Both HTC and Nokia were on hand at the launch of Windows Phone 8 last Monday to show off two handsets each. Unlike Samsung, who brought the Samsung Ativ S to the table as their new Windows Phone 8 flagship handset, the Finnish and Taiwanese manufacturers both had devices that took the secondary spot in their respective new Windows Phone 8 handset lineups.
HTC’s offering in this instance was the new Windows Phone 8S by HTC. As we explained here, Microsoft and HTC cuddled up during the production of both the 8X and the 8S and both are now the stars of Windows Phone 8 marketing material all over the place. The 8S, as we mentioned, plays second fiddle to the top dog, the 8X, but has a few tricks up its sleeve that make it a competitive device all its own.
First and foremost, the HTC 8S is one of the most vibrant Windows Phone 8 devices in the current handset lineup. The 8S will hit stores in four punchy colour schemes: Domino Black (with white), Fiesta Red (with orange), Atlantic Blue (with cyan) and High-Rise Grey (with yellow), with the last one being our colour scheme of choice as a result of the sporty look it gives the device. The feel of the rubberised plastic on the 8S’s body feels fantastic in hand and the slightly more rounded design over the HTC 8X actually feels more comfortable to hold at various angles.
The secondary colour at the phone’s base also indicates the where removable portion of the case is, which exposes the microSIM and microSD card slots (up to 32GB support) and of course on the back you can see the all important Beats Audio logo. We also have to make special mention to the hardware camera key on the lower right side of the phone; a feature we always appreciate.
One surprising difference between this and the rest of the new Windows Phone 8 handsets is that it employs a 1GHz dual-core processor, whilst the rest run at a snappy 1.5GHz clock speed. Having said that real world use with the handset’s tile based UI appeared as expected to remain buttery smooth, even when jumping in and out of menus and between apps. We suspect that the slower clock is part of its lower anticipated price tag, but will only be an issue if the user finds some really intensive imaging apps or games.
The look and feel of the HTC 8S far exceeds the device this is being marketed as and appears to move with the best of them. To fully understand what it offers, check back to see our upcoming review of the HTC 8S, where we truly test its mettle.