Windows Phone 8? Done. But which phone? Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC 8X?
OK, listen up, folks. I get it. Microsoft still has a way to go in dominating the mobile market the way many analysts believe it will do in the coming years. But if we put aside branding and marketing, such as the very name of the OS, Windows Phone (hurts me to say it), Microsoft actually has quite a compelling product on its hands.
I have used Windows Phone extensively over the past year with phones such as the Omnia 7, the Lumia 800, and most recently, the Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X. Let’s try to put aside our love or hate of everything Microsoft (like Apple, no one is indifferent to Microsoft. You either love it or hate it.) and focus on the two phones at hand.
Both the Lumia 920 and the HTC 8x were sent to me by Microsoft, so let’s just get that out of the way. At no point did anyone ask me to write my thoughts on the phones, but I do believe Microsoft knows how impressive both these phones are, they are confident that by sending them to folks, the phones will speak for themselves. They are right.
As my totally non-geeky next door neighbor so elegantly put it, “This phone might be the best looking phone I have ever seen.” Once you hold the HTC 8X, you are pretty much guaranteed to be impressed. The phone is super slim, colorful, solid, and fast.
By all standards, whether you are comparing it to the plastic devices from Samsung, the more high end phones from Apple, or even previous solid devices from HTC, the 8X is built to near perfection. Having said that…
I cannot force myself to use the 8X on a daily basis and there are several reasons, but one primary one for this. The battery is not replaceable. Fine, I have and continue to use an iPhone, so I am down with that. In fact, the battery on the 8X is impressive, so not a big deal.
The on board storage maxes out at 16GB, and I have the 8GB version. Also, not a deal breaker for me, at least until I try to add my music. Most of what I use is in the cloud anyway, so I have no need for more than 16GB of storage. Again, not ideal, but not a deal breaker.
But then there is the power/wake button on the 8X. If you have used one of these phones, you are now nodding your head in agreement. If you have not, let me explain. The phone is super slim, which makes it so appealing but with such a minimal form factor, HTC designed the button that you completely depend on every time you want to wake the phone, in the most awkward and fundamentally flawed manner.
Never once, in the month that I have been using the 8X was I able to press this button on my first attempt. It requires you to actually press down pretty hard for it to register, but more importantly, it is pretty flush with the device so good luck finding it in the dark.
Additionally, I have not done extensive research on this, but I have the strong feeling that most smartphones have the power/wake button on the side, not the top.
You know when you hold a phone for the first time and you literally do not know if it’s on and how to wake it up? Welcome to my world, every single time I let someone hold the 8X. That, to me, is a deal breaker. Poor engineering on HTC’s part and that is unfortunate because other than that one button, the phone is a work of art.
Nokia Lumia 920
If the HTC 8X made me want to pull my hair out every time I went to press that button, the Lumia 920 makes me want to put all the hairs back one by one. This thing is a breath of fresh air. If you have used a Nokia phone at one point or another, you know that these guys know how to make a phone and no one can take that away from them.
When handing someone the 8X, the initial reaction was always “Now what?” When handing that same person the Lumia 920, it was “Ooooh” and “ahhh”. Every. Single. Time.
This phone is built so well, it feels the way a phone should feel, with the possible exception of a few extra pounds. It is a heavy phone and anyone who says otherwise needs to calibrate their built in scale. It is a heavy phone.
If you ask me, I will take a heavy well built phone over a phone that is so light it feels like a toy (Ahem, iPhone 5, ahem) any day of the week.
The Lumia 920 comes in some um, interesting colors. I was offered the black, red, or white one, and opted for white. It is stunning.
The phone is blazing fast, although on that front, no different than the 8x. And the camera… Well, it deserves a paragraph on its own…
The camera on the Lumia 920 is like nothing I have ever seen before. The lens captures super wide images and the details are just ridiculously, well… detailed. The low light photos come out as if they were taken in day light and regular images look like they were taken with a $10,000 camera. Not exaggerating even a little bit. You must try it to understand.
The battery on the Lumia 920 is in my opinion, the biggest downside of the phone, although it is no worse than any other high end smartphone out there. Everything else about this phone is way above the standard set by other smartphones, so I expected the battery to align with that level, but it did not.
All in all, the Lumia 920 is probably the nicest and most impressive mobile device I have ever used, if we are talking about hardware only. The OS is a topic for another time and before you go and trash Windows Phone for lacking any apps, read last week’s article about my top 10 Windows Phone apps.
So bottom line, which one do I choose, the HTC 8X or Nokia Lumia 920? There is no question whatsoever that the 920 takes this on almost every single front. Both are great phones, but the 920 is in a league of its own.