See some of the best (and most colourful) phones that will run Microsoft's new mobile operating system
The Australian launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 was a disappointment to most journalists looking for nitty-gritty details on the company's new mobile operating system, especially from a business point of view.
However, there were a few phones present at the event that we were able to touch and photograph. Handsets from HTC, Nokia and Samsung were present, with the first models from HTC and Nokia to be available in late November; meanwhile, phones from Samsung will be available in December. The hardware is impressive and the software looks good at a glance.
The whole experience is based on Live Tiles and screen customisation so that you can get to your favourite information with a minimum of fuss. Importantly, the Start screen will be familiar to anyone who already uses a Windows 8 PC and lots of cloud-based data can be available seamlessly once you log in with your Microsoft user account. We can't wait to get our hands on these devices to see how well the whole Windows 8 ecosystem works from the desktop to the phone.
Pictured first up is HTC's 8X, which is a 4.3in phone that feels very light and nicely contoured.
The HTC 8X comes in a lovely blue colour that is meant to complement the style of Windows 8. It has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but no memory slot for expansion. The CPU is a Qualcomm S4 with two cores and a frequency of 1.5GHz. Other notable features include dual-band, 802.11n Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 3.1, and an internal GPS antenna. The camera also has an f/2.0 aperture.
HTC has made use of Gorilla Glass 2 on the 8X, and it has eradicated one of the layers between the glass and the screen in order to make it as glare-free as possible.
The headphone jack is on the top end of the phone and HTC is really pushing Beats processing technology, which it says will give a much better music-listening experience whether using headphones or the built-in speaker.
The bottom of the 8X has the port for the USB charging cable.
This is the Nokia Lumia 920. This thing is big at 4.5in and noticeably heavier than the phones from the other manufacturers, but it also feels incredibly well built and its curved screen edges are a thing of beauty. Most importantly for some, the Nokia Lumia 920 will be far from boring in terms of looks: it will be available in red, yellow and silver. The Lumia 820, which is the lower-end model, will have interchangeable covers with different colours so you don't have to worry about making a colour choice that you'll be stuck with.
Telstra has announced [[artnid:440446|pricing for the Lumia 920]], but no firm release date.
What you get with the Lumia 920 is a phone that represents the future. It has NFC, wireless charging, optical image stabilisatoin for its camera, and an augmented reality app called City Lens that allows you to get information on your surroundings simply by looking at it through the camera.
Here's the bottom view.
Here's the top view.
Here's the vibrant screen in landscape orientation.
Wireless charging means you can just leave the phone on its charging dock and not have to worry about plugging in a USB cable. It's quite nifty.
There are some NFC gadgets available, too, including this JBL audio dock. If you are listening to music on your phone, you can simply tap the phone to the dock and the music will automatically switch and start playing through the speakers.
This NFC dock can be set to launch the app of your choice when you place the phone in it.
Here's the Lumia 920 sitting on a Fatboy wireless charging pillow, and there is a JBL PlayUp wireless speaker next to it that you can simply tap with the phone in order to start playing some tunes.
This is the Samsung Ativ S, a 4.8in phone that is encased in aluminium and it feels very light in the hand.
Here's a close up of enlarged text on the screen, which stays looking very sharp on the Super AMOLED display.
Samsung touts its turn-by-turn navigation app as being a differentiating factor in the market.
The rear of the phone sports a nice style and it features an 8-megapixel camera.
You also get NFC and tap-to-share functionality, and a microSD expansion slot so you can add more storage.
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