Excellent Phone With Some Temporary and Some Permanent Issues December 3, 2012
Reviewer: A. Westlund
To start with, I purchased this phone through a 2-year contract extension with AT&T. I have been using it extensively for approximately 3 weeks.
* HTC made sure to equip this phone with hardware that can handle very heavy use. Windows 8 itself runs extremely smooth with no hangup opening apps or browsing the web, even while listening to music. The camera is very responsive and snaps pictures without any delay (this has been an issue that I've had with most of the camera phones I've used).
* Windows 8 has incorporated a lot of the Zune user interface as their music player. I found it to be very intuitive when it was on the Zune and it has held up well here.
* Live Tiles are just plain great. There aren't a ton of apps that utilize it yet (more about this later), but the ones that do increase the functionality of the home page exponentially. Just after unlocking my phone, I'm looking at a scroll of what music is playing, a large clock, the weather, a preview of text messages, how many emails I have in my work and Gmail accounts, a constantly scrolling grid of my LinkedIn and Facebook friend photos and the top-billed movie in the box office. And that's before I have even scrolled to the rest of my "start" page. I suspect that the OS will not be for everyone, so I recommend that you play with it in the store before buying it. But in my opinion, the experience is much more appropriate to a phone-sized screen than iOS or Android. To me they seem like a shoehorned version of Windows or Mac OS desktops, whereas Windows 8 feels designed to take advantage of the small device size.
* The screen is bright and clear. Movies and pictures are crisp and the sound quality is what I've come to expect from HTC devices.
* The 4G LTE connection in Boston, at least, is quite fast. The Internet Explorer browser included in the base UI is quick and spare.
* YOU CAN REMOVE ALL THE BLOATWARE, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!! Just uninstall and it's gone forever. Finally.
* There is no memory expansion. 16 GB is not a lot, especially for a device meant to be used as a media player. Microsoft is hoping that you'll use the Sky Drive to store media and stream it, but unfortunately many of us are still unable to get unlimited data plans (I'm looking at you AT&T).
* The app selection is painfully small. Smaller even than Windows 7 as many of those apps require modifications in order to work on Windows 8. Now, I'm actually fairly confident that Microsoft is committed to working with developers to expand the selection quickly. However, if you use Instagram, Pandora, Google Maps or many of the most popular apps, make sure you're OK with waiting to get them or that you see an app in the Microsoft Market that reasonably replaces it. To me, Google Maps is the biggest loss. Bing just doesn't have the depth of data that Google does and the navigation features are not comparable.
* Related to above, most of the functionality of the phone will require you to have a Windows Live account. If you are used to having everything tied to your Google account, it will require some adjustment. But it was actually fairly minor to acclimate myself to the change and having automated backup of my contacts and photos is actually rather convenient.
* The camera photos aren't amazing. I've certainly seen much better on the iPhone and several Android devices. You'll want to shoot some photos in the store to see if it meets your personal taste on the quality.
To wrap up, Windows 8 is still in it's infancy. I knew this going in as an early user of the phone, so I don't have a problem with the minor kinks. I think I would give the phone a 5-star rating if it weren't for the limited app library. However, unless you are planning to upgrade to a premier data plan, the 16 GB storage capacity could be a deal breaker.
Looks and feels great. February 16, 2013
Reviewer: anakin78z (Los Angeles, CA) -
The best thing, hands down, about this phone is the feel of it in your hand. HTC has done an amazing job getting just the right finish on it, and this thin and slender phone feels amazing when you hold it. The pictures don't do it justice. I also really like that it comes in color, rather than the same old grey and white (I have the blue).
It's a solid performer and WP8 runs very well on it. I had some issues with audio cutting out, though that may have been the Audible app. The cameras are good, but not great. They perform excellent in outdoor lighting, but low light photos don't tend to come out great. The front facing camera has a neat feature: wide angle. This is a really great idea and something that will likely find its way to every other smartphone in the future. It just makes sense... when skyping or taking a picture of yourself and your friends, you just get a lot more in the picture.
Overall I like this phone a lot more than I thought I might, and I guess that says it all.
This design puts apple and android phones to shame February 11, 2013
I've been using my 8X for several weeks now and I continue to be impressed with its design every time that I pick it up.
I've had a couple android phones and a windows phone in the past, but the 8X just seems years ahead of those and even my friends' iphone 5 and galaxy s3 phones.
