You have to feel bad for HTC.
Now it has a brand new Windows Phone, the new Windows Phone 8x, yet no one seems to care. All the attention is on Nokia's Lumia 920.
But HTC's 8x is the best Windows Phone I've ever used, and it's the only one you should consider buying if you're interested in Microsoft's latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8. It starts at $99.99 on AT&T and $199.99 on Verizon.
I've been using a global, unlocked version of the 8x for a few weeks, but recently got my hands on the AT&T variant with finalized U.S. software.
The 8x's biggest advantage over other Windows Phones is its design. Unlike the fat and heavy Lumia 920, the 8x is thin and light, yet still offers advanced hardware features like wireless charging and improved sound from Beats Audio.
The phone's main casing is made from a single piece of durable polycarbonate plastic and comes in a bunch of colors. I tested a neon green model, but there are plenty of tamer variations like black, red, and blue.
Most importantly, the 8x is a delight to hold. The edges are tapered, so the phone feels thinner than it actually is. There's a slight bulge in the back to fit more of the 8x's guts, but that actually makes the phone easier to grip.
At 4.3 inches, the display is the perfect size (just slightly larger than the iPhone 5 screen), unlike some of the absurdly large screens found on other phones. You won't have a problem swiping around with one hand.
I love using this thing, and haven't felt this obsessed over a phone's look and feel since the iPhone 5 launched. Great job, HTC.
The biggest hardware drawback on the 8x is its camera. It's not horrible, but I was spoiled by the incredible camera on the Lumia 920, so pictures felt dull in comparison. Still, it's plenty good enough to get by.
The screen is great too. Since Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 supports high-resolution displays, HTC was able to put one that's just as good as the iPhone's Retina display on the 8x.
Although HTC doesn't make a fancy-looking wireless charging pad like Nokia does for its Lumia 920, it's compatible with industry-standard wireless charging pads. (I didn't get to test one, so make sure you ask if your phone will work with a charging pad before you buy it.) It's a nifty feature, but probably not worth shelling out the extra cash for a special charging pad.
Windows Phone 8
I've covered Windows Phone 8 a lot since its launch this fall, so I won't spend too much time going over all the latest features. Overall, it's a great operating system and a viable alternative if you're bored with iOS or Android. You can get more details from my full review of Windows Phone 8 right here.
But it is worth mentioning again that as great as the HTC 8x is, it still suffers from a poor app selection and lack of other content like books and movies in Windows Phone 8. However, you do get Xbox Music, a streaming service similar to Spotify and Pandora. It's really good.
If you want a Windows Phone, then the HTC 8x is the only one you should consider. Just be warned that you'll have to sacrifice access to the latest and greatest apps and other content.
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