Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC Windows Phone 8X; a purchase made with the head instead of the heart
There are two new high end Windows Phone 8 devices in the US, the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X. I've been using both for two weeks and have been getting the same questions from everyone, which one would you choose?
I bought my white Nokia Lumia 900 back in May and have designated AT&T as my Windows Phone carrier (I use Verizon for the iPhone and T-Mobile for Android). That was the easy part and for more than a week I have been using the HTC Windows Phone 8X (HTC 8X) and Nokia Lumia 920 as I try to figure out which of the two was going to be my personal choice. One of my Twitter followers, @Beertone, put it perfectly when he wrote, "My heart says 8X, my head says 920."
I am blessed to be able to use so many different smartphones and in the past it was fairly easy to pick the top device for each operating system. As I wrote in my recent top 5 smartphones for the 2012 holiday season article all of those top five are awesome phones and most people will be happy with any of them. AT&T customers have the best choice between two high end Windows Phone 8 devices thanks to Nokia's exclusive deal. IMHO, it's a pretty easy choice if you are on T-Mobile or Verizon as the HTC 8X is the top dog. I am testing out the Lumia 810 and 822 on T-Mobile and Verizon, but they are rather chunky devices with lower resolution displays and will likely not appeal to the smartphone enthusiast.
I left the Windows Phone 8 launch event a couple weeks ago with the HTC 8X (thanks Mr. Oprah Ballmer) and Nokia Lumia 920 in my bag. I had been using an international version of the 8X for a few days before that event, but looked forward to testing out LTE on the AT&T model. The evaluation Lumia 920 also came with the Fatboy charging pillow and has integrated Qi charging support.
What my head says
If you take out the feelings associated with the look and feel of phone and just look at the tale of the tape it is pretty clear that the Nokia Lumia 920 is the clear winner. Nokia includes some nice innovation in the Lumia 920 with its 4.5 inch PureMotion HD+ display, wireless charging with the Qi standard, PureView camera with amazing low light performance and optical image stabilization, and Dolby sound support. If you then look at the software on the Lumia you will see Nokia leads there too with free Nokia Music service, Nokia Drive voice guided navigation, fun camera lenses like Cinemagraph, Photosynth, and Smart Shoot. You will also find the Nokia City Lens augmented reality application that is great for finding places to eat in the city. Nokia continues to receive some Windows Phone apps exclusively prior to other WP devices. Currently, Words With Friends and an optimized ESPN app are available only on the Lumia devices.
HTC has Qi wireless charging in the 8X on Verizon, but for some reason it is an exclusive only with that carrier. HTC has a few utilities, such as a flashlight and converter, but nothing close to what Nokia provides on the 920. The wide angle front facing camera is fun for taking photos of friends and family, but the back camera still needs work and the flash needs to tone it down a bit. I took several comparison photos this past weekend and the Lumia 920 clearly beat the 8X.
What my heart says
HTC has done a fantastic job with the design of the 8X and in my opinion it is the most pocketable device I have ever used. I can actually carry it in a shirt pocket and it just disappears. I know this may sound corny, but think the smartphone enthusiast can understand it when I say the 8X just feels right and you do get a bit emotional holding it and rolling it around in your hand. The iPhone 5 is a very light device that feels great in your hand, but the 8X is even better with the curved back, curved glass, and length. I like the bold colors of the 8X and keep popping my SIM back into it since it feels so awesome.
This is not to say the Nokia Lumia 920 is a poor design at all. It is very similar in appearance to the Lumia 900, but has curved glass, rounded edges, and curved back so it feels great in your hand. It is a dense device, but if you look at all the pros and cons the heft is worth it. Density like this also leaves me with a feeling of quality.
What my wallet says
Both of these are great devices and I have seen people clearly explain why they prefer each one. For my personal device on AT&T, the Nokia Lumia 920 beats out the HTC 8X and I plan to purchase a cyan, yellow, or red one as soon as AT&T will let me purchase one.