Next to the latest £500 phones, the HTC 8S offers fairly basic connectivity. There’s no 4G, no NFC and no FM radio. You do get Wi-Fi tethering, pretty snappy mobile internet, GPS and a 7GB chunk of free SkyDrive storage. This is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution, letting you upload photos and other files for retrieval later on a computer.
The HTC 8S has a non-removable 1700mAh battery. This is a fairly standard capacity for a phone of this size, and in our experience Windows Phone has offered better power management than, say, Anrdroid.
You’ll get a full day’s charge out of the phone, but moderate-to-heavy users are still some way off the smartphone Holy Grail of two-day use. As ever, switch off 3G and you’ll sail through two days easily enough.
Next to the other Windows Phone 8 handsets currently available, the HTC 8S looks like a bit of a bargain. It’s prettier than the comparably-priced Nokia Lumia 620, and also compares well with many rival Androids, especially in design terms.
However, it is significantly hamstrung by its limited internal memory, and while Windows Phone 8 is a joy to use in many respects, many of its old problems remain. App developer support is a problem, and that Windows Phone 8 has made this even worse when it’s not all that much different from Windows Phone 7 feels unnecessary.
The HTC 8S is an attractive early entry to the world of the new Windows OS. It looks and feels great, and sells at a very reasonable price. It also has the power to make Windows Phone 8 as quick as it should be, aside from the occasional glitch. Look too close, though, and you’ll realise there are a few tasty bits you miss out on. 4GB of internal memory isn’t enough for the system to thrive on, there’s no user-facing camera and the lack of NFC will lock your out of some potentially exciting future developments in Windows Phone 8.