Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Operating Systems


Windows Phone 8 review

Article comments

It's been eight days since Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 and eight days since I started using an HTC 8X, which has the new software installed, as my main cellphone. So far, I'm impressed with Microsoft's new platform.

When I switched to the HTC 8X, which Microsoft distributed to journalists at the Windows Phone 8 launch in San Francisco, it replaced my Samsung Nexus running the Jelly Bean version of Android.


The HTC handset is fast, has a bright, crisp screen and feels comfortable in the hand. But the real star is the new OS. Here are some impressions, thoughts and findings after eight days using Windows Phone 8.

Home screen

If you haven't seen the Windows Phone 8 home screen, it's well worth checking out. Starting with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft began taking its phone screens in a different direction to those of Apple and Android. Instead of static application icons, Windows Phone uses "tiles" that can be resized and, depending on the app, display information from the underlying service.

For example, the tile for the Associated Press app displays news photos, the tile for ESPN shows the latest scores for your favourite teams, the photo app cycles through pictures from your gallery, and the Facebook app shows an updating mosaic of photos of your friends.

Windows Phone 8

In comparison to Android and Apple home screens, Windows Phone 8 is alive with action. But the tiles bring more than a different aesthetic.

You can create your own tiles that represent people, and therein lies one of the big differences in Windows Phone 8.

Behind these tiles, the operating system collects the information it has about a person. Clicking on a tile brings up contact details pulled from your address book, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Swipe to the right and their social media posts are collated into a single list. Another swipe brings up photos they've posted to social platforms, and a final swipe shows the interactions you've had with them, including Twitter and email exchanges, and phone calls.

Putting people rather than apps at the heart of the phone is a key differentiator for Windows Phone 8, and Microsoft should be commended for trying something different in a market where there is so much sameness.

Something else I liked was the ability to change the entire feel of the phone by changing the theme colour. A lot of the buttons on the home screen and highlighted text throughout the phone are tied to the same colour, which can be changed by the user.


Compared to iOS and Android, the selection of apps is still a weak point of the operating system, but things aren't as bad as you might fear. A lot of the most popular apps are in the Windows Phone Store, including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Evernote and Foursquare. But some notable ones are missing, such as Instragram.

Microsoft promises more apps soon, including a version of Pandora with a year's worth of ad-free music. It says it will soon have 46 of the top 50 smartphone apps available for Windows Phone.

There's also a fairly broad selection of apps from smaller, independent developers, so while you can't find a news app from the BBC, you can download an independent app that pulls in BBC news and presents it in a similar way to an official app.

You can check out the selection in the web version of the Windows Store.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Oliver said: Oh and its the most amazing phone Good review I really recommend this phone and software but then again Ive been recommending ever since the earliest WP7 days

Oliver said: Now I picked up my HTC 8X last Saturday from Phones4U only 37010 top up apparently 3 will be selling it for 350 10 top up O2 have it as well

Jeff said: Sounds good i am well looking forward to WindowsPhone8 Windows8 on my laptop is very impressive and fresh any ideas when WP8 is available to purchase in the UK

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *