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HTC 8X vs Nokia Lumia 920: Signature vs Flagship

(Editor's Note: Our Windows Phone Central app developer, Jay Bennett, weighs in on the Lumia 920, the HTC 8X and his experience with both. PS It's his birthday today, so take it easy on him!)

With the release of Windows Phone 8 there is something of a rivalry forming between the HTC 8X, the ‘Signature Windows Phone’, and the Nokia Lumia 920, arguably the flagship Windows Phone in terms of hardware & features.

Whilst many consumers have already made their decision we know that some will still be mulling over the options, or perhaps contemplating one due to unavailability of the other.

It is to those people that I direct this article, we are not interested in fuelling the culture of blindly supporting one device (or even manufacturer) over the other, which honestly I would like to see stop. The simple fact is there are two awesome top end devices available right now and you have the luxury of choice, you lucky consumer you.

A quick paragraph explaining the background of my set up; I purchased the HTC 8X SIM-free in the first week of availability, after all I’m a developer and needed a device to test against. I am on a UK Vodafone contract and so it was my only choice for a high definition screen Windows Phone (the Lumia 920 currently being locked to EE/Orange/T-Mobile unless you go via certain websites). Then just over a week later at a Windows Phone SDK night here in London, I was one of 50 developers who were invited to take part in an alphalabs creative coding project, for which Nokia handed each of us a white Lumia 920.

So, I own both devices, both are unlocked, and I have been quite literally swapping my SIM between the two on a day-by-day basis to form some honest opinions based on spending days with them. I’m going to break this comparison down in to sections where there is a noticeable difference between the two; Design, Hardware, Cameras, Audio and Software. Finally wrapping up with my personal opinion about which device will become my daily driver, and offering some advice for those still torn between the two, as I was a few months ago.

Design

Let us begin with what is by far the most subjective topic. If you’ve already held both phones in your hand and seen them with your own eyes, you can probably skip this section, you’ve made up your own mind and my opinion should have no bearing on your decision.

It’s safe to say that we can thank Nokia for shaking up hardware design in the Windows Phone world, the Lumia range made colour cool and complimented the live tiles of the OS perfectly. Whilst not unique to Windows Phone (see the MeeGo N9), bringing a premium feeling phone to market has definitely done a lot to put Windows Phone in the public’s general consciousness. Nokia has effectively put that original Lumia 800 design through a growth spurt, the 920 is truer to the 800 than the 900 thanks to the curved glass and rounded back. It results in a phone that tries to fit comfortably in your hand.

Where the 800 was ergonomic perfection however, the 920 doesn’t quite reach the same heights. Yes, it is a striking design and I really enjoy looking at it, caressing it and spinning in in my hand (judge me all you like) but it’s big. I have previously remarked that the phone was a brick but I admit I have to retract that comment, I was wrong. The weight is not a problem as it’s well distributed. Instead the problem (for me) is the sheer size.

I consider myself to have fairly reasonably sized hands and I need both to comfortably operate the device. If you like one-handed texting it will take some time to adjust as you find the ideal way to safely support the device whilst stretching your thumb, those of you with larger hands; this probably won’t be an issue. It’s also a good job that there’s rarely any need to tap the top left corner of a Windows Phone because if you’re using your right hand it is a real struggle to reach in to the top corner.

All the above withstanding, the Lumia 920 will still fit in to the majority of pockets and doesn’t bulge too much. The real advantage of Nokia’s design though is that it’s sturdy – really sturdy. Find any of the stress tests we’ve posted and you’ll see that this phone can take a beating and come out almost unscathed. I actually dropped the phone no more than 2 minutes after Nokia handed it to me to absolutely no effect, if heavy duty is on your list, the Lumia is hands down the winner.

HTC on the other hand, have crafted some of the first designs I’ve found interesting from the company (although the Radar was interesting). Certainly they have been influenced by Nokia although I would stop short at calling this a copy as there are aspects to the 8X which clearly separate it from Nokia’s offering.
I have the blue 8X and it is a thing of absolute beauty. It’s subtle, thin, very light and feels fantastic in the hand. The splash of blue in the speaker grill keeps the usually dull black façade varied.

One handed use of the 8X is also a breeze, although I’d still prefer the phone to be a little smaller, thanks to a very well design bezel and the choice to have a taller, 720P screen (more on that later). The phone is just about thick enough to feel comfortable in the hand, a fact which is helped by the rubberised texture HTC have chosen to wrap it in.

All those subtle edges, thin screen and the tapered rear have left one negative though; the 8X does not feel as sturdy as the Lumia 920. I have not seen as many attempts to destroy this device it feels like it may suffer some serious damage if say, it were left in your back pocket and sat on. We are also hearing that the rubberised covering can scrape off leaving a pretty distinctive mark. This is a phone to be treated carefully, not the solid construction the 920 proudly exudes.

Another point worth mentioning is that the buttons are very flush with the device, meaning they’re a little harder to press than the Lumia 920’s. it’s not a big deal with the exception of the power button though, wherein it’s position exacerbates the problem. HTC still insist on putting power buttons on top of the phone rather than being easily reachable with your thumb. It’s a design decision that belongs in the era of sub-4 inch phones and I have no qualms with calling it a mistake on HTC’s part.

The Verdict: HTC win this category for me, the phone is gorgeous, subtle and you’d barely know you were carrying it. That said I’d feel more comfortable taking the Nokia out to my local bar, nightclub or construction site.

 

Hardware

Next I’m going to cover hardware without considering design, so this is a specs only war. You already know which handset is going to win here.

The Lumia is without a doubt the strongest offering in terms of hardware. Whilst both phones zip along with nary a stutter or load time for the majority of tasks, the Lumia claims more internal memory, better screen technology, wireless charging capabilities, a super sensitive touch screen and a better camera (on paper – more on that later).

I have absolutely no complaints with the Lumia 920 in terms of specifications, Nokia took everything I could have possibly wanted and then decided to throw a few bonuses in there. The screen looks fantastic, with blacks deep enough to be close to AMOLED quality, and there is plenty of space for my music, enough said right?

