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HTC's 8X is a high-end Windows 8 smartphone. Pawan Singh / The National
HTC's 8X is a high-end Windows 8 smartphone. Pawan Singh / The National

HTC's 8X slim and sleek but lacks wow factor

The Life: Phone manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to create smartphones that are unique and stand out from rivals that use the same platform.

Phone manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to create smartphones that are unique and stand out from rivals that use the same platform. It takes more than just a nice screen and a few fun games.

HTC's 8X, a high-end Windows 8 phone, is a decent enough offering from the Taiwanese manufacturer, but it fails to offer the wow factor.

The company seems to have relied more on Microsoft's new mobile operating system to help it shift its phones instead of offering something to grab customers' attention.

As HTC's flagship Windows 8 phone, it cannot avoid comparisons with the Nokia Lumia 920, which has been appointed as the flagship Windows 8 phone by Microsoft itself.

At first glance, there is little in common between the two phones. The Lumia is big, heavy and bulky. The HTC 8X is light, slim and sleek.

Measuring 132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1mm and weighing 130g, it is one of the lightest Windows 8 phones available. The rubberised polycarbonate finish is intended to give a better grip, but the curved edges can make it a little difficult to handle. The buttons aren't great - they're rather integrated with the shell and can be quite difficult to locate.

The 8X has a terrific small screen, measuring 4.3 inches across with 720 x 1,280 pixels and 342ppi resolution, which is higher than both the Lumia and the iPhone 5.

The touchpad is not as sensitive as the Lumia's, so typos are more common.

One unique feature is the built-in Beats Audio technology by Dr Dre, which provides extra volume and bass. The 8X uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon dual core 1.5Ghz processor with 1GB of RAM.

It has 16GB of internal storage and 7GB on SkyDrive - Microsoft's cloud.

There is, however, no card slot, so all in all it is limited in storage capacity.

Ultimately, the thing that lets HTC down is Windows 8. While it is an intuitive, easy to use and user friendly operating system, it lags behind both the Android and the iTunes store where apps are concerned.



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