The HTC Windows Phone 8X

Brian already gave the HTC Windows Phone 8X a good once over here; today I'm fortunate to offer a slightly more detailed analysis beyond the existing performance metrics. The WP8X is essentially competing with the Nokia Lumia 920 as the flagship phone for Windows Phone 8, and while the Lumia 920 has benefited from a combination of Nokia's close relationship with Microsoft and Nokia's own remarkably useful app suite, it's tempting to give the slight edge to the HTC.

On paper the Lumia 920 is the more robust device, offering greater storage capacity (32GB instead of the WP8X's 16GB), better camera quality, and a slightly higher resolution IPS display. I've copied Brian's chart from his preview below to give you a better idea of specifications, adding information about the Lumia 920 in place of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 5 Samsung Galaxy S 3 (USA) Nokia Lumia 920 HTC 8X (International)
Height 123.8 mm (4.87") 136.6 mm (5.38" ) 130.3 mm (5.13") 132.35 mm (5.21")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 70.6 mm (2.78") 70.8 mm (2.79") 66.2 mm (2.61")
Depth 7.6 mm (0.30") 8.6 mm (0.34") 10.7 mm (0.42") 10.12 mm (0.4")
Weight 112 g (3.95 oz) 133 g (4.7 oz) 185 g (6.53 oz) 130 g (4.59 oz)
CPU 1.3 GHz Apple A6 (Dual Core Apple Swift) 1.5 GHz MSM8960 (Dual Core Krait) 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 (Dual Core Krait) 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260A (Dual Core Krait)
GPU PowerVR SGX 543MP3 Adreno 225 Adreno 225 Adreno 225
NAND 16, 32, or 64 GB integrated 16/32 GB NAND with up to 64 GB microSDXC 32 GB NAND 16 GB NAND
Camera 8 MP with LED Flash + 1.2MP front facing 8 MP with LED Flash + 1.9 MP front facing 8.7 MP with dual LED Flash + 1.3 MP front facing 8 MP with ImageChip, LED Flash + 2.1 MP front facing
Screen 4" 1136 x 960 LED backlit LCD 4.8" 1280x720 HD SAMOLED 4.5" 1280 x 768 IPS 4.3" 1280 x 720 SLCD2
Battery Internal 5.45 Whr Removable 7.98 Whr Removable 7.4 Whr Internal 6.8 Whr

The Lumia 920 has a lot going for it, but it's also a bigger, heavier phone with a slightly reduced pixel density compared to the 8X's. Internally these employ basically the same silicon; the MSM8960 and MSM8260A are the same chip with different basebands available. I will say I would have appreciated the additional storage space of the Lumia 920; 16GB is rough to live on when twenty bucks and a pair of tweezers could turn the Dell Venue Pro into a 32GB smartphone. It does bear mentioning that the 8X hasn't had the rocky launch that the Lumia 920 had.

As for the HTC Windows Phone 8X itself? The blue polycarbonate shell is beautiful without being ostentatious, and though the black levels of the display make me long for AMOLED again, the high pixel density results in incredibly sharp images. I feel like button placement could be slightly better, as I often accidentally squeeze the volume rocker while trying to press the power/lock button. I've also found the automatic brightness setting to often be a shade too dim, though ironically the phone's rear-facing camera is remarkably adept at handling low light.

Interestingly, though the 8X has a slightly lower resolution display than the Lumia 920, the change in aspect from 15:9 to 16:9 has ameliorated one of my minor complaints about the Dell Venue Pro and Windows Phone: the extra space at the top of the display stemming from the slightly taller aspect means you can still access the notification pane in applications designed for the 15:9 ratio.

Introduction The Windows Phone Interface
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  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "Yes, the social media stuff on WP is a big innovation. You get one unified feed of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This is a far better model than going into individual apps."

    Why would you want this? You can't "like", view photo albums, or events on twitter, you can't hashtag search or trend search on facebook. You basically lose each services most useful features into something extremely dumbed down.
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    You can like, comment, and view photo albums from the unified feed for facebook posts...have you even used one of these devices before?

  • Belard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Get Launcher 7 or Launcher 8 for Android.. comes in free or paid versions.
  • karasaj - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Er... no. 335 ppi is indistinguishable to the eye without a magnifying glass. It doesn't matter if you smash your nose into the screen; you won't see it. And if you do, you're convincing yourself through a placebo effect.

