Momma Told Me: The loudest isn't always the smartest.
When I was in grade school there was always a classmate, or two, that couldn't seem to stay put and keep quiet. I'm not talking troublemakers or class clowns, I'm talking about those that constantly had to be adored and praised by the faculty and adults. Mind you, I was usually in the top of my class, grade and performance wise, but I was hardly the most decorated student. Even when I was sure of the answers I'd never shout them out, and would hesitate to raise my hand. For the most part I was content being the only one who understood my brilliance; after all, what did I care of the other kids knew how amazing I was, I knew, and that was what mattered most. Whenever it would come time for Citizenship awards and the recognition assembly I'd saunter on back to Momma with my lonely Attendance certificate and think to myself how things weren't fair. Momma, who knew quite clearly how bright I was, and how well I performed on schoolwork and tests, was always quick to remind me, "The loudest isn't always the smartest, the fastest, or the best. They may turn heads with reckless commotion, but it's not them who will be standing tall when things get quiet."
Why did I share this today? Well, you see, I like to think that I choose my electronics, arguably the well oiled gears of my social and work life, with a similar frame of mind. The digital camera I have stood by for years has only changed in MP, not model or brand. It is not an SLR, or even one of the higher end; it is made by a trusted brand with a myriad of other products and lines that garner far more attention and respect. I stick with it because it is quietly brilliant. What does Quietly Brilliant mean to me? It means that something is good enough to be celebrated for it's genius, yet does not need the trophies, accolades, and fanboys to justify this knowledge. It means that the item in question is versatile enough to mold to the user's needs, without them even knowing that had such needs. It makes life easier intuitively, and through simple improvements and features that are hardly noticed, yet the user would miss sorely if they had to give them up. And that is the frame of thought behind the HTC range of mobile smartphones, and the recently launched 4G Ready HTC 8x, by Windows.
I've been an Android user as long as I've owned a smartphone, with the exception of a brief foray into the shortly lived Windows Kin One handset, during a beta testing opportunity. In general, the largest reason I've avoided an 'iPhone' was the massive amount of users who seem to buy into the product for what it is, the name. That and the never-ending re-release of, essentially the same product, have done well to discourage any consideration I might have had. I've been with Android simply because that is what the other half prefers, and I've felt things are simplest when we use the same OS. More recently I've been admiring the recently released Windows Lumia, for it's colorful tile system and sleek profile, paired with speedy processor. So, when HTC, and #Troop8x, reached out to me with an opportunity to experience the latest in Windows smartphone technology I was intrigued. Not only does the HTC 8x feature 1GB of RAM and a 1080p HD camcorder, but it comes pre-loaded with creative features such as Beats Audio and a complete Photo Enhancer.
I'll admit, my first impression of the HTC 8x was a little hesitant; the range comes in a variety of vibrant colors (California Blue pictured), and the 4.3" Gorilla Glass 2 Screen screams vibrance in beautiful HD color, with any lighting. It's bigger, in frame, than my previous smartphone (LG Optimus) for sure, but impressively slim. It's hard to imagine there's really a Dual-Core 1.5 Ghz Processor inside, with it's whisper quiet operation. To sum it up, this phone looks and feels like a trendy assistant, yet harnesses the power of the toughest workhorses; it's, in my opinion, the Ferrari of Windows phones, and a contender for the entire Smartphone category. Of course, I've only just received my beautiful Royal (California) Blue baby, so I'm still getting the hang of all the amazing pre-loaded features, and easy load apps. The entire home screen is operated by what Window's calls a 'tile' system that is entirely drag and drop ready for organization and even color theme. These little living tiles give the user visual breakdown of their social media world, and off-screen life. My home screen alone tells me my recent calls, Facebook status, Twitter updates, local weather, and friend's updates, with a single glance!
Because I am most unfamiliar with the apps available for Windows phones I wanted to sit down and check out the digital marketplace. I'll admit, one of the biggest cuts, currently, is in the app department, which reportedly dropped from over 900 to mid 600 US Market selections over the past few weeks. Some techies may cite this as a downfall; as someone who has spent hours on their iPad trying to browse one inoperable app after the next, through thousands of search results, I kind of like it. The HTC 8x is impressively powerful, and offers the Windows classics like Office Hub and People Hub essentials, pre-loaded. Many of the utilitarian needs are already active on the phone, so the majority of the apps in the store are highly specific in theme or purpose. The decrease in apps also indicates active grooming of inactive, glitchy, or poorly executed software. You'd be surprised just how specific the apps are; simply searching for 'Party Planning' brought up over 20 relevant apps to help invite, document, and plan gatherings.
Though the holidays are over, there are still plenty of get togethers and family outings to plan, especially here in Southern California, where the sun comes out daily in the Winter! We've been considering a small camping trip up the coast, and I wanted to find an APP to help me organize all of the prep and packing. Ultimate Checklist, free to try or $1.99 in the Windows App+Games Store offers over 250 pre-loaded checklists for everything from planning a Bachelorette party to Spring Cleaning. And, of course, you can personalize an unlimited number of checklists intended to be checked into over time. The app always saves note of the tasks you've completed, and gives a report of the progress yet to be made. You can even set alarms and reminders for impending deadlines, or send reminders to participants to bring supplies, or view directions. This app is perfect for OCD me, who likes to list everything right down to categories (toiletries, snacks, bedding, clothes). There's no limit to the number of sub-lists within an event or goal!
With all of the football related gathering coming up, and Super Bowl Party to be, I am always rushing to find quick and unique recipes for side dishes and finger foods. The free All Recipes.com APP is brought to life with intuitive navigation in vibrant color that truly makes each dish spring to life. With all of the information of the website, yet the condensed convenience of streamlined searches and on screen key guides, All Recipes offers thousands of user submitted recipes. I can pre-load my favorites and pull them up instantly in the grocery store for ingredients shopping, rate and read reviews on user recipes, and even narrow my search based on protein/ease/dish type. Perhaps the feature I'll be using most during these last minute Winter get-togethers is the 'Dinner Spinner', which, in fact, offers much more than dinner concepts. Simply input the main ingredients you have on hand, and the desired amount of time to prepare a dish, and Voila! The wheel outputs a variety of dishes built around your specified ingredients. I especially love this because I am constantly left staring at a fridge of random ingredients wondering how I'm going to pull off the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' with the 'same old' concepts. Now I can find inspiration at my fingertips, and even pin my favorite recipes to the Tiles, for a reminder when shopping.
A final must have for Event Organization is Tap Collage, $.99 Windows APP + Games Store, for invitation creation and general photo organization post event. The second our parties are over everyone always wants to share their pictures; what better way than with a drag and drop collage? As a blogger I am always looking for simple ways to share my recipes, events, and photoshoots with my readers. I love how simple this app is to use, and the versatility to alter the number of photos, and their angles, within the app. I can showcase a shopping trip, or simplify a recipe's instructions with a brief photo collage journal and post it directly to my social media network. It doesn't get any simpler, thanks to my new Windows HTC 8x phone! I can't wait to share with you all how this device makes connecting and communicating a breeze, while adding a little extra color to my life!
What Daughter Says: The HTC 8x exemplifies Quiet Brilliance with intuitive controls and life-minded apps.
Content and/or other value provided by our partner, HTC.Disclaimer: I received an HTC 8x handset and service as part of the #Troop8x program. Regardless all opinions within are 100% mine, and mine alone.