HTC 8S - Interface and Screen

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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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