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Inital hands on WP8 devices from Samsung, HTC and Nokia

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Last night I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Samsung Activ S, HTC 8X and 8S plus the Lumia 920 during the Window Phone 8 launch in London.

I thought I would post my initial thoughts based on what I have experienced of the event and the devices.

The first thing that greeted everyone was this massive display which filled an entire room


All around the venue were bases where everyone could easily access devices hosted by Nokias, HTC and Samsung as well as MS reps.

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Apologies for the image quality I only had my Lumia 800 with me as the Titan was at home due to a broken case catch.

Above is one of the trainer bases where regional training advisors were on hand to demonstrate the new features of WP8. the next picture is the Nokia display.

Nokia had the JBL speakers for NFC as well as the main JBL unit which also has wireless charging, they also had the Fatboy charging pillow alongside the standard Nokia charger.

Nokia informed me that the wireless charging will be be at a rate of 75% compared to a normal mains charger but unlike a mains charger it is more efficient so will save on running costs.

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Next to Nokia we had HTC, while they did not have any accessories they were demonstating the Beats audio but this was using Beats headphones, it was too noisey to really see what the devices could do without headphones.

Unlike Nokia they did have the 8X and the 8S, what really surprised me was how light they were with HTC claiming that the 8S will probably be the lightest W8 device made.

Finally we moved onto Samsung, while Samsung like Nokia only had one device on show the Activ S they did have their RT tablet on show, aparently one of only two in the country at that time.

So lets move on to the devices, here are a few side by side shots, first the Lumia 920 with the 8X and then the 8X with the Activ S

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Ok so this is really the initial impression of the devices I lie all the devices but which one would I choose is a very difficult question.

Inital look the screen and general feel,

Samsung Activ S is massive at 4.8" first impressions are on the lines of "its a Galaxy 3" the question, is that a bad thing? for those who are familiar with Samsung Galaxy range will relate to the device in an instant especially with the look and feel. What sets this out from the other devices is the home button, this is a physical thing unlike the Lumia and 8X which use cpacitive buttons.

Nokia Lumia 920, at 4.5" it dos not actually feel that big and it fits in the hand nicely but has the same will it slip out of my hand feel the 800 had which is why most people use the silicone sking the 800 was shipped with. The 920 compared to the other devices feel like a brick it is so heavy you really notice the difference between devices.

The screen fills the device and the fabled ultra sensitive screen was demonstrated with a supplied ski glove. While the glove was bulky it had little impact on how well the touch screen worked. Scrolling and swiping the screen was almost as if I ws not wearing the glove at all.

HTC 8X this was the baby of the three at 4.3" the ame size as the original HD7 now because I presume the audio system now onboard the phone this made it feel very long with a long case extending top and bottom of the screen.

The upside was this phone was so light and it caught me by surprise I do not think I have ever held a smartphone of that weight before but while very light still felt incredibly sturdy, very impressive.

I will not go into the 8S in any detail as such as it is not the highend of the market which the other devices are intended for but I will say for a low end device its pretty neat and has a quality feel and design of its own.

Its hard to comment on the screen quality itself as all are very impressive and as we were inside it was impossible to do the daylight check.


While the Activ S and 8X both shot very nice photos the Lumia just edged ahead on a few closeup shots which was one of my main gripes on the 800 (the reason I hated it so much) and colour reproduction on the 920 on the screen was by far the best.

Remembr though this is on the phone's screen and not on a PC which unfortunately I am unable to compare.

The 8X has a trick up its sleeve with the front camera giving an 80 degree view another very impressive feature by HTC

Included apps

Nokia wins this without a second thought, tha amount of apps exclusive to Nokia is constantly growing. HTC come second as they do have a fair selection. Samsung though not may extra features to talk about appwise but there do have a few dedicated apps if you have the right gadgets to complement it.

So where does this leave me on choosing which is the best phone based on the initial hands on?

Samsung Active

Pros, the only device with a removable battery but has a plastic feel

Cons not really any apart from its a Galaxy not a new unique device and so it is HUGE.


Pros, The weight and the front camera, beats audio is also impressive

Cons none that I could think of.

Lumia 920

Pros, Main camera, I wanted to try the low light imagery but it was a bit too busy to really give it a go.

Cons, again not much really, the case does feel a bit slippery but compared to the 8X the weight is really noticable.

So for me its a close call between the 8X and the 920 the main reasons for me I want the camera to be as good as it can be, I use it all the time for work and play so it is an important part of my life. Would I use the front camera? not really so for me its a mute point but the weight is also a sticking point, the 8X feels just right better than the 920.

Decisions, decisions

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Very quick overview and not touching on the OS, the new WP8 OS has some very nice features added since WP7 which Paul touches on in his own topic about his 8X.

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