The apple and android phones out on the market right now just feel like big boxy volvos compared to this buttery smooth, svelte 8X. It may seem strange that the 8X feels so much better in the hand than other phones even though its dimensions are right in line with all the top smartphones, but here's why:
(1) The grippy back of the phone is tapered which may seem trivial, but it makes the phone feel tight and look razor-thin.
(2) The glass flows right into the housing to the point that you can't feel the seam where the glass stops and the housing starts. I love this.
(3) The combination of the grippy back and the gorilla glass 2 screen means you don't need a case. I don't care how thin other smartphones claim to be. Their exterior housings always look pretty, but also like magnets for scratches and slip-out-of-your-pocket crashes and cracks. As such, those other smartphones are only as thin as their dimensions ADDED TO the dimensions of the after-market cases you put on to protect them.
The third point bears repeating. I've become less interested in after-market cases over the years, but the 8X convinced me to not buy one, at all. The back is grippy enough that I don't feel the need to buy a rubbery case to prevent it from slipping out of my pocket. Additionally, it seems like every case I've ever bought ends up being a false promise. You want to buy a case to protect your phone, but unless you pop it off every night to clean out lint (which will lead to early case failure) that same lint and dust in your pocket builds up over time and rubs the finish off your phone- the very finish you were trying to protect! Using the 8X without a case feels so right.
The only possible gripes I've heard about the design are the right-angled corners (which could feel pointy if you insist on holding your phone with a death-grip; they feel fine to me) and the rounded back (which makes the phone rock back and forth if you lay it down on a desk to type a lot; I hold the phone in my hand and don't see why you'd type otherwise.)
The display is excellent. Sure, the pixel density is higher than the iphone5 or the galaxysiii, but the combination of microsoft's typography choices and the display make the whole reading experience fantastic.
The camera is as good as my point and shoot and the wide-angle front facing camera is a nice bonus when you can't find a friendly stranger to take a quick family photo.
There's not much to say about the processor. It's on par with all the other smartphones out there and when combined with the windows phone OS, there's not much I can throw at it to cause an error. Wifi connectivity is great and the phone finds and holds connections better than my previous phones.
The nearly-flush and color-matched power, volume, and shutter buttons are a nice touch and work great. The speaker and headphone are quality, though I'm no audiophile so the beats integration is lost on me.
The battery life is excellent, though I've found this to be the case with most windows phones. I just don't even think about plugging in until right before bedtime. I vividly recall unplugging my android phone, taking it to work, plugging it in all day, and then barely being able to make it through chores around the house without its battery level circling the drain.
My only complaints about the phone are the lack of an FM radio and microSD card slot. I would love to be able to take the onboard 16GB of memory up to 80GB with a card, but even with a bunch of photos, a good collection of music and, a long roster of podcasts constantly stacking up, I still have 5GB free. FM radio can be solved with apps like TuneIn, but I rarely use it, so FM is more of a nice-to-have than a need-to-have for me.
Buy it in one of the great colors they offer it in and be the envy of your friends.
wow!!!! February 18, 2013
Reviewer: soccerfan149 "soccerfan149" (dover, de USA) -
finally convinced my wife to upgrade to a smartphone which i had narrowed down to a droid razor m ($50 cheaper @ verizon) or this htc windows phone 8x. still using a droid x2 myself after a couple of yrs i was leaning towards the droid for her as well but she really liked the windows 8 interface which she felt would b easier to use/learn after initially playing w/ the demo in the store. she also liked the feel of the phone in her smaller hands even though it is a little bigger than the droid razor m. to our mutual surprise she has pretty much mastered the use of this htc phone in <24 hrs & is REALLY pleased with it!! the supposed lack of apps (compared to google/apple) hasnt been an issue as we've been able to get all the apps that she would want -
. games (solitaire, angry birds etc)
. photobucket (photo uploading)
. gps navigation apps - "nokea drive+ beta" turn by turn gps navigation (FREE!) so far has been every bit as good as my droid/google navaigation (the toll free option is a nice unexpected feature) as well as bing maps (incl "local scout" to identify local restaurants etc) & gmaps
. gas buddy
The alarm, email & camera (both ft & rr) all work well & were easy to learn. finally the free "internet sharing" (which i currently accomplish w/ pdanet & foxfi on my droid) was a pleasant surprise (per verizon there is no addl tethering charge for this feature on the "share everything plan" other than potentially having to purchase more bandwidth). the wireless charging is another great feature although we were happy to realize that the phone uses the same micro usb cable connection that we were both sharing previously so no need to purchase new adapters for the car or when we r away - say at a hotel (i cant see us bringing the wireless charger when we travel).
really - about the only con so far (again its only been a day) was that the "speech" ("voice command" in droid) feature which didnt appear to work on all apps (as it does on my droid) although she was happy enough that it worked w/ search, texting & email.
bottom line: windows 8 & htc deliver on this phone!