    You can't shrug off the point of WP8 lol. Live tiles are certainly better integrated with the OS than widgets on Android or nothing on iOS. I don't see what you consider to be a standout point to Android. I love Android, I used stock, several Cyanogen Mod's, and another ROM whose name I don't remember, but I like WP8's UI more. It's cleaner, fits more on one screen, and I think it is definitely a better "average social" kind of phone. Sure, if you're an enthusiast, you get Android, root the phone, and have fun. But that isn't everybody.
  • GoodToGo - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Err except that it is not. Here is an article clearly refuting why 300ppi is no where close to good.
  • hahmed330 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Firstly, live tiles are barely informative. Widgets are far superior then live tiles as they are interactive and are very practical. For example youtube widget, I can scroll down tabs of my favorite youtube channels and access it in 5 seconds without ever accessing youtube app itself. (lets assume that there will be a youtube app on WP8) You would have to have a separate live tile for each of the channels.

    Secondly, Microsoft has too much of a control over their OS itself. How are companies going to differentiate themselves? The biggest reason why android has been so successful. Of course this is also a bad thing as well, but for the end user it is also a good thing because whatever works for you best is the best policy there is. Because android is here you have more choices as Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, Pantech... e.t.c. All of their smart phones can be differentiated, but not WP8 based phones.

    Thirdly, android evolves very quickly by the time there will be windows 8.5 we would have 3 revisions in android. The changes in android have been quite substantial each time. Difference between WP7 vs WP8 is like difference between Android 4.0 and 4.1. While android evolved form gingerbread to jellybean in the same amount of time.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Both Android and WP8 have their advantages. In my family I have a couple of iPhone users and a few Android users. I'm the only one with a WP device, and that was only very recently.

    Live tiles give me what I want in at a glance. I don't just have one live tile. At a glance I can see all kinds of stuff, and with a touch you can dig further into any of them. They're not perfect but I like them quite a bit, and like just about everything on WP8 they are designed to be battery-friendly . If Google was playing nice with Youtube, we would already HAVE a proper Youtube app.

    Too much control over the OS? I can see that point of view, but personally I disagree. When I buy a PC, I don't want OEM junkware or modifications. For my personal desktop machines, I build, so this isn't an issue. I feel the same way about phones. I think PC OEMs have managed to differentiate just fine without relying on gimmicks. If anything, it has forced them to concentrate on the hardware more. I see no reason why smartphone vendors can't do the same. In fact, in the WP field, they're doing just that. I chose a Lumia 822 over the 8X because the 8X lacked a removeable battery and SD slot.

    As for updates, frequent updates don't necessarily mean more substance. You're definitely wrong about WP7 vs WP8. WP7 went through multiple significant updates before we even arrived at WP8, and the platform has improved significantly over time. I'd say this is really a wash, and not strictly an advantage for anyone.
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    In what way are Android widgets different than live tiles?

    What good is "integration with the OS as far as social media" when you can't even reply to someone on twitter using the built-in twitter mechanic? I mean this is basic stuff. Same for Facebook. The built-in social media support is about as basic as it gets which is why everyone installs an app anyway, pretty much taking away any advantage WP8 has.
  • s44 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I think you're on to something.

    Leave aside how Windows is or isn't superior, though, how do they make their brand *feel* superior? Most people don't *want* to think of themselves as the tech idiots whose VCRs used to flash 12:00 and need a Smartphone For Dummies, even if they are. (Look how Apple has spun that image to flatter their customers -- and how Samsung has successfully played the old/unhip/un-saavy card on Apple and BB.) Having middling celebs do down-to-earth stuff doesn't really associate WP ownership with awesome.

    The recent Droid/LG Optimus ads are sort of dumb, but at least they aren't this:
  • Belard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I agree with much of what you have to say. The HTC 8x looks like colorful versions of the Once X. When MS first came out with WP7 "Metro" - I like the interface for a phone... and I ran a METRO launcher on my Android 2.x phone for almost 2 years until I got a new Motorola Atrix HD (4.1) - I still have that old phone as a part time mini-tablet.

    With Android 4.x, I didnt feel the need to use Launcher 7 (or 8). The widgets do what I need and I love how Motrola has designed their UI (Almost pure Android).

    When I use a friends SGS3... its different UI isn't as nice... but that is more opinion and personal preference.

    Win8 is a whole eco-system designed to revamp Microsoft in all market points.. it does nothing great. I think its still great for a phone and is actually original compared to Android and iOS... Okay for a tablet... horrible for a desktop.

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