Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC first impressions

Windows Phone 8S by HTC stacked - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are an interesting pair of devices. They look fantastic – the 8S almost appears to be the spiritual successor to the Zune HD – and the 8X hardware is top-notch. But the most intriguing thing about these two handsets is that they’re leveraging the Windows Phone brand, rather than HTC. You’ll notice that the devices are called the “Windows Phone 8X/8S by HTC,” not the “HTC 8X.” In some ways, the HTC branding almost appears to be an afterthought. This is in contrast to Nokia and Samsung, which slap the Lumia and ATIV (formerly Focus) moniker on every device. It’s an odd choice on HTC’s part, but the result is something that’s simpler and almost seems more user-friendly.

The body of the device, however, has no Windows Phone branding to speak of (aside from the Start button). HTC and Beats Audio logos grace the front and back of the device, and HTC’s trademark clock is prominently pinned to the top of the Start screen. You can, of course, unpin or even uninstall the app if you so choose. I really like the look HTC has chosen for its new devices. They still feel very much like HTC smartphones, but the bold colors and other design choices make them feel fresh. Of course, one could make the argument that HTC is following in Nokia’s footsteps with the color choices and polycarbonate shell.

HTC’s Windows Phone 8 handset announcement is a little later than Samsung, which announced the ATVI S three weeks ago, and Nokia, which unveiled the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 two weeks ago. While the four devices are similar in many ways, each manufacturer seems to be focusing on a specific aspect of the experience. The greatest strength of the ATIV S is its 4.8-inch display, 32GB of storage, and microSD SDXC card slot. So far, it’s the only high-end Windows Phone 8 device to support microSD, and that makes it the best choice for media enthusiasts. Nokia, meanwhile, has managed to bring wireless charging and its PureView camera technology to its devices, as well as a fantastic ecosystem of apps, accessories, and partnerships. And based on today’s announcement, HTC is going for the sound and imaging crowd, thanks to its Beats Audio technology and HTC ImageChip.

But while HTC may have been a little late to the party, the company had some exciting things to share. Microsoft is still keeping most of the Windows Phone 8 features close to the vest, along with information on pricing, availability, and supported carriers. Thankfully, HTC was able to confirm that the devices will be released this November – not much of a surprise there – on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the US. Worldwide, the device will be available on over 150 mobile operators in more than 50 markets.  This might seem like a small thing, but it’s the first time any Windows Phone 8 handset has been officially announced for a carrier. This also had the effect of tripling Verizon’s Windows Phone lineup.

I haven’t yet decided which device I’ll end up going with this fall, but the Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are certainly contenders.

Pocketables does not accept targeted advertising, phony guest posts, paid reviews, etc. Help us keep this way with support on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/ Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

Avatar of William Devereux

7 thoughts on “Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC first impressions

  • Avatar of Charles

    So far, all of the Windows Phone 8 devices are good devices…but as the author said, the best one for media whores (which I am) is the Samsung ATIV…and while it might look like a Galaxy SIII, it’s good to know I can put in my 64 GB card and bump up my storage big time…

  • Avatar of MiKeN

    The lack of a removable storage option disappoints me. I may be able to swing the 16gb model but it’ll be annoying the longer I use the device and fill up space.

    If I’m going windows phone though I’m gonna get something with color (8X or Lumia). I want something that looks/feels different so this is probably a good choice. I would go with a green version but I can work with yellow.

    • Avatar of 6Leinad6

      Lack of removable storage is sad, but how much storage do you *really* need these days? 16 gigs is more than enough for apps and, in most cases, pictures. You can have an acceptable amount of on-board songs, while the rest could be stored in the cloud. I don’t have a data plan personally, but if I did I wouldn’t have half the music on my phone as I do now. I use Pandora and radio applications equally as much as my music app, and that’s not to mention the Zune Pass (or whatever they’re going to re-brand it as).

      • Avatar of William Devereux

        I’ve used up about 80% of the space on my Lumia 900, and that’s with just a scant few albums stored locally. I’ve also ended up deleting a good 90% of the Xbox LIVE-enabled games that I’ve purchased in order to save space. Cloud storage and streaming music are great, but locally stored content is still extremely important to me.

  • Avatar of Abraham

    I gotta admit, even though I would probably not buy those bright and shinny colored cellphones, they do look very nice!

    Well done HTC.

  • Avatar of Cubsrule

    I’m right there with you. Probably wouldn’t buy but would definitely like to play with one lol.

  • Avatar of Tray Rolin

    Agreed, If only it ran Android it would be my next phone. the Specs are pretty good though.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *