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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 8S makes for a competent but unspectacular media player. The main media hub is called 'Music + Videos' and as the name suggests it's here that you will be able to find and play any music or videos that are on the phone.

HTC 8S review

When you open the app you can pick between music, videos, podcasts and store. Store just takes you to the Windows Phone store, where it's possible to buy new music, while the other options take you to a list of applicable files on your handset.

Video just gives you thumbnails of all your videos, you tap on one to play it or long press it to pin it to the start screen. The player itself is incredibly basic, with options limited to jumping forwards or backwards in the video, pausing it and fitting it to the screen.

It's hardly a comprehensive player, but the screen itself is good enough to make video's look fairly decent. The phone is also very comfortable to hold for long periods, which is handy if you plan to watch videos on it.

The music player is a little better. You can sort your music by artist, song, album or genre and create playlists. You can also share music to Hotmail or Google Mail.

However your options while playing a song are almost as limited as with video. You can skip track, jump forwards or backwards, favourite a song, shuffle a playlist or put a track on repeat.

HTC 8S review

There aren't any equaliser or other sound settings to tweak, however if you're playing the music through headphones you can activate Beats Audio, which does wonders for the overall sound quality.

HTC 8S review

It's not available through the internal speakers, which in themselves are simply okay. They can be turned up to a reasonable volume, but not super loud and they tend to sound a bit tinny.

There are lock screen controls for music that let you pause it or skip track. From the start screen you also get an image of the currently playing track on the music tile. However there don't appear to be any controls from here.

If you've got an Xbox Music account you can also download or stream millions of songs to your phone, but it's a subscription service, so you will have to shell out for it.

The HTC Windows Phone 8S supports MP3, WAV, WMA, eAAC+, MP4, WMV, H.264 and H.263. All in all it's alright for both music and video and Beats Audio is a boon, but the players are disappointingly basic.

There are a few other players available for download from the store, but not a huge number. Internal storage is a bit of an issue too, as it's limited to 4 GB, which you'll fill in no time if you're using the HTC 8S as a media player.

HTC 8S review

However you can increase that with a microSD card, which at the moment is a bit of a rarity in the world of Windows Phone 8, as neither the HTC Windows Phone 8X nor the Nokia Lumia 920 have a microSD card slot.

There's no YouTube integration and surprisingly there's also no built in radio, though you can download apps for both of these.

Aside from music and video, you can also view your photos on the HTC Windows Phone 8S. Doing so is handled by the 'Photos' app, which can sort photo's by date, album or favourites, and pulls photo's from Facebook and SkyDrive, as well as from your camera roll.

Photo's themselves can be shared to Facebook or various email accounts, uploaded to SkyDrive, set as lockscreen wallpaper or edited. Editing tools are limited to rotating, cropping or 'fixing' an image, but still, for a built in gallery app it's not a bad set of options.

If those aren't quite enough editing options for you, the handset also comes with a separate 'photo enhancer' app, which lets you add effects such as 'twilight' or 'vintage' to your pictures.

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