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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  • yankeeDDL - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Wow. This is the first time in ... what, 7? 8 years? ... since I read AnandTech, that I am disappointed about a review.
    I mean, what is this? Really? "A bit more editorial?" Is this a polite way to say that "objectivity" stays out of the door?
    Come on: the whole idea of a smartphone is to be able to use whatever app will increase its usefulness, productivity, or fun.
    If you need a phone to make phone calls and update Facebook you don't need a "smart"phone, or at least not one that sets you back $450!
    Yes, the lackluster app store is a chicken and egg problem: if you don't buy a phone devs won't have incentives to develop apps and it'll never work.
    But has anyone looked at the Windows Phone store? Top photo app "Photofunia"? Seriously?
    Top free game: "Ragdoll run"?
    Come on, I have tons of fun free games from my kids on my Android to keep them entertained when we travel. I have several books to read on the go (I prefer a larger phone than having to bring a phone and a tablet ... but that's just me).

    Personally, I would love to see some key benefit of using Windows' platform (screen expansion, live VNC, remote execution, ...), but rather than leveraging on existing Windows desktop ecosystem, Microsoft has created a the Windows Phone platform from scratch, and what's worse, is that it is showing it down the desktop as well, killing what it had already going.
  • JPDVM2014 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    So, you are saying that since the top free apps in two categories are something you don't think are fun or worthwhile, that this review is disappointing? Also, I believe that "editorial" does mean a certain amount of objectivity goes away. It is a personal opinion after all. I use a WP, and have tons of free games, and books to read on the go, so it must be just as good as android, right?
  • yankeeDDL - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    No, I am not. I didn't want to bother listing all the top free apps on every single category, but I mentioned two that go a long way in Android and iOS in terms of popularity (Instagram? CameraZoon? PaperPhoto?).
    Instagram is a (was a?) booming social app for crying out loud.
    But again, I only wanted to say that the apps market is a deserted land, IMHO.
    That doesn't mean that someone can't find what is looking for but still, that does not change the fact that the offer/quality is abysmal compared to Andoid and iOS.
    For me this is an enormous deal.
    The article didn't even mention that Google went as far as negating WP support for most of his Apps, at least for now.
    I don't know you but I normally buy a phone planning to use it for 3~4 years or more: the thought of being locked into a sub-par apps market when there are two glaring alternatives seems a no brainer to me.

    Which goes back to my comment: I am sure there are plenty of people that prefer to use their smartphone more like a "dumb phone". Snap shome photo, call people and that's about it. Then I really don't see WP8 having any real limitations, but would it be worth the price? I say no, and that's my opinion.
  • DukeN - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I probably use Gmail and Google Maps the most out of just about any set of apps.

    How is the experience on WP8?

    (assuming the standard apps like ScoreMobile, Netflix, Kijiji, are available..)
  • s44 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Not so great, mostly because Google isn't interested in boosting WP8.

    El Goog is cutting off the Exchange connector for new devices of non-paying Gmail users this week, so you won't get push until/unless MS implements IMAP idle (probably in another OS release that requires entirely new phones)...

    As for Maps, there's no official app, and mobile IE doesn't play terribly well with the mobile site (Microsoft proprietary vs. Webkit).
  • zilexa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Thanks for this article, very nice and pleasant to read.
    I fell in love with the Lumia 920. But its rocky release was bad.. and availability was worse. Now it's finally in stores and I tested one in the store. Way too big. I don't mind the weight, optical stabilization is actually an outcome for me so the extra weight is the price you pay.
    But overall it's huge.

    if there was a smaller version with the same high end features, would be a big hit.
    Not like the 820, it's just lacks the good looks (I even think its ugly) and has a bad resolution: screen too big for such a resolution, definitely for a 2013 phone, which it is!
  • prdola0 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I have to say it again - why does Apple very time get shiny nice photos of their products and EVERYONE else is getting these terrible, crappy pictures like the one in the articles overview and in the article? This phone looks really nice in reality. Even small tech websites have better and higher quality pictures without all that dirt and fingerprints. Why not you?

    I've been trying to be polite, but never got an answer before. But now I have to say it straight - Anandtech is BIASED.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Actually, it's a much more mundane and probably disappointing answer for you.

    Anand has the space and the equipment to take stellar photos, and he's the one that usually reviews the Apple products. I don't (though I do need to buy a new backdrop, admittedly).
  • prdola0 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Well then it is biased. Since one vendor gets in fact better treatment, it's quite unfair for the others, even if unintended. Why not send the gear to Anand for taking pictures after you're done with the review?
  • crispbp04 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I'm confused on the part talking about not supporting multiple calendars. I have multiple calendars working just fine. Facebook, Live, Exchange, and all integrate fine and I can pick and choose my calendars. Maybe it's a limitation of google calendars? It could be due to a 3rd party and not the fault of msft.

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