HTC One S is one of the three new HTC One phones that have been released and it is poised to be the runner up in terms of specs after the HTC One X. Being the thinnest ever phone to come out of HTC’s stables would be a drawing factor for this phone but that’s not what this phone is all about as it also has the specs to go with it.
At 5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31 inches, this is certainly HTC’s thinnest phone and it certainly feels that way. Even with a screen that is 4.3 inches big, the HTC One S is really compact. The 8MP camera lens circle on the back is the only part of the phone that looks slightly thicker. After all the talk on how the phone is thin and compact, it comes as no surprise – even with the phone’s body being made of anodized metal – that the HTC One S only weighs 120g. What is surprising however is the fact that this is about as much the Samsung Galaxy S II weighs with its full plastic body. This phone is narrow and elongated, so one handed operation shouldn’t be a problem.
The right side of the phone reveals the volume rocker while on the top are the power key and standard audio jack. Finally on the left side is the microUSB port. HTC One S, the black version at least, is the proud user of Micro Arc Oxidation technology for its frame. What this technology brings is a metal ceramic composite fusion coating for the chassis. It is interesting to see HTC trying out new materials for its phones. Plastic material can however still be found on both the top and bottom parts of the back of the HTC One S. This is mainly for better antenna signal penetration. The top section can be opened to put in a micro-SIM card but much like the HTC phones of late, the battery is off limits.
HTC One S comes with a 4.3 inch OLED screen which from a distance looks like it’s got the waterfall design like its sibling the HTC One X, but when looking at it closer, it actually is slightly recessed. This screen gives amazing contrast levels. Apart from the slight cold colors when you tilt the phone, viewing angles are pretty good as well. A resolution of 540 x 960 pixels means that you get a good pixel density of 256ppi. In all, the screen does a great job producing vivid colors and good amounts of detail thanks to the high pixel density.
Onboard this smartphone is the latest 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU. This together with the mammoth 1GB of RAM makes using this phone really fun as things are smooth and fast all around. Apart from that, there is an Aderno 225 GPU for all the graphic processing needs. For those who look at the numbers, a score of 5136 on Quadrant should put a smile on your face.
The OS running on this phone is Android v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and that means we have the cream of the crop in terms of Android OS is concerned. To make things sweeter, you also get HTC Sense 4.0 to give you probably the best combination of software translating to the best user experience out there. We like the new HTC Sense as it goes hand in hand with the HTC One S since they are both streamlined and light.
For those who have used the Ice Cream Sandwich OS before, having capacitive navigational buttons under the screen might be a little bit of a turn off. It is surprising that the buttons are still there on phones running Ice Cream Sandwich since the OS has got a few tricks up its sleeves that makes having onscreen buttons a much better idea. If you still don’t get what this is all about, Ice Cream Sandwich changes the onscreen key automatically based on the app that is in use. Nevertheless, in the HTC One S each default app has the three vertical dots of the OS which marks the context menu tab. For multitasking menu, the right capacitive key is used. So this turns out to be a good use of both onscreen and capacitive buttons.
The camera sitting on the back of the HTC One S is an 8MP one with LED flash as well. Thanks to the HTC ImageChip that this camera is blessed with, starting the app and taking photos couldn’t have been any faster. The camera interface also comes with a few additional options like various scene modes as well as various effects for the photos. The photos taken when we were outdoors with the camera had good amounts of contrast and enough detail as well although they did turn out a bit oversaturated. The camera tackles white balance with ease as well. Even when moved indoors, photos taken were pretty good and with the LED flash, this camera has a lot of promise. Video recording is done at 1080p at a rate of 30fps. The results were smooth although the audio recorded on the videos are quite poor.
The context menu while using the browser now carries more stuff, so you can change your settings quickly. Browsing the web with the stock browser was great and there were no issues with navigating across the page as zooming and panning were smooth. It also has support for Adobe Flash and deals with Flash content well too. In terms of connectivity options, the usual suspects like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are available.
HTC One S produces a stellar performance in the call quality department. On our end of the phone call, everything was loud and clear, just how a phone should be. Meanwhile, on the other end of the line things were the same and the phones noise-cancelling microphones do a great job in getting rid of all the background noise. There is a 1650mAh battery under the hood giving this phone all the juice it needs in a day’s work. Just as expected, it takes you through a day but will need a recharge at the end of the day.
Pros and Cons
HTC One S has been designed very well as it is light and compact even with a huge screen. The camera is fast and produces good pictures. Call quality was also excellent.
The web browser in unintuitive and could use some work and sadly there is no memory card slot on this phone.
The HTC One S may be second to its sibling the HTC One X, but there are things about this phone that could just give its older brother a run for its money.