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HTC 8S review

Andrew Williams



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Our Score:



  • Cute, quirky design
  • Comfortable curvy back
  • Expandable storage via microSD slot
  • Speedy dual-core processor


  • Fairly low resolution screen
  • Strongly constrasting colours won't be to everyone's taste
  • Only a 5MP camera

Key Features

  • 4in, 480 x 800 pixel LCD screen
  • 1Ghz dual-core processr
  • 4GB inbuilt storage + microSD card slot
  • 5MP camera + dedicated camera button
  • Beats Audio digital processing
  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Review Price: free/subscription


HTC is one of the flagship phone-makers for Windows Phone 8. The HTC 8S is the mid-range model in the company’s line-up, with the HTX 8X being the flagship model. It is far cheaper than Nokia’s middle of the road Nokia Lumia 820, selling for around £220 SIM-free. It doesn’t have the giant screen and oodles of features link on the top-end phones but its keen price makes this 4-inch, dual-core mobile an excellent alternative to a mid-range Android phone.

The HTC 8S is officially called the Windows Phone 8S by HTC but HTC 8S seems to be the term most people are using so that's what we're going to stick with for the rest of this review.

HTC 8S - Design

We were suitably impressed by the design of the HTC 8X, thanks to its bold styling, excellent build quality and comfortable, curvy chassis. However, it did look perhaps a little too similar to Nokia's Lumia designs. The HTC 8S is a different. Its curves owe a debt to the Nokia Lumia handsets, but overall it has a style all of its own.

The cutie-pie HTC 8S is all about two-tone design. The bottom of the phone, and the rims that surround the earpiece speaker and camera lens all have a brighter tone than the rest of the handset. Most of the combinations aren't exactly subtle - Luminous green and black, white and black - but we rather like the bold statment they make. Plus, there are a few choices if you do want something a bit less garish.

The light and dark blue combo HTC treated us too looks fantastic to our eyes. It’s eye-catching without being loud, clearly carefully designed and refreshingly removed from the oh-so-serious looks of most top-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s a friendly-looking phone. And unlike the Nokia Lumia 920, it’s not a whopper – just a shade over 10mm thick and 113g. HTC 8S 5

The welcoming vibe bleeds into the HTC 8S’s ergonomics too. The back of the phone is largely a single curved piece of soft-touch plastic. A soft finish and absence of hard edges make the phone a joy to hold - the single bodywork seam lies between the lighter and darker sections of the phone.

The lighter plastic strip on the rear of the HTC 8S can be pulled off to reveal the microSIM slot and microSD slot. It’s obviously not designed to be taken off and on daily, but its fit is easily solid enough that it should survive if you were too, plus it won’t accidentally slip off.

HTC 8S 6

Having a memory card slot is an important feature of the HTC 8S because there’s just 4GB of internal memory, and only 1.2GB of it is accessible once the Windows Phone 8 system and HTC’s custom apps have had their way with it.

The HTC 8S lets you store videos and music on an SD card, but you’ll need to use the internal memory for apps and games. That gigabyte and change won’t go far, either. If you’re a huge gamer you may want to look for a phone with more memory.

Another common casualty of the price cuts needed to make a mid-range phone is screen size. However, this brings with it some real benefits too. The HTC 8S is petite enough to let your fingers reach all the hardware buttons with one hand. HTC 8S 11

The power button up top and the volume rocker on the right edge are all perfectly accessible. The HTC 8S’s one other button is the camera shutter key, also on the right edge. It rests under the palm of right-handed folk, but we found that accidentally pressing it wasn’t a problem – it would be a humdinger if it was, as Windows Phone 8 automatically launches the camera app when it’s pressed.

Windows Phone is keen on little ease of use tweaks like this, and one that we’re glad to see implemented in Windows Phone 8 is the ability to simply drag and drop files to the HTC 8S’s internal memory. Hook the phone up to a computer with a microUSB port – the socket is on the phone’s bottom edge – and the HTC 8S’s file system will pop-up, along with folders for music, video, pictures and documents. There’s no need to hook up to a bespoke piece of software, as you have to do with an iPhone 5 or Windows Phone 7 device.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


December 17, 2012, 7:22 pm

Have to say this is a really ugly looking phone. Much prefer the looks of the Lumia 620 as a budget competitor.


December 19, 2012, 5:31 pm

This was going to be an instant purchase for me but not allowing apps to be installed to the SD card has seriously crippled the device.


March 31, 2013, 10:15 am

Oh, really? Lumia 620 looks like a toy, fat, so small and very curved.

