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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  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Eh many Android phones these days are sold without 4.x unfortuantely, especially in the lower end / prepaid / unlocked lower priced phones out there.
  • deathgod - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    And people buying those phones won't really benefit or care about having the latest version of the OS. They just want a phone that meets their needs. That's like me buying a iPhone 3GS today and expecting it to have all the features and performance of a 5.

    Based on the sales of Android handsets the majority of people that have a problem with fragmentation are tech authors. I don't see many people buying cheap Android phones and complaining about not having JB.
  • drumhellar - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    In the article, you seem to be suggesting that WP 7.5 didn't allow you to group contacts, and that was a new feature with 8. However, that's incorrect. WP 7 does allow you to group contacts (and send messages to groups, and all the other things you can do with groups).
  • Reikon - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    "but Google users will only have to sacrifice some of their apps"

    Um... how having to sacrifice all of our apps for heavy Google users? There are no Google apps on WP except useless search.
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Until I see that windows phone has the same or equivalent apps that I use all the time on my android phone I can't make the switch. I'm also really tied into the google ecosystem, drive, docs, gmail, etc but I guess I could switch to MS equivalents.
  • N4g4rok - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Out of curiosity, What apps in particular?

    The switch from Google to Skydrive is somewhat easy to manage. I don't remember how much Google Drive lets you store for free, but Skydrive will give you 7GB and a good way to create/manipulate office documents. Other than the differences is storage space and access methods (which is kind of a big deal), everything else will feel right at home.
  • whickywhickyjim - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I find it very annoying that the tiles + applications screens do not tilt. Also, live tiles should be way more customizable with colors display options. The lack of these things are just lazy.
  • stanwood - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I love my 8X. Happy to have left iOS behind since I do not use Mac elsewhere. And the integration with Windows 8 is great for Music, SkyDrive, OneNote, etc. Love the custom tile placement and good multi-tasking support.

    Main complaints on phone: autofocus not as predictable (improved with recent firmware update), button placement is optimal for one-handed grip in left hand. but I like to use my right. I still hit the Search and Back buttons by accident all the time. I think Apple got this one right. One button to rule them all please.

    On the OS, the only thing I've missed is taking contact info from map search and pulling it into my contacts.
  • Bobs_Your_Uncle - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - link

    "IT" being basically whatever it is you choose to rock, or carry, or sport,,...uh...use?

    Many strongly held opinions & preferences very passionately expressed. What it ultimately comes down to is the choice YOU get to make to do your own thing.

    Thanks, Dustin, for a very well written op-ed explaining that which you appreciate in the WP8 platform while, at the same time, acknowledging & expressing appreciation for the respective strengths of all the various major platforms.

    Should someone wish to take delight in berating a given platform, taking glee in it's struggles & hoping for it's failure, that is indeed that persons privilege. It's unfortunately a very negative approach to take toward making one's way through life from day to day, but it is one's privilege none-the-less.

    I would view the failure of any platform provider with regret, as more available options usually provides very tangible benefits for all consumers, in addition to stimulating innovation through competition.

    Again, thanks to Dustin & to all of the AnandTech Anointed for providing exceptional journalistic content on the tech that touches our daily lives. And for being ethical, honest & positive in your approach.

    (If I want negative, agenda driven, duplicitous & disingenuous B.S. I'll simply turn the T.V. on to ...... oh, any number of options.)
  • sunflowerfly - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - link

    As an iPhone user that also hates iTunes simply refuse to use it. iOS works just fine from iCloud, and Apple is actively moving it further that direction with every update. I actually think a pc without iTunes, but with the iCloud Control Panel works better than a real Mac.

    Overall a great article, I am bullish on Windows phone as well. I gave my 74 year old mom a Windows Phone 7.5 on T-Mobile, and after a short learning curve she loved it. We only sold it when it was apparent that 7.5 had no future. She gets along with one of our old iPhone 4's just fine today.

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