1. Stang68's Avatar

    Let me preface this review of the HTC 8X by saying I am currently an Android user. Im deeply invested in Googles ecosystem, using Gmail, Maps, Google Now, etc. in my daily life. My first smartphones were all Blackberrys (I waited on line for the Blackberry Storm!) After the Storm 2 left me feeling burned, I looked towards the sexy new Motorola Droid. Since then, Ive been an Android user and only an Android user (not counting my iPad). So what follows is a review of the 8X from a tech-lovers standpoint, but also an Android lovers standpoint. I was excited to see what Windows Phone 8 brings to the table along with the HTC 8X.

    Hardware on a phone is very important...and while that seems like an obvious thing to say youd be surprised by how many manufacturers drop the ball on the industrial design and feel of a device. Im happy to say HTC hit an absolute home-run with the 8X. The device is beautiful to look at and feels great in the hand. From the soft-touch backing to the slightly tapered edges on the glass, everything on this phone screams premium. I brought the 8X to work one day and everyone had to see it up close. The bold color of the device and its striking thinness caught their eyes prompting a little demo for everyone in the office.

    The speakers on the 8X didnt disappoint, either. They were loud and didnt distort that much at high volumes. The Beats software inside didnt kick in until headphones were plugged in, but once they were I enjoyed the audio very much. Im not an audiophile by any means but I know what sounds good and the 8X definitely does.

    Radio performance on the 8X was also very good. Most of the time the phone had a strong 4G LTE connection on Verizons network...something I cannot say for my Samsung. Having not had much experience with HTC connections, I was pleasantly surprised to see it hung in there with the likes of Motorola and LG. Verizons 4G LTE network was as solid as ever and made using the 8X a pleasure. I ran a few speed tests with the device over 4G LTE and the results were nothing short of exemplary. Tethering over a cellular network has become a real option thanks to the advent of 4G LTE. It really is apparent when your cell phone is getting better speeds than your home wifi!


    Great picture quality on a smartphone has really jumped up on the list of must-haves for me. Ever since owning a Galaxy Nexus, I realized how important a decent camera sensor in a phone is. The Galaxy Nexus to the Galaxy S3 was night and day. I love the camera on my GSIII so when I say I was very impressed with the camera on the 8X, it should mean a lot. Over the past year or so, HTC has really focused on imaging capabilities of its phones. Low-light performance was very good, one of the best of seen on a phone. Video was also very clear with great audio capture.




    At 4.3, the screen is the perfect size for one-handed use while staying functional for web-browsing and photo viewing. My Galaxy S3, while nice, can be too unwieldy at times for comfortable use...and I have rather large hands. With a resolution of 1280 x 720, the screen on the 8X is up to snuff with most other screens on the market today. Funny enough, the only screens it doesnt match (at least in resolution) are also made by HTC in the Droid DNA and the HTC One. But overall, the screen is vibrant with good color reproduction and good viewing angles. Basically, youre not going to see too many pixels on this thing...its a great window to the OS.

    Speaking of the OS...
    Windows Phone...the operating system vying for third place. The operating system tech blogs love but would rather not use as their day-to-day. Since Windows Phone released, I have been intrigued by its Live Tiles and the spartan, minimalist look to the OS. And I do mean minimal. Windows Phone 8 is the anti-iOS. Where the iPhone has stitched leather and brushed aluminum, Windows Phone has square boxes with bold, contrasting colors. Its a brave design decision, but does it pay off?

    Overall, yes, I like the look of Windows Phone 8 very much. It has such a clean, simplistic feel to it. Some may not like that, however, because the love to customize their devices home screen. On Windows Phone 8, you can change the color of the Live Tiles and their size. Thats it...thats where the customization ends on Windows Phone. Again, some may like that while others may not. Microsofts natively-built applications look great; they use the sliding Metro UI throughout the OS. Some really well-made third party apps also pull off the Metro UI very well. You can just see the edge of the next screen, prompting you to want to swipe over. Other operating systems like Android may not make the swipe gesture so clear. Another positive thing about Windows Phone is how smooth it is. All the animations are very fluid and never seem to slow down. The OS hummed along at a brisk pace and handled most of the tasks I threw at it.

