For the previous year, Nokia was running the Windows Phone show with its line of colorful entries in the market. Now, we see HTC trying to take hold of that same market with handsets like the 8S. Did the HTC Windows Phone 8S dress to impress? Read our full review after the break.
Design and Construction
There is no denying it. After so many years of black, white and gray, you’ll feel very amazed with the design of the HTC Windows Phone 8S.
HTC has implemented the color scheme in a very different manner. The device feels very nice to hold with its tapered edges, and because of that, the device feels thinner than it should be.
There is a two-color scheme implemented on the device; the one we have here is a mixture of different shades of red and orange.
There is a reason why manufacturers opt for glass and glossy plastic rather than polycarbonate – and that is the tendency of dirt to stain the device, especially when it has a light color.
On the front you’ll find the 4-inch WVGA display that hides underneath the glass. Below you’ll find the Windows Phone buttons – back, start and search. On top you’ll find the sensors along with the colored earpiece and the HTC logo.
On the bottom of the phone, you’ll see the micro-USB port and the microphone. On the right, you’ll find the volume rocker and the two-stage camera key, which is prone to accidental presses.
On the left hand side, there is nothing to see while you’ll find the power button and the 3.5 mm headphone jack on top.
On the back, you’ll find the 5 megapixel shooter with LED flash, the HTC logo, the Beats branding and the speakers. You’ll also find the removable part of the polycarbonate body where the micro-SIM and the micro SD card should be.
The Windows Phone 8S packs a 4-inch LCD display with a resolution of 480×800 pixels. The size of the screen is acceptable and easy to operate but the bezels around it make the display feel smaller.
The blacks aren’t deep, while the production of whites are somehow outstanding – as expected from an LCD display. Colors were quite unsaturated, and the viewing angles were limited.
Since the Windows Phone UI makes use of so many colors and text, the experience didn’t turn out so well.
OS, Apps and UI
The HTC Windows Phone 8S runs on, of course, Windows Phone 8. The design of the UI is very subjective as a minimalist might find the interface very appealing while others might beg to differ.
HTC barely added their stuff with the device, like the HTC hub which adds functionality as an app and as a live tile. The integration ends there and it doesn’t go as deep as other OEMs’ integration with its apps.
For all Windows Phone users, there is a reality that cannot be escaped. That is the lack of apps. Some might argue that the store can give you what you need, but apps like the YouTube app (which redirects you to the browser) makes it feel like it’s not there yet.
Multimedia and Camera
Video playback was great. The display didn’t deliver much in the UI, but once it came to playing videos – it pushed through well.
The speakers were loud and clear, and the addition of Beats Audio is a plus. Beats Audio could be a gimmick in some aspects, but it’s there and it helps in making flat tunes sound sharper.
The 5 megapixel camera on the 8S was disappointing to some extents. It did take average shots on direct sunlight, but anything less than that lacked saturation. The addition of flash messes with color fidelity, so don’t bother. It produced very soft and noisy shots as well, to describe it.
Video recording was noticeably better to an extent. 720p video was more than acceptable; it’s not bad and it’s not remarkable either.
Call Quality & Performance
We didn’t experience any dropped calls with the device. Sound was clear through the earpiece and was good through the speakers. At some instances, our voices on the other line was muffled – but this happened rarely.
There were some occasional hiccups with the 1GHz dual-core Krait processor – regardless of how Windows Phone’s UI works, the clock speed and the number of cores.
It is probably the fault of the 512MB RAM. Nevertheless, it was more than acceptable for most users.
We were able to get a day’s use from the 8S’ 1700 mAh battery. When we push it to the limits with gaming and consecutive syncing, you’ll get half of the expected battery life.
The HTC Windows Phone 8S has a lot going for it. For those that want a different experience and a design that stands out, the 8S is worth considering. However, there are some disadvantages with that choice.
It’s sure to accomplish tons of tasks, but the phone is not for the power user who pushes multimedia to further levels.
The phone has a suggested retail price of Php14,600.
HTC Windows Phone 8S specs:
4-inch S-LCD Display (480 x 800) 233ppi
1GHz dual-core Krait CPU
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
4GB internal memory
up o 32GB via microSD card
5 megapixel camera (LED flash, 720p video)
Windows Phone 8
120.5 x 63 x 10.3 mm (dimensions)
113 g (weight)
Li-IOn battery 1700 mAh
What we liked about it:
- Solid and beautiful design
- Loud and clear sound performance
- Refreshing user interface
What we didn’t like about it:
- So-so battery life
- Sub-par camera performance
- Prone to dirt stains