But the 8X has tapered edges giving it a good grip and making it feel as slim as both the Apple and Samsung flagships.
The phone isn't especially light but it sits evenly in the hand and the polycarbonate makes the hard plastic finish of the SIII and HTC's own One X feel cheap and slippery by comparison. Only the iPhone beats it in terms of design quality.
The physical buttons on the 8X — the power button on the top and the rocker and camera switches on the side — as well as the camera and flash are all flush with the body giving the phone a smooth profile whatever the viewing angle and HTC has reverted to placing the micro USB port on the phone's base rather on the side as with the One series. Our review phone came in California Blue and the 8X will also be available in black, red and yellow.
The phone is sealed so there's no access to the 1,mAh battery but we had no issues here getting a full day of high usage out of it in contrast to the One X which was a great phone badly let down by its battery life.
What will almost certainly be an issue, though, is that the 8X comes with only 16GB of storage on board and no microSD slot Windows Phone 8 does not support this. HTC points to the free 7GB of Skydrive storage giving an 8X user the ability to stream music to the device ignoring the reality for most of us who spend much of our lives outside 3G or WiFi zones.
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It opens apps, renders web pages and fires up the camera at near light speed compared to, say, the Nokia Lumia or even an iPhone 4S which was no slouch in its day. Colours are rendered accurately and, even zoomed in, details are sharp and clear. Glare does not appear to be a problem and we were able to use the phone even in strong direct sunlight. The pictures are incredibly good for a point and shoot device whether close up or at a distance. Depth of field is good as is colour reproduction with sharp, accurately rendered colours that veer more towards under rather than oversaturation.
Close-up, the macro performance is stunning with great detail reproduction even in low light. Video capture is also up there with the best in class delivering p at 30fps with a noticeable lack of wind noise and very speedy processing. On the front, HTC has introduced a 2. With Phone 8 development, Microsoft has gone down the Apple route opting to nip and tuck rather than radically overhaul the OS. Those of us who desperately want to see a proper Twitter app or Dropbox on a Windows phone are likely to be still waiting months from now.
First introduced with its One series, HTC has included Beats audio technology with the 8X delivering an amazing depth and range of sound on even the cheapest in-ear earphones. But the inclusion of such an amazing sound system only serves to make the decision to limit on-board storage to 16GB appear even more bizarre. What truly differentiates a Windows device from all the media-centric phones out there is its Office integration.
HTC Windows Phone 8X
For those of us who occasionally use a phone to grab a picture or a thought and share it with a desktop or tablet, the OneNote integration is fantastic and for the productivity minded this could be the deal sealer. Microsoft is now bundling Nokia maps with all of its phones so you can download maps for most of the world and use them offline.
This is a stroke of genius but one really does wonder what Nokia was thinking about when it decided to give away what was probably its last remaining USP. From the days of anonymity when it made Windows phones for others, it rode the crest of the Android wave when Google's platform launched becoming, pretty much, the Android handset OEM of choice. And then Samsung happened. HTC's offerings appeared to dip and even the pretty fantastic One X — struggled to make inroads against the seemingly unstoppable Galaxy line, currently led by the superb Galaxy S3.
HTC was up there at the starting block when Microsoft launched Windows Phone a couple of years back, and although it's competing with Samsung in this arena too — and its offerings haven't been what one would call "amazing" — HTC is clearly trying to make its voice heard.
And what better way to do that with some pretty bright colours and a newer version of Windows Phone that the world's been waiting for for months? The HTC 8X comes in a range of colours - from muted black, to respectable red, to an elegant purple and a, quite frankly, hideous lollipop-lady yellow hue. We were sent the purple model and it's a beauty. There had been rumours that the red would be reserved for Verizon users in the US — but it looks like the rest of world is now getting it too.
First thing we noticed is how thin the HTC 8X is. Not so much an amazing feat of engineering, but a clever trick. With dimensions of But it's thinner round the edges to give the impression it's more svelte than it actually is.
HTC Windows Phone 8X review | Expert Reviews
Not that this matters because it looks and feels thin most of the time and the slight curve around the back means it sits well, both on a surface and in the hand. In fact, in the hand, it looks the same size as the HTC One X, despite the appearance given in our picture above. Add to that the material the HTC 8X is made of — polycarbonate, like the One X — and you instantly have in your mitts a handset that feels like a real premium device.
It's a unibody design so it's all nice and neat win but at the expense of a memory slot and replaceable battery fail. The front of the HTC 8X is taken up by the display.
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The screen just looks like it's been stuck on top of the phone and adds to that premium feel. There's also a splash of colour around the earpiece to remind you that the two are linked. Next to this, you'll find the front-facing wide-angled camera, and the three Windows Phone softkeys at the bottom — back, search and menu.