Well I’m going to pick up on one point the HTC 8X has in its favour here, and it’s the screen. Whilst the blacks aren’t quite as deep to my eye, and the screen animation isn’t perfectly smooth like the 920’s “PureMotion” tech, I find I prefer the taller 720p aspect ratio.

Of course this is all about preference, not only does the greater pixel density of the 8X not only make everything look much sharper, the aspect ratio means you see more on screen at one time. Take a look at the shot below of a development WP8 build of the Windows Phone Central app to see what I mean; you see just a bit more of the article with that extra real estate, not just a blown up version of smaller screens.

The exception here is when using apps that were built targeting Windows Phone 7.x, as they will get a nice black bar up top to ensure the aspect ratio is maintained – frustrating for now but in the long run I see the 720p aspect ratio becoming the most popular.

Putting all of the above out of the picture, the 16GB limitation which the 8X imposes is going to be a real pain for people who download a lot of their music (because streaming is not a viable alternative, data is not free). Having 16GB is manageable, it just means you’ll be pulling uploading your photos to the cloud more frequently so that they can be deleted from the phone, and making choices about which music gets to stay on the storage. Nokia have given customers a big reason to choose their device by equipping it with 32GB, that number just cements the 920 as the flagship phone.

Battery wise, both achieve a day of life with moderate to heavy usage (which I couldn’t say for the Lumia 800), but I won’t claim to have done any serious testing. Anecdotally the Lumia seems to have more charge left at the end of a day when I go to plug it back into the mains.

The Verdict: Lumia 920 all the way, it has a kitchen sink of features to call upon over the HTC 8X. That gap is slightly closed if you pick up a Verizon HTC 8X in the US thanks to the wireless charging addition, but even then the Lumia is the clear winner.

 

Cameras

I am by no means the camera expert that our own George Ponder and Daniel Rubino are, if you are looking for an in depth, detailed comparison taking the various technologies in to account, see their articles on the 8X or 920, or check out samples from our forums. All I can offer here is a layman’s perspective on photos taken with both cameras.

First of all, let’s get front-facing cameras out of the way: I don’t really envisage anyone taking photos with these but it is possible, and for my money I think the HTC 8X’s is the better of the two. The wide angle lens means that when you hold it at a comfortable distance your face isn’t too prominent in the frame. Quality wise there is very little to separate the two of them, both will server you absolutely fine for Skype calls or as an emergency mirror, let’s move on.

It’s a story you’re no doubt used to by now, but the Lumia 920 really is amazing in low light situations. Turn the flash off and be amazed as it captures more light than your eyes in many situations. However it’s a bit of a double edged sword, because to get these fantastic shots you do have to keep the camera relatively still (after all the lens is open for a while to let all that light in). OIS goes a long way to reducing the natural shake from your hands but it still requires you to keep the camera in one place to get a nice crisp image.

OIS also plays a great role in video capture and if you like to record all the big moments of your life then you should definitely be swaying towards the 920 as your mobile companion.

By no means is the HTC 8X a slouch, in fact the camera is excellent, a huge improvement over any of the Windows Phone 7 devices I owned. Colours are vivid, pictures are sharp and flash-aided shots don’t look dramatically washed out. In fact, thanks most likely to HTC’s post-processing applied to the pictures, it is easier to take quick snaps that look fantastic than with the 920. The 8X consistently produces very impressive pictures in most circumstances. As for video recording, the HTC’s device does a superb job of recording 1080p video which looks great when played back, but when compared to a video taken on the 920 you do see the merits of OIS.

The Verdict: This is not as clear cut as I thought, right now your average snapper will probably prefer the HTC 8X, whereas amateur photographers will appreciate the 920’s technical capability. However I suspect that Nokia’s first firmware update for the 920 is going to tweak the camera a little to reduce blur and bring out brighter pictures - it happened for the Lumia 900 after all. So with the long game in mind, I’m giving the edge to the 920.

 

 

Audio

Listening to music through the HTC 8X is a dream. I wanted to believe that Beats Audio was just marketing spin (which it is, but then so is “Pureview”) but I have to admit, I actively miss the 8X’s sound when I swap to the 920. For softer, acoustic tracks I like to turn Beats Audio off, but for Rock, Dubstep, Electonic, Drum & Bass and even Pop music, it sounds better, and not just on the bass notes. If you love listening to music on the go I can honestly say that the HTC is the best sounding device I have used (obviously when paired with a decent set of headphones), and it helps that the inbuilt amp does a fantastic job of boosting volume without distorting the music.

HTC have even paid attention to the inbuilt speaker. It’s not going to re-write the history books on what small speakers in a tiny housing are capable of, but it is loud and respectable for what it is. Equally important is that the speaker cannot be muffled easily by placing your hand over the wrong part of the device.

Nokia have also put some attention in to their audio offering, with Dolby branded audio output. Turn it on and things do sound a little richer, and the 920 is a marked improvement over Nokia’s previous audio offerings, but it still falls short of what HTC are doing. I will say that if you listen to a lot of acoustic tracks the Dolby enhancements actually compliment the genre instead of over-powering it like Beats Audio.

Nokia’s inbuilt speaker is also an improvement over the 800, which used to be all too easy to cover with your hands when in landscape mode. Now the 920 has two speaker grills which aid, but certainly do not abolish that problem. Of the two devices, the Lumia has the superior speaker in terms of quality and loudness, although that is partially thanks to the speaker orientation when lying the device flat.

Both devices have excellent sound quality when making a call and both become loud enough to hear even in a crowded area, so it’s an absolute tie there.

The Verdict: HTC’s 8X wins this round with flying colours, if music is your thing, and you can handle the 16GB limitations, it is the phone for you.

 

Software

Windows Phone 8 continues WP7’s legacy of a fast, responsive and agile operating system. The main software change has been primarily aimed at making the platform more enticing to third party developers, so with that in mind, how much actually differs between the two phones? More than you’d expect, and in ways you may not have considered.

HTC are offering the vanilla/distilled/pure Windows Phone experience here, you get exactly what Microsoft intended, plus a couple of additional settings like attentive phone (clever options to flip the device to silence, or ring louder in your bag). That’s about all there is to say for the 8X, it’s the fantastic experience we’ve all come to know and love.

