HTC Windows Phone 8X review

The HTC 8X is the signature Windows Phone 8 device, but is it any good?

HTC Windows Phone 8X review
Is this the handset to really make Windows Phone a viable option?

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So, you're probably wondering just how much of a priority media is for the HTC 8X. We'd love to say we think it is high. It should be. In truth, it's as though HTC deals with media with nothing but contempt.

HTC 8X review

First of all – no removable storage. Yes, we know lots of manufacturers are doing away with SD slots to force us to go to the cloud but for lots of us, there is a real pleasure in being able to have music and video stored locally in one place. We shouldn't be forced to stream.

With that in mind, 16GB seems like a really paltry amount. And to add insult to injury, Microsoft has just added MicroSD support to Windows Phone 8, so there really is no excuse here.

Anyway, at least you can fill the 16GB of storage up with your own content, right?

Good luck with that one. Never have we used a handset that has frustrated us so much that we have wanted to stick it in a food blender, add some bone marrow to the mix and feed it with gravy to the dog!

The problem is that we couldn't connect it. Admittedly, we were using a Mac. But the Windows Phone 7 software which worked so brilliantly and allowed us to sync everything seamlessly before doesn't communicate with the HTC 8X.

So we tried it on a Windows machine. You're thinking the same thing as us, right? Windows Phone, Windows PC... they'll get along like a house on fire, yep?


HTC 8X review

Using Windows 7, we connected the HTC Windows Phone 8X and after several minutes of pontificating, it told us what we wanted to hear: That it had detected a HTC 8X phone and encouraged us to download the software suite to connect to it.

And the link it sent us to (the link MICROSOFT provides) was a broken page that didn't exist. This is what you call a #majorfail.

We then tried it on a Windows XP machine – that did work and we were able to transfer files via drag and drop. But that's hardly ideal. And should people have to use an older version of Windows to get their HTC 8X working as it should?

OK, we know this is a brand new handset – it's not even been officially released as we write this review. But heck, HTC – you gotta fix this pronto or you're going to annoy a lot of people and do your reputation even more damage.


The actual music player is easy enough to use. It's the standard Microsoft Windows Phone music app which is very beautiful and is now called 'Music + Video', putting the ill-fated Zune heritage to bed for good.

We streamed some tracks and it all worked well enough. If you have an X-Box Music Pass, you can go to town on the music on your HTC 8X and really enjoy some streaming action, a'la Spotify.

HTC 8X review

You don't seem to be able to get videos this way unfortunately, which puts HTC's Windows offerings behind its Android variations.

Also, it seems slightly odd when HTC made such a song and dance about its Watch service, which it first launched on the Android-toting HTC Sensation and now appears to have completely forgotten about on WP8.

HTC's pet project, Beats Audio, also finds its way into the HTC 8X. You don't get the Beats headphones – just a standard pair of HTC ones – because times are tight. Which means you get a bit of extra bass and it's all very nice but blow your socks off, it won't.

Other multimedia-related apps find themselves in here if you've downloaded them. For example, the YouTube app. Although that is not actually an app – it just launches a mobile version of the YouTube site. Bad Google!

There's sadly no FM radio on board which is a shame as HTC has teased us with these in the past. It's no huge deal since you can stream from various apps and sites – but it would have been nice (and more battery economical) to have had.


HTC 8X review

Photos are provided through their own dedicated app and can be viewed in different ways – with them being sorted by person or by album.

Not much has changed here. We're big fans of the ability to share photos directly with other apps, as you can more fluidly with Android than iOS.

So, say you want to put a pic through some filtering software, you don't have to open that app separately, you just go into the photo menu and it will let you share easily enough.

HTC provides its own Photo Enhancer app out of the box which is OK, but there are plenty more free versions in the store with more functionality. Instagram may be notable by its absence – but there are lots of alternatives.

DLNA is supported though we struggled to transfer music over it to our PS3 or Samsung TV. No doubt X-Box owners will have more luck.