Even though it’s hardly a mere toy, it’s fun to play with the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. With a bright, personalized, intuitive interface, it’ll keep your thumb flipping around its screen long after you’re done making calls, sending texts or checking emails.
Set to make a big splash this year with a big ad campaign and media reviews, the Windows Phone 8X is available on three major networks in the U.S. – AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon. The lightweight unit is bigger than the iPhone 5, and (as a result) a little more reassuring in the hand.
It features a scratch-resistant screen, its own dedicated music sound system (Beats Audio) and a wide angle front-facing camera for Skype and other conferencing services without an “i” on the front.
Coming in 8 and 16 GB storage capacities, the 8X is available for $99.99 or $199.99 with a 2-year contract, respectively. Out of contract, it’s selling north of $500 and appears to be in some demand on both markets.
Available in California Blue, Limelight Yellow, Graphite Black and Flame Red, the 8X looks fun out of the box – its tactile plastic shell looking less sterile or stuffy than iPhone’s black or white. But, it’s the bright, cheery interface that sells the phone.
This Windows model serves up Live Tiles – an adjustable user system designed to allow the user to select which functions he or she wants floating at the top of their phone. As Windows’ own description puts it: “Pin your favorite people, music, websites, games, documents and much more directly to your start screen, so you can quickly get the things you want front and center as they happen.”
A simple slide of your thumb on the phone moves apps and function up and down your scrolling home screen – meaning no two 8Xs look alike in mid-function.
Now, Apple aficionados will say the iOS on their iPhones allows for the same personalized adjustments. Fair enough. It does. But, the iOS is folder-centric and bundles apps and function together in collapsing priority. It takes a little more digging to get to some apps on an iPhone.
Is that rooting around for apps back breaking labor? Of course, not. But, the interface question is a matter of aesthetics. The Live Tiles version looks better than iOS. I predict it will draw enough buyers to Windows because it’s as visually attractive and fast as it is effective.
Other functions include SkyDrive (a cloud service for photos and documents) and access to the Windows store and more than 125,000 apps and games. Windows claims more than 75,000 new apps and games and more than 300,000 app updates.
All totaled in this day and age of smartphone proliferation, phone choice really does come down to aesthetic choices. They all make calls, answer emails, receive texts and scroll the internet. They’re all similarly sized. They have similar processor speeds. Buyers end up choosing the one that looks best in their hand and offers the most pleasure during use.
With the 8X’s blend of upbeat outward look and colorful and friendly interface, Window’s new phone will carve out a niche into iPhone’s empire.