HTC 8X, a few weeks of use !

16 12 2012

Well ! After doing a previous piece on the 2 new HTC phones, the 8X and the 8S, I’ve been lucky enough to acquire an 8X!! I received a California Blue GSM model, this is probably my favourite colour scheme and looks really impressive up close.

HTC-Windows-Phone-8X-colours

There are a range of colour schemes as I mentioned previously, these can all be seen above, but the model I received is shown in the centre of the above image, and the image below.

w8_blue_small

Now, I’ve had my fair share of time with each OS, starting with Blackberry, moving onto iOS, then to Android and now a taste of WP8. This isn’t the worst transition I’ve experienced as there are a lot of common points with every OS, but there are also a lot of big changes with WP8, even in comparison to WP7.

I spoke a lot about the technical specs in the previous 8X article so I’m not going to spend time writing that here, just more about my impressions with using the device on a day to day basis. https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/htc-8x-and-8s-windows-phone-preview/

The device feels great in hand, the back of the phone is made of a sort of rubberised material, this stops it slipping and also feels really well made. The glass on the front is Gorilla Glass 2 so is typically well made and handles most common slight scratches well and is also curved to the contour of the phones body which stands out and looks impressive. One of the first things you notice about the phone is how thin it is, the device is shaped so that it is thinner at the edge and thicker in the middle and this gives the illusion of it being even thinner than you would expect. The image below is taken from HTC and shows the process involved in designing this to achieve this thickness.

htc-windows-phone-wp-8s-8x-design-thin

The WP8 UI takes a bit of getting used to in coming from Android, you have the same sort of soft keys that appear down the bottom, one for search, one for back, and one showing the Windows symbol for home. This is about as far as this similarity goes ! With most other things being massively different than both iOS and Android OS.

One of the biggest let downs, not of the Phone, but of the general OS is the Windows store. Like Android was a while ago, it lacks big name apps, and general volumes of games and apps alike. The store is easy to use but I believe that if this store improves with the numbers of apps and games it provides and the quality of these games improve, the OS will become a massive hit. If I could have my same Play Store or iTunes choice on my HTC 8X I’d never put the device down and never look back.

The WP8 OS is incredibly smooth, some of the apps don’t share this feel, but all of the stock OS and big name apps do. I had an issue originally as I used Whatsapp every day and this wasn’t available for WP8, but in the past few days it has been released which has cured a massive issue I had with being able to use the phone as a daily device ! The battery also lasts extremely well outperforming my Galaxy Nexus by some considerable margin in most instances.

Now, if you have made the move to W8 for your laptop or desktop you will be aware of the metro tile UI and how this operates. This works a lot better on a phone than on a computer or desktop as far as Im concerned, it feels like this is what it was made for and it does a great job of keeping you up to date with everything that is happening. One of my personal favourites is the people tile, this gives you information about Facebook, Twitter etc all in one place which is something the other OS’s have yet to accomplish to this level.

This phone is great, if the store starts to support more apps I would have absolutely 0 hesitation in recommending this, or any other Windows Phone to a friend, but this is an issue at present. I think that in the coming months this will change to a completely unrecognisable choice  of apps and games and when this comes, the battle of the OS will become even more interesting !!





Windows 8, a few weeks of discussion!

15 11 2012

So, after swaying backwards and forwards for what seemed like an age. I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.

I am quite enjoying the new UI, but many have a completely different opinion !!

What do you think of the new interface ? Is it something you love, or are going to have to learn to love ?

I’ve done pieces on the new Windows 8 Mobile OS, as well as the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X who will run this OS. But the laptop, tablet, PC will be what makes the most use of this.

The Metro Tile start button had me confused first of all, this is shown above, I wasn’t sure if the complete system was ran around this or purely the start panel. To answer, it is only the start button. If you click start you get the same sort of Metro Interface you get on a Windows Phone with Live Tiles and lots of different applications. This can give you an idea if you have any emails, notifications or any events coming up in your calendar. This is bringing the OS of Laptops and PC’s more in line with Mobiles and thus gives us an opportunity to integrate the 2 of these together to ensure we take everything with us at all times. In a few weeks time I will hopefully take delivery of a HTC 8X, and can give a further insight into the integration when this is received, but it seems like there are a good few opportunities to be completely integrated.

