I recently had the opportunity to test out a Microsoft Windows phone, the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. A number of other reviewers on the web have deemed it the premiere Windows phone, and I can see why.
My initial reaction as I began to use it out of the box was that it’s zippy and responsive, delivering what I asked without hesitation. This is partly due to it being connected to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. But aside from the reliable, speedy internet service, the Windows operating system is quick and responsive, also. This is coming from a Windows skeptic, having heard all the nay-sayers claiming that windows is archaic and has glitches, especially compared to Apple and Android’s offerings. I played the devil’s advocate, almost hoping to encounter some issues, but the experience turned out to be nothing but smooth sailing for me.
I think a big selling point for the Windows phone, besides the sleek, seemless design (it’s quite thin and buying an additional case really isn’t necessary; it’s matte finish makes a great texture for holding the phone), is the tile-interface. Unlike how your Android’s main page is probably set up, with icons for shortcuts to apps, the tile interface of the Windows phone organizes every fathomable aspect of your life; a tile for text messages, a tile for e-mail, phone service, play store, voice-mail, x-box, etc. Everything is organized on the display, with notifications of new messages and activity for each category of communication shown, so the user can see all of their activity on one page. One can add and customize tiles to their liking. This is a really interactive, convenient and visually-nice feature.
Check the Specs!
Beside my obvious approval of the tiles, a few things that stood out for me include its sound quality, camera, and some free apps, easily available for download with some coming pre-loaded and only one tap away.
As I opened Pandora and started a new station, ‘Dr. Dre radio’, the sound quality impressed me with it’s crisp, clear sound and just the right amount of base. Apparently the Beats Audio system and the phone’s internal, built-in amplifier make this happen.
If you wake up in the middle of the night to find the power out or just need a flashlight for whatever reason, download the HTC flashlight; it has three brightness settings and an SOS signal. The powerful beam will impress you and you’ll no longer have to turn the lights on to navigate yourself around in the dark.
Now this really caught my attention–on the main page, there’s a tile, ‘Local Scout’. I tapped it to immediately load a page full of close-by restaurants and bars, displayed under the category ‘Eat and Drink’. I then scrolled over to the ‘See + Do’ tab, which offered 20-some suggested local sites and attractions to visit. A shopping category offered the obvious results and a ‘For You’, tab presented itself, giving me the option to input personal tastes and preferences. I would certainly use this feature if I found myself in an unfamiliar area, especially on vacation.
Something I would recommend; Windows could offer more entry methods for it’s keyboard. I currently use the Swype key method on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and have to admit I missed the ability to form words quickly by that method on my Galaxy’s keyboard. Apparently there are some app developers working on some solutions to this, soon to hit the market.
I had fun using this phone and it (or whatever the current Windows phone leader is) will be one of the phones I’ll consider upgrading to when my current contract expires.
It’s offered in a variety of colors including blue, lime green and orange to name a few, and has a sleek, visually-pleasing design–one that it’s competitor’s, in the past, had led you to believe was uncharacteristic of Microsoft.