Windows Phone 8 Review



I had the opportunity to use a Windows 8 phone for a few days. Specifically the one made by HTC, the smaller 8S. I picked up and held the 8X, but it was about as heavy as my existing HTC One X, so I thought it would be nicer to play with the 8S.

It is the cutest-looking phone on the market today. Hardware and sexyness gets a full 10 out of 10. The rest is bad. Very bad.

After unpacking the box I spent 6 solid hours trying to get it going, and I am deeply disappointed. I feel like a Groom on the first honeymoon night when the Bride tells him she is very willing but sorry, she doesn’t have all the important parts yet. Yes, it is that serious.

This Windows 8 phone is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an upgrade from anything. It is too low on the scale.

For example, it has maps. OK. But not turn-by-turn voice directions. I found that out on my way to an important appointment.

Then there is the total lack of storage management. The phone itself leaves the user with just over a Gig or memory – and that is no problem. I inserted a 4Gb micro SD card and guess what – I can still not manage my storage my way.

Then there is the really interesting story of syncing your data. The new syncing situation is this with WP8.

1) You cannot sync over WiFi. WP7/Zune users enjoyed this feature from day one of the release. Even Zune 8 and Zune HD users had this ability. In Windows Phone 8, on both Win7 and Win8, you now are restricted to a wired sync.

2) You cannot sync Podcasts at all. The Windows Phone App on both Win8 and Win7 does not support podcasts. The only podcast support is via OTA updates on WP8 and they do not sync at all. You wrote a column yourself on this topic recommending iTunes of all things to work around this.

3) You cannot sync playlists to WP8 from Xbox Music. There seems to be a bug in the WP App that doesn’t recognize Playlists in Xbox Music. There is no way that I can find to create a playlist in the WP App.

4) WP8 uses different DRM than Zune making downloaded content incompatible.

5) WP8 supports fewer file formats than WP7 and there is no feature to convert content when syncing.

These are just a few of the biggest and most obvious issues. XBox Music loses a lot of the functionality that existed in Zune Music meaning that many of the Syncing features that depended on them are gone, specifically the concept of Dynamic playlists and auto-fill. The file browser in the WP App is really terrible and without filtering it’s really painful to get through music catalogs that are thousands of songs long. Organizing photos is no better.

The PC syncing situation with WP8 is nothing short of a disaster.

Did I mention that I cannot update my DropBox directly with my critical notes? Oops.

No MS, I think you have to go back to the drawing board. This phone is cute but useless.

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