The Windows Phone 8X. Reversing a habit of putting merely a token effort into its Windows Phone range, HTC is greeting the launch of Microsoft’s eighth mobile OS with a handset that leaves no doubt about its flagship ambitions. The statement of intent that’s apparent from the look of the 8X — which immediately feels fresh, innovative and modern — is underlined by a bullish $99 price with AT&T in the US.

For an LTE-capable phone without a single blemish on its spec sheet, that represents a tremendously aggressive proposition. The big unanswered question, however, is inherent in the handset’s name — how well does Windows Phone 8 fare against the incumbent leaders of iOS and Android? Can it finally summon up enough pluses to draw people away from the comfortable and familiar into a bold new world of live tiles and flying animations? Let’s find out.