On the Metro themed Start button, there is a tile that is called ‘Desktop’ clicking this takes you back to your standard HomeScreen you know, and most probably grown to love. Your desktop can still have shortcuts on it, and you can still drag and drop to the recycle bin etc etc. When on the Start Button, if you right click and click ‘All Apps’ this will give you a better view of what you can click to run, including ‘My Comnputer’, ‘Control Panel’ and things of that nature, as well as programs that may not show up right away on your Metro themed background. It can take time to get this start button the way you like fiddling with combinations, but when you have a system you can use and suits what you like to check and keep up to date with, it works fantastically.

Hovering over the top right and bottom left of the screen also gives you a lot more options. Hovering in the top right for example gives you another side menu to shut the computer down, search for files or programmes and connect to other devices. The bottom left gives you access to the start button, and opens up the screen shown at the top of this piece.

If you are into developing, there is a lot of debate about this OS as it is apparently far more locked down than previous ones. I am not into this on a major scale, so it doesn’t effect me to a massive extent but this may cause problems for you if you are.

I am loving this new OS, and personally don’t see a lot of negatives with a lot of useful shortcuts and integration, I see this being very popular, and as Windows is the most commonly ran OS generally, most people will probably have to like it or lump it anyway !

When I upgraded, I had the option to do so online for £19.99 if I choose not to receive a disc, this is the option I choose and didn’t take long to complete. Upgrading officially this way ensures all of your files are saved, and running the update helper gives you an idea if any of your programmes will maybe have compatibility issues with W8, most require a simple reinstall or update if this is the case.

A handy hint I read elsewhere, which successfully worked for me, Is that if you bought a W7 laptop between July and January 2013, you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to W8. If you fill in a code for this online, you can get this code no questions asked with no proof of purchase required. This is obviously a flaw in the system but allowed me to get the upgrade for £14.99 and saved me a fiver for the pub !!

The link for this section is – http://www.windowsupgradeoffer.com

If you do this you will have a voucher sent to your email within 24 hours that you can input when downloading the upgrade.

I’d love to hear everybodies views on this ! As it has been, and will continue to be a very controversial system.

Thanks !!

J

 





Windows 8 Phone, Next big thing ?

11 08 2012

Apple and Android are completely dominating the Mobile market at the minute with a pretty large proportion of phones running each of their OS.

Their next challenger, with the pretty imminent downfall of Blackberry is Windows in my opinion. This is backed up by figures in most parts of the world. The Nokia Lumia range run the most recent Windows operating system pretty successfully and this has been the most success the range has had in quite some time with most people not considering Windows an option up until now.

Windows 8 is said to be being released around the end of the year with October and November being heard in amongst the whispers. This, you would assume to be after the launch of the IPhone 5 with most sources saying this will be released before October. A disadvantage in my eyes but I suppose it could be an advantage depending on the success of the new flagship Apple device.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

The above shows the new Windows 8 interface. A complete overhaul in comparison with the current Windows 7, and previous Windows OS. This, is more closely related to the most recent Windows 7 phone and operates in a smart-tile UI. This changes as new information is received, with each block acting as a resizable, movable widget, bringing you the most up to date texts, facebook updates and things of this sort.

The above video gives an idea about how this works.

Samsung, Huawei, HTC and Nokia are all confirmed to be making a phone to run Windows 8.

Windows 8 will be NFC compatible and have its own version of Google Wallet and Passbook named Microsoft Wallet ( how creative !?)  and will also run Internet Explorer 10 with the capacity to run numerous core processors and HD quality graphics. The phones will also have expandable storage and a great Maps system, something Nokia as a company have had some considerable success in before now.

Above, again are some images that give an idea of how the UI will look, with some different variations.

Windows 8 Phones are also going to be far more integrated into the Windows 8 OS which will be available for PC’s and Laptops. This will make sharing files and settings far easier and should hopefully make the whole experience far better than previous and rival the current set up of Apple and I tunes.

Phones are also going to be supported for a minimum of 18  months after launch, this will be useful to some Tech geeks who get the phones at their release with the phone being supported for Updates for the vast majority of their contract with this not necessarily being the case with some devices!

Not being an expert on the subject, far more information can be obtained at

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/windows-phone-8-release-date-and-latest-details-1065086

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2012/06/20/announcing-windows-phone-8.aspx

If you are interested, or just want to learn a little more on what else is out there !!








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