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- TechRadar got early access to the Windows Phone 8S by HTC, and while we admired it’s aesthetic merits, it wasn’t running a finished version of the OS – we will be updating this review soon as we get hands on with the finished product at HTC’s event in New York.
The Windows Phone 8S by HTC, which is its proper title don’t ya know, launched alongside the HTC 8X at a special HTC event in New York, where the Taiwanese firm unveiled its first Windows Phone 8 handsets.
Both, we’re told, will go on sale in early November and the Windows Phone 8S will be available in a range of two-tone colour options; California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow – the latter being the one we’ve laid our hands on.
Design wise the 8S can be compared to the One V and Xperia U, with a separate chunk below the screen – although it stays flush with the device instead of curving forwards as on the V.
Like the Windows Phone 8X, the HTC 8S isn’t the slimmest handset at 10.3mm, but the taped edges provide the illusion that it is thinner than it is, and the tidy 120.5 x 63mm frame gives a sleek finish to decent looking device.
The Windows Phone 8S sits comfortably in the hand and at 113g it’s nicely weighted without feeling like a cheap toy.
The 4-inch, WVGA (800 x 480) display dominates the majority of a relatively minimalist front, which also features the Windows, back and search soft keys on the colour bar below and the matching earpiece above.
There’s a power/lock key and 3.5mm headphone jack sitting on top of the 8S, while a volume rocker switch and camera button reside on the right hand side of the handset.
The buttons are easy to hit, and thanks to the small stature of the HTC 8S you don’t need to stretch your fingers to far to reach any part of the handset.
A microUSB port is found on the base of the Windows Phone 8S, and you can slide the rear of the coloured section off to reveal a microSIM slot and a microSD slot – allowing you to build on the 4GB of internal memory.
There’s no access to the 1,700mAh battery though, which may annoy some of you who like to stick bigger power packs in your phones, but it should keep you going for a whole day with a decent level of usage.
We’d expect the 1GHz dual-core S4 processor and 512MB RAM to run Windows Phone 8 without too much of a fuss, however as we were only able to access the lock and home screens on the HTC 8S, you’ll have to wait for our updated hands on review to find out how it gets on.
That said, the display was still clear, and although not as pin-sharp or vibrant as on its bigger brother the Windows Phone 8X, it’s still a perfectible acceptable for what we expect to be an affordable smartphone.
Round the back there’s a 5MP camera, with single LED flash and 720p video recording, and HTC has ensured it comes with a f/2.8 aperture and 35mm lens for improved picture quality.
It’s good to see the dedicated physical shutter button on the side of the 8S, allowing you to launch the camera app and snap photos easily – something we find easier than trying to tap the onscreen alternative.
As we mentioned at the start, we’ll update this review later today with our findings from the fully working version of the Windows Phone 8S by HTC, after we’ve spent some time with it at the event.
It’s obviously difficult to give a proper early verdict at this point, but once we’ve had a play with the final device today, we’ll update this with a more informed outlook.
Design wise we reckon the Taiwanese firm is on to a winner with the HTC Windows Phone 8S, but we’ll reserve proper judgement until we’ve spent some time with the fully working device in New York.