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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

Web browsing on the HTC 8S is a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of connections you get the standard Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and HSDPA. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi doesn't seem all that fast.

HTC 8S review

You can load mobile versions of pages in a few seconds normally, but loading a full desktop site can take up to 20 seconds. Thankfully that isn't likely to be something you'll want to do very often, since mobile sites tend to be much better suited to a phone.

Scrolling is very smooth though, we didn't have any slow down and nor did it ever seem to need to re-draw the page. The resolution is also good enough to make text fairly crisp and clear and it supports text reflow, so pages tend to fit to the page.

In that sense web browsing on the HTC Windows Phone 8S is a pretty pleasant experience. We wouldn't say no to a slightly bigger screen - like the 4.3 inch one on the HTC Windows Phone 8X - but it never feels too cramped.

The layout of the browser leaves a little to be desired. It's a mobile version of Internet Explorer and aside from refreshing the page or typing web addresses and doing a Bing search (with the latter two being handled by a text box at the bottom of the screen), everything is done through a drop down menu.

HTC 8S review

For most things that's fine, you can access your favourites and add the current page to them, share the page, pin it to the start screen, access a list of recent pages and open the internet settings screen.

However you also have to pull up the menu to access your tabs... and then tap on 'tabs' and then either tap on the tab you want to switch to or open a new tab.

It's a whole lot of taps for what should be a simple action, particularly since if you're anything like us you'll be switching tabs a lot.

You can fix this by going into settings and changing the refresh button into a tabs button, which at least cuts out one tap, but then you lose the refresh button which can also come in handy.

Otherwise it's a solid enough browser. It always uses Bing to search, unless you manually go to Google, which is a bit of a pain, but no surprise given that it's a Windows Phone.

HTC 8S review

The favourites screen is quite minimalist, you don't get any thumbnails, just a text list of sites, but it matches the style of the rest of the interface.

The settings screen doesn't have a whole lot of options; you can block cookies, default to mobile or desktop sites, delete your history and do a few other things but nothing out of the ordinary.

There are a few other browsers available for download, but they're all made by individuals or small companies, none of the other major players such as Chrome or Firefox are available, so you're pretty much stuck with Internet Explorer.

The HTC 8S is also a little slower at loading pages than we'd like, but once it does the browsing experience isn't bad at all.

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