I’m a fan of HTC – I’m really feeling the uniform design across its devices. So when Verizon sent me an HTC 8X to review, I was exited to find out how it compared to other HTC devices I’ve used, but cautious at the fact that it was a Windows Phone 8 device. I’m an apps guy and I’ll be honest, I’ve been spoiled at the sheer number of apps for iOS and Android, similar to how a man with just a little bit going for him is spoiled by the sheer number of smart, beautiful, and available women down in Atlanta…
(Just painting a picture)
Before I get into the “usability” for a guy well versed in the [app] Dark Arts, Let me get into the geeky details of the phone:
- 4.3 inch Gorilla Glass HD 720p display
- Qualcomm 1.5GHz Dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB Internal storage
- NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, and WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Beats Audio sound
- 8MP rear camera & 2.1MP front camera (F2.0 aperture, shoots video in 1080p)
- MicroSIM card
Pretty comparable specs when you look at what’s on the market now. I’ll be honest – I don’t like the fact that I can’t add more storage via an expandable memory slot. That’s probably a personal dig, because I’m sure your average user with enough cloud storage would do just fine with 16gigs of physical storage.
Where extra storage works for me is music – I’m not a huge fan of streaming media. I’ve built up a large enough library and have tweaked my playlists JUST the way I like them, so I tend to download large amounts of music to my devices. So the extra storage is nice. This is a problem with my iPhone 5 too, but at least I have storage choices, which is why I opt for the 32gig iPhone version every time.
Smartphone trends are pointing towards larger, 4.5 inch (and up) screens, but if you have small hands, or actually need a free hand to
excessively talk with your hands handle other tasks, then the 4.3 inch screen is large enough for viewing content without being too large to find useful.
Like I said, I’m digging the design of the current crop of HTC phones, 8X included. I like the rubberized rear panel of the device. It gives the phone some grip and it doesn’t feel “plasticy” and cheap. The curved rear panel and the different color options (besides black & white) makes the device seem more unique as well. This is something the Nokia Lumia line does as well to give them a distinct look versus the majority of “black slab” devices on the market – No lawsuits with these devices.
Camera & Video
Like I stated earlier, the specs are pretty comparable to others devices on the market. Same can be applied to the taking photos and shooting videos. I can appreciate how easy it is to pull the phone out of your pocket and start capturing content. Other than that, the 8X is on par with other devices, with the exception of the iPhone – Lord if Apple didn’t do anything else to make the iPhone 5 blow people away, at least they got the camera right. Images seemed more natural versus the 8X. On the flip-side, the ability to do more things with images, specifically sharing to the cloud or with other apps with the 8X is what keeps it competitive.
What more can I say – It has Beats Audio integrated. You can definitely tell the difference when toggling the feature on/of while listening to music. Now, I’m not sure if adding Beats is a legitimate upgrade, or HTC dumbed down the default audio to make Beats sound better. No matter the cause, the effect is a nicer listening experience.
Windows Phone 8
I actually like the Windows Phone 8 experience.
- The customizable Live Tiles that give you glimpse at what’s going on just by looking at the home screen
- The uniformity of the app design and layout
- The ability to “try before you buy” apps
- The People and Me Hubs that let you view and respond to all of you and your contact’s activity in one location
- The Group Hub that lets you converse with select contacts
- The Kid’s Corner where you can designate certain music, games and apps for your kids so they don’t mess up any of your phone’s settings
- The search function that includes QR Code reading without downloading a seperate app
- Data Sense that monitors your data usage and suggests ways you can save data
…All these features (and let’s not forget seamless MS Office integration) makes Windows Phone 8 a plesant experience for new smartphone users, as well as users looking for a change and not heavily vested in another platform’s ecosystem.
I wrote a previous post as to why I would suggest Windows Phone 8 over another mobile platform. I also did a piece as to what apps are essential to me if I were to switch. I’ll be honest, the apps are keep me from jumping from iOS or Android. Sure, you can call me an App Snob – I’d prefer to make the case that since I get paid to review mobile apps, I can’t limit myself by making the switch…To make matters worse, I absolutely HATE carrying around multiple phones (I’m an “all in” kind of guy).
I think Windows Phone 8 does a good job of integrating the basics into the OS (social, communication, messaging, productivity, ease of use). For your average user, once they connect their email, contacts & calendars, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, add some apps and games from Windows Phone Store and media from Xbox Live, they are good to go.
Overall, I think the HTC 8X is a pretty dope phone. I hope HTC is still around in the future to keep making attractive and solid smartphones. If so, I do think they need to add larger storage-capacity devices to the line-up. Other than that, I think we need devices like the 8X to stay in the market to give users a choice.