HTC's new flagship Windows Phone is not just impressive because it packs a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset and 4.3-inch 342ppi 1280x720 display. The 8X also manages to be a phone that feels even thinner than its svelte 9.9mm. Both devices will be coming to Australia, which means the Nokia Lumia 920 will be up against some stiff competition.
The 8X keeps pace with the Lumia 920 in nearly every category, and even bests it in a few. It has LTE, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera (with dedicated button), a 2MP front camera, 1080p video recording, NFC and Beats Audio enhancement.
The one major downside to the phone is that it's only available in a 16GB storage capacity and has no expandable storage. While it does have a slightly smaller yet comparable 1800mAh battery, and a slightly smaller screen than the 4.5-inch Lumia 920, they may not end up being negatives if battery life is the same and you prefer a smaller screen.
But what is this thing like in the real world? It's light. It's thin. The tapered edges and soft-touch finish make the phone easy to hold, although you do feel the edges dig into your palm a little when you grip it. The screen is beautiful. Deep blacks and eye-popping colours immediately impress upon first glance, especially with the Windows Phone 8 UI in front of you. And the combination of the screens responsiveness, the beefed-up processor and OS improvements really make for an experience that's fast and fluid.
But that's not the only phone HTC has in tow; the HTC 8S is the cheaper, smaller sibling to the 8X with corresponding specs across the board. It has a 4-inch 800x400 Super LCD display, 1GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU, 512MB of RAM, lacks LTE and comes with a 5MP camera (with no front cam). The one advantage the 8S has is a microSD slot for system expansion to make up for just 4GB of internal storage. But those looking for a cheap-ish Windows Phone could probably find worse.
Both phones are scheduled in for a November release -- the same time the Nokia Lumia is rumoured to hit shelves in Australia. The 8X and 8S will come in an array of very bright colours (reds, blues, yellows) or just black. Pricing has yet to be finalised, but HTC says Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will be picking up both phones. [HTC 8X, HTC 8S]