- Reception and call quality Overall signal strength was equal to or slightly better than the RAZR I used previously
- Display Crystal clear, HD resolution, viewing angles are pretty good, as well as brightness doesn't have to be high for it to be clearly readable.
- Battery life Decent battery life. I did turn off NFC and Bluetooth since I use neither, so those may have an effect if you use them.
- Camera Coming from a RAZR, this camera is lightning fast, camera button makes getting to take a picture easy, though the options seem lacking.
- Ease of use It's a Windows Phone so the experience is quite straight forward.
- Design and form factor The phone's design is solid, feels great in the hand, but the using the camera button for taking a photo can cause blur, plus the power button's hard to reach.
- Portability (size / weight) It's a sweet size. Not huge like a Galaxy or Note, but not tiny as an iPhone.
- Media support I mainly listen to music, podcasts, watch YouTube, and listen to some live streaming, and it all works as needed.
- Durability No comments
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) The issue with Windows Phone has always been ecosystem, and the 8X introduces a 16x9 screen, something many apps still need to update for. Still needs apps too.
Starting off, hardware. The 8X truly is a great representation of what a Windows Phone should be. Eye catching with a bold color body, the back having a soft feel that makes it feel good to hold. The edges are rounded, along with the back curving into the sides with a pillow-like shape. The buttons on the phone have a different feel, believe metal, and they are a little difficult to operate, but not something you can't adapt to easily. The real issue here would have to be the power buttons though. The placement on the top seems off because it's difficult to reach, and the button on mine is a little bit squishy. If it were placed on the side, maybe the opposite position of the volume rocker, I think it'd be a little more pleasing to use.
Both cameras on the phone are nice, much better than the RAZR I came from. The ability to go from pocket to snapping a picture in six seconds without unlocking is quite nice, and this is by long holding the camera button. The autofocus is quick, though you occasionally do get blur. The front facing camera is fairly nice quality, the extra wide lenses makes getting more of your surroundings quite easy.
The speaker on the phone is great, not appearing to distort at high volume as well as getting amazingly loud in of itself.
Now, software side is a mixture of great and, well, not so great. Windows Phone 8 has a number of great improvements over the previous versions, especially seen in multitasking and app start times, the best example of this being the instantaneous start of Rowi, a third party Twitter client.
The built in apps largely feel the same as they have before, minor changes throughout such as multiple selection in the Photos hub with an easy option to upload to SkyDrive. Microsoft has also introduced the ability to upload full quality photos automatically to SkyDrive, though only uses Wifi to do so. The Camera app almost seems like a downgrade, settings hidden a level deep, as well as the amount of settings available seemingly decreased. At the same time, they've introduced Lenses, which appears to be waiting for more apps to take advantage of the feature. XBOX Music is an interesting upgrade and downgrade from Zune, the Smart DJ feature seeming to work better than in the past, but XBOX Music Cloud being a bit of a mess and with no apparent ability to easily not include it in playing music unless you explicitly don't use it ala settings.
Last, third party apps are still a cross between rare beauty and stalling nightmares. Some of the larger, well known apps are beautiful and work great, such as Facebook, Rowi, MetroTube, but dive deeper and you find plenty of garbage, something true of most platforms. The issue the 8X has is that it's a different screen ratio than Windows Phone traditionally has been, so many apps are essentially letterboxed with a black bar appearing above the app, which is disappointing. Most of the big names appear to be updating their apps, and it appears that others are slowly as well, but that is pretty much a waiting game.
So, is a Windows Phone 8X worth purchasing? Yes and no. The primary experience is pretty solid, just as it always has been, but third party apps are still a mixed bag.
0 people find this review helpful