Software: clear difference
We are not going to delve too deeply into Windows Phone 8 in this review, for more in-depth information you can read this article we published on the subject previously.
Unlike Android, it's not possible for manufacturers to add their won skin on top of the OS. However, the differences in software between the HTC 8X and Lumia 920 are probably more important than the differences in the hardware.
That's becayse HTC ships its Windows Phone 8X relatively bare-bones. The smartphone comes with all the standard apps, and HTC includes its own overview app with weather, financials and news headlines. There is a flashlight app, a currency converter, and a Photo Enhances that create Instagram-like filters on photos. It's not bad as a starting software set, but Nokia takes it a few steps further and includes lots of software that's actually useful.
Nokia includes things like Nokia Drive, Nokia Transit and Nokia Music. Nokia Drive is a turn-by-turn navigation app with voice commands, and you can download maps for it so the app will work without a data connection. It's a great app that can definitely hold its own against Google Navigate.
Nokia Drive is also available for other brands, but it's likely that a hefty license fee has to be paid for it. Either way, Nokia Drive is not available on the HTC 8X which therefore does not have a navigation app.
Nokia Transit is another potentially interesting app. It does for public transit what Nokia Drive does for car drivers, but we were unable to test this in practice.
Now that Xbox Music and the Xbox Music Store have been introduced to Windows Phone 8 it's possible to download music directly. Nokia Music, which is available as a separate app and in the music hub, also displays information about nearby concerts and has the Mix Radio feature. When you select a genre it will search for music in that category and play it for you. You can't create playlists, but there are so many subgenres that you can pretty accurately select what you want to listen to.
Nokia also includes a number of lenses, which are sub-apps that can be opened from within the camera app. One example is the cinemagraph, which records a clip of a few seconds that you can then upload as moving .GIF image. To save bandwidth the sofware recognises when there is movement present, and asks the user per zone which part should move in the final .GIF file.
Smart Shoot is intended for making group photos, and by taking five photos it uses the best version of each person in the picture. Nokia's Panorama app works well for creating panoramas, but only works from left to right.
Visual Studio is an app like HTC’s Photo Enhancer which applies effects to photos, and lets you do this manually along with rotation and cropping.