Nokia are in the augmenting business with Windows Phone, as the only OEM with the power to change things we’re starting to see the fruits of their tweaking now in thier Collection. To start with, Nokia have basically removed Bing maps and replaced it with their own Nokia maps solution. That’s a real pain, not because the Nokia maps solution is particularly inferior (it’s markedly better in areas) but because as someone who searches for places and pins them to his start screen frequently, the experience is slower on the Lumia. I have to launch the app, wait, because it has a splash screen like a third party app, search the item, then pin. Now when I want to access the pinned item I wait again for Nokia maps to load.

Of course if I decide to search using local scout I inexplicably then get the Bing maps client instead and can now pin Bing items to the start screen and even use Bing maps provided it was launched in this over complicated way. It’s disjointed and I pray that Nokia don’t decide to take a similar approach with Nokia Music ever in the future; augmenting the Windows Phone experience is a great idea, changing it is a risky strategy.

It won’t bother many of you, but it irks me a little because Bing maps integration was tight before, and didn’t really need replacing for this type of integration.

Nokia make up for their unnecessary tweaking with a slew of exclusive apps. I won’t talk about whether this is good or bad for the ecosystem but if apps are your poison you absolutely should be picking up a Nokia. Not just for the timed exclusives that Nokia secures (see Mirror’s Edge) but also because other non-exclusive apps appear free on Lumia phones, where other users will see a paid version.

Nokia’s own apps are also fairly neat, but in practice I can honestly say I don’t use any of them. Nokia Transit is good but I prefer the app “London Travel”, Nokia Music is good but I have an Xbox Music subscription, and City lens is cool but not really that practical. Nokia Drive is a big differentiator right now if you want to use your phone as a satellite navigation system but it will be coming to other phones pretty soon. Nokia’s Lenses applications are also a huge feature worth remembering, the Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot lenses are fun and very handy respectively. Using Smart Shoot to get the best shot of your friend’s faces is a genuinely clever piece of software. I suspect that we will see other developers come up with such technology sometime soon but for now this is another point to Nokia.

The Verdict: Nokia’s app dedication easily outweighs the minor frustrations of their OS tweaking, and ultimately they will always win the Software argument so long as they don’t try and skin the operating system sometime in the future.

 

Wrapping it all up

So there you have it, my opinion on the two hotly debated Windows Phones right now. The truth of the matter is they are both incredible products which will appeal to different people. I’m not going to declare an overall winner in general terms because that would be ridiculous in honesty.

I will say that for me, the HTC 8X is most likely going to be my daily driver. My day to day activity is really just a commute to work, listening to music, browsing the web/my favourite apps and maybe snapping the occasional photo. For all of those things the HTC 8X is the better phone for me, and I am still in love with the design.

Of course I am lucky enough to have the option of both devices, so the Lumia will be accompanying me on nights out, and probably for weekends away as well, it has a superior camera overall and more storage for when I want more music variety such as long journeys.

All of this brings me to the crux of this article, in choosing my daily phone the factors that drive my decision most are the design of the phone and it’s capability as a portable media player, and in those categories I consider the 8X a stronger device. If you are more into apps, games and specifications or perhaps are a University/College student taking photos in a night club several days a week you are likely going to be putting more weight behind the other factors I’ve mentioned here.

Here lies the beauty of having two really strong competitors in this race which excel in different ways, you get to choose.

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Reader comments

HTC 8X vs Nokia Lumia 920: Signature vs Flagship

155 Comments

Hopefully Jay has a good UK Carrier connection with his 920.  EE looks to be another disappointing carrier exclusive with Nokia in the UK.  Hopefully EE brings more to the table with their exclusive deal than AT&T.
 
That being said - how about some WP Central articles regarding WP8 devices in the US and their performance on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile?
 
While the 920 is a beauty, I can tell you that the 920 is a device I will never consider for as long as it is supported exclusively on AT&T.
 
*** UPDATE ***
Looks like the 920 may not be so exclusive in the UK any longer:
http://wmpoweruser.com/nokia-lumia-920-now-available-in-uk-on-t-mobile-and-orange-3g-data-plans/

That's still exclusive ;) EE, T-Mobile and Orange are basically all the same - T-Mobile and Orange used to be separate, but when they merged they created the company EE (but they decided to keep running the 2 different brands). Now, I think just to confuse everybody, they've launched a new brand EE which is exactly the same as T-Mobile and Orange except you can only access the 4G network if you're on an EE contract...
It's all very complicated but generally it works...

Happy birthday. I have not decided, and currently it seems a bit like i might shy away from WP8. To much talk of problems and missing bits, im not sure I want to wait again to get holes patched up. Now I must get a phone before new years eve (its the last one I'll buy for at least 2 years so it have to stick) and im currently thinking L920 or Samsung Note 2....i love huge screens. I don't like the Google way, but it seems the Microsoft way is kind of tumbling over. Im getting desperate...bah, I try to ask advice on the forum instead.

Not really finding any issues for me with WP8. Can't see why you'd want android, gotta be more holes in that than any non open source system?

Probably because they are actually having problems with their phones? Or are you saying that your phone experience applies to everybody? 

I'm avoiding WP8 for now too. All kinds of little annoyances I've been hearing about (no FM radio, crappy Xbox Music software for syncing, restarting phones, etc...).
Still, if I HAD to get a new phone before new years eve, I'd definitely grab a Lumia 920. Guaranteed to be fixing things along the ride, and from my experience with Android, I'll never buy another (I have a Nexus 7 and there's just countless glitches and annoyances, far more than I've ever had with my Lumia 900).
Just my $0.02

Hey dude - I think you've been misinformed. WP8 has FM radio, the Xbox Music app on the phone is great but on the PC it sucks, but you don't sync via the Xbox Music app, you sync via the Windows Phone connector app which works fine for basic syncing or you can even now use File Explorer like you would a USB drive. The restarting issue is only happening to a few rare people, so overall you're fine upgrading to an awesome WP8 device today. :)

Are you sure about the FM radio. Do you have a WP8 yourself. Everything I've heard has pointed towards that unless the changeis that developers can no longer access its API. I have to side with Niavlys77 here that WP8 could have used a bit more time and I shall be either waiting for the mysterious HTC Zenith or the ATIV S.

