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My name is Pieter De Rycke, I am a Belgian technical .Net architect working in the insurance sector. I am always eager to learn new technologies and I like to keep up with the latest innovations and trends in the IT sector. I am a big believer in web services for interoperability between platforms. Pieter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 34 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

HTC 8X Review

02.21.2013
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What’s inside the box

When you see a packaged HTX 8X you immediately notice how “green” its packaging is. All is mainly made of paper and cardboard. It’s good no notice that HTC is doing a serious effort to help saving the environment.

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Inside the packaging, you will find the device itself, a pair of ears and a Micro-USB cable and power adapter. There is also a quick guide included to help you getting started with the device.

Device

I own a Nokia Lumia 800 and although the HTC 8X is with its 4.3 inch slightly bigger, it is a lot lighter and more pleasant to hold in your hands. The curved polycarbonate back feels really superb.

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The screen is bright and crisp and has a good viewing angle. It is a 4.3 inch 16:9 screen running with a 1280×720 resolution (a noticeable improvement compared to the 800×480 resolution of previous generation WP7.5 devices).

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Performance of the device is good with the Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz Dual-core CPU combined with 1 GB of RAM. All applications I daily run on the Nokia Lumia 800, run remarkably faster on the HTC 8X. Most applications and games start almost immediately.

The device has 16 GB of free storage, but there is no support to extend the internal storage with an SD card. Although, this should be sufficient for most users, audio freaks who want their entire music collection in their pocket could be disappointed. I would prefer different models with different internal storage sizes, similar to the iPhones.

Battery life is very good and the device charges quickly. My mobile phone usage is above average and I can easily come through the day without a recharge. Furthermore, it contains all the necessary features you expect from a (high-end) smartphone: Wifi, GPS, a gyroscope, a front and back camera … FM radio is unfortunately not supported.

Operating System

The HTC 8X is running on Windows Phone 8, the latest mobile phone operating system of Microsoft. Under the hood this OS underwent major changes compared to the previous version. It is now running on a NT kernel similar to Windows 8. Thanks to this new kernel, Microsoft now supports dual core CPUs and NFC on phones.

The user interface underwent minor changes. The look and feel of Windows Phone 8 is still pretty much the same as it was on Windows Phone 7, but this is not a negative point. It makes WP8 a beautiful and simple to use OS. The responsiveness of the OS is remarkable good; although this could also be thanks to the hardware of the HTC 8X.

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Internet Explorer Mobile has been upgraded to version 10. A version similar to the desktop version available for Windows 8 and soon for Windows 7. Version 10 offers better HTML5 support as well as support for touch interaction. Bookmarks and history can be automatically back-upped to the cloud.

Microsoft made it possible to install updates over the air. Gone are the days you had to install Zune and connect your phone to your PC. A small but pleasant addition :-)

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WP8 integrates into Microsoft its Intune device management platform, allowing easy administration of devices for enterprise clients. This makes WP8 (and thus also the HTC 8X) an attractive choice for mid and large enterprises. The only (small) showstopper is the lack of VPN support, although according to rumors on the internet this is planned for a future release of the OS.

Software

WP8 comes out of the box with a collection of high quality software from Microsoft: a mobile version of Microsoft Office with integrated support for Sharepoint and Skydrive, OneNote, a mail client compatible with Exchange, a PDF reader, a maps application …

Just like most Windows Phone manufactures, HTC provides also a number of free dedicated applications for owners of HTC devices. Unfortunately, compared to Nokia the offer is limited and the applications are pretty basic. Nokia bundles: Nokia Drive, Nokia Music, Nokia Reader, Nokia Volume Monitor, Nokia Transit … The number of applications and the quality of these applications is unmatched by any other WP8 manufacturer.

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All existing WP7 software is compatible with WP8. The offer is more limited then on Android and IOS, but all major apps are there: Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Skype … But instead of 100 farting apps available, you will have to be happy with only ten ;-)

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With WP8, Microsoft opened the door for 3rd party application development using DirectX and C++, so I soon expect to see a lot ports of classic computer games similar to the releases on Android and IOS. Let’s all hope a Windows Phone version of GTA Vice City is released in the future :-)

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera of the HTC 8X is remarkable good. Shots are great even in low lighting.

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Conclusion

The HTC 8X is a great Windows Phone 8 device. It is light, pleasant to hold in your hands and has a bright crisp screen. The HTC 8X is definitely more elegant then the Nokia Lumia 920, but Nokia bundled better applications. So if you want to buy a new high-end Windows Phone 8 device, you will have to decide between the Nokia apps or the elegancy of the HTC 8X.

Published at DZone with permission of Pieter De Rycke, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)