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HTC 8XT

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Seems a little difficult to start an intro about a pretty amazing device that has changed my mind about Windows platform in just 24 short hours. I mean that. This phone is amazing. Let’s try and get through the basics first and I’ll jot down a pros and cons list to make it easier for any possible transition of OSes for the masses that enjoy my reviews.

First off when you pull it out of the box IT’S GORGEOUS. The screen is absolutely stunning even though it’s 720p. It pops. Those icons look super clear and crisp (it’s 342 ppi). The size, form factor, and build quality are everything you should expect from HTC. The phone is smooth and just enough heft to understand it’s got great build quality like the HTC ONE. The camera lens is perfectly situated in the center at the top. The volume rockers are responsive and do not have a “stick” to them. The camera shutter button is also responsive and the middle squeeze to focus is still in effect like previous HTC devices like the HTC EVO LTE also on Sprint. In fact this looks like a close thinner cousin to the HTC ONE. Why? Well on the front of the device is the HTC BOOMSOUND equipped stereo speakers. This device is plenty loud and while playing HD videos from YouTube HD I got amazing results. Plugging in the earbuds you are greeted with BEATS AUDIO ( I will tell you an interesting flaw about it later) quality. I had my JLABS J4 with me the last 24 hours so I didn’t get a chance to use my premium Sony MDRs or Beats Buds. Sprint LTE was blazing and I had little to no issues with handover when in between coverage.

Speed:

The UI is fast and very easy to use. Multitasking is very easy by just holding the BACK button and swiping between windows of your currently running apps. One quick swipe to the right to the apps screen you can select the SEARCH icon at the top and type in either the app you want to use or search the MSFT store. Very easy to find your necessary alternatives. Seguing right into….

Apps:

I had my Android daily drivers with me over the last 24 hours so of course I perused the MSFT Store for either direct ports or 3rd party alternatives. Yelp was a direct port and works really well. I cannot live without YELP. Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, Outlook.com, Ymail, and Gmail all had sign availability into my accounts set up with no issue whatsoever. You can cross post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at the same time via the People App and reading all your feeds in one swift swipe is easy, robust and actually very CLEAN. It even displays photos in nice thumbnails so you don’t have to hit tiny urls or anything cumbersome like that. I like it a lot. Onto Google Plus. There’s no official port to Windows phone but I found that the mobile version via IE was actually very easy to use as well and all the content loaded up with no issues again! Crazy right? I was able to load up GIFs, videos, pictures, links and much much more. It’s not as beautiful as the iPad mini version of gPlus but it will def do the job. You can post, Plus, and re-share all your content. You can view your communities as well.

Endomondo is a direct port and a great fitness app that I have had a few small hiccups on Android with but works really well and beautifully on Windows Phone 8.

Evernote is the de facto standard for reminders, notes, and just amazing word processing on Windows Phone 8. It’s a direct port and works so well I can’t ignore it. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

Speaking of web versions, you can actually use Instagram on the web and view your feeds. This might be appealing to people but since I am not addicted to Instagram like others I had no issues just viewing my feeds. You can still HEART or comment as well as follow people.

I found a Soundcloud 3rd party alternative: Audio Cloud that works really well. Some artists block 3rd party apps so you cannot listen to their music but it’s not a major issue.

So yes I was enjoying the experience until the end of my shift at work then it hit me when I got inside of the car. What Maps app should I use?The stock Maps app is terrible but after a download of HERE Maps and HERE Drive by Nokia, I found the Turn By Turn navigation to be absolutely flawless. Looks great and performs great with accuracy in tow. The voice guidance is the icing on the Nutella cake.

Music and Videos:

Stock YouTube app is terrible too as it reroutes you to m.youtube.com so I download an alternative called YouTube HD that’s an absolute blast to use. You can stream or download your favorites. I had no need to download anything but I tested the feature regardless and it works really well. Podcasting is a breeze to use as well. I had no issues listening to the latest Joe Rogan Experience episode while finishing up my shift. Much easier than Android I might add. Since Google Listen closed it’s doors I have had nothing to satisfy my podcast cravings on Android. Obviously iOS has the native podcasts inside of iTunes and that’s a breeze to use as well.

Gaming:

There’s a plethora of XBOX Games but I went with the basics: Plants VS Zombies and Cut The Rope. Nothing better than the classics to ease your wait times at the check out line. Both loaded fast and the touch screen is very responsive. You have to be very responsive on both games, respectively.

Text, Email, Chat:

I found a 3rd party gCHAT client since Hangouts isn’t ported to it. It works really well and I can send pix, gifs, links, and selfies with ease. Email is handles locally within the the device account set up and it was a breeze to set up and I had absolutely no issues with it. See a pattern here?

Phone Call Quality:

Boomsound works great for speakerphone calls while on the road bike. I used it last night to phone our ride home after the sun went down and we couldn’t get back to the Honeycomb Hideout in time. Speaking of sun going down…

Camera / Video Quality:

This thing is a beast when it comes to SELFIES! (it has a 2mp shooter on the front) LOLZ. I took a few while on gChat with my girlfriend (shout out to Ruby) and the quality was absolutely stunning. I used the rear shooter (8mp) to capture some video while riding on the road bike through the country and used the HTC Camera app to capture some amazing panoramas and some HDR shots. It does really well under low light and I can seem myself using it as a daily shooter for video blogs, unboxing, reviews, etc.

Battery life:

I used this phone nonstop and to give it a grade on battery life in just 24 hours would be ridiculous. I did need a charge around 9pm after the alert that my battery was critically low.

So what’s going to stop me from buying this device?

To be quite honest? Nothing. I would have no issues buying this device and making the jump to Windows 8. Sure, I am going to miss widgets, and Chrome extensions that work seamlessly with Android devices like TASKS, but if you are a nerd, techie, newbie, or just an enthusiast of technology you might have to give up on some of your favorite apps to make this dive. 3rd party Dropbox apps work good not great. 3rd party Instagram viewers are exactly that and while you won’t be getting the first taste of apps like iOS users, you can easily get your daily tasks done with an amazing smartphone. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has said they are bringing direct to Windows Phone only apps this quarter and while some apps have a little bit of a learning curve they are designed really well on the platform.

If you are looking to try something new, different, bold, fast, and fun, I would highly recommend giving the Sprint HTC 8X and Windows Phone 8 platform a try.

(One small flaw in software that should be noted: When BEATS AUDIO is turned on I experienced crackling and some interference while streaming video, audio, and listening to PODCASTS locally. Turning the screen on and off and then pausing then playing was the only remedy. I am not sure what causes it but turning off BEATS AUDIO remedied it 100% not a deal breaker in my humble opinion)

“The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love phones. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and want to tell you what they think about them. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these phones. The information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint.”