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HTC 8X review

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HTC 8X and 8S

HTC's 8X is the firm's flagship handset running the new Windows Phone 8 OS, and is the bigger brother of the 8S (8X on left side). We take a closer look at the svelte smartphone.

Its headline specs are a 4.3in screen, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 16GB of internal storage. Oddly, unlike it's physically smaller brother, the 8S, the 8X has no microSD slot for adding more storage. Fortunately, it will support 1800MHz 4G networks, so can be used on EE's new network.

Matching the live tile colours in Windows Phone 8, the device will come in California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow colour variants and each model will have a matching Windows Phone 8 interface theme to suit.

HTC 8X - Design and build

Despite its relatively large screen, the 8X doesn't feel too big in your hand. The tapered edges make it feel significantly thinner than it really is (it measures a fraction over 10mm) and the illusion is helped by its light weight, at just 130g.

There's no metal here, but the one-piece polycarbonate body feels well put together. As the buttons are on the top and right-hand edges, they're very thin, and since they're practically flush with the body it takes a little while to get used to finding them without looking.

HTC 8X rear and side

The power button resides on top, with a volume rocker on the side along with the camera / shutter button near the bottom. The latter is a two-stage button which allows you to activate the camera's autofocus before taking a shot.

On the bottom is what looks like a micro USB connector for power and synching the phone.

HTC 8X - Screen

Undoubtedly the star of the show is the excellent 1280 x 720 screen. At 4.3in, this gives it a density of 342ppi which is higher than the iPhone 5 and even the Nokia Lumia 920.

Everything looks super-sharp, whether you're looking at the home screen or a web page in Internet Explorer. Colours were vibrant and viewing angles were also impressive in our brief test.

The screen is covered in Gorilla Glass 2, so there's always the possibility of cracking it if you drop the phone.

HTC 8X - Cameras

In our short time with the 8X, we tried out both the front and rear cameras. The rear 8Mp snapper did well in the low-light conditions (mainly thanks to the large f/2.0 aperture we think), taking a decent-looking photo of the 8S - we could view it only on the 8X's screen, of course. Snaps had faithful colours, little noticeable noise and were generally sharp.

HTC 8X rear camera

The front 2.1Mp camera has a wide-angle lens (with an 88-degree field of view), which could comfortably fit two faces in the shot at a normal holding distance. Unlike most front cameras, this one can shoot 1080p video, and also has a big f/2.0 aperture. We'll reserve a verdict until we can view footage from both cameras on a large HD TV.

HTC 8X - Price and availability

At the Windows Phone 8 launch in London, we were shown pricing from various mobile operators, which all showed the HTC 8X with around a £30 upfront cost, then between £29 and £36 per month. However, Phones4U appeared to be offering it free with a monthly cost of £31 per month.

Phones should be available to buy from early November. To buy the HTC 8X outright and unlocked will cost around £400.



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