Any OS can always use "a little more time" and serious rarely, if ever, has a mobile OS been released with so few issues as wp8. As far as I know there really is a lack of FM radio. That does not bother me but I understand that It might some people. Besides that other things are very minor anoyances that are definitely not enough to counter all the awesome things about wp8, which I believe is the most complete solution available at the moment and the perfect balance between open source android and ridiculously locked in ios with different hardware for consumers to choose depending on your preference. Also it´s the only OS that runs very smooth on all hardware including the low end category. It has the best design and most powerfull integration of the things most people use the most (social integration and ability to do a lot of things out of the box). It also contains, in my opinion, an excellent balance between excessive customisation options that compromise the OS like android and virtually no customisation options like ios. It is also the only OS that uses your own information to customise you phone in a very personal and usefull manner.

Never had rebooting issue but had 1 lockup in a month on my 920. I love syncing now because I just use explorer like I used to with my old MP3 players. Simple and I have much more control. I would NEVER listen to FM again. I have so many no comercial music choices now but if I felt like it for some crazy reason I would just stream.
 
My one and only grip about the 920 (and ALL Nokias) is there is something wrong with thier video driver and when I try to play competative wordament I cannot. It hangs for about 1-2 seconds a few times a game and maked reaching high scores VERY hard. I will pull out my trusty Samsung Focus when I need to score over 900. Nokia needs to fix this or I will have to switch to another phone as i enjoy my word games too much!

Excellent article. Being on Verizon the 8X is my choice by default. I was pretty upset when it came to light that we wouldn't be getting the 920 because I really had my heart set on it, but once I started looking at the 8X more closely, the more I warmed up to it and ended up ordering a red one without hesitation when it became available. Now if Verizon would just ship it already that would be nice.

the lack of group texting on verizon WP8 is truly frustrating.  Nobody at verizon will say why that decision was made.  But its essenttially a deal breaker for me. i might jump to att. Im in a dilemma there too. will probably for with the 920 though. although i was realpy pumped for the verizon 8x initially

I know Jay has been pretty vocal about preferring the 8X design over the 920, but I just don't get it. I hate the constant curve from all four angles and that rubbery plastic makes it look so cheap. And I just have zero problem holding/operating the 920 and I have relatively small hands.

After seeing how many times people end up pressing the home key/search key/back key on my lumia 900 when I pass them the phone to see pictures or check a website, I am actually glad that the 920 has that bezzel at the bottom, because it should competely iliminate that problema.

What is there to "get"? It's called an opinion...
 
He also makes a great point... why are we constantly bashing opinions and choices when it comes to Windows devices. I much prefer to promote the platform as a whole and devices for their merits.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I actually think the 8X looks better with the curved back and rubber coating. I also like the front better as well. However, based on what Jay said, I think I will go with the 920 due to the apparant ruggedness. Im pretty rough with phones.

Well written, I can pretty much say I agree with most of it (managed to blag an 8x as a development phone so also playing with both). Oh, and Happy Birthday

Happy birthday! I really enjoyed the article. I never put much stock into Beats Audio, but I guess it does make a difference. I am very intrigued that you chose the 8X for your daily driver, as it is actually on Verizon, unlike the 920. /*Insert rant about US carriers here. ;) */  Thanks so much!
 
Oh, and could we possibly get a 8X vs 822 on Verizon post, too? Not necessarily from the birthday boy, of course. :)

Thanks. I have honestly been thinking of settling for the 822, since I'm still mid-contract. However, the way this article praises the 8X, I'm just not sure if I should just wait for the next round of phones and an expired contract.

Verizon reps have confirmed that they disables group text, but if you could find out why it would be much appreciated. It seems like such a silly thing to do

I'm still torn between these two phones, I really want the Lumia 920, but the exclusivity deal in the UK means it isn't practical for me.
I could upgrade to the 8X on my contract (which runs out next month) I'll be honest I am tempted, I can forgo the pureview and higher storage, the only thing putting me off is the Nokia exclusives.
I also used to be a big Nokia fan (still am really) but had to get a Samsung Omnia 7 to get my first Windows Phone.

Awesome article. Totally in-line. I also chose the 8X but understand that some prefer the Lumia 920: it really depends of your needs.

I preferred the sturdy feel of the 920. Also nice and smooth. The 8x felt flimsy and cheap to me.

HBD!!
I'd go for the lumia :D
Btw, how can i contact the admins ( want to give some nokia 'information')
 

I played with the 8X in the store for ten minutes or so and I own a red Lumia 920. I much prefer the way the L920 feels over the 8X. My biggest issue with the 8X is that my last two phones were the Titan 1 & Titan 2. The Titan 2 was and awesome phone which I still love to use to this day and once wp7.8 is released that phone will be even more awesome. The Titan 1 has had nothing but problems though. I have had 4 HTC repairs for that phone because of the LCD screen going bad and the build quality on both phones felt horrible. This is the main reason I stayed away from HTC. It seems I've spent more time getting them repaired than actually using them.

The problem didn't just appear once. It was 4 times. Once is an inconvenience, twice is bad luck and anything above that is bad hardware. Not to mention the call quality on that device was horrible. It was a bad experience with an HTC phone that put me off that brand for a while and while I'm glad you didn't have any issues with your HD7 it doesn't mean others were not having bad experiences with their HTC phones. In fact I am a moderator on a windows phone 7 specific forum and helped resolve many complaints with all kinds of devices but most common was the titan and HTC brands.

Thank you for also calling the HTC a top of the line phone. As a WP customer we would have killed for these specs before, and both phones are great. Great comparison.

great comparison. I have to say 8X is clearly the better phone but two things really kill it right now:
1- black bars on apps. no idea when they'll update it for 16:9
2- Nokia is being a b**** with their exclusive apps. Every single day I see a slew of apps exclusive for Lumia only. Heck even whatsapp said they will have a special version for Lumia 920/820. This makes it really difficult to recommend a 8X

Happy birthday, great read I only disagree with the audio portion. I have no pretense that the 920 is mind blowing lol but the 8x is really not that impressive either. I was a little disappointed with both but I guess that could have been me over hyping them to begin with.