    Once I dove into Windows Phone 8, though, not everything was so rosy. The thing most people say is keeping Window Phone down is the lack of third party applications. While the lack of apps in the Windows Store was frustrating to say the least (no Instagram, no Pandora, no actual YouTube app, no Gmail app...I can go on) the core operating system also had a whole slew of problems.

    Android easily has the best notification system on the market. A notification comes in at the top of the screen and then has an icon sit on the top left of the status bar. You can then drag down that notification shade to see all of your notifications. Its perfect, I never miss an email, a text, or an alert. But with Windows Phone, I would have no idea if I received a notification because there is no central area or aggregator. I said to myself, Thats crazy...there has to be a way to see all of my notifications. Well, I was wrong. It seems Microsoft was trying to build one but ran out of time. Seriously. For this reason alone, I cannot use Windows Phone 8 as a daily driver. I know, I know...there are notifications in the Live Tiles. But Im not always on my home screen and not all my Live Tiles are visible when I AM on the home screen.

    Besides the lack of a notification center, I also was not a huge fan of the Live Tiles *GASP*. I know...the main feature of Window Phone. I just could not get into it. While I love the look of the Tiles and the idea of the Tiles, I did not like using the Tiles. On my Android and iOS home screen, I can have any app I want just a tap away, either right on the home screen or in a folder right on the home screen. With Windows Phone, I either have to have the app as one of five Live Tiles or I end up scrolling endlessly. Windows Phone fans are probably going to hate me for this, but thats just my opinion. Maybe they love scrolling. (Sidenote: Scrolling on the home screen was way too slow for me).

    As a Gmail user, I knew going in the experience on Windows Phone would be less than optimal. Its a shame, really, that Microsoft and Google cannot play nice and develop a decent Gmail app. Instead, Windows Phone/Gmail users are given a sub-par experience that doesnt allow them to use labels or archiving. If I want any of that stuff I have to use Gmail in Internet Explorer.

    Speaking of Internet Explorer, the browsing experience on Windows Phone 8 was surprisingly pleasant! When one hears theyll be using Internet Explorer on their phone, terrible expectations fill their head. But instead I was given a very usable browser that handled most of the video I threw at it and suffered from just a small amount of rendering issues. I will say, though, it is still not as good as the browsers on iOS or Android. Sorry, guys.

    In the end, reviewing the HTC 8X was a two-sided experience for me. I loved the hardware, absolutely loved it. Its probably my favorite phone design and hardware to date. The software, on the other hand, left something to be desired. Im not saying anything groundbreaking by calling Windows Phone 8 a half-baked operation system. The animations and designs all look great but once you really dig deep into the OS, you see it just doesnt compete with iOS or Android...yet. Whether its the lack of third-party apps, being forced to use Bing Maps, or not having excellent Gmail integration, I just cannot use the 8X as a daily driver. But hey, slap Jelly Bean on that hardware and HTC will have a winner on their hands!
    02-27-2013 06:12 AM
  2. martinmc78's Avatar
    Overall pretty decent review - I do have one question though and one niggle.

    How can you find the scrolling on the start screen slow? In my current homescreen config (which changes weekly) I have 19 live tiles. 3 medium and 16 small. When compared to iOS and android your 20 main screen icons/folders take up the whole screen to get to more you have to swipe sideways wait for the refresh then continue. If youve got more screens each time you have to scroll sideways. Now i know the delay between screens is small, but it is a delay. The scrolling on WP is seamless with no delay - my homescreen strecthes down and contains a further 40 tiles of varying sizes and i can get to the bottom faster than my co-worker can get to his 3rd screen on his GS3.

    The way you worded the section about the live tiles is my niggle, it does sound like your saying you can pin anything to your startscreen in iOS and android but are only allowed 5 live tiles on the WP8 screen.
    Stang68 likes this.
    02-27-2013 06:58 AM
  3. Chregu's Avatar
    Sorry, but if I want to read a review from an obvious Android user ("Im deeply invested in Googles ecosystem, using Gmail, Maps, Google Now, etc. in my daily life.") then I can just read the Engadget article again...

