HTC 8S Review – High Powered Windows Mobile Phone

HTC 8S Review: Released in 2012, by now the HTC series was being dominated by Android releases. However, the company had not entirely given up on Microsoft Windows as an operating system and still continued producing high-end devices. The predecessor to this phone was most likely the HTC HD7 – which was given that number due to the series of Windows Mobile it ran. With Windows 8 out, it made sense to continue in this fashion.

Two phones were released in this series. The 8S and 8X were similar in design, but the 8X had a larger screen and a much better specification. The 8S was a decent phone in its own right, but was left to fight it out in the value-orientated markets. There was no shortage of competition in this segment, with Samsung releasing ‘Mini’ versions of its successful Galaxy series. In a slight deviation from the standard HTC phone, this phone was available in a variety of colours and also paired with headphone manufacturer of the time – Beats, which promised a better standard of audio.

Aside from this the phone hit a good standard across the rest of the build. Not best in-class, but a solid performer. It was this combination of utility and value that was the motivation for people to ditch either Android/Apple for the Windows operating system – which was far less established.

Full specifications here.

This was a successful handset, ably assisted by the good reputation that HTC were gaining for build quality. The next year saw another upgrade in the HTC 8XT, which was a budget model itself of the HTC 8X. Compared to the 8S this was still an improvement, which featured a bigger screen, front facing camera and a speedier processor.

HTC 8S Review Pros: 

  • The phone came with an excellent screen for a mid-range phone. A 4-inch, 480 x 800 resolution screen with Gorilla Glass was not best in class but still great for definition and media.
  • An attractive design, which came in several different colours. The metallic finish was dropped for a more rubberised finish which improved durability.
  • A heavy-hitting set of tech specs: a 5MP camera with Flash, 4GB storage with microSD card slot, Bluetooth and GPS. The utility was on par with the top phones.
  • Beats integration added some improvements to audio quality and there was some HTC skinning to the OS.

HTC 8S Review Cons: 

  • Like many other phones the design was a monobody with non-removable rear. This made repairs or changing battery more difficult.
  • Whilst the rear camera was good, there was an absence of front-facing camera. This meant that video calls could not be made.
  • The Windows system had some downsides: it was markedly different to use from both Android and Apple, and had a steeper learning curve. Apps such as Explorer and Maps were weaker than their Google counterparts.
  • App store on Windows was less populated than the other OS, meaning a smaller choice of apps.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects:

Windows has been long since discontinued as an operating system. However, this model of phone is a good example of the Windows system and still runs acceptably. There would still be much interest in working models.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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