Well Designed and Captivating February 10, 2013
In this review, I'm going to focus as exclusively on the hardware as possible, only venturing into software where HTC's exclusive WP apps are concerned.
This phone first met with complete skepticism from me, a previously very happy TITAN owner. The screen was far smaller and the storage no bigger than the phone I already had. When I finally had a chance to use the device and eventually own it however, that changed entirely.
The design is absolutely impeccable, and what I have come to expect from HTC. Pure machined precision, in comfortable soft touch material, with the curved glass screen sloping to meet the body at the edges. I know the lack of removable batteries is somewhat of a lightning rod issue, but I found the unibody construction of the phone made it feel more solid in my hand and gave me more peace of mind. One issue I did find with this curved glass is that it curves away so sharply that a screen protector is left with a somewhat unsightly line where it's not stuck on all around the edge.
The coloring schemes are quite nice and brilliant, and they give a good sense of personality to the phone, matched by equally vivid tiles when the phone is on.
The cameras on the device are arguably one of the best experiences. The main camera takes great pictures in daylight, and manages in low-light situation with a flash that is very quick, timed well with the relatively quick shutter. I would have liked to see more image stabilization and low-light optimization with regards to white balance and ISO, instead of me having to manually adjust them to try and maximize my shot in dark situations. The front facing camera was very impressive, with the wide angle lens really allowing me to either pack in more friends or get more surrounding scenery in as well. Before you dismiss it as a gimmick, I must say that getting the Capitol in the shot with a few friends around me at the Inauguration wouldn't have been possible if it were not for this phone.
The Beats audio was an interesting addition. Unfortunately, due to Microsoft restrictions on the device, there is no physical amplifier in the phone, rather, just a bunch of software tweaks to make things sound louder and in more surround sound. The speaker's performance is pretty good, but it's placement allows it to be muffled by a surface on accident pretty easily.
Call quality was great all around, with both the earpiece and speaker deliver loud and clear voice, with very little interference, and good results were reported by the other party as well.
The hardware buttons are great except that the power button is a little too far back and recessed and somewhat hard to press.
Battery life is great, and this is where the WP optimizations really show. I am getting a solid full day and a half every day with no signs of slowing down after a few months of solid use. Every day I listen to podcasts for at least 3 hours, with heavy web usage, app usage, and background tasks all day. My day starts at 8 and I end at 9 with about 46% left on average. That's incredible.
Finally, I'll go over HTC's exclusive apps experience. This is one area where the experience stumbles somewhat. They bolstered it on this device by adding an HTC clock tile that delivers the trademark HTC clock in the form of a live tile that adds live weather info and location. Clicking on it takes you to what was previously the HTC hub, which provides stocks, weather and news. All are great experiences, and the HTC hub is my primary source for stocks and weather, but the news experience is lacking compared to a good RSS reader. The exclusive apps are rather sparse, especially when compared to the leader in this aspect, Nokia. HTC not only has a long way to go in making unique apps that differentiate and add value, but also getting exclusive deals on third party apps like Nokia.
Overall, an incredible device that soundly beat my expectations of it, and another proud addition to my HTC collection. I look forward to seeing what their next phone is for WP with great anticipation.
A great device in need of great apps. February 9, 2013
HTC's 8X represents the best hardware to grace a Microsoft OS since the groundbreaking HTC HD2 way back in 2010. It's Snapdragon S4 processor never lags and does everything with alarmingly quick speed. Multitasking was done pretty easily and it never skipped a beat.
One of my favorite features was the front facing camera. I've never been a fan of them as more often then not, they are of a terrible quality and only work as video-calling camera. Pictures with both cameras were so crisp and clean that they easily impressed most people who saw it in action. Hardware-wise, it's one of the best phones out there, not just the best Windows Phone device.
