Review: HTC 8XT for Sprint
Windows Phone 8 runs just the same on the 8XT as it does on every other WP8 device in the market. Hardware makers, such as HTC, aren't allowed to alter the appearance of the functionality of the operating system. This has its pros and cons.
The lock screen can be set to include notifications, which can be customized to show unread counts for apps such as emails, messages, Facebook messages, calls, and calendar appointments. There are no app shortcuts for the lock screen, though.
The Start screen acts as one infinitely long home screen panel. The Start screen is populated with dynamic Live Tiles, which can be arranged anyway you like. Each tile is associated with an app and can be set to show live content from that app. The tiles themselves can be set in small, medium, and large sizes. They essentially act like home screen shortcuts.
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The main app menu is a vertical list of apps and services. The view of the app menu cannot be altered. Once you surpass 50 apps, there's a neat shortcut that appears that makes it easier to jump further down the app list. The settings menu is accessed via this main app menu and is a plain text list of options.
WP8 is a fast operating system, and the 8XT performed very quickly. It has a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor under the hood that handled every task I threw at it. There are no performance problems with the 8XT.
The phone application offers some basic tools. It's quite simple to make calls, put them on hold, mute them, or add a line. I like how easy it is to add call records to the contact app.
The People Hub remains as powerful as ever when it comes to managing your contacts in a social networking-rich environment. The Hub pulls in data from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and adds a dynamic flair to your contacts. The coolest feature of the contacts app is the ability to create micro social networks called Rooms and Groups. These are small sub-sets of your contacts with which it is easy to share group conversations, calendar items, and photos.
WP8 has a solid email app that can be set to pull in messages from most any email service. I find the email program to be quick and useful and the social networking to be particularly good. I like the People Hub and Photo Hub, each of which draw in your Facebook friends' doings and photos.
The SMS app also works as the Skype and Facebook messaging apps. They are all three one and the same. The user interface is spartan, but offers just as many tools as competing platforms. It's a cinch to add photos, videos, or other content to outgoing messages. It doesn't support other services like Google Hangouts, though.
Separate Twitter and Facebook applications are available from the Windows Phone Store.
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Sprint today announced that the HTC 8XT, its first LTE 4G Windows Phone 8 device, will go on sale beginning July 19. It will cost $99.99 after $50 mail-in rebate with a new agreement.