HTC has just announced two new Windows Phone 8 handsets at an event in NYC. The company has worked closely with Microsoft to produce the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, a product line that aims to become the standard bearer for Redmond's latest mobile OS.
The handsets follow the same naming convention as the company's flagship Android devices: the One X and One S. Accordingly, the Windows Phone 8X is the larger, more powerful of the two, with the 8S touting a smaller footprint and a rather aesthetically pleasing two-tone finish.
A lot of work has gone into the design of the devices – they're looking thin, sleek, and even a little futuristic. The back of the polycarbonate uni-body handsets are curved (similar to the Lumia 920) while exhibiting the same HTC and Beats Audio branding seen on the One line. There's no camera bump here though, and the front of the 8X could be mistaken for one of the Lumia devices, while the 8S has a more distinctive colored panel at the base.
The 8X touts some impressive specs, including a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 Super LCD 2 display and a 1.5 GHz dual-core S4 processor. In addition to this, users will get 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM, an 1,800 mAh battery, as well as LTE and NFC functionality. Some significant work has been done on the cameras, with both the rear and front-facing offerings (8- and 2.1-megapixel respectively) providing 1080p video and f/2.0 lenses, ensuring passable low-light performance.
HTC has also improved the audio on the device. Not only does it have the Beats Audio support seen in the One line (a first for Windows Phone), but it also features an integrated amplifier that should translate to significantly improved audio quality through the speakers. This is of particular interest, as it's not an area that other manufacturers are focusing on.
Spec wise, the 8S is a little underwhelming when compared to its flagship counterpart. It offers a 4-inch Gorilla Glass WVGA LCD display, a 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 4 GB internal storage (upgradable up to 32 GB) and a 5-megapixel shooter on the back. However, the handset is likely to be priced significantly lower than the 8X, and personally, we're loving the two-tone color scheme.
Any comparison with the rest of the market is certain to focus on Apple's iPhone 5, announced last week. Putting the operating systems aside, the two phones are fairly evenly matched on the spec sheet. The iPhone 5 has a significant advantage in the processor department, featuring a quad-core A6 CPU, while the 8X has the edge when it comes to display resolution (an impressive 341 ppi to Apple's 326 ppi Retina display offering)
There's also Nokia's Lumia 920 to consider. The recently announced handset has some impressive features including wireless charging, Nokia PureView camera technology, and features a similarly impressive 332 ppi display. However, the new HTC offerings are set to become the standard bearers for Windows Phone 8, a notion that is reinforced by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's appearance at the launch event. This is likely to position HTC's devices as the go-to choice for those looking to pick up a handset running Redmond's mobile OS.
Both the Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are scheduled for a November release and while there's no word yet on cost, we're expecting it to be priced to match the company's One line (around US$450 at the time of writing).
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