Smartphone launches are coming thick and fast with the Christmas shopping season approaching, and HTC is the latest manufacturer to throw it’s hat into the ring with the launch of the Windows Phone 8X.

Looking at the picture at the top of this page, you’ll have noticed already that it comes in a pleasing range of colours. Don’t get too excited about the Flame Red – that’s not coming to Europe – but you should be able to get your hands on the California Blue, Graphite Black or Limelight Yellow.  And you’ll notice too that the accent colours in the Windows 8 interface match the colour of the hardware.

The second thing to mention is that this is a phone powered by Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.  That’s difficult for us to comment upon because it’s not launched until next month but it does rule the phone out for app enthusiasts used to the vast choice in the Apple or Android App Stores. However, we’re sure things will change now that Nokia, Samsung and now HTC have launched Windows phones.

OK, now for the bit for those of you into your specs.  The 8X has a 4.3” display (bigger than an iPhone 5 but smaller than Nokia’s Lumia 920), an 8 megapixel rear facing camera (pretty standard) and a 2.1 megapixel front facing camera, designed to provide a wide angle view, for video calls (rather neat). It packs 16GB of storage and includes an NFC chip for contactless payments – should using mobiles for payments ever take off.

Those of you who use your phone as an MP3 player will also be interested to learn the 8X includes Beats Audio sound equipment, which is said to offer ‘deeper base and crisper vocals.’ It also supports LTE for some regions but we’re unsure as to whether it will support 4G in the UK at present.

But perhaps the greatest thing about this new phone is how good it feels. The rounded back fits snugly in your hand with the tapering edges making the phone feel really thin. And it’s light too – just 130g.  We’re sure the combination of vibrant colours and this lightweight feel will make the 8X a real success, particularly for those who get to try it out in store.

We should also mention that the 8X has a lower spec sibling – the 8S.  This is designed for those not aspiring to a top of the range smartphone and offers a smaller screen (4”), a lower resolution camera (5 megapixel), no front facing camera or NFC and less memory (4GB).  It does however offer the range of colours (more of a ‘dipped in’ look), the Beats Audio integration and will no doubt be priced in accordance with its spec.

So what do you think?  Has any of the new smartphones - iPhone 5, the Nokia Lumia 920, HFC 8X – caught you eye?  Or are you going to wait for the rumoured launch of the Samsung Galaxy SIV next year?