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HTC Windows Phone 8X review

The HTC 8X is the signature Windows Phone 8 device, but is it any good?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • Elegant, latest WP8 OS
  • Unibody polycarbonate design
  • Fantastic contacts integration

Against

  • No removable battery
  • No expandable memory
  • Rubbish multiple calendar support
  • Mediocre battery life

A splash of colour, Microsoft's latest mobile platform and a sleek new body are combined with more powerful hardware - is the 8X the phone to bring Windows Phone 8 to the masses?

HTC's been in a bit of a weird position these last few years. 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 Windows Phone 8 review

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?

HTC 8X review

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.

HTC 8X review

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 132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1mm, the HTC 8X is fairly average in size. But it's thinner round the edges to give the impression it's more svelte than it actually is. 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.

HTC 8X review

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).

HTC 8X review

The front of the HTC 8X is taken up by the display. If you like what Nokia did with the Lumia 800, or indeed what HTC did with the One X, you'll be a fan of this too.

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.

HTC 8X review

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.

That screen is an HD display at 720x1280. Spread over 4.3 inches, it's easily as sharp as Apple's retina display, which no longer appears to be anything special by modern standards.

HTC 8X review

The top of the HTC 8X is fairly minimalist with nothing other than the 3.5mm headphone jack and the lock button. Although we're not necessarily fans of lock buttons on top of larger phones due to the awkwardness they present, here, we weren't too fussed.

Due to the shape of the handset and the way it sits, it's easy enough to press with the index finger whether you're a left or right hander. Our only complaint is it is quite subtle and a few times, we had to feel around to find it if we were looking elsewhere. It doesn't stick out much.

The left hand side of the HTC 8X is completely bare, whilst all you'll find down at the bottom is the micro USB charging and syncing port.

HTC 8X review

The volume rocker is on the right and below it is a camera shutter key. We are always pleased to see these because it makes the art of launching the camera and taking a photo so much easier than messing about with software, no matter how good said software is.

There's also a tray for getting that micro SIM in – but you'll need to use a special tool to open it so make sure you keep it in a safe place.

The rear of the HTC 8X is a thing of beauty. That polycarbonate body really sets it off – as does the colour which sits beneath a silver HTC logo and another displaying the Beats Audio heritage. And of course, there's that main snapper with LED light which HTC promises will deliver amazing results.

HTC 8X review

The 8X will be pitching itself right against Nokia's latest Lumia range – and with the Lumia 920 also coming in a number of colourful iterations, telling them apart may be harder for those who aren't as used to Windows Phone products.

But there is a difference in that the HTC 8X doesn't come with 4G LTE connectivity in the UK, whilst the Lumia 920 does. Which means it'll likely be cheaper – and that may be its saving grace for late adopters.

HTC 8X review

Expect the HTC 8X to launch at the start of November. With this in mind, there are no real deals to be had yet, but preorder prices are sitting a shade under the £400 mark (USD: $640 / AU: £620) for a 16GB sim-free unit.

This will be HTC's flagship Windows Phone handset, so don't expect it to be in the bargain bucket. Prepare to pay at least £30 a month for two years.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyWindows Phone 8X
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 700, LTE 850, LTE 1700, LTE 1900, LTE 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density342 ppi
Height132.4 mm
Width66.2 mm
Depth10.1 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameWindows Phone 8X Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineWindows Phone 8X
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Digital Compass, G-sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99HSK020-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Capture twice the picture with the ultra-wide-angle front camera lens.

How many times have you wanted to take a picture of you and your friends in front of somewhere cool, but the photo just captures your head and nothing of the background. Or, you don't really get your friends in the shot, either. Get more people in the shot, including you! Now, easily fit more people in the shot with an exclusive 88° ultra-wide-angle front camera that captures nearly triple the area of most other front cameras. Enjoy more people, more background, more memories.

Limited Warranty1 Year