HTC 8XT for Dash: what’s totally different?
This summer time, Dash’s lineup of Home windows Telephone eight units elevated from zero to two. The primary to point out up in shops was the HTC 8XT ($one hundred on contract), a modified model of the 8X designed for Dash clients upgrading from previous Home windows Telephones. Although in some ways it is a chip off the ol’ block, there are sufficient variations within the hardware (and to a lesser extent, the software program) that it has a character all its personal. So what precisely makes this specific handset sit aside from final yr’s flagship? And does it improve or take away from the unique 8X consumer expertise? Hold studying to seek out out.
- BoomSound audio expertise higher than most
- Enjoyable design
- Comes with newest construct of WP8
- Detachable SIM and exterior reminiscence slot
- Show inferior to its predecessor or competitors
As a modified model of final yr’s 8X, the 8XT is an honest improve for Dash clients utilizing Home windows Telephone 7, nevertheless it will not persuade anybody to modify carriers or change platforms.
Take the four.three-inch body from the 8X, the 2-tone colour schemes from the 8S, throw in Dash LTE, a detachable again cowl and BoomSound, and you’ve got the HTC 8XT, an fascinating hybrid of HTC’s WP8 units from final fall. In fact, that is hardly the primary time we have seen the Now Community ask HTC — its previous EVO chum — to tweak considered one of its flagships. As a lot as we raved concerning the 8X’s design, match and end, we have now to confess that we like Dash’s take even higher. We’re additionally fairly happy with Dash’s “much less is extra” branding technique as of late; the shortage of operator logos makes the telephone look cleaner.
Our evaluate unit got here in a reasonably darkish shade of blue, with a lighter, secondary shade used as an accent on the underside strip. The 2-tone setup signifies that you will not take pleasure in the identical unibody construct as on the 8X, however we’re impressed with the way it seems nonetheless. There’s additionally a slight distinction in how the Gorilla Glass stretches over the entrance of the telephone: it rests on prime of the 8X with no interruption between the show and the sting of the telephone, whereas the 8XT’s glass sits only a hair under the sides. The show itself is a bit of wider and shorter than its older brother, however nonetheless measures four.three inches on the diagonal. Sadly, the 8XT takes successful on decision by providing a WVGA (800 x 480) panel as an alternative of 720p, and though it appears respectable from afar, a better look inspection of the show reveals extra pixelation and rougher, extra jagged fonts.
Maybe probably the most hanging change to the design, nevertheless, is the detachable again cowl, which homes twin microSD and micro-SIM slots. You continue to will not have entry to the 1,800mAh battery, sadly, however we’re completely happy to see that Dash kept away from embedding its LTE SIM and selected to not skimp on exterior storage.
You will additionally shortly discover the exterior audio system on the highest and backside of the entrance-dealing with glass, which HTC makes use of to supply BoomSound, a stereo sound function it launched within the One collection earlier this yr. In our evaluation of the One, we praised the audio system for being “the perfect set of exterior audio system we have heard on a telephone to date,” so it is refreshing to see that the function is not simply restricted to Android.
Since Home windows Telephone eight is principally the identical right here, with just some OEM and service customizations (in contrast to HTC’s Android units, the 8XT comes with solely two Dash-branded apps), you do not have to fret about having a unique consumer expertise on the 8XT than on the 8X. That stated, it fortuitously comes with the platform’s newest replace, generally known as GDR2 (Construct eight.zero.10327.seventy seven), out of the field. This construct consists of CardDAV and CalDAV help, Knowledge Sense and some different enhancements. Oddly, although the replace additionally options FM radio, it isn’t carried out within the 8XT.
The 8XT options the identical eight-megapixel rear digital camera as earlier than, though its entrance-dealing with counterpart has been downgraded in decision to 1.6MP. In fact, because of GDR2, you possibly can change which Lens opens up whenever you press the hardware shutter key, so there’s at the very least a little bit of an enchancment within the general imaging expertise.
You will additionally see a change from a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus chip to a 1.4GHz twin-core Snapdragon four hundred (MSM8930), with an improve to an Adreno 305 GPU from the 225 variant. Slight modifications however, you are going to get the identical clean efficiency from the 8XT as you’d on any equally specced Home windows Telephone, which is likely one of the platform’s biggest advantages, actually. That stated, it would not be a correct efficiency analysis with none quantitative measurements, so listed here are a number of benchmarks that present the place the 8XT stands compared to a few of its friends: the Nokia Lumia 1020 and HTC Home windows Telephone 8X.
There is not a drastic variance in benchmarks, although admittedly that is par for the course in terms of Home windows Telephone. Nitpickers will discover that the 8XT notches barely worse outcomes than the remainder of the pack, which makes us marvel if Snapdragon four hundred, a brand new addition for Home windows Telephone, has been absolutely optimized for the OS. The identical goes for our preliminary battery life evaluation, measured utilizing WPBench for all of our Home windows Telephone units: runtime right here seems to be a bit shorter than on its predecessor. Final however not least, BoomSound helps give the 8XT probably the greatest audio experiences we have heard on a Home windows Telephone system.
Until you are a sucker for the 8XT’s design and BoomSound on a Home windows Telephone, this telephone is aimed toward a really particular group of customers: Dash clients who both need to change to Home windows Telephone or need to replace from an previous Mango system. For that potential purchaser, the $one hundred 8XT solely must compete with the $one hundred fifty Samsung ATIV S Neo, which additionally just lately launched on the Now Community. Identical to the 8XT, it contains a twin-core Snapdragon four hundred chipset clocked at 1.4GHz, nevertheless it one-ups HTC’s providing with a four.eight-inch, 720p show and a couple of,000mAh battery. In any other case, a lot of the different elements are the identical or at the least far more comparable.
All informed, we just like the little tweaks HTC has made on the 8XT, and the shortage of Dash branding makes it look even classier. Whereas it does not supply probably the most lovely show, the remaining features of the telephone assist make up for it when it comes to worth. It won’t be totally different sufficient to influence Android or iOS customers to modify — neither is it a ok Home windows Telephone to persuade anybody to modify networks — however from what we will inform, it is a good mid-vary WP8 gadget that deserves slightly consideration from would-be upgraders.