HTC 8X Review, Windows Phone 8X by HTC (AT&T)

Uploaded by thenokiablog on 06.11.2012

Hey Nokia fans, I got my hands on the HTC 8X which is actually the first Windows Phone
8 device that I got to try out. The Windows Phone device I used before this was the Nokia
Lumia 900. Before we continue, I just want to warn you that this is running pre-production
software, so there might be changes or improvements when it hits the stores. Alright, let's continue
with the review.
The HTC 8X has a 4.3-inch touch screen with 1280 by 720 resolution. The display is Gorilla
Glass which is known to be hard to break or scratch.
I really like the design of the HTC 8X. The sides are extremely tapered so it feels much
thinner in the hands than it looks. It actually feels thinner than the iPhone 5.
On the front of the display, there's a matching-colored strip for the ear speakers. Without this strip,
this device would probably look a lot like Nokia's Lumia devices.
Here to the left is the front facing super wide-angle 2.1-megapixel camera. I'll talk
more about that later in this video.
At the bottom of the display are three capacitive buttons that are standard on Windows Phone.
They actually vibrate when you touch them.
A minor issue I've noticed is that dirt sometimes get stuck in between the small gap that connects
the glass to the rest of the body. Keep an eye on that when you get the device.
On top, there's a headphone jack with an amplifier. This means music can be really loud without
distortion. Next to the headphone jack is a microphone. This is used for noise cancellation.
Here's the power button. It's actually glossy and metallic-looking, unlike the rest of the
body. Most probably won't notice. I actually had a hard time pressing the power button
with one hand the first few days. It probably would've been better if they placed it on
the right side, but you get used to it after a while.
At the bottom of the device, there's a micro-usb port that you'll find on most other phones.
Next to that is the other microphone.
To the right are the volume buttons and the dedicated camera button. This button is actually
nice. You can feel when you're pressing halfway to focus and clicking through for capture.
This also automatically opens the camera application when you press and hold from sleep mode, homescreen,
or other apps.
There's also the slot for a micro SIM card. You'll need to push a the included pin in
this hole to take out the card.
Let's now take a look at the back of the HTC 8X. Right away you notice the bold blue color.
It has matte finish and feels soft to touch. Depending on your location and carrier, you'll
see other colors like red, yellow, and black. I've personally seen a yellow one and it is
really bright. It's probably my favorite color for this phone.
You'll see the HTC and Beats branding on the back. There's also a carrier logo for AT&T
at the bottom. Below that, are the loudspeakers with amplifiers like the ones on the earspeakers.
These amps let you turn up the volume without distortion.
You can also see the 8MP camera here, but I'll talk more about that later in this video.
Let's now talk about actually using Windows Phone 8 OS running on the HTC 8X. There are
not that many noticeable differences from the previous versions, but you notice the
subtle changes the more you use it.
One thing you'll notice right away the new homescreen. You can change the sizes of the
live tiles and this is how I've set mine up. I have my most frequently used apps on top
in small tiles with the large tile for my emails. The small tiles also display the number
of notifications for the app as you can see here. The large email tile shows a little
preview of my unread mails.
There are now more colors to choose from for your tiles. You can check in settings then
themes. I personally like the Cyan accent. This version for AT&T has a color called HTC
which matches the polycarbonate body of the phone.
The lockscreen also has some updates. Apps can now tap into it. For example, you can
use Facebook photos to show up on your lockscreen or get daily images from Bing. I like this
option a lot because it's nice to see a different image each day.
At the bottom of the lockscreen you can choose one app that's able to show detailed status.
I chose Mail for this section. I get a preview of my recent unread mail without opening the
Below that, you can have up to 5 apps to show the number of notifications. I think these
are nice new features, but unfortunately you can't go directly to any of these apps from
the lockscreen. This is already possible with iOS and Android.
You're probably going to browse the web on this device so let's now talk about Internet
Explorer. It feels fast. To be more objective, the HTML 5 test score is 320 out of 500. In
comparison, the iPhone 5 gets 386 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices get 138.
Embedded Youtube videos on blogs and websites play back fine, but videos in other formats
don't work. For example, videos on Hulu don't play back on the HTC 8X.
I like that you can easily copy and paste by pressing and holding on text then dragging
the in and out points. I also like the option where you can change the default button next
to the address bar to something else. Instead of the stop/refresh button, I use the favorites
shortcut. There are also tabbed browsing, but this was available in the previous version
of Windows Phone as well.
