Mobile manufacturers have been battling to win the accolade of top Windows Phone 8 smartphone since Microsoft first unleashed the software in October this year.
So far, the front-runners in the Windows Phone 8 race are flagship devices the HTC 8X, Nokia Lumia 920, and the Samsung ATIV S. But which manufacturer can trump the competition and be crowned the Windows Phone 8 king? Let’s take a look at what each device has to offer…
The HTC 8X has a cool design featuring a textured rear panel which feels soft and offers the user a bit of extra grip in the hand. It’s lightweight too weighing in at 130g, and is available in a range of modern colours, making it ideal for those who favour a more eye-catching and compact mobile.
Compared to the Lumia 920, the HTC 8X feels effortlessly light, whilst still retaining a solid sturdiness.
The handset’s 4.3-inch super LCD display doesn’t disappoint either, and offers crisp and colourful images no matter what you are viewing on the screen.
Audio aficionados will be pleased to know that the HTC 8X is the first Windows Phone to feature the Dr Dre-endorsed Beats Audio tech which offers deeper bass and crisper vocals with less distortion. So whether you’re listening to Calvin Harris’ new track or watching Harry Potter, you can experience authentic studio sound across all audio outputs, providing you’re hooked up with Beats Audio headphones of course.
On the subject of multimedia, the HTC 8X’s 8 megapixel camera performs well, producing clear and colourful photos. Full HD video recording is also available and the quality of the footage is higher than you would expect from a smartphone.
A highlight of the HTC 8X is its 2.1 megapixel front-facing snapper with its awesome ultra wide-angle lens. This allows users to capture nearly triple the area normal front-facing cameras are capable of, and is perfect for those arm’s length self-portraits you take when nobody is around.
Nokia Lumia 920
In contrast to the HTC 8X, the Nokia Lumia 920 is quite big and heavy, weighing in at a cumbersome 185g. Some might say there is a lack of innovation with the device’s design too, as it looks nearly identical to its predecessor, the Lumia 900.
However, the handset’s size means it can accommodate a 4.5-inch LCD TFT display featuring Nokia’s PureMotion HD+ technology, which offers really intricate detail when watching HD videos and viewing photos.
Clocking in at 8.7 megapixels, the Lumia 920’s camera features PureView technology and as such, is pretty awesome. HD video capture with image stabilisation only helps increase these levels of awesomeness too.
PureView is a term used for the advanced camera tech within Nokia devices, and in the Lumia 920’s case Nokia has ‘floated’ the lens – basically this means that it’s mounted on a spring – and this reduces shaking meaning there’s less blur in images. The lens also takes in five times more light than other smartphone lenses, resultimg in pictures and videos with sharp details and good colour saturation, even in low light.
Extra software additions such as Lenses and Local Scout mean that the Lumia 920 pips the competition when it comes to bonus photography features. The handset is also the only device of the three that presently that offers wireless charging functionality and has a 4G variant available.
Samsung ATIV S
With a more mature design featuring a brushed aluminium rear panel, the ATIV S is a far cry from the pointy corners and jazzy colours sported by its rivals. Upon handling the device you’ll notice that ‘aluminium’ back cover is actually made of plastic though, which is a little disappointing.
The LCD displays on the HTC 8X and Lumia 920 both offer great visuals, but if you place the ATIV S next to them you’ll see its 4.8-inch super AMOLED screen outperforms them, offering more vivid colours, sharper details and darker blacks. If you’re a movie buff or gamer, you’ll benefit from the larger, higher quality display, as it offers a more detailed and immersive visual experience, and there’s also more surface area with which to use on-screen game controls.
Even though it houses the largest display, the device is still lightweight at 135g, and because it measures just 9mm thick will slide into pockets with ease. On the back of the device is a more than adequate 8 megapixel camera, however the video recording functionality isn’t as good as that on offer from the HTC 8X and Lumia 920 – the images aren’t as clear especially, in low light conditions.
Samsung has added a cool Photo Editor suite for cropping, rotating, adding colour effects and decorations, but other native apps such as Family Story and Mini Diary are a bit lacklustre and don’t really add to the user experience.
All of the devices feature 1.5GHz dual-core processors and 1GB RAM, and were all on a par when it comes to fluidity and efficiency when multitasking. And they all feature the Windows Phone 8 operating system, albeit with the few aforementioned additions from their respective manufacturers.
But which one do we like most?
When it comes down to it we think the HTC 8X is the best device because of its lightweight, modern design, and its combination of excellent imaging and audio functionality.
The Nokia Lumia 920 certainly impresses with its camera and PureView technology, but its bulky size and weightiness is a major put-off. Although the Samsung ATIV S’ display is by far the best of the bunch, it lacks the “wow” factor that the HTC 8X possesses when it come to design. So if you want a Windows 8 device that is a great all rounder, the HTC 8X would be our recommendation.