The HTC 8S is a mid-range – and therefore an affordable – but very competent Windows phone from the Taiwanese manufacturers. The black and blue polycarbonate casing lightens the mood with a colourful hue and it suits the Windows interface perfectly. It feels like a quality product too with it’s curved rear casing with easy grip coating ensuring that you will find it both comfortable and pleasing to hold thanks to it’s soft touch feel. It actually feels slimmer than it’s 10.3mm too because of the tapered back curving neatly at the edges.
The Windows Phone 8 operating system is extremely fast, thanks to a 1.5 GHz dual core processor beneath the all-glass front which covers a bright colourful screen. The 480 x 800 resolution is slightly below HD standards but in practice you are unlikely to really notice, and the WVGA resolution does at least mean that Windows Phone 7 apps run at full screen.
The 5 megapixel camera is better than we expected, offering bright and clear pictures though indoor performance, as with most camera phones, isn’t overwhelming. There is no forward facing camera either, but have you ever bothered to use one on any phone you owned? Video is recordable at 720p with sound and continuous autofocus helps with clarity but there is no image stabilisation.
Good feature set
There are some neat features, including Beats Audio, constant Wi-Fi on, and the option to reject calls with a message, a feature also seen on the Android-powered Sony Xperia SP. HTC’s now famous BlinkFeed option is here too which is arguably more suited to the Windows interface and allows you to display customised live (animated) feeds such as news, weather or anything you choose.
Call quality is excellent, even through the built-in loudspeaker, while a battery saver mode ensures you can go on talking and surfing for longer. We like the MicroSD card slot hidden behind the removable blue panel, even if we did have to refer to the manual to find it.
Our conclusion is that the HTC Windows Phone 8S is an affordable, quality handset from HTC which won’t break the bank. A thoroughly enjoyable smartphone from HTC.