There is a new Windows Phone in town. And leading its charge in the Indian market is the HTC 8X, a phone that packs quite a punch inside an amazingly designed frame.
The first thing that you will notice about the HTC 8X is just how insanely thin it is. In many ways, it reminds us of another amazingly anorexic device, the iPod touch. The front is totally dominated by the 4.3-inch touch screen and the back arches outwards gently, with an 8.0-megapixel camera and Beats Audio grill at the back. The power/screen button is on the top of the device, and on the right are the volume rocker and camera buttons, all of which fit smoothly into the unibody frame. Do not get taken in by the official statistic of 10.12 mm - for the most part, the 8X looks incredibly slim, so much so that when you hold it you essentially only feel its edgy borders. But while it is thin, it does not even remotely feel flimsy. It might not be as reassuring to hold as say the iPhone 5 or the Lumia 920, but it will certainly turn as many heads as the former and many more than the latter. Oh, and it is available in a number of shades too – although we got to use the black one. Having colour options at the high-end is always welcomed!
Slim it is, but there is nothing lightweight about the 8X when it comes to hardware. The device is powered by a Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz dual core processor and comes with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of non-expandable onboard storage. The display has a resolution of 1280 x 720p, yanking Windows Phone firmly into HD territory and for us, is the highlight of the device. And while the 8.0-megapixel camera will be the primary snapper for most users, ignore not the front facing 2.1-megapixel one, for that has been placed at an angle that lets you take some awesome self portraits and group shots, with face recognition for good measure. And of course, this being a smart phone you get all the connectivity options like 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
The HTC 8X is the first phone to arrive on Windows Phone 8 platform. And while most newbies would not see too much difference from its predecessors, hardcore users will be delighted to see that while the tiled interface remains, you can also now resize tiles. There is also the option to chat and message people in groups and rooms, and even have a separate section of the phone for children. In terms of pre-installed apps, Windows Phone remains the OS to beat, with versions of MS Office, a fully refurbished Internet Explorer, and support for Face book and Twitter and most popular e-mail services. And of course, all this with the same buttery smooth interface that made using Windows Phone 7 a delight. Live tiles ensure that you can get live updates on your home screen and of course, the People feature lets you keep in touch with social network updates.
The HTC 8X can handle most audio and video formats without too much hassle but what really works for it is the Beats Audio experience. Sound is crystal clear on both the headphones as well as the loudspeaker. On the video front, we found the screen to be excellent for viewing videos and images but at times found the blacks not as rich as we have seen on devices from Sony and Samsung. But all said and done, if it is great sounds and decent visuals that you seek, then the 8X delivers on both fronts. We just hope that more apps come along to make the most of its multimedia muscle. The 8.0-megapixel camera, however, is a bit of a damp squib - it works very well in well-lit conditions but tends to start losing detail as darkness descends.
We loved our time with the 8X. It handled almost everything we threw at it with elan, with no lags or stutters. The design is outstanding although we did have problems finding the power button because it blended in so smoothly into the body of the device. Battery life was good - we saw off a day with Face book, Twitter and e-mail running merrily, although we did get a bit concerned at the device’s penchant to heat up.
The HTC 8X is an excellent option for all those seeking a high-end device. It has great hardware and Windows Phone 8 runs brilliantly on it. At Rs 35,000, it is not cheap but is also easily the best Windows Phone device in the market at the moment. Those looking for Windows Phone alternatives could also consider the Lumia 900, which is available for Rs 30,599 but comes with a lower resolution display, single core processor and of course, runs on Windows Phone7.5. Step away from Windows Phone and the Android driven Samsung Galaxy S3 comes intothe picture, with a price of Rs 35,500.