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Windows Phone 8 on HTC 8X impresses, but don't buy yet

Windows Phone 8 brings a fun interface and cool features, but the HTC 8X doesn't offer much over its rivals.

I've got my hands on the HTC 8X -- the first phone to be running the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8. I've given it the full review treatment and while it's pretty cool, I don't think it offers much over its rivals. With a pitiful app store to boot, it's probably not worth investing in just yet.

To look at, Windows Phone 8 looks very similar to its predecessor. The homescreen is made up of large, colourful tiles showing live information about apps, calendars and emails. The upgrade here is that you can resize the tiles to make better use of the space. Apps not on the homescreen are still ditched in a long list.

It's attractive and fun software, but it shares many of its features with both Android and iOS. All three platforms offer some form of voice command, multi-tasking and social network integration. While Windows Phone 8 has its own way of doing things, I can't say it's ahead of the competition.

Apps are still just as much a problem now as they were on Windows Phone 7. The app store is woefully understocked, providing only a few gems among a bunch of other nonsense. Netflix is in there, as is Whats App, and Skype is on its way. If numerous big name apps and blockbuster 3D games such as Real Racer 2 are high on your list of priorities, Windows Phone 8 isn't going to satisfy you -- at least not yet.

The HTC 8X itself is a perfectly pleasant phone though. It offers a 4.3-inch, 720p screen with a 1.5GHz dual core processor. Its rounded, plastic back has an attractive, stark appeal that I reckon will suit the more fashionable among you rather well.

Windows Phone 8 is good fun to use and has some nifty features. If it was the only runner in the smart phone race, it would sell by the truckload, but up against iOS and Android it might be a case of too little too late. It's early days though, and if Windows 8 for desktops can help bring more interest in the platform then a shedload more apps -- and new features -- could be in the pipeline.

What do you think of Windows Phone 8? Is the 8X an exciting new gadget or is it dead on arrival? Phone in your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.