Review: HTC 8S Windows Phone 8

Not content with capturing the high end customer, HTC’s 8S phone is targeted to the midrange customer who wants the experience of a Windows 8 phone but may not pay too much for it. This phone is not that different from the flagship phone, HTC 8X. It has the same vibrant colors in a rectangular shape with smooth, rounded edges. You have a choice of colors; red, gray, blue and black-white being the options. It is smaller in size, at 120.5 X 63 X 10.3 mm and gives the overall impression of being sleek and smooth, weighing in at 113 grams. It boasts a 4” screen, covered with Super LCD Gorilla Glass and the phone has plastic for added safety and grip. The entire build has taken place with high quality polycarbonates.

Software and hardware

Obviously there’s Windows 8 and there’s so much going for the operating system. It is simple to use and intuitive- hallmarks of a Windows 8 phone. The HTC 8S also boasts of one GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor. There is a 1.5 GHz CPU that packs in some decent power. The phone has 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB internal storage, with an added 32 GB option in microSD cards. The screen has a decent 233 pixels in each inch of its 480 X 800 screen resolution. This is a mid-range phones and the specs are somewhere in the middle, between impressive and ordinary.

External appearances

The plastic that the phone is built of has a look of something elegant and its two tone color scheme only serves to take the impression further. On top of the screen you’ll find a speaker and the HTC logo, at the bottom of the screen are the back, search and home buttons. You cannot miss the large silver HTC logo at the back of the phone or the Beats audio logo at the bottom. The 5 megapixel camera lens and a speaker round up the back. The 3.5mm headphone port is on the left and the regressed power button to the right. The microUSB port is at the bottom, off to an edge, keeping company with a microphone. Volume controls are to the right. You cannot remove the back of the phone, but you can remove the stripe at the bottom to access the micro SIM and microSD card slot.

Applications

While there’s not much to boast of in this particular section, you’ll find OneNote to help you take notes and other standard apps for the calendar, calculator and alarm clock. The HTC 8S also syncs to SkyDrive, allowing you to retrieve your notes from a computer as well. While the mobile version of Microsoft Office is not nearly as cool or complete as the PC version, you can still do a lot with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. HTC has its own apps here too, for stock markets, news, weather, temperature and time. But these apps are rather basic and not attractive to look at. The phone comes with Bing Maps which isn’t good looking at all but does a fairly efficient job giving you traffic views and directions. You can also download the maps for offline use.

Connectivity and Battery

You have a few options to connect to the world with the HTC 8S- Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. While downloads are quick, uploads can test your patience.

The phone comes with 1700 MAh battery that cannot be removed from the phone at all. So forget about carrying a spare or getting a better one. It’s not a bad number, 1700 and if you’re careful and use your phone moderately, you can get by an entire day without having to charge it. The phone also gives you suggestions on how to increase battery life, like dialing down the screen brightness. There’s a battery saver option too and helps matters even further.

Final Word

The phone has a lot going for it and we don’t just mean its looks. It is fast and has many features you might not expect for the price. But web browsing is a drag and there’s not much power in the apps or battery departments either. If you’re looking for the Windows 8 experience but don’t want to shell out too much, the HTC 8S is the phone for you.

This is a guest post by Lance Goodman.