    Anyway, a nice personal view.
    aximtreo and Stang68 like this.
    02-27-2013 07:11 AM
  4. rdifiori's Avatar
    why?
    Stang68 likes this.
    02-27-2013 07:57 AM
  5. Florin Anghel's Avatar
    Such a fail review from the POV of the OS. I can't agree with you, I just can't. I think you're too obsessed with the way Android works and you cannot see how WP8 works. It's incredibly fluid, no stutter, no LAG!, no spikes, no bloatware on phones from OEMS like custom launchers and all that. WP8 is so far better than Android, people should stop looking through the key hole to WP8 and just open the door and embrace it. It has flaws yes, it has, but you cannot say slap JB on HTC8X, that's outrageous.
    02-27-2013 08:41 AM
  6. martinmc78's Avatar
    In my opinion anyone with a fluffy white rat masquerading as a dog should not be taken seriously.
    irvin792 likes this.
    02-27-2013 09:02 AM
  7. irvin792's Avatar
    In my opinion anyone with a fluffy white rat masquerading as a dog should not be taken seriously.
    lmao made my day :P
    02-27-2013 09:16 AM
  8. Stang68's Avatar
    In my opinion anyone with a fluffy white rat masquerading as a dog should not be taken seriously.
    Aww...that makes puppy sad.

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
    Attached Thumbnails uploadfromtaptalk1361979093669.jpg  
    02-27-2013 09:32 AM
  9. Stang68's Avatar
    Such a fail review from the POV of the OS. I can't agree with you, I just can't. I think you're too obsessed with the way Android works and you cannot see how WP8 works. It's incredibly fluid, no stutter, no LAG!, no spikes, no bloatware on phones from OEMS like custom launchers and all that. WP8 is so far better than Android, people should stop looking through the key hole to WP8 and just open the door and embrace it. It has flaws yes, it has, but you cannot say slap JB on HTC8X, that's outrageous.
    Just my opinion vs your opinion. It's what makes the world to round, my friend!
    Last edited by Stang68; 03-06-2013 at 04:19 PM.
    02-27-2013 09:35 AM
  10. crystal_planet's Avatar
    And I forgot how easy it was to get under WP users' skin :p

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
    Meh. It is what it is. WP users know we are not coming from a position of strength, so when an invested user from another o/s makes a review it won't be unbiased. If I wrote a review on say the iPhone 5 I might complain about static icons, or lagging on some Android device.
    02-27-2013 10:00 AM
  11. jiayit's Avatar
    Threadjack but mini review from an iOS user's PoV.

    The lack of apps (games) is definitely a thorn that sticks out constantly. My friend would ask me to play x game with them (x = Candy Crush, 4 Pics 1 Word, etc), & I'd be like 'Oh, my OS doesn't have that game.' Then our conversation ends.

    Being a user of a jailbroken iPhone, I will still choose WP8's (limited) customizability over that of a widget-able iOS homescreen (Dashboard X). Never used Android so not much room for comparison here.

    Hardware wise, the tapered edges made my friend, who owns a Note II, think my phone is thinner than hers, and she described my phone as an 'absolute beauty'. I have the Blue 8X, and the first few days I kept telling her NO! THE BLUE IS NOT A CASE! IT'S THE PHONE! But she didn't believe me. (This is what happens when phone makers believe in monotone.) In the end I gave my phone to her and asked her to remove the 'case', only then did she believe.

    All in all, it's an amazing device, the camera is good (good macro = good camera, to me). Not an audiophile, so will not comment on music through headphone quality. Music through the speaker is another story. I can crank it up high and it'd still be undistorted. Not crazy-high though.

    Button placement, the lock button is 1) soooooo high up = need to move your hands when locking the device = chance of dropping 2) sooooooo un-tactile. It is flushed with the device, and I have to actually look at the screen to know whether I have successfully locked my device. Camera's 2-step button is GREAT. Vol buttons are ok although they're quite flush too.

    Viewing angles are CRAZY. FFC camera is awesome. Have yet to test low-light, but the flash is kinda weak.

    Yup, so there's my *very* abstract review of the 8X.

    And I absolutely have a love-hate r/s with the design of my phone. On one hand it's so sexy and thin, I can't bear to put it in a case. On the other hand, I'm afraid of dropping it & doing serious damage.
    02-27-2013 10:08 AM
  12. uselessrobot's Avatar
    I can concede a few of your points. Android offers more robust customization and greater control over the OS. That said, the experience is convoluted, visually inconsistent and occasionally unintuitive. Amongst the people I know with Android phones I've found that few beyond the technophiles every come close to exploiting the phones capabilities. It's got a ton of functionality, but usability is all over the place. It's something I experienced with my previous Android phone where I'd just get on my computer because doing it on the phone was just a bit too cumbersome.