Speaking of the OS, that is the glaring weak spot. Not so much the operating system itself as I was very impressed by it. The lack of apps is a HUGE issue. When super popular apps like instagram, Spotify, TuneIn and others aren't available, it makes it hard for veteran smartphone users to migrate completely from Android or iOS. That is the part that pains me to say. If not for that, I would even consider the 8x a better device then my own One X. Sadly, the lack of apps sinks it.
It's an amazing device but I feel it would be better if it had Android in it.
Beautiful Phone! February 10, 2013
Reviewer: Sean (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada) -
While very functional and capable, this phone's biggest claim to fame is it's amazing design. I have never held a phone that is it's equal.
Sound quality is really good on this phone. While I think the beats thing is a bit gimmicky, it doesn't change the fact that of the 4 smartphones I've had over the years (and media players) this cranks out the loudest, and clearest sound. That includes call quality too! (it is phone after all). If sound quality is important to you, take this phone very seriously.
Front facing camera is the best on the market bar none. Rear facing camera is very good too, but not quite as good some others I've used (though pretty darn close).
Screen is just the right size for me (though some may find 4.3" too big). Screen is what you would expect from top-tier smartphone and is one of the best from a color accuracy/brightness/glare perspective. The resolution is plenty high, giving this a great crisp display (though not retina, I can't notice the difference even when holding it right up to my face - I did this with an iPhone4s).
I love the shape and feel of the phone, it fits so nice in my hand, and in my pocket since it has a nice slim tapered body. The color is very eye catching (mine is the blue one) and EVERYONE I know comments on how striking it is.
Battery is average. Easily gets through the whole day for me, though not 2.
I don't use a case (doesn't really need one because of the gorilla glass on the front and whatever you call that grippy material on the back). Had it for about a month now and it's actually taken a few mild tumbles onto the floor (tile). Not even a scratch on it so I'm pretty impressed so far (though I'm sure things would be different if it landed on concrete).
If you're considering this phone, all you need to do is hold one in a store and you'll probably like it.
MY ONE GRIPE:
Windows Phone 8 aside (it's still maturing), this phone has all the bells & whistlers save one important one for me - a microSD slot. It's true that with cloud storage it's not as important to me as it used to be, but I still miss having one.
Windows Phone 8 is very very easy to use and pretty intuitive, it does offer more out of the box than Android/iPhone IMHO, but still has to catch up in the app department. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I would challenge anyone to actually use it before dismissing it as you will probably be pleasantly surprised on how nice WP8 is to use - as someone who has had iOS & android stuff, I was quite impressed and look forward to seeing how the OS progresses. I will say that there are one or two apps I do miss from Android (my previous phone)
Great feeling Windows Phone, but a bit pricey February 8, 2013
Reviewer: S. Paruchuri
I've had my Windows Phone 8X since just after Thanksgiving. I was really excited to get it because it was so much lighter than the Lumia 920, and just felt better in my hand.
My initial impression is that the phone feels _tall_. I put it side by side with an iPhone 5 and it's actually just barely taller, which makes me think it's just the narrowness of it relative to all the Nokias that makes it look so tall. The only downside to the height is that the lock screen button is still on the top right corner, so it can be a bit far to reach.
The body is a lovely soft touch coating, in a color I have affectionately named 'blurple', but HTC calls 'California Blue'. I love when a manufacturer takes the extra initiative, and having the matching earpiece color and even the OS color is really impressive. My only real complaints are that the buttons are so subtle along the sides that it can sometimes be hard to really push them- especially the lock screen which can be a bit of a reach for small hands.
Inside, the 8X is blessed by pretty much the best Qualcomm hardware on the market. It's wicked fast, never lags, and the OS is gorgeous when rendered on the vivid LCD screen.
The only real reasons I've taken away a star are: high-ish price (with a Lumia 920 32gb running just 99, it's hard to compete), the hard to push lock button, and the fact that the soft touch on my corners has begun to wear down a little bit.
I think this is a fantastic phone that you'd be much happier owning than literally ANY Android phone on the market.
Loved my Win 7 phone and love this one even more January 17, 2013
Reviewer: Douglas Bowker "Music Fan" (Salem, MA) -
What few complaints I had with my Win 7.5 phone are gone with this one. Great screen, nice feel, excellent performance and improved on the already elegant interface.
