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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  • shompa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The author is worried about vendor lock-in with the iPhone. Whats the difference with windows? You are locked into using windows on you PC/Phone.

    I am amazed how uneducated people are how MSFT locks its users in. Always by doing shady stuff. Gamers for example are forced to use windows because of DirectX. MSFT refused to follow open standards.

    Office/Exchange is another huge lock-in.

    The funniest thing is that windows fanatics never have used anything else then windows. Every single mac user I know have used/know how to use windows.

    MSFT have a 50 billion turnover on crap. Its amazing.
    (But I do give MSFT props for the Metro GUI. Their first own innovation)
  • thesavvymage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    They are not locked into windows because of directX. Windows can use openGL and other rendering engines. Its just that directx is much more efficient and easier to code for than the open standards. Also, Office is not a lock in. It is simply the most widely used productivity software, and its also available for mac.
  • UpSpin - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The fact that Win 8 will be a requirement for Direct X 11.1 is artificical. MS forces you to upgrade to Win 8 if yout want to play the latest games. Luckily for us, game companies are too lazy to switch to DirectX 11.1 immediately. But maybe with the next XBox console, this will change, so people have to upgrade to Win 8 if the game requires DX11.1.
    Microsoft could support open Document formats, yet, they only improve their propietary stuff. So open source Office solution often aren't fully compatible to MS Office documents and it's a hassle to switch between them.
    MS could also support OpenGL, no, they only develop DX, because that way they make sure that gamers use Windows, and regularily update to the latest version, if they want to play a game.
    This will, luckily, change, because of Valves and other start up initatives (Ouya) to support open console like devices running on anything.
  • A5 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    1) Ouya is going to fail. Just so you know.

    2) Steambox won't change anything because the console ports are all going to be DirectX. The reason DirectX took such a huge lead is that OpenGL was slow to adapt to changing standards and whatnot.
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Supporting old hardware means there're multi-year lags in when new DX standards become required. It's only really been in the last year or so that DX10 only titles have started appearing in any significant number, and DX10 launched nearly 6 years ago with Vista.

    By the time DX11.1 becomes a required minimum as opposed to something that gives extra eyecandy at max settings windows 9 will probably be in the middle of it's retail lifetime and DX11.0 only systems will be obsolescent at best.

    In the medium term keeping everything working with DX10 only systems for the cross platform ports is, if anything, likely to hold back the 720. I doubt that will be an issue though since DX11/11.1 have only been incremental changes on top of the existing DX10 foundation, and not major redesigns like the DX9-10 upgrade.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    If Microsoft's document format is so proprietary, why does Libre Office work for me? On Windows, no less? MS isn't half as bad as Apple. You can even put a browser on WP8 that uses its OWN proprietary rendering engine - try doing that on iOS! You can't!

    Most developers actually support multiple renderpaths. As a result, the vast, VAST majority of games will run fine on Vista/Win7 even if they DO support an 11.1 render path. Actually, most of the important 11.1 features are getting backported to Win7 anyway.

    Valve's only motivation for Steambox is money. They want a box where they are the primary/sole distributor, and take a cut of all profits. They don't want to share that cut with MS or anyone else. If all they really wanted to do was foster gaming on Linux or PCs in general, they wouldn't be building a console-type system. They would drop their fees to almost nothing for Linux versions to encourage developers to make a Linux port. Maybe even reduce their cut for the Windows version of any game with a Linux port, to further sweeten the deal.
  • ananduser - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    The DX 11.1 requirement is also tied to kernel modifications that are present in Win8. It is not artificial.
    OpenGL was always supported in Windows, but since OGL was built with CAD in mind, they(MS) created a superior product with DirectX that caters exclusively to games. It's so good that Carmack himself praised it.
  • krutou - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    "The fact that Win 8 will be a requirement for Direct X 11.1 is artificical. MS forces you to upgrade to Win 8 if yout want to play the latest games."

    How else is MSFT going to pay for DirectX development? DirectX is a large driving factor for the improvement of graphics quality and performance in PC games.
  • boozed - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Tell us the story about how we're all so uneducated again, oh enlightened one!
  • karasaj - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I used an iMac for four years in band/for various music editing stuff. I love mac for music, photo, and video related stuff, but prefer Windows for most things. I see why some people like Mac more, but I personally don't.

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