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HTC 8S review

One of the first Windows Phone 8 devices, but does this mid-range handset impress?

Our Verdict

The HTC 8S is a good all round handset. It doesn't do a terrible job of anything but it also struggles to stand out. If you're set on Windows Phone 8 and don't want to drop a huge amount on a handset then for the time being this a good buy.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 4 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Stylish design
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Great social network integration
  • Good for messaging

Against

  • Lacklustre battery
  • Slow browser
  • Only 4 GB of internal storage
  • No smart dialling

Contacts

The HTC 8S by and large does a pretty good job of contacts and calling. You access contacts from the 'People' tile, which in itself displays an attractive slideshow of contact pictures on your start screen.

HTC 8S review

Once in the app the first screen displays all of your contacts in an alphabetical list. A name and thumbnail is displayed for each contact and tapping on them brings you to their page.

It pulls contacts from Facebook, email accounts and your SIM card, so you'll likely have a load of contacts listed as soon as you set up your phone.

Long pressing a contact lets you edit or delete them, there's a button to create a new contact and one that brings up a search box, which can be handy if you've got a particularly busy list.

Finally, you can get to the settings screen from here, which lets you filter which sources to view contacts from and sort them by first or last name.

HTC 8S review

That's not the only display in the 'People' app though. If you swipe left or right you'll find three other screens. One displays status updates and tweets, one shows contacts that you've recently interacted with and the final one lets you set up and view groups and 'rooms'.

Groups is nothing new, letting you sort and filter contacts into different groups such as 'colleagues' or 'friends'. It also lets you send a text to every member of the group.

'Rooms' is a little more interesting. You can share calendars, photos and notes with everyone in a room as well as group chatting with them. It's a nice idea that takes the groups feature a little bit further.

Going back to contacts themselves, once you're on a contacts page you're presented with quite a lot of information and options. Everything from their email address, to their birthday, job title and any notes about them are visible and there are options to call, text, email or Facebook message them.

HTC 8S review

Swiping to the left or right lets you see a history of recent calls or texts to the contact, any photos they've uploaded to Facebook and any social network updates for them. All in all you get some very full featured contact cards, with a wealth of information and some well thought out social network integration.

Three little buttons at the bottom of each contact card let you pin them to the start screen, which is a great way to quickly call or text people that you're in touch with a lot.

You can also link multiple contacts together if you have more than one address book entry for them, while the final button lets you edit the card, allowing you to add or remove whatever information you want.

When you create a new contact you can store it to your Hotmail or Google account and add as much or as little information to it as you want.

Calling

HTC 8S review

To make a call you can either call a specific contact from the 'People' app or go to the dial pad, which has a separate icon on the start screen. Oddly you can get to the People app from the dial pad but not the other way around.

From the dial pad you can also call your voice mail and setup a few call settings, such as call forwarding and text message replies for when you can't talk.

One thing which immediately struck us with the dial pad is that there's no smart dialling, which means that if you start typing a number it won't bring up suggestions for contacts that match it.

In fact even when you type a complete number for someone in your address book it won't display their name or in any way link up with them. You also can't use the numbers as letters to type the name of a contact. Given how well the 'People' app has been thought out it's odd that such an obvious feature would be omitted.

HTC 8S review

When a call comes through you have the option to ignore or answer it. Assuming you answer, you get a screen with the contacts name, the call duration and a few options, specifically speaker phone, mute, hold, dial pad and add call.

They're all pretty self explanatory but it's worth mentioning that speaker phone seems to work pretty well. The person on the other end of the line can be heard loud and clear and though they reported that hearing us wasn't quite as clear as with speaker phone off we were still perfectly audible.

Call quality when not using speaker phone is very good too. We didn't experience any dropped calls and the sound was both loud and crisp.

HTC and Microsoft have handled contacts brilliantly and have done a pretty good job of calls too. The absence of smart dialling is unfortunate but does little to detract from an otherwise stellar setup.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyWindows Phone 8S
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourAtlantic Blue
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)113 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Timer, Conference Call
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height120.5 mm
Width63 mm
Depth10.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameWindows Phone 8S Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineWindows Phone 8S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, G-sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HSS008-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing InformationThe smartphone to match your life at work and play. Our unique design immediately sets you apart in a sea of smartphones with playful, brightly coloured devices that look as if they've been dipped in a bucket of paint. Even better...enjoy a strong, long-lasting battery via the powerful dual-core performance.

Exclusive Beats Audio™ built-in serves up immersive, studio-quality sound for all your entertainment. Plus, a physical camera button lets you instantly point, shoot and share while a free SkyDrive account means that wherever you go, so does your content. And don't forget about the cool, clean look of Live Tiles that put personalization readily at your fingertips.

Boldly coloured design.
This smartphone stands apart with its eye-catching, bright, playful original look and its bold colour accent that looks as if it's been dipped in a paint pot. Pair that with the cool, clean coordinated design of Live Tiles and you have a device that rivals (dare we say leads?) the other guys.

High-performing battery.
Stay connected while charging your phone less than other phones-thanks to the 1GHz dual-core processor for powerful performance and an optimized battery. Plus, never be without your content again-photos, documents and more are easily accessible on your free 7GB SkyDrive account.

Studio-quality sound and entertainment.
Don't just listen to your music, feel it with Beats Audio™ built-in. You get deeper base, crisper vocals and detailed high notes for music, games, movies and videos. Then, lose yourself in the music and games you love with Xbox Gaming and Xbox Music, where you have access to more than 17 million tracks.

For the photographer in you.
A physical camera button, accessible even from the lock screen, lets you instantly point, shoot and share images from the 5mp, 720p autoflash camera. Create inspiring, original photos with the built-in lenses and show those images on the big, vibrant display. And never again be without your photos and videos. They're now quickly accessible, easy-to-manage, secure and automatically backed up on your free 7GB SkyDrive account.
Limited Warranty1 Year