I'm glad you qualified a lot of those bold statements otherwise you would get ripped.  Anyways happy birthday and happy thanksgiving haha!

Happy Birthday and good article.

I personally don't like the 8X design as much as the colored Lumia's. The splash of color on the front speaker irks me. But overall, it's not a bad looking handset. And I do think the blue 8X does look better than the plain white Lumia you happen to own.

Great article/comparison... and a big Happy Birthday to Jay. :) Beats audio would be awesome for the gym, but 16gig? Darn. :( Its still looking like the 920 for me, but if the EE exclusivity doesn't end soon after the Samsung ATIV S release, I could walk away with the Samsung.

I just bought a 920 last night ($49.99 btw) and really like it. I came from a Titan, so I'm used to the size. The 920 is a little thicker though. My gf and I both agreed the 920 was the more quality phone, but I like the curved back on the 8X better. It's WAY more pocket friendly and makes the overall phone seem slimmer than it really is.

Lumia 920 all the way . the new note is mostly plastic as my buddy doing a battery pull, pulling away the cover snapped the corner off. He's on t mobile and waiting on his contract to expire.

I have listened to music on both, hard rock mostly, and with mid to high end headphones. 8X wins by a mile. Love the Lumia 920 as well, but I am extremely happy with my 8X.

Can anyone tell tell me what the call quality is like in comparison with Nokia? One problem I've had with recent HTC devices is the signal and then the support issues which are well known.

The call quality is excellent. I have Tmobile version and quality is very good. Can here people correctly and they hear me very good also. Quality through speaker phone is average, but music through speaker is excellent. Update maybe?

I cannot speak for the 8X but I have a L920 and I came from using the Titan 1&2 in the last year and the Nokia L920 is head and shoulders better than those HTC devices.

Happy Birthday. Good article.

How many people are getting to hold both devices before buying? My local TMo stores have the 8X attached to a horrendously large and heavy security device, so there's no way to actually get a feel for the thing. Meanwhile, the local Best Buy only has the 920 displayed as an empty demo shell. So much for being able to make a better informed decision. Meh.

I do find it curious you prefer HTC would have put the power button in a different location. I actually really like its location at the top of my HD7, and I'm glad to see they left it there on the 8X. Now if only TMo would have had the option to sell the thing in red. Though I like blue, I am not really a fan of California Blue.

It makes me really uncomfortable/suspicious when a journalist decides to announce to his followers his personal preference. We shouldn’t know this, just like we shouldn’t know the team a commentator supports or the country a news reporter prefers.
Also it doesn’t help that this is coming from the man who nearly gave a lot of people a heart attack by talking about the new HTC phones on this site before the embargo had even been lifted. Jay, please be a little more professional; you’re a great writer and I really enjoy your work, but you have to be more responsible.

By the way, nice article. Although when I put my 920 and 8X next to each other, I find it very difficult to agree with your assessment of the screen; the 8X is completely washed out with the black background of WP8 looking like it has a film of white over the top of it. I know you point out that the Lumia does have inky blacks, but in my opinion this alone makes the screen better as it doesn't look like the kind of cheap screen we had to put up with a couple of years back.

"It makes me really uncomfortable/suspicious when a journalist decides to announce to his followers his personal preference."

Jay is not a journalist and is not bound by any "rules" that journalists are suppose to follow; he's a guest writer for the site. His primary job around here is app development, not news reporting. Here he just wanted to express his thoughts on which device he prefers.

The article is filed under 'Editorial', the very place for his opinion.

That explains a hell of a lot Daniel. Although to be fair to me, I didn't think being a dev and a writter were mutually exclusive on this site - my bad. If he isn't a writer and writing other pieces then I suppose exposing his preference shouldn't compromise him. Feel free to delete my comment if you want.

No need to delete it at all :) when I write these articles its just me expressing an opinion or tip I think would benefit the community. In fact I write these articles for free, as Dan says, I'm just a guest :)

I had to make my choice in germany two weeks ago and my decision was the HTC (no regrets).After reading this great article i would take the HTC again.

First, Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving. 
Love the article.  Good points on both phones.  WP 8 is awesome and the hardware on both makes winning devices. 

Happy b'day MAN..
NOKIA IS THE WAY TO GO..HTC IS ON ITS WAY DOWN...NICE DESIGN BUT THEY SHOULDVE FOCUS MORE ON SOFTWARE THEN HARDWARE.. WAY TOO EXPENSIVE

First off, Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving!
I just wanna say, great article, but you guys should really consider doing video reviews that sort of quickly summarize the whole review into just a couple minutes. I happened to have the time to read this monster today (though good monster it was) but I've skipped over many longer reviews simply because I didn't have the time to read them.
Just a suggestion! Keep up the great work guys!

Yup, I agree and it's someting some of us (well, myself) will be looking to do in the future. Just need to get a proper setup and some space...

Just to counter that, I always skip the video reviews & prefer to read. This article was on the long side, but I never found myself looking for the end.

Good article Jay, and happy birthday! I have the 920, for the innovative technology, but I would love to use the 8X too.

Bias. In the US and with the big subsidize from AT&T (+ its associated long term contract), yes. :) For most people in the world, 8X is cheaper.

In the real world the 8X costs roughly the same as a Lumia 820, which is circa $600. The 920 is like $200 more expensive.

I never understand why people get their ire up over these comments.  Why does the customer care if it's subsidized???  Unless the service pricing is significantly different (for me it is not Verizon vs AT&T), comparing the subsidized costs is valid.
 
While $150 difference is not that much if you include two years service, when you are looking at the upfront cost $199 vs $49 (WITH free wireless charger and twice the atorage!) is a really tough thing to not compare.
 
Sorry!

In my country the 920 is approx US$815 (outright purchase) which is US$90 more expensive than the 8X. The 920 can be had from free on contract but in my opinion the contract is pretty brutal (US$115/month, 24 month term).

