Review: Hands-on with the HTC Windows Phone 8S

HTC has again come up with a colorful phone which is both pleasing to the eye and functional enough to help you on the go. It resembles its big sibling, Windows 8X, in most aspects. It has many unique features that differentiate the device from former products from HTC running on other operating systems. It comes in four colors: Atlantic blue, fiesta red, domino and gray. Though the two-color theme isn’t much appealing to some, the bright colors maintain a low profile because they are seen only as a band at the bottom and in the speaker grille. However, it doesn’t look too odd because the two tone colors complement the colorfully tiled interface of the OS you will be using on it. The device is surprisingly light for its 10.4mm thickness. The thickness makes it feel chunkier and it will take some time to get used to its size.

The screen measures 4 inches with a WVGA LCD screen delivering 800×480 megapixels. The front side is a slab of Gorilla Glass and the back cover is made of sturdy polycarbonate. However, it doesn’t give the creaky feeling that most devices with a plastic build give. The back side of the phone has a 5MP camera with 720p stereo, but sadly, it doesn’t have a front facing camera. It is a shock because Skype is a core feature of the OS. You can’t video chat using this device and if you want to video chat on your phone, you’ll be better off with a device with a front facing camera. It has a built-in memory of 4GB which can be extended to 32 GB using the microSD slot. Much like Windows 8X, it doesn’t have access to the battery.

Windows 8X runs on a dual core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor that can support most of the tasks you will have to carry out on your phone. You will find the volume rocker and a two stage camera button along the right edge of the phone. The power button and the headphone socket are placed on the top edge. The power button gives a better feedback compared to the 8X. The top edge is tapered which indeed feels good. The charging jack and the micro USB port you will need for data transfer are found on the bottom. The second color tone which runs as a band houses a back button and a search key. As these are touch sensitive, you just need to tap them like you use its touch screen.

It supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Its Beats audio renders clear sounds and there is also a built-in FM radio. The device has a detachable cap for protecting the screen, but detaching it is a little difficult. Another point to be noted is that the touch screen doesn’t respond quickly always as you will expect it to be. It might act up when you are in a hurry and give you a bad time making it necessary to keep tapping. The device might sleep a wink while playing videos and liven up after a few seconds. The processor used is good, but still it happens for some unknown reason. One convincing fact is that the screen doesn’t pick up fingerprints and smudge marks. However, dust might accumulate on the sides where the plastic back cover and the Gorilla Glass join.

Windows 8S runs on a 1,700mAH battery, which will hold your device alive for a whole day of internet surfing, calling, and texting. It doesn’t support wireless charging and so you will have to carry a micro USB charger with you and stop at a power source when it runs out of charge. The call quality is extremely good and it will give you the nice experience you will expect from a Windows phone. There are many nice features in the OS that you will love to use, but the apps from the Windows Store aren’t as good. You might have to wait for a few months until the apps are polished to work well on Windows phones. But it isn’t too much a sacrifice when you look at the features of the OS and the cool interface you can have on this phone. The limited internal storage is a bit disappointing and the lack of a front facing camera is a lot disappointing. If you’re not expecting to make video calls, here’s the phone you were looking for.

This is a guest post by Jake Anderson of fastinternetdeals.com, a site that offers savings and current information on find deals on internet service as well as att.com services.