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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

The HTC Windows Phone 8S is a messaging powerhouse. Most Windows Phone's are actually thanks to the deep integration of social networks, but it still never fails to impress.

HTC 8S review

The main messaging app looks a lot like a standard text message app and in many ways it is. You're presented with a list of conversation threads and tapping one opens it and shows the whole conversation, laid out in speech bubbles.

You can add pictures, videos and contact information to messages, but it's basically like text messaging on any other smart phone.

Except it's not, because you can also send Facebook messages from the same place, while swiping to the right brings you to an IM chat screen, where you can have live chats with any online contacts.

There's also a settings screen which has options for backing up your messages to Hotmail and toggling delivery confirmations.

Tapping on the empty speech bubble at the bottom of each conversation thread brings up the keyboard and lets you send a new message (alternatively you can press the plus button from the threads screen to start a new conversation).

HTC 8S review

The keyboard is fairly good. It can be used in portrait or landscape mode, with landscape generally being the better of the two as you get slightly more room to manoeuvre.

But even in portrait it's fairly accurate. We made the occasional typo, but it generally auto-corrected them. It also takes a stab at predicting your next word before you even start typing, giving you a list to choose from.

You can turn keyboard sounds on so that it makes a noise with each key press, but there's no haptic feedback unfortunately.

There's a smiley face button on the keyboard that brings up a surprisingly large list of emoticons, including slightly odd things like a bowl of rice and a laser gun, but otherwise it's a fairly standard keyboard.

HTC 8S review

If you prefer there's also a voice typing option, which works pretty well as long as you speak clearly.

You can also send text, email and social network messages from the 'People' screen - just tap the relevant option on a contact card and away you go.

Plus as we mentioned on the previous page you can view social network updates from the 'People' screen, and by extension you can also reply to them - all without ever going to an external Facebook app.

As well as the built in social network integration you can also download separate apps for Facebook, Twitter and the like if you'd prefer.

Finally we come to email and this works pretty well too. You can easily add a Hotmail, Google, Outlook or Yahoo account and manually add many others. Once an account's set up you can ask the HTC Windows Phone 8S to notify you whenever you get a new email.

HTC 8S review

Actually reading and composing emails is a smooth experience. You tap on one to open it and can then double tap or pinch to zoom if necessary, though the email app does a pretty good job of fitting emails to your screen.

You can also compose a new email, delete or reply to an email at the touch of a button. Typing new emails works well too, you can attach images to them and add contacts from your address book to receive them.

Email can have its own live tile too, so from the start screen you can see how many new messages you have and even see a preview of the most recent one.

With all the messaging options and social network integration the messaging experience on the HTC 8S is a joy. The whole visual style of all the messaging and email apps matches the rest of the phone, with the same colour scheme for the background and text.

It's also rather two-tone, much like the handset itself, keeping everything consistent and aesthetically appealing. It's not really any better in this department than other Windows Phone's, but they all do a much better job of it than most of the competition.

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