HTC 8S review

One of the first Windows Phone 8 devices, but does this mid-range handset impress?

HTC Windows Phone 8S review
Double trouble from HTC as we get hands on with its second Windows Phone 8 handset

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Battery Life

We were a little worried about the battery life of the HTC 8S as it only has a 1700 mAh battery and you can't get at the battery either, so there's no option to carry a spare with you or replace it with a larger battery.

HTC 8S review

However in our time with the phone we've decided that the battery is just about up to scratch. We would love a bigger one for peace of mind, but generally we don't think you'll have a problem making it through the day (though you will probably have to charge the phone most nights).

With moderate mixed use ( some photos and videos, a bit of web browsing, about 45 minutes of calls and Wi-Fi always on), we just made it through the day.

In our standard battery test- running a ninety minute video from it when fully charged, with the screen at full brightness, Wi-Fi on and emails and social network updates being pushed to it, the results were about what we expected, as the handset had dropped to 67% battery by the end of the video.

That allows for around four and a half hours of video on a single charge with the screen at full brightness, which isn't great, but it's unlikely that you'll even want the screen at full brightness most of the time, so in reality you'll probably get more video time than that.

There are also a few battery saving options available. For one thing you can turn the screen brightness down or set it to automatic, so that it's never brighter than you need it.

HTC 8S review

However there's also a 'battery saver' toggle, which prevents apps from running unless you manually open them and stops emails from automatically syncing. You can set 'battery saver' mode to be on all the time or more usefully only when the battery is low or only until you next charge the handset.

Ultimately, even with all these tools, the battery isn't great. You should be able to make it through a day on a single charge, which is the most important thing, but it's unlikely to last you any longer than that, so if you find it a pain leaving your phone to charge overnight then this isn't the handset for you.

Battery life seems to be a problem for all of the current crop of Windows Phone 8 handsets, so if you want both Windows Phone 8 and a good battery, you might want to hold off for now.


Connectivity options on the HTC 8S are limited to Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.1, 3G and GPS. There's also an internet sharing option and all of these connections can easily be activated and configured from the main settings screen.

HTC 8S review

3G speeds seemed decent enough, however we were a bit disappointed with Wi-Fi speeds at times. Downloading apps was fast enough, but trying to load desktop sites took an inordinately long time.

You can plug the HTC Windows Phone 8S straight into a PC using the included USB cable. Once it's connected it acts much like a USB stick, allowing you access to all the files and folders through 'My Computer'. This makes it very easy to get media on and off the phone, as you simply drag and drop or copy and paste.

Alternatively you can also remove the microSD card and use an adapter to connect that to a PC and get media from there, though that's rather long winded, since you also have access to the microSD card when plugging the phone itself into a PC.

Additionally, the HTC 8S comes with 7 GB of free SkyDrive storage and many of the apps on the phone let you upload and download from there.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.