Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Nov 2012 21:36 UTC
Windows My new phone arrived today: a blue HTC 8X, running Windows Phone 8. As a huge Windows Phone fan put off by several persistent issues in Windows Phone 7.x, I'm basically giving this platform another shot, and in this day and age such a second chance doesn't come cheap: the 8X is 539 EUR, after all. Here's a few quick first impressions after less than a day of use.
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All tiles the same colour?
by PieterGen on Wed 14th Nov 2012 22:09 UTC
PieterGen
Member since:
2012-01-13

Thom, a superficial question :-) In most pictures of Windows Phones is see that all tiles have the same colour. They're all red, or all yellow, for instance.

On Windows 8 (whichever version) the tiles have all different colours. Which is much more functional, I'd say. "OK, my email is that red square, and my internet is that blue one" seems easier than "Let's see, which one of all these yellow squares was my email again? "

So, is it possible to give each tile a different colour?

Is it also true that you cannot turn those animations ('transitions') off? I played with a WinPhone sometime ago and it irritated me very quickly (read: after 2 minutes) .....

Edited 2012-11-14 22:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: All tiles the same colour?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 14th Nov 2012 22:24 UTC in reply to "All tiles the same colour?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

No and no ;) .

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: All tiles the same colour?
by cdude on Thu 15th Nov 2012 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE: All tiles the same colour?"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

One more question Thom. Compared with Lumia better or not? At least with WP7 the HTC Titan was way more polished then Lumia so my impression.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: All tiles the same colour?
by supergear on Mon 19th Nov 2012 01:33 UTC in reply to "RE: All tiles the same colour?"
supergear Member since:
2007-07-06

Windows Phone shuts down wifi when the device locks, meaning it has to reconnect every time you unlike the phone, which usually takes just long enough to be annoying.

So everytime you "unlike" the phone it will disconnect from Wifi?

Edited 2012-11-19 01:34 UTC

Reply Score: 1

About the sleeping WiFi
by Drumhellar on Wed 14th Nov 2012 23:59 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Your WP7 device was HTC, was it not? As I mentioned before, My Lumia 710 connects to WiFi in a couple of seconds, and is never an inconvenience. I wonder if HTC is using a different part?

Also, how good is the sync software on your Mac? Is it better than iTunes on Windows? Because that shit is awful.

Reply Score: 2

RE: About the sleeping WiFi
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 15th Nov 2012 00:19 UTC in reply to "About the sleeping WiFi"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The HD7 took like 10-20 seconds, but the 8X is about a few seconds. Way better, but I'm used to no delay at all :/.

The Mac sync application is very basic, but I like it. It syncs shit. The end. Perfect.

Edited 2012-11-15 00:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: About the sleeping WiFi
by Drumhellar on Thu 15th Nov 2012 01:31 UTC in reply to "RE: About the sleeping WiFi"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

The Mac sync application is very basic, but I like it. It syncs shit. The end. Perfect.


Beautiful. I wish the Zune app for Windows was simple like that, but it isn't too bad.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: About the sleeping WiFi
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Nov 2012 01:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: About the sleeping WiFi"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The Windows Phone 8 application for Windows 7/8 (the non-Metro) is pretty much like that as well. I only hope that we don't see Microsoft tempted to pollute an otherwise straight forward application into a bloatmoster like iTunes has become.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: About the sleeping WiFi
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Nov 2012 02:05 UTC in reply to "RE: About the sleeping WiFi"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The HD7 took like 10-20 seconds, but the 8X is about a few seconds. Way better, but I'm used to no delay at all :/.

The Mac sync application is very basic, but I like it. It syncs shit. The end. Perfect.


I hope they regularly update it when compared to the last time I used it which resulted in an update for Windows Phone 7 leaving me unable to sync with my Mac thus pretty much resulting in my giving up and going to purchase an iPhone (it took over 5 months for the fix to be delivered by the Mac Business Unit).

