The Windows Phone 8S, created by Taiwanese phone maker HTC, is the smaller and cheaper brother of their previous model, the Windows Phone 8X, which HTC considered their ‘flagship’. Clocking its price at £230(or $370), the 8S is considered to be the choice for a Windows 8 phone, with its only potential competition being the Nokia Lumia 620. James Trew of Engadget takes an in-depth look at the Windows Phone 8S, talking about its hardware, performance and battery life, camera, and software, to see if it really is worth the money.
Windows Phone 8S Review
The first in line is the hardware. The 8S’ takes its design inspiration from the 8X, only it’s more colorful and has some parts which differentiates itself from the 8X, such as the removable chin that houses the SIM and microSD card slots. On the back is a 5 megapixel camera, the HTC logo, the rather discreet Beats branding and speakers. The front is made of glass, with a polycarbonate casing, and has the usual Windows Phone buttons. The sides are where you will find the headphone jack; at the top is the power/standby button, the bottom holds the micro-USB port and the right side features the volume rocker as well as a dedicated camera button.
The display is WVGA, or 800×480, with a pixel density of 233 ppi and a Gorilla Glass 2 protective case. Despite the low resolution, the 4-inch non-PenTile RGB Super LCD is very crisp. It runs on a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm S4 Superdragon, as well as housing 512 MB of RAM. For the radios, the 8S supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE(850/900/1800/1900 MHz), as well as UMTS/HSPA+(900/1200 MHz) For connectivity, it has Bluetooth 3.1 and 801.11b/g/n, along with GPS and GLONASS antennas.
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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the performance and battery life. Engadget puts the 8S through some performance tests, including running racing games on it for extended periods of time, and they concluded that navigation with the 8S was overall smooth, even compared to some high-end phones. You might notice some sluggish behavior, but it doesn’t really have a big impact on performance and the battery life is good; Engadget was getting as much as a full-day’s regular use before needing to recharge.
The 8S’ camera seems to fall flat. The rear facing camera has a 35mm lens, 5 megapixels, and f/2.8 aperture. The quality of the pictures you take is reliant on the light; take a picture somewhere with good lighting and you can capture some great looking images. The camera is also capable of recording 720p of video, which can look nice when viewed from the phone, but the quality falls when viewed on a bigger screen.
Finally, we go to the software. The 8S’ software is similar to that of HTC’s Windows Phone 8, so there really isn’t much to add, aside from the apps. To be honest, the built-in apps include news, weather and stock information, a Photo Enhancer app and a connection wizard. Not much to start with. However, the other feature the 8S has is the Beats audio, which enhances the music experience immensely.
Overall, the HTC Windows Phone 8S is a serviceable phone. It carries over some of what the 8X had in terms of design, but is more or less geared towards a more mainstream part of the market. Some might even be turned off by the 1GHz dual-core chip and the 5 megapixel camera, but it has a good design, is reasonably priced and can get the job done when you need it to.
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