HTC 8S review: Hands-on

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The Windows Phone 8S by HTC is the affordable alternative to the HTC 8X

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The HTC 8S is one of the brand's two new Windows Phone 8 smartphones and we were lucky enough to get a secret preview...

Launched alongside the HTC 8X, the HTC 8S (or Windows Phone 8S by HTC to give it its full, awkward title) is a more affordable version of the flagship model.

Will this be the handset that brings Windows Phone 8 to the masses and will it have what it takes to make it into our list of the best smartphones around?

HTC 8S: Build

While smaller than the 8X, measuring 120.5 x 63 x 10.28mm, the HTC 8S sports a similar design that's based on the colourful, tile-centric Windows Phone 8 UI, and again looking a little reminiscent of the Nokia Lumia 920.

The phone will be available in four different dual-colour configurations - black/white, grey/"high-rise" yellow (both of which can be seen in the picture gallery above), blue/purple and red/orange. Like the 8X, the Windows Phone 8 home screen will match the colour of the handset, but this can be changed if you prefer.

HTC 8S: Features

The 8S sports a slightly downgraded camera compared to the 8X, with a 5MP rear-facing snapper along with a front-facing VGA cam which offer 720p HD video capture.

While the handset includes the same Beats technology that's found on the One X and HTC One S, albeit without the two extra amps that are built into the new 8X.

You'll find 4GB of built-in storage and, unlike the 8X, there's also scope for expanding this via the micro SD card slot.

Given its mid-range status, it's no surprise that the 8S only includes 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, with no NFC on offer.

HTC 8S: Screen

At four inches, the screen is a fair bit smaller than the monster-sized screens found on the likes of the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Add to that the 800x480 (WVGA) resolution and it's clear that this is definitely a mid-range phone.

Having said that, the touchsreen still looked bright and clear, even under under the sunny rays that were beaming through the window in our demo room. The inclusion of Corning Gorilla Glass means that the phone should be able to withstand the odd knock.

HTC 8S: Performance

Like it's more highly specced sibling, the 8S sports a Qualcomm S4 dual-core chip, although it comes with a slightly lower speed of 1GHz.

Again, we weren't allowed to take a full run around the Windows Phone 8 UI, but we did have a swift delve and it was pretty zippy, especially for a phone which is likely to have a middle-tier price tag.

HTC 8S: Verdict

The distinctive colour options may not be for everyone, but we were very taken with them. We see a lot of phones going in and out of the T3 office so it's nice to see a manufacturer doing things a little differently for change.

This could well prove to be the most popular affordable mid-range Windows Phone 8 handset around. Stayed tuned for a full review.

HTC 8S release date: November 2012

HTC 8S price: TBC