HTC 8X and 8S Windows Phones - our first impressions

HTC 8S Windows Phone

HTC has officially entered the Windows Phone 8 arena with the announcement of the 8X and 8S Windows Phone. The announcement completes the October tri-fecta that included similar announcements from Samsung and Nokia.

We've all had time to digest the HTC announcements and here are our first impressions and thoughts on the latest Windows Phone devices to come to light.

HTC 8X Windows Phone

Rich Edmonds

My expectations of HTC today were high - possibly too high. I published my thoughts on how I had already chosen HTC as my next Windows Phone over the new Lumias and ATIV S, but they still had to deliver. And deliver they did. The HTC 8X and 8S are unique designs that really show off the Windows Phone OS.

While they may not have the bells and whistles Nokia is screaming, they're definitely not far behind. The only improvements they need to make are app support, marketing, marketing, oh… and more marketing.

George Ponder

I was pleasantly surprised with HTC's announcement of the 8X and 8S. I had reservations that HTC would simply slap the Windows Phone OS onto an Android chasis but HTC, like Nokia, has built upon their existing Windows Phone models to offer a very nice 8X.  A worthy predecessor predecessor to the HTC Titan II. The 8S is equally nice and will serve nicely as a entry Windows Phone for those who may not need all the bells and whistles.

While HTC has presented an attractive Windows Phone, the key to the 8X's success will be how much support HTC is willing to put behind the phone. Nokia has built a healthy model that combines a quality Windows Phone with aggressive product support and promotion. A model hopefully HTC will adopt.

HTC 8X Windows Phone

Jay Bennett

HTC presented a very clear message today with a succinct yet bold presentation: "It's time to take Windows Phone seriously". Whilst that message does not mean introducing a flagship phone to meet the desires of the enthusiasts amongst us, it does mean we're seeing a branding strategy from HTC which can finally define it in the Windows Phone market.

When you buy a HTC you'll be getting a gorgeous design, thoughtful specs, and a modest sized device. If the 8S and 8X can demonstrate an above average battery life, they may just be the phones you didn't know you needed.

Robert Brand

Before today I would have said that HTC was simply slipping away from Windows Phone. I expected them to warm up and re-serve their HTC One X as their next generation flagship device. What I have seen is HTC bring two fantastic devices, embrace a stunning new design language and put Windows Phone back firmly in its sights.

Windows Phone wasn’t designed to be like Android or iPhone, these colours and designs complement it perfectly. If today is an indication HTC are about to get serious about Windows Phone again, then it is a good day indeed!


