Lets Talk Smartphones: Playing With HTC’s Windows Phone 8X

I honestly don’t think I’d be able to blog, let alone keep up with all my cooking and recipes without a smartphone. When I was living in England I, along with the rest of my friends was a Blackberry user, but when I moved to the United States I purchased my first every iPhone. I’m pretty attached to my Mac Book Pro, and therefore a disciple of the Apple cult, so I did not really think about what other smartphones were out there. Except for the Samsung Galaxy of course. My Dad has one and I hate it, it is pretty hard to use even one if its most basic functions; answering the damn thing. Anyway, as an Apple user I’m hardwired to cross myself against the sign of evil when I see a Samsung Galaxy phone. However, when I was invited to the launch of HTC’s new Windows Phone 8X on the rooftop of The London Hotel on the Sunset Strip (one of the best event venues ever, in my opinion), I decided I’d approach the phone with an open mind, especially as I’m not too much of a fan of the new iPhone 5 where they’ve messed around with the placement of the headphone jack, the size of the connection slot and not to mention the whole maps fiasco.


While I’m not going to pretend to be a tech or geek blogger with this post, because I’m not by any stretch of the imagination, I thought I’d talk about HTC’s new phone as a user; because lets face it, who do you know (maybe except for parents and other older family members) who does not use a smartphone? We’re all pretty much addicted. The guys at HTC were kind enough to send me this new phone, and while contract wise I will be sticking to my iPhone, there are actually many things it does better than my iPhone, which I will now be using it for instead.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since, what, mid October if you’re going to judge by the adverts running on American TV, on billboards and bus stops all over Los Angeles etc. it is hard for you to not already know about Windows tiles. This is one feature I really love both for practicality (though it is no more practical than homescreen app icons on other smartphones), but also for aesthetics. It is totally customisable, and very, very pretty. Also, I can pin a little square of my blog on the homescreen. Totally awesome.
I don’t actually have a sim card in this phone so I can’t really attest to what it is like as one, but one of the big features they were pushing at the launch party was the built in camera. Now, I’ve become pretty used to using my iPhone as a camera for some in the spur of the moment shots, as well as for Instagram to save me lugging my massive DSLR around with me. One of the times the hefty camera does seem to draw attention to me when I’m not really comfortable is when I’m shooting my meal in a restaurant for a ‘Places To Eat In London‘ or ‘Places To Eat In Los Angeles‘ feature. With this in mind, I took my HTC 8X along to The Sycamore Kitchen with me when I reviewed it in January. Please explain to me in what way is this photo inferior to some of the restaurant snaps of my meal I’ve shot with my DSLR? It’s not. The camera on this thing is incredible.
Apps wise, this phone is great if you want a smartphone, but not great if you’re a blogger or work in or with social media, and want a smartphone. Yes you can get Facebook and Twitter on here, but Instagram? No. (Though, there is an inbuilt photo editing app with filters if you want to send Instagram style photos to Twitter.) Pinterest? No. (Though the web view is okay.) Bloglovin’? Ditto. You want to jump on the latest Vine bandwagon? Not a chance. This is great for people who like to surf the web, read the paper (I have a Times Online (London Edition) subscription and the app for this phone is just as good as the one on my iPhone), but not great for people like us bloggers who like their social media in excess.
However, all this being said, it has been decided by me that until such a time I can get my hands on an iPad (don’t get be started on the Kindle Fire) my 8X is going to become my designated Kindle. The screen is much bigger than most smartphones, and much shinier and clearer, giving for a much better reading experience  which unless you have an actual paper and ink book in your hands, is pretty good going as far as reading experiences go.

What smartphone are you using at the moment, and what do you like and not like about it? Also, who else here has tried Windows tiles? I do love this phone, but I’m not sure if I’d want to use it full time, and that is a compatability issue. Nothing will ever get me switching from Apple Mac back to a Windows laptop, and the 8X and a Mac Book Pro are really not comptable and I have become rather used to how all my Apple products seemlessly sync together.