Wednesday, September 19, 2012
HTC announces new 8S and 8X Windows Phone 8 smartphones
The HTC 8X appears to have all the right boxes ticked. It has a 4.3" Super LCD 2 display with 720x1280 resolution. If the display is based on the same technology used on the One X, then it will surely be one of the best out there. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset with a pair of 1.5 GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU, plus 1GB RAM, which is a fair upgrade over their last Windows Phone flagship, the HTC Titan 2.
HTC has equipped the 8X with what appears to be the same camera module as the One X - a 8MP backside illuminated sensor along with a 28mm wide angle lens with f/2.0 aperture (35mm equivalent) and a proprietary HTC ImageChip for quicker shooting. Again, if this is anything like the One X, the camera here will be a joy to use. The front facing camera is said to contain a 2.1MP camera with a wide angle lens, and will make use of the ImageChip. Both cameras can record videos in 1080p resolution.
Purely from the press renders, I admit that I am not overtly fond of the design of the 8X, which appears to be a mash up between a Samsung Omnia 7, Lumia 820 and old school iPhone. It also looks busy with the coloured front speaker grills, and the choice of colours doesn't seem to work for it (I like the black best, and I am a fan of technicoloured phones!). I can only imagine how much better it would look without those bits coloured. On the other hand it appears to be ergonomically comfortable but it is a shame to see HTC once again going for thin just for the sake of it.
The lack of expandable storage isn't an issue these days, but 16GB of built-in storage is pitiful for a flagship phone. Rounding up the specs, the 8X will also contain WiFi, GPS with GLONASS, NFC and Bluetooth. Oh, and the dreadful audio abomination also known as Beats by Dr. Dre, which thankfully, is turned off if you are using a more sensible headphone brand like Shure or Sennheiser. Worryingly, LTE support was not announced by HTC, but it is fair bet that a LTE version is in the works.
HTC Radar. Judging by the specs alone, it appears to be a good upgrade. The 8S will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC with a dual core Krait processor clocking at 1GHz and the same Adreno 225 GPU as found on the 8X. A modest 512MB of RAM is included, so your multi-tasking mileage may vary. The 4" Super LCD display with 480x800 resolution is decidedly mid-range affair.
Only 4GB of storage is included but with a microSD card slot, its storage potential is whatever your budget or your microSD card will be. A 5MP camera with 35mm f/2.8 lens (35mm equivalent) with 720p video recording adorns the back side. WiFi, GPS with GLONASS, Bluetooth and 1700mAh none-removable battery makes up for the rest of the specs.
Of the two, I actually like the design of the 8S more than the 8X, especially as it reminds me of the much classier HTC One V (minus the chin) and Xperia P. Like the 8X, the 8S will be availble in multiple colours.
On paper, the two HTC devices appears to b the sort of devices Microsoft needs to introduce Windows Phone to the masses. I am slightly disappointed by the stingy amount of storage available on the 8X - after all not everyone is keen on cloud storage or can afford paying for unlimited data. From a pure design point of view, the aesthetics of the flagship 8X has not won me over, but this may change if I see it in person. I am however happy to see HTC offering more alternatives to Android and iOS. It is about time we see a viable third ecosystem thriving.