    Admittedly, the newer phones are great. I've used both the HTC One and Nexus 4 and they're good phones. The OS is a lot smoother than it used to be and the Nexus is definitely better in that regard. But it's still not on par with Windows Phone. At this point I don't think even iOS is as fluid as WP. At least not on older devices. I've got iOS 6.1 on my iPad 2 and the home screen chokes for a moment every time I exit the browser or apps.

    And speaking of iOS, where that system excels is in it's straightforward simplicity. Apple has managed to retain that aspect though the years. That said, it's a flat experience. There's not much substance there. For all the talk about notifications, I feel like iOS's implementation is an afterthought and inferior to live tiles. The OS also has quite a few usability issues which I think go unnoticed by most merely because people have been using it for so long. People internalize workarounds to those problems and forget they even exist. So they come across a new OS with a new set of quirks and they're turned off. They equate familiarity with good design.

    I've never experienced an OS that provides as consistent and as seamless an experience as Windows Phone. And those are crucial attributes for which Windows Phones deserves a lot of credit. There are some issues of course, like the lack of a file browser. But that's the sort of thing that matters to power users. The lack of major apps is a much bigger problem and what renders the platform a hard sell to many consumers. I don't give a crap about Instagram, but many other people do. But beyond those problems, Windows Phone offers a much better experience to anything out there.
    02-27-2013 10:23 AM
  13. IceDree's Avatar
    Well , Its your opinion & I appreciate that you took the time & effort to test it probably , see if it fits your need & Then Write a review about it !

    As you said , To each have his\her opinion & may or may not like Windows Phone , it happens all time , Windows Phone is not everyone , just like how iOS & Android aren't for everyone !

    Personally , I came to Windows Phone 8 from Android after using it for 2 & half years (MileStone aka OG DROID & Atrix were my daily drivers & I Have a XOOM) , while I liked Android , I got tired & bored of it ! I didn't feel like my experience changed with it , it was the same to me , from Android 2.0 to he current JB , & they added a fresh coat of paint to cover it up (Holo) , So I had to leave before my boredom of Android turns into Hatred like Symbian (I had enough of it , I HATE IT ... used it for 9 F****ing years)

    Regarding Google & Their services :
    - I Don't use Gmail , I have been using HotMail since I was a kid , even in Android I used Hotmail ... The only reason I have a GMail is because I had to get one to use Android .
    - I Don't use maps , but I have noticed that Bing Maps is more accurate than Google Maps in my country .
    - I Stopped using Google Search a few months ago , after one of the updates they pushed they would NOT let me Clear or Disable my search History no manner how many time I tried to , so I started to use Bing search & I sticked with it since then & I gotta say I like it !
    - YouTube became a pain in my %$$# !!! ads everywhere ! & always a stupid VEVO Ad about the latest Lil Wayne , Justin bieber , nicki minaj video & they are always throwing "YouTube Recommends" at me ! always ! I just wanna check my subscriptions & leave !

    I like Windows Phone a lot , I have been keeping an eye on it since Microsoft introduced it back in 2010 & I finally decided to jump to WP last month !!! I sold my Atrix & got me a black 8X ! & I love it ! No Regrets or what so ever !


    You know how everyone says "I wish the 8X ran Android" Like You said ? Well , wish the RAZR , Desire HD , EVO 4G LTE , Xperia T\TX & Xperia Z ran Windows Phone ;)

    just my opinion ...
    02-27-2013 06:15 PM
  14. IceDree's Avatar
    BTW , Is that the new Chevrolet SS ?
    02-27-2013 06:16 PM
  15. Stang68's Avatar
    BTW , Is that the new Chevrolet SS ?
    Not entirely sure what it was...the car was just parked near my building so I thought I'd test out the camera!
    02-28-2013 01:21 AM
  16. rekkid's Avatar
    Personally , I came to Windows Phone 8 from Android after using it for 2 & half years (MileStone aka OG DROID & Atrix were my daily drivers & I Have a XOOM) , while I liked Android , I got tired & bored of it ! I didn't feel like my experience changed with it , it was the same to me , from Android 2.0 to he current JB , & they added a fresh coat of paint to cover it up (Holo) , So I had to leave before my boredom of Android turns into Hatred like Symbian (I had enough of it , I HATE IT ... used it for 9 F****ing years)
    I found the same with myself... I just got tired of android. 3 1/2 years... from 1.5 to 2.3 and even ICS. MetroUI just appeals to me... I'm a web designer and I've always loved clean minimal designs, that are structurally sound. I love the grid style... and was always intrigued with windows phone 7... almost jumped ship back then, but went with the Atrix 2.