The general consensus is that HTC has made a nice first impression with the new Windows Phones and we are looking forward to seeing where they take things. Dan was at the event this morning and has spent some hands on time with both the 8X and 8S.  Look for his impressions of the new Windows Phones from HTC as well as HTC's presentation later today in the WPCentral Podcast.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Now I don't know which phone I want...
  • I'm with you this is much ,much better than the L820
  • the domino black and white is sexy i must say....
  • Was thinking exactly the same lol. Really like that 8S
  • Agreed
  • Wow, just wow! I might choose this over Lumia 920 (way too heavy for me, but I'll wait to keep it in hands), I really like the bottom part of the phone, where the capacitive buttons are placed.
  • With 32gb it would've been close...
  • four words. unmetered music streaming services. they are coming everywhere.
  • I'll believe that when I see it. Plus, even if they do come, I am sure it will be low quality audio. you won't be streaming 320Kb/s mp3s (not even VBR in high bitrates). That is why I would love microSD on the new phones but will settle for 32GB. Before anyone says how phone DACs sound crappy anyway.. I use my aging iPod with an external DAC and headphone amp. I hope that Microsoft and their partners enable S/PDIF output out of the micro USB so I can finally dump the iPod and connect a DAC to my phone.
  • I prefer hi-fi in the comfort of my living room with quality loudspeakers and amp. Natural ambiant sounds provide a much more hi-fidelity experience when I'm moving around, so there is no need for headphones. But on your point, check out MOG's partnership with Telstra in Australia. They stream 320Kb/s on 4G (LTE) unmetered... 16million songs, unlimited access $11/month subscription. WP app is not available yet but I'm guessing the other players Spotify.. etc will start doing deals with Telcos. 
    I'm sure its in the pipeline where you are as well, the deals may take a while to broker at the corporate level. 
  • "Unique"? Really, Rich Edmonds? They robbed Nokia blind and everyone knows it...
  • Exactly!  what is unique about the 8x? it's a blatant copy of Nokia!
  • You guys should shut the fuck up.
  • I disagree.
  • No?
  • Tell you what..when you become undisputed ruler of all of the Earth, then you can prevent people from expressing their own opinion.
  • Agreed
  • They're expanding on a good thing.
  • hTC even copied the way how nokia put MicroSD in lower level phone and not including SDcard in higher level phone. Not on 8X but on 8S
  • At least HTC redesigned and didn't copy his phones from other platforms.. Now tell me if Lumia 800, 900 don't look like the N9? The 920 has some LITTLE changes, but now it isn't as gorgeous as when it first came out.
  • I wish people would quit saying HTC copied Nokia. If u compare the 920 side by side with the 8X, the only thing they have in common is the OS, and color options. Other than that, the two phones have their own unique design. This was Microsofts vision for the OS. I salute Nokia and HTC. Samsung is the one who needs to step their game up. I was never really on the Ativ S like everyone else. Its just another battleship silver phone to me.
  • @hasasimo...I'm a little late to the boards today, but Thank You, for saying this :)
    Unique?  Pfft!
  • Its unique
  • What if i say you that Microsoft said htc to do so? Not to copy anybody but to use this colors, and what somebody already said the top model has no microsd like nokias models. What if Microsoft tell them so and we dont know anything about that? Like the micro usb port. All 5 devices have it on the bottom. Coincidence?
  • I really love the 8x, only wished it was 4.5-8 inches n has expandable memory, would've went with the lumia but it takes 6-8 months before I can get it unlocked
  • The only thing making me hold out for a 920 is the epic level of app support that Nokia have provided so far. Oh. And that OIS camera.
  • I live in jamaica and the carriers here only but recently started to offer phones on contracts, sadly to say windows phones aren't that hype as of yet to be noticed, of the two that we have, one carrier only offers the latest BB n the other the iphone 4s n SSIII other than that everybody else buys their phones unlocked.   
  • The 8S is sex !!! But not too powerfull phone...
  • 8X coming to T-Mobile for $199.99.  Sounds good to me.
  • They look like Zunehds if it was a Nokia if be sold
  • Only thing the Nokia has over these is OIS, awesome touchscreen, and stellar support (software and customer). I'd say that people looking for more audio centric devices might like that 8X with the Beats audio and amplifier. That, and the ability take photos faster (because of that image processor, I'm giving the speed to HTC), I think those are going to be differentiating factors. I really would love to have a fast shooting quality camera, but having low light shots that are amazing would be really something as well. All I can say is, poor Samsung. Their phone just went from pretty nice to totally obselete in weeks.
