Quick demo of the HTC 8X with audio amplifier

As you may have noticed, the new HTC 8X for Windows Phone 8 features a nice little hardware amplifier (2.55v) to boost audio output.

We got to sample it today in New York and you’ll see as I try to narrate over the audio, I simply cannot compete. While it’s hard to get the “real feel” via video, from our limited experience we can say it does indeed make a difference. Audio is noticeably louder and just as sharp without distortion. Running a line-out to some speakers or other media device should ensure some pumping tunes, perfect for the media-savvy consumer out there.

While boosted audio is not everyone’s selling point for a new phone, we can certainly see many folks considering this the icing on the cake for the stellar looking 8X.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Woww... The Volume and Sound Quality is soo good that I can barely hear Daniel's Voice!
  • Tell me about it, I was really interested in HTC's WP8 offerings till I heard this. Will have to see what T-Mobile gets. I'm now looking at either the HTC 8X or the Samsung ATIV S.
  • This is nice the HD7 could never do that I may take a long look at this. the L820 is not for me this could be
  • Agreed! Coming from an L800, the L820 is a major let down and damned ugly. The L920 just looks too big, and I'm done with shiny phones. I love the matte polycarbonate look and the 8x is impressing me more and more. I'm going to miss Nokia Music though. Great app.
  • at first i wasn't thrilled about beats audio.  my dell venue pro is plenty loud with the speakers, but i came away from this pretty impressed.
  • I'm glad I'm not the only one still sporting a Dell Venue Pro haha
  • Hard to tell with the guy and the phone stepping all over each other.  He should have set up what he wanted to say first then allow us to heard the phone without him talking all over it.
    I do have to say though that the phone was cleaner than the mic he was using.  :)
  • say that again.
  • Ditto
  • How about a memory amplifier that boost it to 32GB, considering that is par for the course in today's market.
  • Lol....
  • Engadget is claiming the 8x has a microsd slot.
  • Well according to HTC's product page it doesn't, but the 8S does.
  • Yeah, just went to see if they had the 8x on the site yet. No microsd card...
    The Engadget article is here, http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/19/windows-phone-8-fight and it's been fixed, but the weave feed still shows, "External storage microSD up to 32GB"
  • Really don't understand why both Nokia and HTC chose to include a memory expansion slot on the lower end device and exclude it from the higher end device. Makes no sense.
  • The Samsung model is clained to have a MicroSDCX slot, IF it's true, it would support up to a 64gb MicroSD card...
  • I Hear That.. Where's the logic on the high end phone not having more storage than current phones and then not even being expandable, SMH... I use cloud but my T-II is maxed and I always have to worry about it. I like a lot about the 8x and the audio quality is almost as important as the camera but the limited storage is STUPID and is a deal breaker.
  • +1
    Its bordering stupid.
    Where do they say that? Besides that you can't trust engadget with anything these days. The journalist who had the hands on with the 8X even thinks that 16GB is the current limitation of WP8.
  • If 16 is the limitation, how does the L920 have 32GB??? according to your statement, that would mean MS made an exception for Nokia's L900....makes no sense
  • Xbox Music cloud storage to the rescue.
  • "Xbox Music Cloud Storage: Go through all your data in a week."
  • Don't think so considering streaming music is 26-54mb an hour
  • Yes, but microSD is 64 GB / second i.e. I put in a microSD card full of music and 1 second later I have 64 GB of files to use ;)
  • The amp is a nice to have feature that might be a tipping point for folks who use their phones for audio alot - nice idea HTC.
  • Right here! Im more of a music and movie buff! So, this will probably do it for me! I love Nokia, but the 920 seems too big and heavy. Love the new Pureview tech as well, but im not much of a camera guy. As long as the 8x has a decent camera, I will be o.k.
  • Not sure if this is what you would call audio amplifier but HTC does have the best sounding devices on the market.
  • This device is absolutely phenominal....totally blows away the 820, which was THE device I was looking to get, expandable storage would be nice but I can handle 16 without compromises and gorilla glass is a must for me....hello HTC!!! You have amazed me with the exact size I love, and some serious sound im craving....8x rules!!!
  • I agree 100% no gorilla glass and screen res killed the 820 for me but this Oh yea this is nice
  • Damn! Its louder than Daniel!! Haha
  • Will the lumia 920 have am amplifier of some type?  I hope it does. 
  • The 920 has some sort of Dolby sound processing. Unsure how good it is or whether or not will be better than the 8X's.
  • Ok, EE here...what is the 2.55V supposed to refer to?  2.55V line out?  2.55V @ some current to drive a high end set of headphones?  Or is the "2.55V" referring to the built-in speaker somehow (I'm betting no, but it probably has a decent speaker anyway)?  It can't be all of the above...
  • B
  • I wish the Lumia 920 had beats audio with this amplification. That would be the PERFECT device....
  • It still is? No serious audiophile cares about this. Loud is not what sound is about.
  • The extra power means that the audio will sound better at lower volumes. Any serious audiophile knows this.. Lol!
  • A serious audiophile, no, any sensible human being, would not request for Beats.
  • +1 thanks
  • Beats audio is about the DSP in the device, and the amplifier is for the speaker on board, not the headphone jack. And the REAL audiophile wouldn't stoop to a phone and MP3 audio anyway, trust me on this, I've worked with many. :-)
