HTC 8S Review - Interface and Screen Review

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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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