I'm ordering the 8x tomorrow. For me, the 920 seems better but the extra cost involved doesn't justify it. I can get the 8x for just over £10 a month cheaper. That's what swings it for me

Happy bday man and I really liked your article as I have been looking for a comparison between the audio capabilities of the 8x and 920. I will still go for the 920 though mainly because from what I read is seems too fragile and in the long run It won´t survive long unless you use a case, in which case (no pun intended) there goes the beautiful design.

Glad I went with HTC 8x myself but only cause I have t mobile lol I returned my iPhone 5 to sprint and switched to t mobile getting better service with 4g in Tampa, if the 810 was HD screen probably would of picked that but being used to retina display can't go backwards. Loving the bigger screen and wp8 is, iPhone got so boring had a 3g, 3gs, 4, 4s, and 5. Ready for new and better things with wp8. Never liked android at all. Actually had a note 2 and returned it for the HTC 8x a week later, my wife still has her white note 2. HTC 8x is way easier using with one hand and I actually like typing better on it. I am missing them Nokia exclusives though. Oh well.

Great comparison, Jay. It was much more fair than the majority of comparison articles I've seen. And also, happy birthday!

Great comparison. There was much truth and honesty to it. I myself have a red Lumia 920 & I'm impressed with every portion of it. The thing is, one must be not necessarily a 'power-user' but more so a 'multi-user' in order to wreak the benefits of what the Lumia 920 has to offer.

Cool article sir. Just what I needed.

But to be honest, 16GB just won't cut it with audiophiles that use lossless formats. What doesn't make sense with the 8X is it is branded as Beats Audio (they want you to use it for music obviously) but give you 16GB for it only. To be precise, you won't even get 16GB out of the box, and with other things installed, it will probably hold up only 6-7GB. That's only 1 playlist for lossless audiophiles. 

Although "audiophile" and mobile music probably is contradictory his pont that 16GB on a phone that (among other things) targets music listening. I currently have a 16GB WP7 phone and barely get along: I have to handpick what albums I want to carry on my phone and also have to downsample all my music to 128MBits which really hurts the music quality. So what is the point of having "Beats audio" (assuming it is an improvement for you) if you have reduce music quality badly in order to have a decent music collection on your phone.
BTW i really like the 8X and probably would have bought it but 16GB simply kills it for me. In fact having at least 32GB (or even better expandable storage) is the only must-have feature for me. Of course -- as this well written review states at the end, too - it comes down to your needs. If you have only a small music collection or belive that streaming is fine for you then the 8X is good. But I'm pretty sure that 16GB non-expandable memory is a real deal breaker for many - especially among those interested in listening to music on the go.
 

In my opinion, except the audio and front camera, L920 wins hands down in all categories including the Design.  I spent some time in AT&T store yesterday to compare the matte black L920 and the blue/yellow 8X's.  Comparing them side by side with backside up, you immediately see the differences.  The black L920 looks simply gorgeous with class while the 8X colors look real tacky.  The blue 8X does look great in pictures however.  I was surprised to find out that L920 didn't feel like a 'brick' at all as some claimed.  In fact it weighs about the same as my L900.  It feels solid and confortable in my hand.  Nokia's continuing dedications in the L920 hardware and software innovations are clearly unmatched.  The user support provided by Nokia, such as http://conversations.nokia.com is also invaluable.  Reading this article and the AT&T's black Friday deal prompt me show up at their door first thing in the morning tomorrow.  :)

HBD!!!
Very good review. But somehow I still can't decide yet, although I'm leaning more towards 8X.
I'll decide when I get my hands on both.
 

Crap call quality of thr Titan with mo fix made me switch to Nokia for awesome support and fantastic apps. Goodbye HTC.
Loving my 920. Thanks for the review ...some things go beyond items reviewed here but great review Jay.

As much as I like the look and feel of the 8x, this feels like watching the UFC fighter beat up the quadriplegic.

Happy birthday, man. Thank you for the great app that is wpcentral and all your hard work. Great comparison for the average user.

I know that this is only an opinion piece, but seriously, "the greater pixel density of the 8X makes everything look much sharper"? There's only a ~3% difference, 342 vs. 332 PPI.
If you can see 'much' difference in there then your brain might be the one generating that difference.

That is a very valid point but particularly on windows phone 7 apps i promise you can see the difference when held side by side. Of course the 920 looks awesome even up close so i would say screen pixel density shouldn't be a factor in your choice at all

Let just support windows phone 8 period. I noticed we've just been choosing an OEM and we're forgetting about wp8. So lets wish Nokia and HTC luck... If only it was that simple.

I went for the 920, but can't get the 8X out of my mind. I love the blue one. I was concerned about the width of the keyboard, 920 is wider and maybe easier to use.

Happy Birthday Jay. Nice article an love your app!

Would be fair to mention the audio recording capabilities, like once for a change! It's getting ridiculous, this is a clear advantage for videos, but still no reviewer to date has mentioned that for the 920

For me, I had an HTC G2 for 2 years on t-mo. It was a nice enough phone but liked to do a random reboot a couple of times a week. Only 16gig memory was also a deal breaker for me. In the end it came down to price @49$ (what I ended up paying in the end) it was a no brainer to go with the 920. Love it. The screen, how it feels in my hand, the camera and the sound.

About the sound, yeah speakers are not that great, but put headphones in and wow, what a difference.

I compared my 8X with a OneX+, (my girlfriends). WP8 is amazingly quick with the dcS4, even when comparing to that serious quad core Android hardware. So I think, provided MS gives us updates to fix the bugs, X8 and 920 owners are packing some serious hardware. I prefer the 8X weight, but I might trade later if I can get a grey 920 or a quad core WP8 device.

Dude. Happy Birthday.. I so appreciate this article. You lucky dog to have them both. I use my music mostly too. My HTC Radar sounds great with its enhancements!! My buddy switched from a Lumia when he heard the sound from it.