  • Actually the amp powers both the speaker and the headphone jack. HTC even stated the phone would detect when more capable headphones were plugged in so as to give them the extra juice they need.
  • But they will choose the phone with the best audio and in this case it more likely is the 8X and 8S, trust me on that. I'm probably going to stick with HTC if Nokia doesn't come close to HTC's Beats audio.
  • Which is why I'm glad that WP supports lossless formats like .wma cuz I am an audiophile and I use studio cans on my HD7... :D
  • Well Nokia has a partnership with Monster Inc. and beats audio was one of their brands. Basically all the new nokia purity headsets are almost the same as the beats headsets. The only difference are the looks. 
    So that said i think it wouldn't be impossible for nokia to include something like what the 8X has in their lumias. So maybe it could happen in the near future.
  • I think Beats by Dre is going away from the Monster company or already has. HTC has 51% of the shares of Beats and made Dre rich with this investment. While monster makes great hardware, the Beats proprietary audio processing is unique and will probably only be on HTC handsets.
  • I'm getting the L920, but the question I have is how long before the speaker blow and the sound rattles????
  • line out voltage
  • Does anyone know of the 8x will come with beats earbuds?
  • Sorry but i don't thinks so, only phone that they did that to in the US was with Verizon HTC rezound. Would be nice though
  • I Think its time for a new poll. 920 vs 820 vs 8x vs 8s vs AtivS
  • This may sound like a stupid question, but what the hell.... how does this work with a bluetooth headset?  Will it lose quality over bluetooth?  Will you lose the bass boost?  In other words, does using a bluetooth headset make the amplifier useless, or do you get the same quality via bluetooth that you would get from a headset plugged into the jack?
  • From our experience with the evo lte it doesn't boost Bluetooth out.
  • It would only boost wired audio. It doesn't even make sense to think Bluetooth would benefit. Once you go Bluetooth, you're dependant upon the quality of the headset's amp.
  • Bluetooth is a digital audio link so it's not dependent on the audio amps. 3.5mm jacks are analog out tho some headphones convert the sound back to digital
  • Bluetooth audio quality sucks anyway. And no, the amp wouldn't work over BT.
  • Thanks, people!  That's what I figured, but if anyone would know for sure, it was some of you!  Still leaning towards the 8X now that all are supposed to be going to Verizon, but it's going to come down to pricing and what kind of deal I can get.  Thanks again!
  • I see everyone has their own idea of what "2.55V" means.
  • If NFC works, would be a nice match with HTC 8s and JBL PlayUp
  • I'm really interested on Nokia's next moved. It needs to make the 920 available to all carries or get trump by the 8x. Sure Nokia has the upper hand when it comes to specs and app exclusives and it goes above and beyond to keep Nokia users happy. But they need to reel them in first and that's not going to happened if one carrier has it all. HTC gave us what we wanted, a Slick Phone that meets our needs and most importantly availability and price!! I have Tmo right now and im not planning on switching carries so 8x as of now is #1 on my list
  • If your putting your audio out over Bluetooth and/usb, since this is digital it would make no difference what phone your using, correct?
  • Correct
  • I do listen to a lot of podcasts while doing around the house things. This would be perfect because you could hear over the noise you make which has been a limitation for every other phone I have had. Great job HTC!
  • This
    You pretty much described my use case for my first gen Focus. Listening to podcasts while I'm cooking, cleaning, playing video games, and in the car (have an older system without an audio in jack). So having a phone that is loud without distortion is important for me. I also use the headphones while I'm at work quite often too.
    I hate that the 8X is making me reconsider my decision to get the L920. I just don't want to regret giving up Nokia's support and apps. Argh! Good problems to have though :)
  • Nice
  • I think the 8X is a nice alternative to the 920 if your carrier does not have the latter. But the 8S cannot be an alternative to the 820 since it does not have FFC. With Skype said to be integrated in WP8 and in this day and age, why did they skimp on FFC on the 8S?! They should call this the 8V not the 8S!
  • Just a question for Daniel as you heard these speakers.
    Does it have any bass to it ? Even the HTC Surround sounded like I was listening to a radio from a tin can (tho better than other phones at that time). Having more juice to power internal speakers is cool but, if it sounds like crap, what's the point ?
    I've never heard a phone speaker sound even close to decent...
    Can anyone who acutally heard this phone live answer this ?
  • Beats is nice but I'd rather have the haac rich recoding of the 920 for recording concerts :)
  • Looks like some of you guys are buying into the Beats marketing scam. Audio is about the headphone jack, not some little shitty speaker that plays louder than others.
    I bet this uses the same snapdragon S4 combined audio like all the other S4 devices, and the "beats setting" will just be an equalizer preset for boosted lows and highs instead of linear response (which is what you would want, because you want the headphone to make the difference).
  • It's not a scam that it is louder than other phones. Some people have a use case for needing a loud external speaker. It's still a selling point even if the beats name wasn't attached.
  • Twisted logic, you boast good sound but limited storage.
  • The HTC 8X is great. The screen and resolution is very amazing and the size is very portable too. The amplifier got me to buy it too. - Carmack Moving and Storage