  • Yea I was leaning to the ATIV on T-MO now not so much the ATIV is nice size wise for me but than it's I'm not a metal siliver type..this is sharpe and nice.
  • +1
  • Didn't Belfioe demonstrate fast picture taking at the Nokia event, unless i was seeing things.....Uuh, not! I believe the camera to 10 plus pics in roughly 2 seconds and chose the best quality image, but you could scroll back through an chose the one you liked.
  • Where Samsung beats them all is the ability to store more data.  32GB internal and up to 64GB external.  Do not discount the fact for many.  Just a thought. 
  • Oh lord. I didn't expect the sexy design. I'm still going with Nokia, though. But that blue phone, dat phone... *bites lip*
  • I'm seriously impresses, but I'm sticking to getting the Lumia 920.
  • If only HTC could move the damn power on/screen on button to the side. I cant stand turning on the screen up top. I do it 100+ times a day so it has to be convinient.
  • ROBERT BRAND  when you look at the 8x and the One X you will see only small differences and other color options. so the same camera in the one x almost same formactor and wheny they are have bad quality like the one x theny they gonna have aproblem.
    I like this californa blue and yellow because its not gloss .
    So 16gb only non expendable, just  1800maH  battery  and i thikn not worldwide LTE? where are the custom apps what nokia offers soo much??
    a good artist and craftsman could build this device and jus tpot winP8 on it . So build your own Windows phone 8!
  • Nokia went with glossy because as polycarbonate wears it shines.  So if you start with a matte finish the edges will wear to a shiine after very little use.
  • I don't think so. My L900 is still matte with no smooth spots. If what you said is true, one could also argue that as it wears, glossy will become scuffed and matte.
  • while the look good in matte finish, how will they hold up to grime that builds up on you hands say from sweat? I am a very clean person, but I touch keyboards, door knobs both building entry/exit as well as automobile handles. I was hands frequently, but these are every day things we all do. Do you think the grime will show? the gloss tends to repel dirt/grime, it would practically have to be motor oil to show on the gloss surface as opposed to the matte finish
  • Engadget was saying that the 8X has a MicroSD slot... but, not a MicroSDXC (only supports up to 32gb cards, not 64gb plus)
  • Not sure what you guys are smoking, but HTC didn't come up with anything unique. They also have a LONG way to go before they are any where near Nokia.
  • @WinGuy...Totally agree.  When I read that I was like 'someone needs to get their eyes checked'. 
    With that said, the designs are departure, somewhat, from the typical HTC style, but damn if HTC didn't 'bite' off of Nokia (a little bit here, a little bit there, and a whole lot with bringing colors to their line up).
    Well, at least HTC WP lovers can say that they didn't get an Android rehash :)
  • Hard to choose from the 8X or the 920. I found this image on the 8X page from HTC website quite amusing...
  • Why is that amusing?
  • Because on Nokia website, they have a picture of the L900 with the monster headset leaning on the phone just like that. So you know who did it first, just like the poly carbonate body with curved gorilla glass 2 : ]
  • Do they have the indicator light for a misses test/call/etc.?
  • Good question. I was leaning towards the L920, but the screen is too big and phone too heavy. This 8X is perfect for me.... Plus Beats Audio (im a music junkie). . I will get a Lumia 800 (because the sz is just perfect). I will use the L800 just for the Nokia exclusive apps. Saw a couple on Craigslist. They're going for $150-200.
  • Why is everyone so exited about this phone? There's nothing innovative about it unlike the Lumia...
  • They are excited, because if you are unwilling to be held ransom by AT&T, then this is the best thing to look forward to. Otherwise, break out your checkbook and be prepaid to make a second car payment each month to AT&T.
  • And just because it's not on the same level as Nokia as far as introducing some game changing features, doesn't mean it won't be a great product. Chill out.
  • Amp and beats.... Come on and give some cred:)
  • Nokia city lens, PureView camera, NFC, and supersensitive touch screen convinced me to get the Lumia 920. However, these HTC phones look awesome and will work toward promoting WP!
  • Why are these companies hell bent on not offering us the option for 32 GB? Hell, I think the option for 64 should be available, but at this point im begging for 32....64 would be a wet dream. I get it. Not everyone needs 32, but there are a ton of us that do. How hard is it to offer the same phone with a 32 gb card in it? or make it accessable. Im not sure why they are so dead set against this, but it is becoming more and more a breaking point with a TON of these Windows Phones.