Regarding the future updates, from what I understand you'll be able to bypass the using 'carrier fucking the user over' situation as it exists now in favour f getting updates directly from Microsoft instead. IMHO that is one of the biggest things that are pushing me from Windows Phone 7.5 (Lumia 900) to Windows Phone 8 thus avoiding a long standing issue that impacts Windows Phone and Android users. Hopefully with easier upgrades it'll be quicker upgrades being released with more users adopting them in a shorter space thus spur on developers to take advantage of new features as they arrive. IIRC notifications are apparently coming to Windows Phone 8 but they weren't ready for the RTM - maybe in 6months at the latest?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: About the sleeping WiFi
by chithanh on Mon 19th Nov 2012 10:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: About the sleeping WiFi"
chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

Regarding the future updates, from what I understand you'll be able to bypass the using 'carrier fucking the user over' situation as it exists now in favour f getting updates directly from Microsoft instead.

That is because HTC apparently does not to sell the LTE variant in Europe. At least for LTE phones in the US, this is going to be different.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569688/why-nexus-4-does-not-hav...
"Firmware pushed to devices over the air must be tested and certified"

Reply Score: 1

MS dropped the ball
by WorknMan on Thu 15th Nov 2012 00:30 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

By this point, MS should've had WinRT ported to phones, so you could run the same applications on phone, tablet, and desktop (and probably Xbox too). Why they haven't done this is beyond me.

Speaking of WP8 though, do they have a decent Google Voice client available?

Reply Score: 2

RE: MS dropped the ball
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Nov 2012 01:59 UTC in reply to "MS dropped the ball"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

By this point, MS should've had WinRT ported to phones, so you could run the same applications on phone, tablet, and desktop (and probably Xbox too). Why they haven't done this is beyond me.

Speaking of WP8 though, do they have a decent Google Voice client available?


You do realise that you write WinRT applications on Windows Phone 8? that is what all the excitement is about, being able to write native applications on Windows Phone 8 rather than being forced to use the Silverlight environment along with its limitations.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: MS dropped the ball
by WorknMan on Thu 15th Nov 2012 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE: MS dropped the ball"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

You do realise that you write WinRT applications on Windows Phone 8? that is what all the excitement is about, being able to write native applications on Windows Phone 8 rather than being forced to use the Silverlight environment along with its limitations.


Really? So what's the difference between it and Windows RT on tablets/desktops? I'd figure by this point, you'd be able to write an app that ran on all 3, taking into account differences in resolution and screen real-estate, of course.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: MS dropped the ball
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Nov 2012 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: MS dropped the ball"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Really? So what's the difference between it and Windows RT on tablets/desktops? I'd figure by this point, you'd be able to write an app that ran on all 3, taking into account differences in resolution and screen real-estate, of course.


Windows RT runs on ARM tablets, WinRT is the Windows Run Time, and Windows Phone 8 is for phones. WinRT is present on Windows RT, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The difference between Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT is Windows RT includes a desktop but you cannot run or install win32 applications where as with Windows Phone 8 there is included a stripped down version of Microsoft Office designed for the phone but doesn't have win32 or desktop functionality. As for why Microsoft has included win32 and desktop functionality - because it appears that Microsoft want to provide a full Office 2013 experience to end users rather than a castrated stripped down phone version.

Edited 2012-11-15 02:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: MS dropped the ball
by moondevil on Thu 15th Nov 2012 08:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: MS dropped the ball"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

And everything is fully native on Windows Phone 8, even .NET gets fully compiled to native code, not JITting is done.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: MS dropped the ball
by Nelson on Thu 15th Nov 2012 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: MS dropped the ball"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Almost. There is some on-device compilation (Converting MDIL to native machine code, but its much faster than JITing MSIL using ngen or something).

It seems like this technology (Cloud compilation) is a rung above even what Windows 8 offers (Install time NGen as a Service) for .NET applications.

I wonder if cloud compilation will work for WP7 devices, it'd be nice to get some improved start up time on some apps.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: MS dropped the ball
by moondevil on Thu 15th Nov 2012 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: MS dropped the ball"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Almost. There is some on-device compilation (Converting MDIL to native machine code, but its much faster than JITing MSIL using ngen or something)


MDIL is native code except for the memory references that are kept symbolic.

