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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

Battery Life

We were a little worried about the battery life of the HTC 8S as it only has a 1700 mAh battery and you can't get at the battery either, so there's no option to carry a spare with you or replace it with a larger battery.

HTC 8S review

However in our time with the phone we've decided that the battery is just about up to scratch. We would love a bigger one for peace of mind, but generally we don't think you'll have a problem making it through the day (though you will probably have to charge the phone most nights).

With moderate mixed use ( some photos and videos, a bit of web browsing, about 45 minutes of calls and Wi-Fi always on), we just made it through the day.

In our standard battery test- running a ninety minute video from it when fully charged, with the screen at full brightness, Wi-Fi on and emails and social network updates being pushed to it, the results were about what we expected, as the handset had dropped to 67% battery by the end of the video.

That allows for around four and a half hours of video on a single charge with the screen at full brightness, which isn't great, but it's unlikely that you'll even want the screen at full brightness most of the time, so in reality you'll probably get more video time than that.

There are also a few battery saving options available. For one thing you can turn the screen brightness down or set it to automatic, so that it's never brighter than you need it.

HTC 8S review

However there's also a 'battery saver' toggle, which prevents apps from running unless you manually open them and stops emails from automatically syncing. You can set 'battery saver' mode to be on all the time or more usefully only when the battery is low or only until you next charge the handset.

Ultimately, even with all these tools, the battery isn't great. You should be able to make it through a day on a single charge, which is the most important thing, but it's unlikely to last you any longer than that, so if you find it a pain leaving your phone to charge overnight then this isn't the handset for you.

Battery life seems to be a problem for all of the current crop of Windows Phone 8 handsets, so if you want both Windows Phone 8 and a good battery, you might want to hold off for now.

Connectivity

Connectivity options on the HTC 8S are limited to Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.1, 3G and GPS. There's also an internet sharing option and all of these connections can easily be activated and configured from the main settings screen.

HTC 8S review

3G speeds seemed decent enough, however we were a bit disappointed with Wi-Fi speeds at times. Downloading apps was fast enough, but trying to load desktop sites took an inordinately long time.

You can plug the HTC Windows Phone 8S straight into a PC using the included USB cable. Once it's connected it acts much like a USB stick, allowing you access to all the files and folders through 'My Computer'. This makes it very easy to get media on and off the phone, as you simply drag and drop or copy and paste.

Alternatively you can also remove the microSD card and use an adapter to connect that to a PC and get media from there, though that's rather long winded, since you also have access to the microSD card when plugging the phone itself into a PC.

Additionally, the HTC 8S comes with 7 GB of free SkyDrive storage and many of the apps on the phone let you upload and download from there.

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