Phone 8X has a rounded body made of a stylish, soft matte polycarbonate that feels pleasing in the hand. At 4.5 oz., it is smaller and lighter than the 6.4-oz. Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 920, with the Lumia 920 having a slightly larger 4.5-in. screen.

I found the HTC Windows Phone 8X's performance to be outstanding, with no delays in launching apps or changing screens, and no lags or slowdowns when listening to music or watching video. That's likely due in part to the phone's 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor with 1GB of RAM. Previous versions of Windows Phone supported only single processors and still tended to be zippy. With dual cores, Windows 8 on this phone is even faster.

However, there is a hardware downside. The phone comes with either 8GB or 16GB of storage and no expansion slots, so if you're a media hound and needs lots of room, you could run into trouble.

The phone's simple, straightforward design is marred by physical buttons that are almost impossible to locate -- and even when you figure out where they are, they're still hard to use. The power button, for example, is on the top right of the phone, but it's small, rectangular and so tight against the body of the phone that you have to look extremely closely to find it. I even had a hard time locating it by touch when I ran my hand along the top of the phone.

The camera and volume buttons on the right side of the phone have similar problems. There is also a micro USB plug for charging and connecting at the bottom.

The Windows Phone 8X works with LTE as well as global HSPA+ networks; it offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS and NFC (which, as I'll explain in a bit, Windows Phone 8 makes nice use of).

The 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording capabilities is serviceable, but I wasn't impressed with the quality of the photos; the colors looked somewhat washed out.

What's new in Windows Phone 8

The hardware tells only part of the story. The biggest news about the HTC Windows Phone 8X is Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's latest iteration of its smartphone operating system.

 

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