  • They are serious with words only (about WP8). It costs money to have options. In the end, it's all about money.
  • I agree, every piece of the phone cots. Maybe they have deal for 2milion 16gb microsd cards. Which they use for the internal memory. The second thing is that microsoft is forcing SkyDrive, and people to use it. few months ago we had 25gb for free. Everybody that uses it frequently have still 25gb because we catched the free offer. And now 20gb costs. Microsoft is selling its own storage and sykDrive is gonna to be a big partner on wp8 devices. Because the internal memory is expanded via your own SkyDrive. I have 25gb and thats enough for pictures and music... I have now in my firt gen device 8gb and 2gb free :)
  • The WP8 devices aren't using internal SDcards anymore.
  • I agree... WP8 is supposed to allow them to step up... A Flagship phone should have 64GB internal or at least 32... And microSD should be standard... And LTE mandatory... I am very disappointed... What's the matter with them... SMH
  • Actually if your highest goal is security then SDcards are a liability.
  • I totally agree... Spotify + photos and videos eats through storage.... Stupid choice
  • I'm glad that HTC did deliver some beautiful phones to complement the wp8 lineup, however the 16 gb storage space on a flagship phone is completely unacceptable. For me the 8x is more like a very good midrange phone and the the 8s a very good lowrange phone. The lumia 920 is in a different class altogether especially because I don't care much about weight or thinkness
  • Seems even iPhone people want color. And apparently the colored chin from HTC may appeal to those wanting the same in an iPhone.
  • I thought I was going to buy the Nokia as soon as it came to my local ATT store...Now I am not so sure.  The HTC looks very much like the Nokia doesn't it?  I actually prefer the rounded edges.  Hmmm, now if one of these companies would just give me back that slider QWERTY keyboard...and let me expand the memory via SD cards....
    You can bet the first company to offer me all these specs and that QWERTY keyboard is going to be the one I buy and stay faithful to.  LOL
  • I'm eager to see how the mid-range phones between HTC and Nokia at an off contract price compare against each other. Clearly Nokia 820 has the edge spec-wise, but at what cost for something that I need to hold me over for 6 months when I can decide to jump carriers (currently on Verizon) or not and a new flagship Lumia (or HTC) is released on Easter Sunday again?
    For me, Nokia has the current edge due to replaceable covers and wireless charging, along with tremendous software support.  I'm sure it will be priced higher than HTC 8s, but by how much? that is the question for me.
  • I really wanna find that guy who said this site 'may just be nokia windows phone site' during the lumia launch articles rush. There are 20+ articles on HTC.
  • +1
  • :)
  • I like the design of the new HTC phones and I would be OK with a 4.3" screen, but there seems to be a lot of real estate that is used for just ...nothing. Other phones use the available space much more efficiently to display what we really want to see - the operating system and apps!
  • Not excited by the new HTCs. They are no replacement for the Titan I am currently using and as slick as the case is looking as ugly is the space they waste above the screen and the colored speaker is a pain to my eyes. This 4.3 phone is the same height as the Titan or 920 both sporting bigger screens and it is even thicker than the Titan. Sorry but putting color on a phone and some Marketing BS about how thoughtful the design is just does not do it for me.
    All in all the new Lineup of Windows Phone 8 phones is pretty much disappointing for me. I'll have a look at the 920 and if I am not feeling it well then I have to stick to my Titan or go back to iPhone until 2nd Gen WP8 phones are out maybe bringing a worthy Titan replacement.
  • Unfortunately.... +1
  • I totally agree... while I think I like the HTC body better than the 920, I'm so disappointed. The 920 camera may get me to bite but I Never thought I would hang onto my T-II when WP8 came out... There is no excuse not to have a killer phone with plenty of room, battery, expandable storage, large screen with tight display. This is WP8 for gosh sakes.. We were supposed to get some killer phones...
  • Your Titan 2 is a killer device! :) i would stay with it till the secong gen wp8. Just because of the fact that there is not such s useful gap of functions beetween wp8 and 7.8. Or do you need wallet right know? :) i think evrynody of us can wait, because the titan, titan 2, lumia 900, are really good devices. In some parts of the world they just coming as new and cool devices :)
  • Why is the 8X so tall? It has so much space above the screen. It is the size of Lumia 920 but the screen is smaller.
