Hands-on with the Windows Phone 8 devices, my thoughts on the selection available

Last night I was finally able to get my hands on all the Windows Phone devices here at the UK launch event. The impressions are by no means reviews but simply my feelings at this crucial hands-on moment.

Here are my thoughts from the evening as I get my hands on the HTC 8s and HTC 8x, Samsung ATIV S, Lumia 820 and of course the Lumia 920.

Samsung ATIV S

I’ll have to admit that the first device I really wanted to get to see was the Samsung ATIV S. While this is in no way a unique design from Samsung, being based clearly on their Galaxy SIII it does have some appealing attributes. That 4.8” display and expandable storage option have kept this Windows Phone 8 handset on my radar for the last few months.

Samsung certainly aren’t new to making Windows Phone and this devices feels polished and complete, I thought the screen was gorgeous and those Live Tiles look stunning on the larger display. This device is pretty huge, and even in my big manly hands felt a little on the large side but that is offset by the extreme lightness of the unit. It’s unclear if this is final software but the screen didn’t feel overly quick when it came to scrolling and responsiveness, still it was no slouch.


The 8S is HTC’s mid-tier phone set to come in at a much lower price than its big brother, the HTC 8x. With only 4GB storage, but sporting a dual-core CPU, many have been expecting this unit to be a bit of an under performer. Not so, the performance of this device is superb from my extensive hands on time, no sign of screen lag or tell-tale signs of tiles re-drawing slowly.

This device is snappy, make no mistake. Some haven’t been too impressed with the styling of the 8s, I happen to think they look stunning. A huge nod is going in the direction of the ZuneHD in my opinion, most notably the design of the bottom row of buttons, that bar is all too close to how the Zune looks. The colours look great too and who could turn down a white phone with that high contrast colour scheme, it looks pure class.

Lumia 920

Heralded as the hero device of the entire Windows Phone 8 launch line up the Lumia 920 needs almost no introduction. The hardware specs of this phone are simply awesome, packing new super sensitive touch technology, puremotion technology and a top notch camera this is the device with the most to prove. I have to be honest, I have had my doubts about the size and weight of the 920 and worried about it when I did the comparison chart a while back.

My concerns evaporated as soon as I put this in my hand, its extra width seems to offset the extra bulk. In fact the device feels really solid and well made, my hands are certainly not oversized so I don’t see this device being an issue to hold for the majority.

Do we need a name for the white 920 with high contrast theme?! It really is awesome to behold.

The stand out thing from my time with the device was the quality of the screen and more importantly it felt so much more responsive than any other device I held that night. When scrolling through the display there was no lag and the tiles kept right up. This alone has impressed me more than anything else about the device.

The demo units they had on display were nearly all white, switch the device into high contrast mode and you have white body, black screen, white display background and then back to black again with the tiles. I have to say I was really impressed with how it all looked and felt. Do we need a name for the white 920 with high contrast theme?! It really is awesome to behold.

Sounding off

My take away from the event, there is a choice of Windows Phone devices coming that is simply in a different league to what we have had before. From the 8s to the 920 they are all good performers, have great designs and of course come with that next-gen software we have all been waiting for. I will have more in depth time with these devices in the coming weeks.

Liking what you see? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments.

Robert Brand