Let's now talk about the cameras on the HTC 8X. It has an 8 megapixel camera on the back,
but the default is the wider aspect 6MP. You can change it to 8MP in the settings. To keep
this short, I think the camera is okay. It's not amazing, but it works. I found the auto
white balance also to be off because most of the photos I've taken had a yellowish tint.
This was easily fixed by manually changing the white balance.
The front camera is a little more interesting. It is 2.1 megapixels and is capable of 1080p
video, but what makes it stand out is the super wide angle lens not found on any other
phones. You can show more of the background behind you or fit more friends in self-portrait
group photos. This sounds great, but I have to warn you that the front camera is slower
than the rear-facing camera. Stay very still when taking photos with the front camera.
The photo gallery on Windows Phone 8 feels the same as the previous version, but I like
that I can now select multiple photos. You can also share multiple photos in one try
to social networks like Facebook, but you won't be able to tag friends or type a description.
What's also new is the camera "lenses" option. It's a way to access camera-related apps.
There are not that many available yet on the HTC 8X. On the Nokia Lumia 920, there are
some exclusive lenses like Smart Shoot and Cinemagraph. You can watch demos of these
in my Youtube channel.
One lens you can try is CamWow. It applies live effects to the camera. I'm surprised
at how well it works with the the rear facing camera, but it's actually very slow on the
front-facing camera.
Speaking of apps, current Windows Phone 7.5 apps work on Windows Phone 8, but there's
a small catch. Not all of them are optimized for the new screen resolutions yet including
some of my favorites like Foursquare, and Rowi which is a Twitter app. These apps have
black bars on top of the screen. I don't have a Nokia Lumia 920 to personally check, but
I was told the Lumia 920 don't have the black bars because the aspect ratio is the same
as Windows Phone 7 devices.
To be more technical, the HTC 8X has a 1280x720 screen resolution. Windows Phone 7.5 devices
all had the standard 800x480. It would've been better if Microsoft forced the manufacturers
to keep the aspect ratio the same even if they increased the screen resolution. In comparison,
the Lumia 920 kept the same aspect ratio by using 1280x768.
Resuming apps is also a new feature on Windows Phone 8. Previously, clicking on a recently
opened app from the lockscreen forced it to restart. If you wanted to resume, you had
to hold the back button and re-open from there. Now, it resumes when you click on it. Not
all apps support it yet though. One app that takes advantage of this is Facebook.
Let's now talk about Maps. I assumed I'd see Nokia Maps on the HTC 8X because I thought
I read somewhere that Nokia Maps will be on all Windows 8 devices. That's not exactly
true. The Maps app on the HTC 8X still looks like Windows Phone maps or Bing Maps as you
know it, but the data is now powered by Nokia's location platform. For turn-by-turn navigation,
Nokia Drive is available on the Nokia Lumia 920, but it's up to HTC or Microsoft to offer
it on this device.
For AT&T's version of the HTC 8X, there's an app called AT&T Navigator but it's not
free. It costs about $10 a month ant the first month is free. There's no way I'm paying that
much for navigation, so I didn't bother signing up for the free 30-day trial.
I can't think of any other noticeable new features on Windows Phone 8. If I missed anything,
please let me know. By the way, you can now take screen shots with Windows Phone. It's
so simple, but I've been using it a lot. You take a screenshot by pressing the power button
button with the Windows Phone logo here at the bottom. The images are saved in the screenshots
photo folder.
Let's now talk about battery life. It's hard to review because we all have different usage
behaviors, however I'm able to use it daily and then plug it at night before I go to sleep.
To summarize this review, I think the HTC 8X has a great design. More manufactures should
try the tapered style that HTC implemented to make devices feel much thinner in the hand.
However, I think you're probably better off with a Nokia Lumia device. Nokia has the exclusive
apps, they have exclusive lenses for the camera, and they have Nokia Drive for turn by turn
navigation. We don't know how long you'll have to wait for Nokia Drive on the HTC 8X.
I also don't like the fact that a lot of the apps right now on the 8X have the black bars
on top because of the weird screen resolution, but that's probably going to be fixed eventually
when developers optimize their apps for Windows Phone 8.
So that's my review of the HTC 8X. If you have any questions for this device, ask away
in the comments section below or tweet me @markguim where I'm able to respond faster.
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I'm Mark Guim, thanks for watching.