The Windows Phones 8S by HTC, is a mid-range smartphone, but stands out from the crowd because of its two-tone colour designed to attract younger generation.
The HTC 8S comes with black, red and silver in colour while the lower section of the device has different colours like blue, red, white and orange. One that I got was blue and black. It is very light and weighs just 113 grams.
The phones is not a power house because it is priced in the mid-range category - so it has its ups and downs.
The four-inch super LCD touch screen with a resolution of 800x480 pixels is powered by 1GHz dual core Qualcomm processor with 512MB RAM. The shortage of RAM is a big drawback as many of the handsets in the market has bigger RAM and at a much cheaper price. The 8S is not the right device for downloading too many apps, music or gamers as it only has 4GB of internal storage. You will be forced to depend on microSD.
The back side of the phone is made of polycarbonate and has a rubberised feel. The curved sides of the phone make it easy to fit into the palms very comfortably.
On the top right side are the volume rocker and a dedicated camera button on the bottom. The camera button can be turned on even in the lock mode.
On the top of the phone are the headphone jack and the power button. The base has a microUSB port for charging and syncing the stuff with your computer.
The base of the device can be removed to insert micro SIM and microSD card. The main disadvantage is that the battery cannot be removed.
The live tiles on the device can be resized and moved to different positions. Scrolling the home screen to the left will give the full list of apps stored on the device.
The interesting feature on the Windows phone is the Peoples Hub. You can view your social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin from your mates and the contacts.
Although you get turn by turn navigation on Bing Maps, you do not get voice-guided navigation, like Nokia drive on Lumia.
The rear facing camera has 5MP with an LED flash and autofocus. The snaps have natural colours and it struggles in low-light conditions. There are some basic filters like solarise and sepia effects. The camera lacks options for HDR or panorama shooting.
HTC has its own Photo Enhance app preloaded into the device for added filters. But it can only be applied after taking a photo to add more details.
The 8S does not have a front-facing camera, so the chances of using Skype and video conferencing are ruled out.
The camera is capable of recording 720 pixels at 30 frames per second and not in full HD. It plays DivX and Xvid files well but won’t play MKVs without an additional app.
The Kids Corner on Windows phone lets your child use your phone by creating a new login. It takes time to set up and you can specify the games, music, videos or apps for them to access.
Gaming areas are split into two categories - Xbox-branded and non-Xbox branded. You can create an Xbox account and play live games. But there are not a plenty of decent titles around.
Regarding connectivity, the phone has no NFC and FM radio but has 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and an internet sharing option.
The sealed 1,700mAh battery life is decent. During my test, listening to songs, watching videos and surfing emails with WiFi on, the device lasted for around 19 hours.
You can get two days of use with only making and receiving calls, and surfing the emails. There are also a few battery saving options available on the device. It is priced at Dh1,399.
• Cute design
• MicroSD card slot
• Speedy dual-core processor
• Decent price
• Beats audio enhancements
• Camera and screen not great
• Lack of NFC and front-facing camera
• Only 4 GB of internal storage
• No voice-guided navigation
• No FM radio