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Sprint's HTC 8XT brings BoomSound and HTC camera to Windows Phone 8 (Gallery)

While Nokia rules the Windows Phone 8 world, HTC still makes very well designed devices and the new HTC 8XT is a nice option for Sprint customers
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Sprint HTC 8XT retail package

I was given an HTC 8X at the Windows Phone 8 launch event and loved the design that seemed to disappear in your hand. Sprint hasn't seen much Windows Phone love, but has two decent options for customers. I've been using the HTC 8XT for a couple days and wanted to share some first impressions.

The HTC 8XT from Sprint brings a mixture of HTC's best with design aspects of the HTC 8X and 8S, along with features from the excellent HTC One. It is available now from Sprint for $99.99 with a 2-year contract.

Hardware

It comes in California Blue and at first glance looks like a slightly larger 8S with a different shade of color on the bottom button area. Specifications include:

  • 4.3 inch 800x480 pixels resolution Gorilla Glass display
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB integrated storage with microSD card (up to 64GB supported)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.6 megapixel front camera
  • HTC BoomSound front facing stereo speakers
  • Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, and NFC
  • 1,800 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 5.2 x 2.6 x 0.39 inches and 4.9 ounces

As you can see this is more of a mid-range device with the lower resolution display, 8GB of internal storage, and processor. Then you see high end aspects with the HTC BoomSound speakers, Beats Audio, NFC, and 1GB of RAM.

Like the HTC 8X, the 8XT feels great in your hand and if I was a Sprint customer looking for a Windows Phone then this would probably be the one. The camera has been improved over the 8X with a more attractive design around the lens and new HTC Camera utility. The HTC Camera utility gives you some different effects to use when you capture your photo, just like the HTC One camera utility. You also get the ability to capture photos in burst mode with the software then selecting the best shot so you can make sure to capture the best photo. You can also capture still images while recording video, something again seen on HTC Android devices.

Software

The HTC 8XT launches with Windows Phone 8, which is a very functional OS that has enough apps to compete with iOS and Android. You will find all the typical Windows Phone 8 functionality in the 8XT with some HTC-specific experiences included. Windows Phone 8's latest Data Sense utility is included with Office, OneNote, Wallet, and more. Don't forget you can also download and install HERE Maps from Nokia on the 8XT.

HTC includes their weather/news/stocks utility, handy flashlight app, photo enhancer, unit converter, and utility to manage space on your device. As I mentioned earlier, they also provide an HTC Camera app similar to what Nokia does with their special apps. I haven't taken a ton of photos yet, but so far I am pleased with the camera performance and functionality of the HTC Camera application.

Sprint also includes apps and services, but like all Windows Phone devices you can easily remove anything you want, unlike on Android devices. Sprint apps and services include Sprint Music Plus, Sprint TV and Movies, Visual Voicemail, and Slacker Radio.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Telenav Scout on the HTC 8XT since I find this application to be quite useful on my iPhone 5. I did not know they had a Windows Phone 8 client and after trying it on the HTC 8XT I saw it is also available on T-Mobile Windows Phone devices so I installed it on my new Nokia Lumia 925.

First experiences

The HTC 8XT is a solid Windows Phone device for Sprint customers. The device feels excellent in your hand and the resolution looks good on a 4.3 inch display. All the user reviews on the Sprint site show nearly all five star ratings so it seems Sprint customers like the device so far.

The light weight and curved design of the 8X always appealed to me and the 8XT continues that look and feel. With the soft touch material all around, the 8XT doesn't slide around and the California Blue looks great.

I understand that there is still no LTE coverage in the Puget Sound area so I won't be able to test out those speeds unless I travel in the next couple of weeks. With Seattle being the home of Microsoft and Windows Phone, I find this lack of LTE to be rather disappointing.

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Opening up the retail package

Test 2

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Included accessories, yes that is a stereo headset

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HTC 8XT in hand

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Back of the HTC 8XT showing different shades of blue

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New design around the camera lens and flash

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Back of the HTC 8XT

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Top and right side of the 8XT

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HTC One and HTC 8XT

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Back of the HTC One and 8XT

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The back slides up to reveal the microSIM and microSD

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HTC 8XT start screen

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HTC 8XT apps

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More HTC 8XT apps

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Sprint apps on the HTC 8XT

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HTC Camera utility can be selected as the default

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HTC effects in their camera utility

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Choosing the Best Shot

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Menu options in the HTC Camera utility

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Camera modes available on the 8XT

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More camera options

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Manage the phone storage

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Sprint Music Plus information

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Sprint apps available on the 8XT

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HTC apps available on the 8XT

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HTC utilities include Attentive Phone profiles

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More HTC utilities on the 8XT

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