HTC Windows Phone 8X Review

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Reviews, Smartphones, Spotlight

HTC recently introduced their flagship device, the Windows Phone 8X based on the latest mobile OS from Microsoft. The device comes at a time where both Microsoft and HTC face stiff competition from other smartphone brands, so it’s interesting to see what’s in store for the 8X.

Build quality and design

The HTC 8x is built beautifully, and feels great in your hands. You’re able to access the screen easily and reach the buttons without any difficulty, though the power/unlock button was a nit hard to press (not sure if it was specific to my unit or all others). The HTC 8x comes in four different colors- Black, California Blue (looks more purple), Lime Light Yellow and Red.

The device has only a few buttons, mainly the Windows button to access the main screen, the back arrow, and a search button. On the right side of the device you will find the volume keys, the camera button, and the micro-sim slot, while on the top sits the lock screen button and earphones port. It’s not flat from the back, since the phone was given what HTC calls a ‘pyramid design’ which means the edges of the phone are thinner. The Windows Phone 8X doesn’t support microSD (although it is supported by the OS) and the battery can’t be replaced.

Specs and Comparison

The device can compete with other flagship devices in the market and was very smooth to use. Apps were quick to launch and everything responded fluidly.

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Sim Micro-SIM
Body Dimensions 132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1 mm (5.21 x 2.61 x 0.40 in)
Weight 130 g (4.59 oz)
Display Type S-LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.3 inches (~342 ppi pixel density)
Sound Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes – with Beats Audio sound enhancement
Memory Card slot No
Internal 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSPA+; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band
Bluetooth v3.1 with A2DP, EDR
NFC Yes
USB microUSB v2.0
Camera Primary 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Video 1080p@30fps, continuous autofocus, video light,
Secondary 2.1MP, 1080p video
Features OS Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon
CPU Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
GPU Adreno 225
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity, compass

Screen and Sound

The screen is scratch resistant thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass 2. It’s not the best screen we’ve seen when it comes to using it outside in the UAE sun but the SuperLCD2 technology works really well indoors.

The Windows Phone 8X supports Beats audio which provides you with a better audio quality than your average phone. Without a doubt, you’ll enjoy listening music on the 8X, however, bring your own headphones as the ones bundled with the device aren’t that great.

UI and Apps

Like all Windows 8 phones, Microsoft has improved the UI of the OS allowing you to be personalized with your device by re-sizing the tiles between three sizes and choosing between 20 colors. The lock screen has improved as well, you can now pick up to 5 notifications to be shown it while the background can be picked up from apps such as bing, flixter, CNN, and weather flow as well as HTC’s customized weather lock screen.

Coming to the Apps, although Microsoft has announced that the app store has crossed over 150,000 verified apps (Microsoft verifies the apps to make sure they are virus free before approving them), there are still many common apps like Instagram and Flipboard that are not available yet.

Unfortunately, the apps made by HTC are also not at a level as we saw with Nokia on their Windows Phone 8 based phones such as Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive which can both work offline, City Lens and Nokia music The apps built by HTC are HTC hub that shows you time, weather, stocks and news, a flash light app where you can use your led flash as a flash light, a photo enhancer that can provide you with some effects for your pictures, and a converter app where you can do a conversion for currency, power, speed, time zone, etc.

Camera

The pictures taken by the camera were very good in terms of quality and sharpness, though it wasn’t as impressive at low light as say the Lumia 920. The option to use lens effects while taking pictures is also great, and with the support of more apps your photography experience can get better.

Heat and Battery

After using the device heavily, we were able to get close to thirteen hours of usage without roaming turned on, and only when gaming for close to 30 minutes did we feel the phone getting slightly warm. In general the battery can easily last for about a day, but this again depends on your usage.

Conclusion

HTC have worked well to give us a great looking phone that offers a satisfying user experience. If you’re looking for a different experience from iOS or Android, then this is one of the better Windows Phones out there.

BlackBerry 10 browser faster than iOS and WP8

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under News

RIM is riding  a lot on BlackBerry 10 to bring the company back to its prime, and with the recent leaks and videos, it appears that BlackBerry 10 is genuinely looking to deliver strong competition to the iPhones and Androids of the world.

One aspect where BlackBerry 10 needs to deliver, and has always been somewhat lagging behind, is performance in Internet applications. To gauge how far it has come with the new version, The Gadget Masters recently performed a web browser speed comparison between a Dev Alpha B smartphone running BB10, an iPhone 5 running iOS 6, and HTC Windows Phone 8X running Windows Phone 8. The raw test results where quite surprising.

Despite only being a developer kit, BlackBerry 10 out-performed both iOS 6 and Windows Phone 8, rendering pages much, much faster although it wasn’t able to finish loading quite as quickly. Still, this is something that could be ironed out in the final version, and with this kind of performance, it looks like Apple and Microsoft has quite a lot to catch up to.

Oddly, an Android smartphone was not used for comparison, so that still remains out of the equation.

Samsung unveils revolutionary flexible OLED display technology at CES 2013

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Articles, News

Give it up for Samsung for always trying to innovate with the technology of their products, and this may just be the most industry revolutionizing advancement that they’ve ever announced. At the CES 2013 show earlier, Samsung took the stage to announce their brand new flexible OLED technology dubbed Youm and the video below will blow you away.

After wooing the audience into an applause with the display of the flexible screen in action, the company then went on to show a prototype device using the technology and once again wooed the audience with the screen extending out to the side and the uses that could have. That was followed with an admittedly cheesy advertisement of devices that could use this in the future, but the devices within were undoubtedly impressive. Imagine a tablet that folds into becoming a phone. Now stop reading this, and just watch the entire video of what I just mentioned below:

I’d pay money to see the faces at Apple headquarters right now. Thoughts?

Anonymous hacks MIT website

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under News

As reported earlier this week, Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz committed suicide in his apartment. The Internet has been swamped with tweets, posts, blog entries and media coverage over his death, demanding a full investigation.

Now famed hacker group Anonymous have jumped into the fire, by hacking the Massachussets Institute of Technology’s (MIT) website and leaving behind a few choice words reflecting on Swartz’s passing. Mainly the group said that Swartz was under pressure from an intimidating criminal justice system that eventually led him to take his own life. Anonymous also posted

- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.

Later the group amended their post, stating “We tender apologies to the administrators at MIT for this temporary use of their websites. We understand that it is a time of soul-searching for all those within this great institution as much — perhaps for some involved even more so — than it is for the greater internet community.”

HTC Windows Phone 8X

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Product of the Week

It’s here: A new, iconic design that keeps you connected while also reflecting you. Unique color options, a seamless look, a screen to personalize—all serving up people and passions that matter most.

8X features an ultra-wide-angle front camera lens that fits in every face in the group and the surrounding scenery. Share it all on the brilliant screen that is rich and vivid—even when viewed in bright sunlight.

Check out our review to see what makes the HTC 8X so great.

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