HTC 8S Review

Pros

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

Cons

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

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £220.00
  • 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

Introduction

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.

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