On the device you only have a linker, no compilation takes place.

At least this is the information available in Channel 9 and BUILD 2012.

Edited 2012-11-15 18:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: MS dropped the ball
by Radio on Thu 15th Nov 2012 12:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: MS dropped the ball"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

My eyes and my brain hurts.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: MS dropped the ball
by Moochman on Thu 15th Nov 2012 08:07 UTC in reply to "RE: MS dropped the ball"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Not quite. Windows Phone 8 runs applications written for WinPRT, which is similar to, but still not quite the same as, WinRT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: MS dropped the ball
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Nov 2012 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: MS dropped the ball"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Not quite. Windows Phone 8 runs applications written for WinPRT, which is similar to, but still not quite the same as, WinRT.


Thank you for the correction - do you have a link handy with some sort of matrix outlining the differences?

Reply Score: 2

Does it have....
by gsyoungblood on Thu 15th Nov 2012 02:02 UTC
gsyoungblood
Member since:
2007-01-09

(1) turn by turn, voice directions in maps/navigation? that's the big thing i missed from wp7.x
(2) voice control for text messaging? greatest feature in wp7 IMO is the ability to receive and respond to text messages hands and eyes free.

My biggest gripe is the lack of connectivity while asleep. It means it's harder to get updates to emails/etc. without manually checking things. Or when you turn it on and go to weather or rowiapp or whatever, you have to wait for the app to "connect" on the network and get the data.

I have an HTC Trophy that I switch back to from time to time - I want to like the environment, but I keep returning to Android for daily use.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Does it have....
by Drumhellar on Thu 15th Nov 2012 04:04 UTC in reply to "Does it have...."
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

WP7.5 has turn-by-turn voice navigation.

Email updates occur when the phone is sleeping, also, as well as for other apps via the live tiles.

Edited 2012-11-15 04:16 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Beats Audio
by joekiser on Thu 15th Nov 2012 03:33 UTC
joekiser
Member since:
2005-06-30

No thank you.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Beats Audio
by phoenix on Thu 15th Nov 2012 19:02 UTC in reply to "Beats Audio"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

You do realise that "Beats Audio" is just a set of equaliser presets, and that you can disable it, right? Or even configure your own custom EQ settings?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Beats Audio
by aliquis on Fri 16th Nov 2012 01:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Beats Audio"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Phone equalizer.

Because the producers of music do such a poor job.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Beats Audio
by ze_jerkface on Fri 16th Nov 2012 04:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Beats Audio"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Dr. Dre would like to remix all your music.

Surprise, he thinks it needs more bass.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Beats Audio
by zima on Sat 17th Nov 2012 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Beats Audio"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Because the producers of music do such a poor job.

Loudness War?... (though it's by design; and EQ can't help much with its effects)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Beats Audio
by Carewolf on Sun 18th Nov 2012 23:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Beats Audio"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

You can always normalize the audio. It will not reintroduce dynamic range, but it can ensure you don't get blasted when changing from an uncompressed to a compressed sample.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Beats Audio
by zima on Sun 18th Nov 2012 23:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Beats Audio"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well yeah, Replaygain would be always a good idea when listening to a diverse playlist, Loudness War or not... (though it's not foolproof, after all it can't "perceive" loudness quite the way we do)

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Beats Audio
by quackalist on Mon 19th Nov 2012 09:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Beats Audio"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Replay-gain is certainly infinitely better than the status-qoe and/or normalisation but is there the option?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Beats Audio
by zima on Wed 21st Nov 2012 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Beats Audio"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Replaygain is normalisation... and any good player (mobile or not) supports it.

Edited 2012-11-21 12:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by HappyGod
by HappyGod on Thu 15th Nov 2012 06:16 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

Windows Phone shuts down wifi when the device locks, meaning it has to reconnect every time you unlike the phone


How does it know when you've unliked it! ;-)

HTC are treating their Windows Phone devices as all-bets-are-off design studies. Odd shapes, crazy colours - it's all here


Nothing like a bit of desperation to inspire some innovation eh? Still, it's good to see that HTC and Nokia realise that they're going to have to get creative if they have a hope in hell against the Samsung juggernaut.

