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HTC Windows Phone 8S review: Icebreaker

18 December 2012 | Read the review | Post your comment
HTC Windows Phone 8S review: Icebreaker - read the full textNo one's had any reason to question HTC's commitment to Windows Phone. The Taiwanese have been on board since the heyday of PocketPCs, helping Redmond quickly man a nascent WP7 army. Now they're back in the thick of action for the next...

 

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> In reply to Anonymous @ 2012-12-28 18:55 from Kg{@ - click to readI can assure you that the webbrowser is not ok. There are issues with registering screen touches and even the placement of those touches.
The IE browser frequently fails to display or even reflow text into pure readable fonts. There is no text size adjustment on the reflow, the reflow always zooms so you can't reflow text in a desired size.
Microsoft only allow three pixel resolutions in order to prevent fragmentation but they still can't code correctly for the 8S resolution.
There are no forward or back buttons and virtually no navigation gestures so you have to do things like go to settings to change tabs etc.

I found the web browsing experience to be the worst feature of the phone.

  • Reply
  • 2013-01-02 09:01
  • vxVt

> In reply to Vlad @ 2012-12-25 23:16 from 35@h - click to readI think that HTC needs to take the blame over the RAM decision. Marketing gone mad, they just had to give it less RAM than the 8X.

I loved the look and feel of the phone but functionally it wasn't very good at being a smart phone at all.

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  • 2013-01-02 08:52
  • vxVt

> In reply to Anonymous @ 2012-12-26 02:13 from 39D@ - click to readReally, so the webbrowser is ok on your 8S? Ahah i dont think so.

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  • 2012-12-28 18:55
  • Kg{@

> In reply to Anonymous @ 2012-12-21 13:51 from vaNH - click to readNo it only needs 1 gig ram with HD screen get your facts right. My 8S runs fast and smooth

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  • 2012-12-26 02:13
  • 39D@

Don't even this to buy one. I've got my 8S for a couple of days. Installed essential apps and now I am almost out of space. 2gb goes to system, 300Mb apps, 'Other' folder eats rest - 1200 mb. WP8 seems to be caching something there, Other only growed more and more with every day. No way to clear it and no way to look what is there. And SD Card is only for media, you cannot install apps there or even download maps there. Crappy Microsoft software ruined otherwise nice phone.

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  • 2012-12-25 23:16
  • 35@h

It's a awesome..........

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  • 2012-12-25 12:34
  • KAB4

> In reply to MartinLiltern @ 2012-12-23 07:31 from RshM - click to readRead the review first. And user comments. This device is unsuitable for webbrowsing, at any connection speed.

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  • 2012-12-23 15:33
  • vaN}

Eh, I can upgrade now and for once in my life, I really want a current phone. Since it looks like Sprint isn't getting any WP8 phones anytime soon, I've been thinking about getting one of these since we have AT&Ts 4GLTE in New York. I really want to test out these 4G LTE speeds for transmitting my graphics design work.

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  • 2012-12-23 07:31
  • RshM

> In reply to Harsh @ 2012-12-19 06:11 from Hkqp - click to readonly 1.3gb

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  • 2012-12-22 20:05
  • HCqs

> In reply to dingdongX2 @ 2012-12-20 20:42 from fxHc - click to readMy concern is this ....
I have used microsoft phone OS's since Microsoft got pda stuff working on phones. I have used every version of their phone OS's except Windows Phone 7x. From where Microsoft left off in Windows Mobile 6.5 the time taken and poor progress has been nothing but disappointing. Microsoft lost the battle with Google after 6.5 due to project dealys. What Microsoft have come up with since is really poor. Microsoft have basically un-invented both browser funcitonality and UI/phone quick settings.

At this rate Windows Phone 10 may be ok.

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  • 2012-12-22 08:12
  • vxVt

> In reply to arunsridharan @ 2012-12-21 06:10 from vIfV - click to readOk but don't go for 512mb ram no matter the brand. WP8 need 1gb, so if a Samsung Ativ will be the first budget wp8 phone with 1gb then get the Ativ. Just stay far away from lumia 620 and other 512mb phones. Maybe lumia 720 will be Ok but Nokia is slow in launching now due to low production capacity. The wait for 720 could be long. I

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  • 2012-12-21 13:51
  • vaNH

one thing be sure guys if u want to windows os go for nokia no other go

  • Reply
  • 2012-12-21 06:10
  • vIfV

> In reply to Cowz @ 2012-12-20 11:06 from vxVt - click to readMost WP7+8 games+apps are still not matured, they need updates for bug fixing, touch control issues. Whatever the WP OS+UI is good indeed :)

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  • 2012-12-20 20:42
  • fxHc

> In reply to Antonymous @ 2012-12-20 16:15 from vaNH - click to readPls let me speak :D the RAM management of Windows Phone OS (7,8, future 9) is extremely bad when we compare it with iOS and android. And thats true, Windows Phone 8 failed to show any magic on its battery,ram and overall system.