  • If u don't appreciate what HTC is doing right now, then ur just a hater!
  • I do hate 16GB of storage. Guilty.
  • 16Gb of non-expandable storage is a huge deal breaker. For me, the 8X is a distant 3rd behind the L920 and the Ativ-S as a result. Also, why is the camera lower spec than it's predecessor (the Titan)? On top of that, I like a big screen for gaming and the 8X has the smallest of the bunch.
    I don't really understand what people like about this phone so much. The design is quite nice and different to their Android phones. But I buy a phone for the functionality first, aesthetic appeal second. It's also looking a bit similar to the L920...
  • +1 Agree.
    So far Lumia 920 seems to be the only WP8 device that is offering something special in the market. getting new people to WP.
    That's what WP needs.
  • The blue phone, I am really digging how the time and temperature are on the same icon. Would love to see that temp on my lock screen too.
  • The 8X appears to be a clear copy of the Nokia 920. Would Nokia be in their rights to sue?
  • I humbly disagree... The sloped back with the rounded corners are awesome compared to the sawed off ends of the 920 and look very different. Wish the 920 looked more like these.
  • No, because it doesn't.
  • Yeah, I forgot about those harsh corners on the Nokia lol
  • I wonder if HTC has realized that it's not all about making phones.. What about exclusive HTC apps? Nokia got that down.
  • I can't tell exactly what this phone will look like based on pics alone. I am looking forward to seeing one in a store.
  • I am excited to see more support. I hope more customers come to Windows Phone, and that all these phones sell like hitcakes. But, bigger battery, bigger screen, wireless charging, and a better camera strong arms me to the Nokia Lumia 920. The Flagship phone to get.
  • I agree, the wireless charging and the camera might be enough... Wish it had an expandable slot, bigger screen (4.7 like my T-II) and rounded ends, though.
  • Nokia phones are the best and HTC just introduced 2 no thrills phones. Nothing new innovative or exciting. Bull shit colors most guys won't want to carry around and nothing else to say "hey your phone can't do this". Bull shit 8x 8s lumia 920 all day and the lumia 820 makes the 8s and 8x look like a knock off.. Exclusive apps by Nokia and updates makes me not want HTC anymore.
  • I have a Nokia and not one exclusive app holds any water. Plus I have to have AT&T to get their best phone. I've wanted to support Nokia from day 1 but they're letting me down all over the place.
  • Yeah but camera and some apps I would like to have are on Nokia and HTC apps are bs and never updated. I have to admit the HTC phones do look good
  • You called the colors bull shit earlier.
  • I use Drive, every single day. I also love City Lens and I even use Counter. I guess they hold water for me. Those are just the Nokia branded apps. They also bring other apps to the ecosystem.
  • While I think the 920 is probably a better phone all-around, my HTC Trophy has been such a pleasure that I think I've got little choice but to go with the 8X (but not the 8S... love the two tone but the screen rez isn't enough for a new phone).  Nokia is unknown to me, and while their apps are intriguing, for the price Nokia is expected to charge I don't see a reason to switch from the quality I know with HTC.  The 8X colors are amazing, the way it blends with the OS and that curved design, awesome, I just can't decide which color I like best.  The lack of memory expansion isn't that important... I've got 25g each on Skydrive on multiple accounts, more on Outlook.Com, and I haven't come close to using the 16g on my Trophy.  IF when I hold it in my hands it feels as solid as my Trophy, and is equal to what everyone else is offering, HTC is my choice.... but what color?!?
    Of course, if they come out with something better (Zenith) in 2013 that has memory expansion and all that other stuff the 8X lacks, I'll be a little miffed... no, no I won't.  8X wins.
  • I was dead set on a 920 until now. I don't want to tool around with Nokia's AT&T obsession. This is the 2nd flagship from Nokia that will only run AT&T (not yet confirmed but I'd put money on it that 920 will only be on AT&T.) Who cares how great their devices are if only a minority of the market has access to them. 
  • +1
  • They haven't really copied nokia, theyve tried to build a phone tailor made for wp8 and has taken example from it. Bright colours, good ergonomics, great clarity. Which is exactly what wp8 stands for
  • Nokia woukdn't sue. It would also hurt the WP8 brand, and could hurt the partnership between HTC and MS. Which ultimatly helps Nokis. More mind shsre for WP8, the more they can sell. But behind the scenes, if Nokia feels they were copied (which i dont agree with), MS and Nokia together could get a settlement agreed upon. But Nokia doesnt have patents on colored, plastic phones. And they both took inspiration from WP.
