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(2nd UPDATE) HTC 8S Review - First Impression....Hint: Its GOOD!


New member
May 28, 2012
Hey everyone. Just want to give my first thoughts and impressions on my new HTC 8S. Maybe others will pull the trigger on one faster than I did. I've been Mr Indecisive on this one (See my post history..LOL)


I have owned 2 Android phones (my latest until now), an Iphone, a webOS device, and a Windows Phone (Lumia 900) over the past 2 1/2 yrs or so and am pretty versed in them all, the iphone being my least knowledgeable as I didn't like it one bit and the Lumia my favorite. I tried to like Android but it takes too much effort to keep things running in tip top shape (not to mention the random resets and lost settings after upgrades). In short, I found Windows Phone to be the best user experience of them all.

Also, I live in Viet Nam where there is NO CARRIER SUBSIDY which makes the review even better as it was bought on its merits alone. I always hate reviews that say "yeah but, for $50 more you can get the top of the line XXXX phone, so this one's not worth it". I'm reviewing the phone on its merit, not its perceived value this week.

MY NEEDS: (Your mileage may vary)

We only have 3G here so 4G is not important to me.
We buy our service & data "pay as you go" and its cheap so data-saving features are not that important to me.
I don't play games on it.
I don't need a lot of apps to feel happy
I email, sms text, FB,chat, take and upload photos, light web browsing -I use a tablet for heavier use.
I bought it for $142.00 USD + $5.00 USD for a 8GB class 4 SD card (yep. 5 bucks - Transcend)


Happy to report that HTC makes a nice box for it. Nothing extra special, but not cheap. It came with a charger and headset as well as all of the normal paperwork. The battery is sealed and not removable.

Guys, This phone feels really nice in the hand. I'm sure you have read that in reviews, but it really does. It's light, but not so light it feels cheap. It also feels extremely well built and solid. Not lying here. It has a nice, premium feel to it and its about the size of the Nokia 800. Easy one hand usage. Mine is the black with white bottom (sim cover) one. It also has a soft-to-touch coating on the back that feels great. Some have said it peels off over time. That made me nervous too. I'll just get a cover if that happens though. HTC makes a nice one for it.

About the sim cover. Some say its really hard to remove...nope. Follow the instructions in the book. Two thumbs on the top, press down and out - hard, and it seperates a mm or so. Then it just lifts off. The second time I did it it was even easier. No worries here.

Also, It came with GDR3 and the latest firmware pre-installed - Nice.


Its nice. The colors are good. Its bright. It really looks nice. Now, I will say the blacks, in a dark room, are dark grey, not ink black like my Lumia was. I first was disappointed but after an hour you get used to it and its not a big deal. Its really only noticeable in a dark room. Otherwise its a really nice looking screen. It feels good too. Your fingers glide over it. It does attract some fingerprints but that's what they make wiping clothes for. So unless you have a Lumia 920/1020 or another high end phone next to you to compare it with, you will be really happy with it.


The battery life is pretty, no, really good. My Android limped home with about 25% at 5pm and barely made it to 9pm without a top off. The HTC had 79% at 5pm with about the same usage. Over 50% at 9pm. Looks like I can get a day and a half out of it. Or at least not worry if Ill make it to 5pm..So far so good on the battery.

MEMORY (4GB, 1.6GB available) :

Yeah, 4GB sucks. Everyone says the 4GB (not 8GB+) is a dealbreaker. I understand. For me, this was the thing that was holding me back. But I went for it and am happy I did. Hears the thing. I dont play games and I dont need that many apps. But I did install a fair amount (10+ so far) and have 950MB left. A few I installed were:

The Guardian
Nextgen Reader
Tunein Radio
Flikr Central

A couple tips to maximize your space that I did. I uninstalled the HTC apps, I also did not install FB as the People Hub works for me, I ddnt install Twitter but have the feed in the People Hub too. Also, I didnt install Skydrive as it takes a lot of memory, but I AM still having my photos uploaded to Skydrive. I'll just access them on my laptop and tablet. No need on my mobile. Make More Space app is garbage. I took it off.


In short, it rocks! The HTC freebie headset with BEATS really sound good. I also used my NOKIA MONSTER PURITY in ears too and they sounded only slightly better. The bass with BEATS on + the PURITY headsets was incredible. But the HTC are really good too. I turned BEATS off to compare and it does make a difference. Leave it on. Also, the volume with the headset attached on the 8S can go very loud! I like listening at a high volume and had to crank my Lumia up to 29 or max 30 . The HTC's are great at 21-25. Fyi, though the HTC headset sounds good its a bit uncomfortable. Im used to the foam ear buds that provide a tight fit and are comfortable. These are the earbud type like the iphone which, for me, dont fit snuggly and fall out easily. But they're free and easily replaced.


The phone hasn't lagged a bit and seems as fast as any out there. Honestly, I have no complaints with the 8S. Of course, I have only had it a for a few days so we will see...

I'll update my review as I have more usage with it.