I'm probably going to buy a Win8 phone, but I think I'll go for the Nokia rather than the HTC. While I don't miss many things about my Nokias of old, build quality is the one thing I do miss.

That and the fact that the batteries used to last for weeks!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by HappyGod
by glarepate on Thu 15th Nov 2012 15:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by HappyGod"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Reports I'm seeing from the new owners indicate that they are getting up to 14 hours use of the Lumia 920 before needing to recharge. So good by days/weeks, hello hours.

Of course you old phone performed fewer high tech stunts, so ...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by HappyGod
by aliquis on Fri 16th Nov 2012 01:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by HappyGod"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

I think Nokia was creative as they has always tried and HTC copied.

Reply Score: 2

No wifi on sleep?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 15th Nov 2012 06:53 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

What about the cell data connection (3G, LTE, ect)? Does it disconnect when it sleeps as well? That would be kind of a deal breaker for most people I know.

If the data connection is stil active, then why does it matter that it takes a while to reconnect to wifi? Is the switch over noticeable? Do you have an extensive LAN that you interact with on your phone often after waking it up? I don't quite understand the issue you're having.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No wifi on sleep?
by Nelson on Thu 15th Nov 2012 17:13 UTC in reply to "No wifi on sleep?"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The problem is that once a data transfer has been initiated (For example, let's say you're streaming Pandora), it can't be reassigned to another transport medium.

If I start streaming on 3G, it will remain on 3G the entire time, despite me having WiFi. That's the really nefarious part of the shortcoming, it can lead to unintended data usage.

On Windows Phone, background tasks may periodically execute, which may among other things request network resources (For a streaming agent, or a background transfer agent). This has the effect of gobbling up data usage.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No wifi on sleep?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 15th Nov 2012 17:46 UTC in reply to "RE: No wifi on sleep?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

So if Pandora is started on wifi and the phone goes to sleep, Pandora would stop, right?

Periodic background data usage while the phone is asleep should be fairly minimal, I can't imagine that would be a problem data wise ( speaking as someone with a 300 meg data plan who typically only uses ~70 megs of it).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No wifi on sleep?
by cdude on Thu 15th Nov 2012 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE: No wifi on sleep?"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

Sure it can be reassigned on the fly. Works on Android and iPhone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaming

Reply Score: 2

Unliking the phone
by jal_ on Thu 15th Nov 2012 09:06 UTC
jal_
Member since:
2006-11-02

"every time you unlike the phone" - Freudian slip? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Unliking the phone
by phoenix on Thu 15th Nov 2012 19:03 UTC in reply to "Unliking the phone"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Facebookian slip, more like. ;)

Reply Score: 2

next phone
by Adurbe on Thu 15th Nov 2012 09:11 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

I am waiting for the Nokia 820 to come onto Orange UK. It is a complete toss up for me between that and the 8x

Your review will certainly influence my decision!

Reply Score: 2

Do you really need a notification center?
by wocowboy on Thu 15th Nov 2012 09:25 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

Maybe I am understanding it wrong, but I thought the entire "live tile" interface of Windows Phone 8 IS a notification center in an of itself. With the tiles constantly updating, flipping, showing pictures, as you say, Facebook update counts, all that sort of thing, I thought there was no need at all for a notification center.

I've looked at WP 8, and while very pretty and totally different from Android and iOS, I just don't care for it, and it's a purely personal preference. Not being able to group your apps into any sort of organizational structure of folders like iOS is a deal-killer for me. I have a folder on the back page of my phone where I put all the apps I never use that come on the phone, out of sight/out of mind. That sort of thing. I really disliked having only a LOOOOONG list of apps to scroll through in order to find something.

Reply Score: 5

Buttons
by zima on Thu 15th Nov 2012 09:35 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

The power, volume, and camera buttons also feel a bit flimsy, like they're about to fall off. This is kind of strange for an otherwise solid piece of hardware, and on top of that, you'd think HTC had figured out by now how to make a decent button.