BUT I get sooooooo frustrated though when I have to pull some off because I get "memory is low" message, cause I like my apps and games. Is the Beats really that good?? I love my house, jungle, D&B, tribal, rock & blues. I'm a DJ, drummer, bassist and producer and I rock my old school over ear Sony's (that I used when spinning at parties) when I'm out and about, with buds in at work as a CSR for Sprint. I listen to music on my phone 10+ hours a day.

I was seriously thinking about jumping to Nokia to feel that love. But, if the sound is seriously like that, then I just don't know. I'm gonna work T-Mo today, get back at me please..

Very nice article.. :D I got the 8x myself, found 1 nasty point of it.. It doesnt seem to be willing to my hand.. :-P

Exactly me feeling too. There's nothing wrong with Ativ, and it will sell nicely to avarege consumer who isn't as enthusiast about wp-platform. But I think most wp-followers here feel that HTC and Nokia are ones pushing and supporting the wp platform. And thats what counts to me. There's no quarantee Samsung will bring anything to the device after you buy it, but Im sure HTC and Nokia will bring alot to theirs. Nokia especially is commited balls to the walls to wp8.

Hey Jay you must have small hands because I believe you picked the Lumia 800 over the HTC Titan last year. I wold have liked the HTC much better had they kept to a 4.7" screen on their flagship because 4.3" doesn't do it for me anymore. Plus it is a bit hard to ignore the fact the HTC so blantantly copied the Lumia on sytling but doesn't have its build quality; larger, super senstive, better display, Pureview, apps nor drive the platform forward like Nokia does. That said it is not out the question I will have to settle for an 8x myself because I'm really wanting to upgrade and the 8x is available now.
 

In NZ RRP for 920 @ Telecom NZ (only Telco stocking wp8 atm) is a whopping $1000NZD!!! that is crazy and no one has said if they will stock the 8X yet. But I am looking at importing the 8X from overseas (expansys) but I tried a dummy phone of the 920 at the store today it was only a dummy and wasn't even on show I had to ask to be shown it!! Good job telecom!!! Not! :| but I did like the size of the phone it was massive but felt solid I liked the curve of the screen also :)

I bought an 8X because I didn't want to change to EE. Kept it for about 3 days then sold it. I really didn't like the design at all. Also the horrible rubbery type coating made it difficult to slip into pockets and was constantly covered in fingerprints (and hard to clean). Call quality was also poor - people kept telling me they couldn't hear me. And that power button is a nightmare - it's buried in the curve of the top and is very difficult to press. And I missed the Nokia apps. I now have a white Lumia from Clove (unlocked) and it's way better than the HTC. The build quality is phenomenal, I think the screen is better than the 8X, the camera is outstanding and I have no problem whatsoever with the size and weight (and I'm coming from an iPhone 5). My only gripe is I would have liked a yellow one. One added bonus is the fact that it supports HD Voice (on 3 at least).

I'm also on three and was seriously considering the HTC 8x, unlike the US where the 8x costs significantly more, here its like £350 (on 3 payg) compared to 450-500 for a L920.
 
Is it just your preference regarding the "rubbery" shell? or are there any actual differences barring the software? Personally I love rubbery feels, they offer better grip and feel more premium than glossy plastic, and this article, along with a few others mention that the HTC takes amazing if not better day pics whilst still having a backilluminated sensor for pretty decent night pics.
 
Considering Nokia drive should come to HTC 8X as mentioned by the author (and hinted at by nokia blogs) and that many people on the forums here seem to complain rather than praise the nokia maps inclusion instead of bing maps I'm left seriously wondering why you seemed to hate the HTC 8x so much but love the L920 just as much on the other end.

They're too big. BOTH of them (the 8X less so). The Lumia is absolutely ridiculous in size and weight. What I can't understand is why didn't Nokia follow the WP 7 example and have a decent sized model (the 800) and an "X-Large" for bricklayers. Also, HTC needs to present a better software package. If I was going to replace my Lumia 800, I would probably go with the 920 (weight and all) because of Nokia Drive (the 820 is a crap replacement for the 800).
 
Another thing I don't get is the gimmick add-ons for the Lumia. Wireless charger? HOW, but HOW, is that more convenient that a Micro-USB cable? Gloves-on usage - I know they are Finns but come on! They would be better off with a Micro-SD slot!

Really? You don't get how putting your phone down is more convenient than grabbing a USB cable, plugging it in, *then* putting it down?
 
You could argue that the saved effort is not significant enough but there is no doubt it is relatively more convenient.

I don't think of the wireless charger as a "gimmick".  I will use that thing sitting next to my computer and I won't think about plugging in, I'll just always set it down on there and I'll walk away with a topped off charge because of it.  I think the bigger picture is to get that technology "out there" so we will start seeing charge capable surfaces out in the wild.  They already have plans for coffee shops and airports.  This is quicker, easier and no wear and tear on the device or the cord.  I think just setting something down IS more convenient than a cable, but we are entitled to our own perspectives and you certainly aren't forced to give up your cable.
I live in California now and won't make a great use of the gloves while smartphoning, but I grew up in Michigan and I know this would be a great feature back home.
I don't think that either feature above is what kept the MicroSD slot from being included.  I think that was a design choice.  I would have preferred access to for expandable storage AND replaceable battery, for sure.  We agree on that, at least! :)

you know what bothers me? for the lumia, the lock screen time out goes up to 5min only, while as the 8x has 30min and never. I'm curious as to why Nokia would put that restriction.

Why does the htc show more on screen when the 920 has a larger resolution ?
 
Also isn't htc known for not supporting their phones very well with firmware upgrades?

Happy Birthday Jay! And although we don't celebrate it where I come from, Happy Thanksgiving! Very good personal review! Can't wait for both phones to reach the Philippine shores! Love WP7 and I'm sure WP8 is awesome!

does this article mention software updates?  I would be worried that HTC couldn't be arsed to write updates where as nokia have nothing better to do.  920 for me.

Can someone clear up a few specs issues with the HTC 8X?  I've seen conflicting information on the following things:

  • Does it have a Gyroscope sensor? 
  • What version of Bluetooth is included?

 
Perhaps different markets get different internals like the exclusive Verizon wireless charging?

