processor is quick enough to handle a 3G internet connection with ease, making loading pages and YouTube videos a breeze.
One objection, one that many users have against Windows on the computer as well, is that the default browser is Internet Explorer. Now, there’s no doubt that Microsoft has made considerable efforts to render IE more user-friendly, but many users still prefer Google’s Chrome, for example. You can’t download Chrome on Microsoft’s app store, which leads us to my next problem with Windows 8—the shortage of apps on its apps store. Rather, the shortage of quality apps. There are few news apps better than Google News, but every version of that app on Windows 8 was hard to use, or didn’t capture enough news to be comprehensive. The same problem arises with most other apps. And, as with Apple Maps, the Windows Maps app is far from the best in its field, with only the basic roads and landmarks being marked out. The battery life, on the other hand is quite good for a smartphone of its calibre, lasting about a day and a half.
Apart from that, the OS comes with the inherent advantages of being Windows. Connecting the phone to a Windows computer is one of the easiest things you could do. The computer recognises the phone almost as soon the USB cable is connected, and the transfer of photos, music and videos couldn’t be easier. In addition, the phone comes with Microsoft’s most popular product, Office. You can use Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc, right on your phone and instantly upload all your documents to your SkyDrive account. Incidentally, apart from the internal memory of 4 GB (which is rather small), and the extendible memory of up to 32 GB, the Windows Phone 8S comes with added advantage of 7 GB free SkyDrive storage.
The camera, though a par-for-the-course 5 megapixels, renders extraordinarily clear photos and videos. But, given that the software comes with considerable business functionality, it is surprising that the phone doesn’t come with a front camera—so essential for video-conferencing, an increasingly popular mode of business communication.
Overall, though, the flaws of the phone and software are either minor or easily fixed. At R18,849, HTC’s Windows Phone 8S is a good phone to buy if you want something new by way of design and software.
Estimated street price: Rs 18,849