Weighing in at a mere 130 grams, and constructed in polycarbonate and glass, the HTC has hung it’s hopes (for the moment) on the high-end Windows Phone 8X on Verizon. As it stands HTC along with Microsoft is again striving to convince tech buyers that the Windows platform is a viable option in the mobile computing marketplace.
So far so good if recent trends are any indication. After several months of flat sales, November saw a rise in purchases. Whether that is a short-lived trend or a long-term drift remains to be seen once the numbers from the holiday season and New Years are released.
HTC began with Windows devices before moving on to more success with the Android platform. Windows was for a while sort of the red-headed stepchild until the smartphone platform Windows Phone 7 was released. Still, those devices were not exactly barn burners and lacked cutting edge or attractive design and also utilized only basic hardware.
Of course now with Samsung growing by leaps and bounds and taking the lead among Android devices, HTC has been left behind somewhat. With a longing eye to Microsoft the two companies have joined forces yet again on the Windows 8 phone series.
The initial impression is of a device that features hardware that you will find on the best Android phones, and the design is top shelf. It’s primary competitor is the Nokia Lumia 920 and the device is well-positioned as a high-end alternative to Android and iOS.
The Windows interface is a vivid splash of color and the 8X follows suit with the rainbow spectrum coming in red, violet and bright yellow and of course black. Nokia provided some inspiration for the case as it is a molded and solid polycarbonate form, matt finished. In contrast to the iPhone 5, it doesn’t need a rubber case as it is largely scratch resistent.
As mentioned, the device is fairly light at 130 grams when considering the offerings out there and it has a pillow shape that fits nicely in the palm of your hand or your pocket. The battery housing bulges out a bit at around 10mm and it tapers off to thinner edges. At the top you will find a 3.5 mm jack for headphones and a microhone as well as the power/sleep switch. On the right-hand side there is a flap for the micro-sim, the volume controls and a camera switch. The buttons are a little cumbersome to operate because of the casing, but that is admittedly a minor annoyance.
The screen is standard fare with Corning Gorilla Glass and the resolution is a true competitor to the iPhone. It features 341 pixels per inch packed into a 4.3 inch diagonal frame. It is a little wider than the iPhone 5 but dowsn’t take up too much space.
The sonics are outfitted with Beats by Dre technology which is not much more than an amplifier in the headphone jack. It goes up to 2.5 V for a little extra bass compared to similar models and has more than
enough thump to do bass-heavy tracks justice.
Operation is is fluid because of the popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5 Ghz processor along with a gigagbyte of RAM. This is a definite improvement from the standard fare you will find in HTC Windows models and thus sizes up well with top of the line models. Though not the most powerful processor available (quad-cores are now available) it offers an experience that is not lacking in any respects.
The camera is rather non-descript; that is to say that it isn’t remarkable but it will definitely get the job done. When you compare it other phones in this class it is lacking in robustness as it supplies you with 8 megapixels. It lags behind the Lumia 920 and also doesn’t have the software to properly accompany the hardware as you might desire. There is also no burst mode and also no panorama feature.
On the other hand you can adjust many aspects of the actual photos that you will take such as shutter, color and resolution. Speaking of which, it boasts a 1080p resolution which is standard high definition viewable on television sets.
The software presents a broad step from the Windows 7 platform with improvements like the tiles that take the place of the icons that you find on other mobile platforms. It’s a refreshing change to the standard fare in that they display updated information from the applications that are running. You can change the size which means that you can completely customize the appearance of your interface to your preferences.
Of course as a late entry into mobile applications, Windows Phone still lags when you consider the range of apps that are avilable. The best apps out there are either too little or out-of-date such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Calendar is woefully inadequate as smaller texts are difficult to read and there is no weekly view option.
Maps are somewhere in between when you consider the complete software offering. Nokia has an excellent mapping service backed by Navteq with refined traffic information.
In summation the Windows Platform leverages well the experience that Microsoft has in regards to intuitive operation and the visual impression. The phone itself is easy to use and is credibly efficient to use in comparison to other more popular systems. For enterprise customers things like setting up email are a cinch and positions itself well as the third system in the mobile computing marketplace. Overall the experience is a viable alternative to the heavyweights and will likely grow the platform among tech buyers.
To purchase, visit www.verizonwireless.com
Check out the hands on video from zollotech…