    I think those that keep saying they are "deeply invested in google's ecosystem" or the "lack of apps" are turn off's or let downs, are just regurgitating old bias rhetoric from articles well past their prime, or from those that have vested interests in other systems.

    I've setup 3 gmail accounts (and just about every other account), stream my google music, pandora, DI.fm. Save articles/sites to evernote and pocket. sure there might not be some "official" apps for some services, but there most likely is a 3rd party "app for that!" And yes... there's no instagram... I did use it before, and have stopped... but I'm I sorry I bought the 8x and whine about it? nope... if you do... consider yourself blessed that your problems are all this small (not directed at OP... directed towards those that do whine for app support).

    For me, the 8x and wp8 are just wonderful. Now, I am probably less critical than others... I'm not expecting it to be my one device that I live my life through and clutch to it. I have other devices... ipads and android tablets, laptops. But for a device that is a mobile phone, a device that keeps me connected and in contact, a device for listening to music as I work/drive/workout, a device that can get me info that I need, when I need it, a device that can provide entertainment when I'm not in front of my TV or gaming on a console... it's great!
    IceDree likes this.
    02-28-2013 11:03 AM
  17. IceDree's Avatar
    Not entirely sure what it was...the car was just parked near my building so I thought I'd test out the camera!
    It look a lot like the NASCAR version of it , That's why I was asking :) The black one behind it is clearly a NASCAR version of the Toyota Camry ...
    02-28-2013 01:07 PM
  18. IceDree's Avatar
    I found the same with myself... I just got tired of android. 3 1/2 years... from 1.5 to 2.3 and even ICS. MetroUI just appeals to me... I'm a web designer and I've always loved clean minimal designs, that are structurally sound. I love the grid style... and was always intrigued with windows phone 7... almost jumped ship back then, but went with the Atrix 2.

    I think those that keep saying they are "deeply invested in google's ecosystem" or the "lack of apps" are turn off's or let downs, are just regurgitating old bias rhetoric from articles well past their prime, or from those that have vested interests in other systems.

    I've setup 3 gmail accounts (and just about every other account), stream my google music, pandora, DI.fm. Save articles/sites to evernote and pocket. sure there might not be some "official" apps for some services, but there most likely is a 3rd party "app for that!" And yes... there's no instagram... I did use it before, and have stopped... but I'm I sorry I bought the 8x and whine about it? nope... if you do... consider yourself blessed that your problems are all this small (not directed at OP... directed towards those that do whine for app support).

    For me, the 8x and wp8 are just wonderful. Now, I am probably less critical than others... I'm not expecting it to be my one device that I live my life through and clutch to it. I have other devices... ipads and android tablets, laptops. But for a device that is a mobile phone, a device that keeps me connected and in contact, a device for listening to music as I work/drive/workout, a device that can get me info that I need, when I need it, a device that can provide entertainment when I'm not in front of my TV or gaming on a console... it's great!

    Well Said !!!!

    Like you , I always liked WP7 & I was about to jump ship back then & I was going to buy an OG Atrix or an HD7 , I couldn't find an HD7 anywhere at all at the time , so I went with the Atrix .

    Yes , the Apps argument is getting old ! GSMarena use it in every single Windows Phone review since it launched , they just copy & paste it from one review to another (alongside "No File Manager" & "Lack Of Expendable Storage") !
    If you can't find the app you are looking , Im sure you can find an equivalent of it ! Regarding Instagram , I uploaded only one picture to & never used it again ! I prefer Twitter !

    I now use my 8X for everything , I browse the web , I save stuff to evernote , I listen to music on it , play games on it ... everything ! & I love the Email client in WP8 , Its the best I have used so far ! (I have 3 emails in it , HotMail , Live & GMail ! I was too lazy to my Yahoo one lol)
    02-28-2013 01:28 PM

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