Windows Phone HTC 8X and 8S: the first is a 4.3-inch, brightly colored Windows Phone 8X and the other a 4-inch, uniquely two-toned Windows Phone 8S, both of which come with Beats Audio. I’ve been working with these devices for the past few weeks and they’re flat-out awesome. HTC did an incredible job of building devices that are beautiful, packed with killer specs, and feel great to use.

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From the second you lay eyes on the 8X and 8S you know that these are no ordinary smartphones. Both phones are really, really thin (around 10mm), and look and feel even thinner due to the sweeping curve of the edge and caseback. That curve is the  key reason both the 8S and 8X feel so good in your hand. Pick one up and it perfectly conforms to your hand.

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Both phones go big on color, albeit in different ways. Every Windows Phone 8S is two-tone polycarbonate. The one I tested was called Fiesta Red, and you can also get it in Atlantic Blue, a really slick Domino Black and white color combo, and something HTC is calling High-Rise Gray & Yellow, which has a pavement-gray body. It’s totally different from anything else you’ll find on the market today.

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All Windows Phone 8X’s are monochrome, unibody polycarbonate. They’re coming in California Blue, and Flame Red, a super-deep Graphite Black, and “Limelight Yellow”, which is the same color as the chin on the Highline Gray 8S. These colors are bright, bold, totally unique.

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The display on the 8S is a 4-inch SuperLCD Gorilla Glass display, which means it’s easy to read in almost every lighting condition and resistant to scratches and drops. The 8X goes even further with a SuperLCD 2 720p 4.3-inch display that’s readable everywhere, even in direct bright sunlight. It’s made from Gorilla Glass 2, which makes it even stronger and lighter than the almost-bulletproof 8S display. Both displays are laminated to reduce glare.

 

We all know that specs are important but they’re certainly not everything, so let’s get them out of the way first. The Windows Phone 8S has a dual-core 1 GHz processor – fast for all but the most intense of power users – a 5MP rear camera, and 4GB of internal storage. There’s also a microSD slot so you can add as much storage space as you need.

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The Windows Phone 8X bumps the processor up to dual core 1.5 GHz, 16GB of storage, and two amazing cameras. On the back, you get a backside-illuminated 8MP camera that shoots full 1080p video, and on the front you get a 2.1MP, 1080p capable camera that has an 88 degree viewing angle. You can comfortably fit about 4 people into the shot on one Skype call, which is a huge improvement over most other front-facing cameras.

 

Both cameras have an F2.0 aperture, which translated into English means you get clean, noise-free images in low-light situations like dimly lit restaurants.

Last, but not least, the Windows Phone 8X has a dedicated image chip, which means you can fire up the camera almost instantly and take back-to-back pictures in rapid succession with basically zero lag.  

Both the Windows Phone 8X and 8S have Beats Audio, too, so your music is clear and crisp, with high trebles, clear vocals, and deep bass. The 8X also has two dedicated amplifiers (one for the headphone jack and one for the speaker) to make playback even more awesome. 

Finally, The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are the result of months of collaboration between Microsoft and HTC, and the result is really impressive. All in all, seriously good stuff that rocks Windows Phone 8.