Great article, particularly for not choosing a winner.
I like the emergency mirror, but I also like the emergency biscuit.  Which one is better?  There's only one way to find out!  FIGHT!
 

Happy birthday, Jay!
 
"So with the long game in mind, I’m giving the edge to the 920."
 
You're doing a comparison of what the phones do "right now" not what they "may" do in the future. Otherwise, I appreciate your comments.

Yeah i could have gone either way on the camera as it stands right now. Lumia 920 is utterly amazing for late night shots, but 8X is very good in normal situations, so I looked to the future to decide on a winner

I can't speak on any phone besides the L920, which is a great looking phone and the live tiles look great,but as far as performance it belongs in the garbage. I have consistently stated in these forums that Wp8 is a step backkwards from WP 7.5,my 1st gen Focus is more stable and reliable than my L920.I don't know if that is a credit to samsung or has Nokia fallen off that much.I am taking mine back to the store today before my trial period is up,and safe my upgrade for another time. It is ridiculous that they would release such an unfinished product and not address the shortcomings publicly. I really wanted Nokia to survive, but if this is the best they have to offer it is probably better that they get out of the smartphone business.My old E71 runs circles around my L920 when it comes to user features and reliability.

You don't want to blame Nokia. You might want to blame MSFT for the unfinished feel of WP8. WP8 isn't all what I thought it would be. Was looking for more features when they had their big show in October, but yeah, they didnt have many features to show. But this isn't about WP8 on this column. This is about each phone and their Pros and Cons. I have both phones and I still don't know which one I want to keep. If Nokia had a more improved sound system I'd be all over it. But HTC has a better sound system that I use daily. Even in the gym. 16 GB or shall i say 14.58 GB enough room for me. It would be nice to have most of my library on my phone, but I'll just add my favorite albums and playlists and be cool with that wilst being able to record a bunch of videos and take pics. 

Happy belated birthday Jay! Nice article too. Local storage helped to make my decision from owning nothing but HTC devices back on Windows mobile and WP 7/7.5, to moving over to this freakin awesome Lumia 920!! So glad we made the switch.

So, the Nokia wins categories "hardware", "camera" and "software" while the HTC wins "design" and "audio", according to article writer.  Overall he wont declare a winner, he likes em both. The Nokia has twice the storage, 32 GB vs 16 GB, to be honest he should mention the equal priced (to Nokia) HTX only has 8 GB. The categories Nokia wins are the more important ones too, right? So, to me it sounds like a no- brainer to go for the Nokia.

Many aspects of the Nokia ARE a winner, but size is a big factor for me, personally. I love the narrow form factor of the 8x, as I like smaller phones. What would make the most happy, ever, would be to have the exact form factor of the n9/Lumia 800, but in a 4.3" display and WP8. I don't like the shape of the 920, but love its storage. Argh. I'm pretty sure I'm going for the 8x very soon.

This is an excellent comparison and I must say that you are one lucky tech user that you have and can swap between both devices! :) I chose the Lumia 920 because of the camera (firmware please) and the storage (I wanted even more) and the Nokia software.  I use Drive, a lot.  I also use City Lens quite a bit.
The HTC caught my eye because of audio and size and some little touches that they bring to the table.  Do they still have the flip-to-speaker phone feature that they've had since the Windows Mobile days?  I used to love being able to just put the phone face down and have speakerphone turned on and then I could just pick it back up to return to normal calling use.  They must have a pretty good patent on that because I've not seen another phone do that.
 
FYI - Nokia Conversations blog linked to this article even though you declared the 8X your "winner", as daily driver.

 

Price should have been considered too. Lumia 920 is around £550 and 8X is around £380, i.e. 8X is 30% cheaper!

Depends where you buy your phone from. In Us 920(449$) vs 8x(549$) the prices are otherway around. I saw one retailer in europe sell 8x(579eur) vs 920(599eur) 3.3% cheaper. So no! Price should have NOT been considered. 8x isn't 30% cheaper by any means. Its damn expensive considering the lack of hardware its packing starting with 16gb..

There was no mention about Lumia 920 Audio Recording cababilities, with 3 HAAC microphones, which capture sound at pressurelevel 140Db which means you can record video at nightclub without the bass getting distorted. Also no mention about testing Clear Black Filter + Sun Light Reading Enhancment Algorithms while using the device in sunlight. In addition no mention about peripherals, e.g. JBL speaker for wireless charging, or Monster headset.
But yes I do agree that smaller devices are easier to handle, but bigger devices better for reading, typing etc. There's pros and cons in every design decision manufacturer makes

I really liked Nokia Lumia 920 but the problem is that this phone is not available from vodafone, so I will need to buy different phone (probably iphone 5, because its easiest to sell and I have pretty cheap on contract) and when I will sell it I will buy Nokia 920 ...
The problem is that I can buy only Black ones (I would like the red one) and it will cost me 400 dollars (and I will have a lot of work with that) or I can buy black 8x from vodafone and I will have it for 200 without any work...
And now its really hard for me, because I think that I will miss great camera, 16 GB more and maybe nokia navigation 
On the other side I will use camera maybe 5 times per year, I did not use more than 8 GB from my 32 GB of memory on my current phone and I have navigation in my car...
I also have possibility to hold HTC8X and I was really surprised. It was probably most ergonomic phone which I ever held (I will only make it shorter) ... Not something horrible like Iphone (which is one of the worst in my opinion :-))) ). Unfortunately I did not see Nokia Lumia 920 until now...
I should probably buy HTC8x but .... My heart beat for nokia .... I really looked forward to it and .... then ..... they are not selling it .....  :-(((
Its also sad that I can buy only black ones ...
ps. my english is really bad .... Unfortunately I am not native speaker

Nokia named as top Windows Phone maker, Lumia 920 beats Windows Phone 8X

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mo...

Lumia 920 — a device that’s going for hearts and minds rather than out-and-out enemy casualties. So far, it’s winning both my heart and my mind. - Luke Hopewell, Gizmodo AU Editor
Let the best phone win the market. Let us know if another android also ran windows Phone 8X or iPhone 5 or any other android can do any of the things that Lumia 920 can do http://tinyurl.com/cs2hbz5