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HTC 8S - Interface and Screen

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



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HTC 8S – Screen

The HTC 8S has a 4-inch S-LCD display. Owners of top-end phones may look down on this, as they tend to offer screens as large as 4.8 inches, with either IPS-based or Super AMOLED screens.

S-LCD isn’t thought of as quite as snazzy, but the latest generation of S-LCD offers image quality virtually indistinguishable from IPS. Both are designed to offer excellent viewing angles, and better colour reproduction than cheapo screens.

HTC 8S 1

The HTC 8S’s display is a solid performer, in spite of its limited specs. Contrast is strong, with blacks only appearing greyish in pitch-black rooms, and colours are vivid. Resolution is not great at 480 x 800 pixels, but as we found with Windows Phone 7 mobiles, the limited resolution isn’t too apparent in the phone’s menus.

It’s only when you go off-piste, into the browser for example, that the low resolution becomes apparent – small text is far less readable than on a more pixel-packed display. But you can certainly get by.

HTC 8S – Interface

The key selling point of the HTC 8S is that it runs Windows Phone 8, the new-born successor to Windows Phone 7.

If you’ve owned a Windows Phone mobile before you may be surprised at quite how similar it is to its predecessor, given the hoo-hah made about its release and how older phones are not upgradeable to the new software. The biggest aesthetic difference is that the home screen now allows smaller Live Tiles.

New to Windows Phone? The front-end of the system is a scroll of coloured tiles that act as shortcuts to apps and phone features, or more specific things like contacts or web pages. But they're not just passive links as they can also show 'live' information from the app, like how many messages you've got or your agenda for the day. What makes this funactionality particularly powerful is that the tiles can be made larger to show more information, stretching from fingerprint-sized squares to screen-width filling rectangles, all with just a few taps.HTC 8S 17

The other half of the system is accessed by swiping right-to-left on this home screen – taking you to the apps list, which lays out all your apps in a single column.

The Windows Phone 8 look is stark, but it’s a pretty accessible interface that should only cause problems for real tech beginners. Its lock screen is handy too, displaying much of the info you’ll need without having to actually use the phone. It shows the time, date, the next event coming up in your calendar and any notifications, such as new emails or texts.

HTC 8S 16

Windows Phone 8 is great at bringing together info, and it does a good job of knitting together social networking updates too. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and most email accounts can be signed into without having to download any extra apps. And any social updates work their way into the People app.

This holds all your latest tweets and Facebook updates, as well as everyone’s contact info. As joining up Facebook and Twitter can be a little too much to handle, the HTC 8S also lets you sift through social updates one network at a time. Like most of Windows Phone 8, the People app is hyper-stylised and therefore takes a bit of getting used to, but you can always download the official Facebook and Twitter apps if you prefer.

HTC 8S – Wallet

The People app was present in a similar form in the last version of Windows Phone, though. One thing that’s new is Wallet.

At present it’s a place to store your debit card details (dodgy at the best of times) and notes on any bargains you’ve found around town. Not terribly useful, although it can interact with other apps – such a deal finder, perhaps.

The plan is that Wallet will be used with NFC to let you buy things on the high street. However, the HTC 8S does not feature NFC, so that’s a non-starter for this particular phone. NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, and it’s used as a wireless payments standard by several high street chains.

HTC 8S – Kids’ Corner

Another tent pole feature of Windows Phone 8 is Kids’ Corner. This let's you create a child-friendly login so that you can hand over your phone to a youngster without fear of what they might find or them wrecking your phone. You can specify apps - such as games, the camera or the web browser - for them to access as well as files such as music, videos and pictures. It takes a little while to setup but once done so is very useful.

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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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