Hm, since HTC was always about ~touchscreens - figuring out how to do proper buttons might be not their first priority ;p

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Radio
by Radio on Thu 15th Nov 2012 12:17 UTC
Radio
Member since:
2009-06-20

This is all great news for those of us who aren't looking forward to an Android-dominated market.
Charybdis and Scylla have boarded the Kobayashi Maru.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by frood
by frood on Thu 15th Nov 2012 13:46 UTC
frood
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have a WP7.5 phone and my main gripe is the amount of data it seems to consume. The first month I started using it I got usage warnings from my provider which I never see under android.

I can only guess this is to do with the no-wifi-when-sleeping issue Thom describes.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by frood
by glarepate on Thu 15th Nov 2012 15:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by frood"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

That was one of the big issues when 7.0 was first released too.

Reply Score: 3

HTC WP 8X
by Pelly on Fri 16th Nov 2012 01:50 UTC
Pelly
Member since:
2005-07-07

Watched a few videos & even played with one at an AT&T Store.

I was drooling over HTC 8X & WP8. Microsoft really took the WP8 OS to a very good level and HTC did an fantastic job on the device design, feel & sturdiness.

While I seriously considered purchasing one, I actually opted for the HTC Titan 2 running WP7.5.

One prime reason was pricing. A new HTC WP8X device would've cost me $200 USD (w/agreement). Upgrading my current device to a new HTC Titan 2 only cost $20 because the new WP8 devices are out.

With my daughter in college, everything comes down to cost.

The other prime reason was the HTC Brand, itself. Over the last several year, all of my phone devices have been HTC with the sole exception of my Samsung Focus running WP7.X. I loved the OS but felt the Samsung device itself had far less quality in its construction & materials.

The prior HTC devices I've used are 8125, 8525, 8925, Tilt2, Fuze & HD2 (T-Mobile & unlocked for AT&T). I've found the form-factor & overall feel, reliability and sturdiness of the HTC devices I've used are nothing short of fantastic.

And I had the same impression of the HTC WP8X.

As I said, it all came down to the pricing why I got the Titan 2 instead.

Edited 2012-11-16 01:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: HTC WP 8X
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat 17th Nov 2012 02:43 UTC in reply to "HTC WP 8X"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Take it back...quickly....AT&T is selling the Nokia 920 for 99 bucks...At that price it is simply the best deal in Windows Phones.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: HTC WP 8X
by Pelly on Sat 17th Nov 2012 03:50 UTC in reply to "RE: HTC WP 8X"
Pelly Member since:
2005-07-07

Nope. I tried both and found the HTC Titan 2 to be superior to the Nokia.

Reply Score: 2

przemo_li
Member since:
2010-06-01

to should take mili seconds.

There are proper RFC for this behavior. Device just assume that previous config is correct one. And send requests for accepting that config, as opposed to requesting for any config.

Apple pushed for it, and they have it in OSX (iOS?).

This way you can turn off wifi completely saving some energy. (Unless WiFi wake up take too much time)

Reply Score: 1

You have what now?
by Jago on Sun 18th Nov 2012 20:19 UTC
Jago
Member since:
2009-09-18

"I have become increasingly disillusioned by the sad state of hardware design in both the Android and iOS world"

Sad state of hardware design in both the Android and iOS world? What planet are you on?

Reply Score: 1

RE: You have what now?
by Chrispynutt on Mon 19th Nov 2012 16:52 UTC in reply to "You have what now?"
Chrispynutt Member since:
2012-03-14

You have to see what other designs Thom also likes to understand where he is coming from. He is a big fan of ultra minimalist designs and is kind of bored with the basic iPhone design too.

For example his post on the Sony Monolith TV.

That is fine. Though many of the WP8 phones just look like a squared off Android phone with lurid colours, to me. Nothing interesting either. I am played out with the whole functional minimalist school now.

But I agree with the general thrust of dull design, I just include Nokia in that group as well.

Edited 2012-11-19 16:54 UTC

Reply Score: 1