The first of the lower priced Windows Phone 8 handsets has reached the market – and despite one of the lowest launch prices of any Windows Phone handset it fairs well. Compared with the more expensive Nokia Lumia 920 (and the HTC Windows Phone 8X which has yet to launch in NZ) it’s specifications in terms of performance, screen resolution and camera capabilities are somewhat lower – though probably fine for most requirements.
This is the first Windows Phone 8 handset available from Vodafone NZ (though also launched by Telecom NZ).
The 8S has a stylish look and a form factor similar to the iPhone 5 – sharing a 4” screen with the aforementioned handset though a much lower screen resolution amongst many other differences.
In general this handset is really responsive however there were a couple of functions where we found it lags – such as when exiting a call and returning to the Windows Phone’s ‘home screen’. Also, as it has less RAM than higher end models there will be some apps which may not run – that said we’ve not come across any in our testing just despite installing and running most of the ‘big name’ apps.
One other area of expected compromise for a lower cost phone (it’s launch price was NZ$449 incl GST) is the included storage which totals just 4GB – and most of this is taken up with the operating system and bundled apps. Fortunately however it includes an easily accessible MicroSDHC slot and for well under $100 a basic 32GB storage card can be added.
Despite a few shortcomings it’s worth pointing out that this is one of the best value smartphones in the market and stacks up extremely well against lower cost Android and iOS phones in a similar price range.
Specification and features
- Display: 4.0" (800 x 480 pixels) Super LCD
- Rear Camera: 5mp Camera / 720p HD Video Camera
- Front Camera: none
- 4GB Storage, 512MB RAM
- CPU: 1ghz Dualcore Snapdragon S4
- Bluetooth 3.1
- Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) – incl Wifi hotspot
- 3.5mm stereo audio jack
- NFC: none
- Wireless charging: none
- MicroUSB connector
- SIM size: MicroSIM
- Battery: 1700mAh
- Weight: 113 grams
- Size: 63mm x 10.3mm x 120.5mm
- Windows Phone 8 hardware features: A-GPS/Glonass, G-Sensor, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
- Windows Phone 8 software features: Synchronisation of email/contacts/calendar (Exchange, Office 365, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc), Xbox Music/Video/Podcast Hub, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer 10, Maps app, Facebook Integration, Twitter Integration, Pictures Hub, People Hub, fully upgradable OS.
- HTC Specific Apps: various
- Keyboard: Onscreen touch keyboard
- Physical Keys: Camera, Power, Volume
- Capacitive Keys: Search, Back, Windows Start key
- Data bands:
Telecom NZ model: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA Band V (850), WCDMA Band VIII (900), WCDMA Band I (2100)
Vodafone NZ model: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA Band VIII (900), WCDMA Band I (2100)
Official Networks: Telecom NZ, Vodafone NZ
Compatible Networks: All NZ mobile networks
NZ List Price: $449 incl GST ($391+gst)
Overall Product/Value Rating (as at December 2012): 4.5/5