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  • 2012-12-20 20:33
  • fxHc

> In reply to Cowz @ 2012-12-20 15:18 from vxVt - click to readWell, Microsoft has a RAM hungry history, Android using a Linux kernel can perform well with small amounts of RAM. One would think that WP8 being so limited and have so few features would not be hard on the RAM, but then when we remember that its made by MS it all makes sense.

Im a windows server programmer but at home i am a linux enthusiast, programming practices for the two are very different, using Microsofts APIs you have to think more about saving RAM, if you use their regular classes and collections then you dont need many SQL functions in your program before it consumes shameful amounts of RAM, and its been like that since i started programming on Windows servers with Windows NT4 Server in the late 1990ies, the need for more RAM has been breathing down our neck the whole way.

I wish the Lumia 920 had 2GB RAM, i want to buy one but i know the RAM requirement will increase with every update and every new API, in less than a year 1GB will be a big limitation on WP8. We can be sure these new RAM hungry APIs will come, as it is now the APIs for WP8 are too basic and limited.

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  • 2012-12-20 16:15
  • vaNH

Cheers,
HTC sell the phone and I got all information from their websites. I didn't expect to have to search the websides of all relevant software and hardware suppliers that had input into the phone in order to find out that there were limitations.

I honestly thought that WP8 was low RAM intensive.

The browser is still slower than a Defy+ in loading a simple page after the phone has a clean start. It isn't all RAM. The browser has many issues.

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  • 2012-12-20 15:18
  • vxVt

> In reply to Cowz @ 2012-12-20 11:33 from vxVt - click to readAbout the browser performance, this review attributed it to the 512MB RAM. Its as i said in a previous comment, get a 1GB device if you want WP8, if you really want 512MB then get an Android phone.

Microsoft clearly states that 512MB is the MIMIMUM requirement for WP8, and still fairly clearly states that 1GB is a minimum requirement as well, if you want full functionality. The way i read it, 1GB is the minimum requirement for WP8 (who does not want full functionality?)

Im quite sure it will be the same for Lumia 620, performance is gonna suffer because of the RAM.

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  • 2012-12-20 12:29
  • vaNH

Mr GSMarena people. A few things to add to your review ...
- tabs can't be opened from Bing search results so you can't easily browse the sarch results (that made Bing obsolete for me)
- have you not noticed the reflow browsing issues? always zooming, often non-pur fonts. The reflow is surely coded for a larger screen resolution and size. Not allowing user zoom set then reflow is very very poor for a 2012 brower. Can't hide the address bar and can't show the status bar. No forward or back buttons (phone back has a different behavior).
- browsing should have been in your main disadvantages (slow, limited, buggy)

Cheers

  • Reply
  • 2012-12-20 11:33
  • vxVt

I own an HTC 8S so am happy to answer questions.

My overall opinion is this:
In summary:
- hardware feels really nice
- tile interface looks great
- common settings are all really hard to get to and can not be pinned
- the browser has severe reflow issues and very limited browser functionality
- limited input options (no swype/gesture keyboard support, voice input awful for most accents)
- data control issues (Data Sense is not included and hard to see current data source)
- battery control issues (all those settings are just so far away)
- some software and screen touch bugs

I want to add that the phone is not necessarily cheap. When browsing there is no way of telling if WiFi has dropped out and you could be on network data. Data Sense is only included by some netowrk providers by arreangement with HTC.

The browsermark statements in this review are accurate. Browsing is slower than my old Defy+. Browsing is also very limited in functionality. Even though Microsoft only allow three sizes in screen to prevent fragmentation the reflow in this reselotion is awful. The reflow always zoooms and often chooses non-pure fonts. You can not select a text size (by zooming in or out) and then reflow ... WP8 IE always zooms in. I would say this is not an issue on the 8X but on the 8S it is really bad.

Most the apps I see in the market are for WP7 and the APIs are so limited many do not do what you think they would do.

In terms of the recommended alternate phones in the review i am not a Samsung fan but I think an S2 would be just as cheap now and would perform much better with a better screen and richer features. They are about the same size.

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  • 2012-12-20 11:06
  • vxVt

Thanks "advice" & "Jeanandroidfan'' for the explanations.

Even though this is an 8S review, I personally like the idea of trying a Lumia 620 & don't think lack of file management will be too much of a worry, for myself & millions of others who may buy it.

I'm presuming that lack of file management is a Windows Phone 8 issue, and not specific to one manufacturer or another ?

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  • 2012-12-20 09:02
  • fsBx

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