Badal Mondal

May 17, 2013, 2:48 pm

I have purchased one HTC Windows phone 8S but unable to view my sd card's content. Contacted call centre and one Mr.Dhiraj said, unless you connect the phone to ur PC you can't find sd card's content. I want a symbol to first page of phone of SD card so that I can easily access/view the SD card's content. Any one can help me?

Arnab Banerji

June 5, 2013, 11:25 am

HTC 8s is perhaps the worst combination of software and hardware put together in an attractive but poorly designed package ever.

What can I say…windows has a history of making boring, unimaginative and the least user friendly operating systems since the dawn of desktop computing. For its mobile version, again I must say it is one of the prettiest OS on a hand held but also equally the least functional, the size of the OS is a massive 2GB?!!! On a phone that has 4GB (3.81 user space) of onboard space. To top it all it creates 1GB of files that you can’t remove and labels it, in true microsoft style, OTHERS. This leaves barely any space for any apps(I use Facebook, linked in, couple of games, Skype,)lyrics, dropshot apart from the bundled software that it came with)…with a strategy like that, no wonder they have the shittiest app store. Now with the new update out today, you have to reformat your phone to make 435mb of space to install it. I remember the days of android 1.6 where the ROM was a hardware limitation and one could only install softwares on the phone memory. A very frustrating experience that was thankfully rectified by an app by the name APP2SD freeing up precious space on you phone and liberating you from the tyranny of low memory space warnings. Microsoft, exercising better judgement has created its mobile software in the image (and size) of its desktop avatar….lazy buggers…incompetence and laziness, a winning combination when you target a product for the masses…after all that’s what we all are…

Gorilla glass prone to scratches and marks but this let down is nothing to the soft touch plastic finish…beware, this is not a finish as much as it is a coating, which has the following drawbacks:
It stains
It peels off…exposing shiny plastic underneath (blue, in my case)
It is the technological equivalent of Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy)…I hope they find a cure to that soon…
All in all, its the worst smartphone experience ever…it has the technology of the now but designed to perform a decade older…Usually one learns from others mistakes, things evolve and new technology should better if not match the current paradigm. Microsoft has decided that it will make the same journey of evolution that other OS’s did to reach some semblance of usable which, judging by its efforts so far, can be a while.
Currently the OS is still a monkey.

Ben Ta

August 15, 2013, 9:53 am

Wow, exactly the same review, word for word, in Techradar by the name “iamarnab”. Who are you “Arnab Banerji” or “iamarnab”. Just questioning your review Authenticity.

Mike Goodman

August 15, 2013, 11:15 am

I would imagine that they are the same person.
iamarnab = I am Arnab (Banerji)

RIck D

October 21, 2013, 12:08 am

If you are expecting to have a HTC experience in a W8 phone think again and look for your options somewhere else.
Just wondering if the people from the very ubiquitous Iphone were able to design, develop and launch a phone by themselves, why a software giant like MS didnt venture

to develop, design and launch a Wphone on their own brand and had to leech-attach to well established brands to cover their needs.
The genius that had the idea to have a project with HTC and NOKIA and accept a very sub-developed software (yes, taking more than 2gigs of of the 4gigs available, my phone has currently only 68mbs available and I have nothing stored in the phone only in the memory card, the rest is full with updates and stuff from MS).


The cam 5MP doesn't keep up with most of today's cameras capabilities in the market.
No frontal cam means no Skype or any other Cam chat app.
Beats Audio feature won't work with bluetooth?
For quicker reference, Settings System should have been in abc order, randomly arranged doesn't help in efficiency or quick access.
There's no a quick save new number, FIVE to SIX steps to save a contact.
You CAN NOT block a unwanted caller, no options.
Browser is total failure, designed by a person with little or negligible internet browsing experience, (it's like they say to someone in the street "hey you bro, do you want to get $50 for one day with us pretending to work in software developing?") NO BACK<-- or FORWARD--> buttons, that is purely genius (if that would be day one of the company in the computer business).
There are more things to list that need to be improved but I have more valuable things to do that pay too much attention to this thing.
You CAN NOT edit the dictionary, just adding new words every time but you CAN NOT delete them.

The Multi-language input and the Japanese full keyboard is a nice feature.
The white little packing box where it came in is quite pretty.


January 15, 2014, 10:50 pm

My son bought me one of these, from day one, I had trouble turning it off, it would just turn itself back on. Of course, the inevitable happened, it turned it off or so I thought next morning the battery was completely dead and it cannot be recharged at all. Is there a battery which can be replaced? if so, where can I get one. Anyone have any ideas?

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