Windows Phone 8S by HTC pictures and hands-on

HTC has announced a mid-range but colourful new Windows Phone 8 smartphone. Called the Windows Phone 8S by HTC, Pocket-lint has already had a play with it ahead of the official launch event in New York City and its release in the UK at the beginning of November.

So what is it like? Well, the first noticeable feature is that it is incredibly bright and vivid.

Designed with the Windows Phone 8 colour tiles in mind, the HTC 8S, as we are calling it, will come in Domino Black-White, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Grey-Yellow.

We've been able to see the Grey-Yellow - which is very, well, Shoreditch - and the Black-White models up close and they are certainly eye-catching. They'll quickly polarise opinion. You will either love 'em or hate 'em.

HTC says the design is very much like a pillow, blending "the virtual and the physical", and utilises the 3D pillow-like design based on the Windows Phone Live Tiles.

Wishy-washy design speak aside, the tapered "pillow" effect means it sits in your palm and helps reduce the overall size and feeling in your hand. That's a good thing. And combined with the polycarbonate skin, it means the 8S is bright and vivid in its approach, very much like the operating system it uses.

Of course, it's not just about the overall size and shape of the phone: a smartphone is more than that. The 8S, unlike the 8X, features microSD card slot, and that, along with the micro SIM slot, is hidden behind a plastic plate, in the same way HTC has done on other phones - slide off to reveal.

Camera-wise, you get a 5-megapixel camera on the back, complete with flash, but no front-facing camera - no Skype calls for you, then.

Inside, the phone comes with a Qualcomm S4 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and just 4GB of storage, but don't forget that it is expandable. There is a 1,700mAh battery that powers the above, as well as Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and radios - 4G in the US, 3G in the UK. There's no NFC.  

On the software front, we can't report as much as we would like to as HTC was incredibly cagey about what we could and couldn't see. In our play with the 8S and the 8X we weren't supposed to see beyond the lock screen on WP8, but that didn't stop us checking out the home screen, the camera features and the new Beats Audio integration.

From that briefest of brief moments between the two phones, we can confirm that there'll be no additional lenses for the 8S by HTC and that Beats Audio integration is merely a toggle on/off feature that automatically engages when you plug in a set of headphones.

Other software customisations will be in line with what is already available on the company's Windows Phone 7 range of devices. However, it seems HTC has ditched HTC Watch this time around. It's an interesting move considering the level of customisation through additional apps and features Nokia is adding, but HTC seems to be focusing on nothing but the hardware. 

While the colour scheme is likely to impress, the 8S replicates the HTC One S Android fans have already seen. That means it is by no means a shabby phone, but aside from sound and quirky design appeal, it will be the 8X you are after. 

HTC has said that the new phone will be available from November.



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