At this point Id tell anyone considering it - Do it. Cool little phone.


Still loving the phone. No regrets as of yet. Here a a few additions and updates to the above comments:


My local phone store who is also the importer of all the phones imported into Viet Nam puts a little round sticker on the back of all the phones. Its about half the size of a dime and doesnt just peel off. It took a few days of picking at it with my thumb nail to finally get it all off. But that left the glue still on the back. I took about 3 tablespoons of Vodka and diluted it with 1 tablespoon of water. Then i dipped my finger in it and put a light coating on the glue. After about ten minutes of rubbing it in with my fingers, then drying it off with a microcloth it all came clean! No damage or change of color to the black soft touch backing either. - I cant say its good for the phone or will work for everyone, but it worked for me.

3. CAMERA! (5MP, autofocus w/LED flash. No front facing )
I am still experimenting with the camera but I can tell you the it is just mediocre. Very noisy in low light and just OK in good light. I am trying a few different camera apps to see if any improve it. No conclusions yet. Currently I'm using FHOTOROOM and the STOCK camera. I'll get back to you after Ive tried a few more and have taken more pics. but so far Im not impressed.

4. MEMORY (part deux)

I'm down to about 450 MB left on the phone storage. Here are the apps I have installed myself (again, Ive removed all of the HTC apps and some of the BING apps)


Ok, Its not a lot and I can see that for most people the 4GB will not be enough. For me its ok. I wont add many more so I don't think I;ll hit the memory wall. But for most, this may be a problem.
But keep in mind, the way WP manages memory, there may be more available than the 450MB showing. Its just not released until needed.


I can still recommend the 8S without reservation as long as you can get by with the 4GB. Like I said, it looks and feels like a premium phone. I get compliments on it quite often. It feels great to hold, is fast with no lag, and has a nice screen. For anyone but the 'power user' or gamer I think its a winner. I have had to change the way I use my phone just slightly -ie I use People Hub for all my FB needs, have removed some apps, use Onenote (factory installed app) instead of Evernote now. But overall, these changes, for me, are minor and worth the trouble to insure that using the 8S will be trouble free...Again, so far so good -

2nd UPDATE (1 month in)

MEMORY - Ok, lets get this out of the way... I am hitting the 4GB/1.6 GB usable wall now. Currently I have a whopping 5.44MB (yes MB) free. looking at my memory breakdown in Settings it looks like this:

Apps & Games: 991 MB
Pictures: 684 bytes
Maps: 114MB (from me downloading Vietnam)
Email : 100MB
System: 2.3 GB
Temp files: 119 MB

The rest of the 1.6 GBs must be tied up as 'other' for my app usage. Here are my current installed apps..

Alarms, Bing Weather, calculator, calender, camera, camera360,data sense, deezer, email, FB, games, help, IE, Maps, messaging, music/video, nextgen reader, office, onenote, people, photos, poki, settings, shrink storage, store, wallet, wp central

I Go into so much detail about the memory as it would be the only thing id say would hold others back. i have about what i want on it now so its fone for me (the phone does slow down and apps wont open when the memory drops to 0, but i always can free up a bit. Anyway, like i said, i
f you need much more than what ive listed, the 8S wont work for you. Look elsewhere.

i did get excited for a day or so when i learned the WP 8.1 will support apps on the SD card, BUT, HTC has only confirmed the upgrade for the 8X, not the 8S yet. Enough about memory.

Im revising my stance on the camera (5 mp) slightly. i said before that it was mediocre at best and that low light pictures sucked. Well, the 8S is not bad , i guess, in the proper light. Im using Camera360 and it takes adequate pictures. Its not bad for a 5mp. In low light its hit or miss. My expectations were too high before. the camera is ok for a 5mp.


Still looks and feels new. No lag to speak of. The screen is still a pleasant surprise, its pretty good. the battery is defintely above average . i get a day and a half regularly out of it. it charges pretty fast too. maybe from 20% to full in 90 min, maybe less. The soft touch back still feels new.

all and all, its a really good phone for 142 USD. Memory constraints aside, ide still recommend it.

Last edited:

Nokia Boy

New member
Sep 22, 2013
Re: HTC 8S Review - First Impression....HInt: It's GOOD!

Thanks for sharing your opinion about 8S with us.i own the 520 which its similiar to 8S,while they are WP8's Low end devices they are really good,the price is pretty tempting so if it lacks of something i might not even care,i would buy 8S too but i didnt know it had 4GB only storage,i got 8GB storage and its almost full,but dont worry,MSFT might release update where u can install apps on the SD card!

Martin hfd

New member
Feb 13, 2014
8S Owner here (former 8X) have nothing but good to say for this phone... extremely well built (dropped more than 7 times in the 2 weeks I have it and no even a mark anywhere), battery is out of this world, memory doesn't bother me, performance is 10000000% better than any Android in the same price range... and I got it for 60$ used unbelievable the guy didn't know how to use it (said it was too complicated hahahahah)