Makes all my friends Apple phones look seriously passe, which might be the best feature of all.
Solid & Sexy Smartphone February 15, 2013
Reviewer: Luke John Edward Moritz (Fresno, California United States) -
First of all, you've probably never held a Smart Phone that feels this good in your hands. It was designed to fit perfectly in the human hand and the build quality is great. The color selection is fun, and my California Blue gets a lot of compliments when people see it.
One of my favorite features of the phone is the wide-angle front-facing camera. I've never liked using front facing cameras before, because pictures are always way to close in. The camera on this phone gets everything in the picture, and picture quality is wonderful.
My phone has 16GB of storage, and it is going to be plenty, not worried about filling it up at all.
With all the tech that is loaded into this phone, it is surprisingly light, and even though the battery life, screen, and processor are all better than my last phone, it is much lighter. When I first started using it, I had to get used to the fact that my phone was in my pocket, even though it didn't feel like it.
Screen quality is one of the best you can find, with a very high resolution, great color, and bright enough to use outside during the daytime.
My favorite Windows Phone ever January 8, 2013
Reviewer: Pablo F. Fernicola
I had a Samsung Focus before, and was ready to buy the new Nokia phone, when I came across the HTC 8X. I love the form factor, the color, and battery life. For my hands, it fits and feels better than the Nokia phones (they feel a bit too large). I also love the Windows 8 Phone experience.
The only drawbacks so far:
- cant replace the battery (dont think you can on the Nokia either)
- no radio (as in AM/FM, like the Samsung Focus), although I read rumors on the web that this could be enabled later
Excellent phone in Windows 8 Space May 18, 2013
Reviewer: rpv (CA) -
HTC 8X is definitely a incredible design and ergonomic. Windows 8 apps are a welcome change from iOS. Among the three ecosystems, I prefer Android, Windows 8, and iOS in that order. I got access to few Windows 8 phones to review. I will try to review them, but since I have not used for a period longer than a month I am not reviewing for reliability. 4.3" Super LCD 2, 720x1280 resolution, 342 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Glass 2 is overlooked. Glass 3 is in the making and supposed to be even better. Stating following because this is highly underrated in reviews. From Corning's Gorilla Glass specs; WHAT MAKES GORILLA GLASS SO DAMAGE RESISTANT? The unique composition of Gorilla Glass allows for a deep layer of high compressive stress (created through an ion-exchange process). This compression acts as a sort of "armor," making the glass exceptionally tough and damage resistant. Ion exchange is a chemical strengthening process where large ions are "stuffed" into the glass surface, creating a state of compression. Gorilla Glass is specially designed to maximize this behavior.
1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Krait processor, 16 GB internal flash, 1 GB RAM NO microSD slot! Battery is 1800 mAh Li-ion battery. Compared to a high end Android Galaxy Note II, which has a battery of 3100 mAh Battery. Battery is also not removable. __Not having a storage expansion slot is a bummer for lot of people! Not being able to remove battery is a double bummer.__ 8 MP camera is awesome, and HD videos were fantastic. For me, storage expansion and removal of battery is very important, so I was disappointed. This is the downside the unibody design. This is the reason for me giving a 4 star review.
I have used in the past extensively HTC Titan I and II which is pre Windows 8 (7.5) and I was surprised it has become more buttery smooth now. Apps are very smooth on 8X even compared to Nokia Lumia series. Apps are limited in Windows 8 marketplace. Yes, we have heard this a gazillion times. I tried with Navigon which turned out to be great in giving voice directions.
Engadget wrote after the release: "Yes, the 8X is a fantastic ambassador to Windows Phone 8, but after using it for several days, we're longing for a similar phone from HTC running Android -- at least until a stronger app ecosystem develops for Microsoft's latest mobile OS" This is a chicken and egg situation. Unless more phones are sold, developers don't have incentives to write apps. Apps are less now, because people are not buying in big droves. Windows Phone is now (early-mid 2013) the third-leading mobile phone platform, more than tripling its market share year-over-year. One recent report I read Android and iOS are ahead in games with 162.1 and 37.4 million shipments in 1Q13 and Windows phone came in 7 million. This is more than double from previous year. I really hope for Windows 8 platform to surge ahead because having a 3 way competition with iOS and Android is good for the ecosystem.