  • Oh yeah... how is the 8X a copy of the 920?  Nokia, flat top and bottom, slight curve back and glass with flattened sides, 8X curved back greater, less curve on the glass, no flat sides or top/bottom.  Making the phone thicker in the middle is a matter of having enough room to put the guts of the phone in (and I know about that... my middle's getting thicker by the minute!).  I don't see how that's something that's open for litigation, and the other features are hardly similar... and HTC has Ballmer to back them up that he was aware of their designs all along... unless Nokia is going to say that Ballmer had something to do with i ... ...  uh nevermind.
  • +1, not a copy and maybe better design ;-)
  • I love it! Still going with my preordered L920 but I'm thinking this would (X or S) be a good replacement for my L800(was going to use the L800 at work but this got me thinking) :)
  • I had the feeling people were struggling to say nice things about the HTC phones. The colours are fantastic, the design reminds me of the Titan but there really isn't anything awesome to make me forget the bad experience I had with my Titan.Also 16GB.....
  • I like the nokia models better, but the HTC phones look good. I do see how it looks like HTC copied nokia, but the colors probably have more to do with MS than they do with nokia.
  • I like that yellow and gray 8s!! I wish it was a Nokia..
  • I believe Microsoft helped HTC design these phones. Of course no evidence to support.  The main reason I say this is HTC was never on the path to produce phones like these.  Furthermore, the beveled edges matches (closely if not exactly) the Surface.  Since Nokia has patent on very similar designs, (curve glass that flat on edge), further supports that Microsoft was involved.  What if Microsoft bought HTC and Nokia?  Or is this the "Surface Phone" that was rumored?  The names Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S goes a long way to support the "Surface Phone". Of course, this is purely spectulation.  Nothing to support.  Really, it's only thinking out loud!
  • Honestly, if HTC had put either 32GB of storage or a MicroSD card slot into the 8X, I'd probably get that phone over the 920. But sadly, they really limited the storage on it and I'll probably end up going with the 920 because of that.
  • Agreed
  • We're all brothers here. We're suppose to fight against iOS and Android, not against eachother .
  • Beautiful design and awesome hardware but 16GB of storage for the 8X is more than disappointing.
  • Are we seeing a Surface respons to HTC phones here?
  • I honestly thought that the 920 would be the obvious choice for the first Gen WP8 devices, but HTC has really proven they are a proper contender and with Beats audio and the fantastic design of the 8X I'm really not sure which one I want. I guess I'll find out once I get both in my hands.
    I think, lot of people are forgetting that Nokia's music and sound quality will also be stellar. 
    They also have Dolby, rich recording(with 2/3 microphones), HD voice. 
    So, they will hold their own, specially in video recording and voice call quality. 
  • Only 16GB? I like the 32GB in the 920. Still, how come the high end phones from Nokia and HTC are lacking a micro sd slot? Come on!
  • I love this new hardware from HTC, but Nokia is just ahead of the game with their customer support and partnership with windows os..
  • I want heavy phones...
  • so lost in phone selection, I might just have to get the lumia 920 and the HTC 8x
  • I think, lot of people are forgetting that Nokia's music and sound quality will also bee stellar. 
    They also have Dolby, rich recording(with 2/3 microphones), HD voice. 
    So, they will hold their own, specially in video recording and voice call quality. 
  • I'm excited for Windows Phone. The range of WP8 devices is amazing. I think I'll end up with the Lumia 920, but I'd take an 8x over an iPhone 5 or GSIII.
  • Same here, although price might become a factor in my decision.
  • The phones look absolutely stunning. Never would have expected HTC to come up with these beautiful devices. Way to go HTC. For me, just for me, these are the prettiest WP 8 devices yet. I like the Lumias, but the 8 x is just a stunner.
  • Great day for WP, I admit. As for the HTC 8 series phone, not bad, though personally, I prefer the Lumia 920.
    In regards to HTC, I hope that they make these phones widely available, be it on contract at operators or sold at RRP, aside from their Android counterparts. The last time they released a WP here in Malaysia, they restricted it to one operator and didn't bother offering it at retail. Not to mention giving it zero advertising. Same thing Samsung and LG did here. Nokia, on the other hand, did both (plus advertising it heavily) and look how well it sold.
    Would be interesting to see WP8s from both Samsung and HTC available here at retail and the operators, but if both decide to adopt the previous route, then that's their loss and they can sit back and watch Nokia fill that gap again. :p