HTC One S Android phone

HTC One S review: The HTC One S is a superbly built phone with slick software

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews (6)
  • Buy Now 4
HTC One S
  • HTC One S
  • HTC One S
  • HTC One S
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.50 / 5 (of 6 Reviews)

Pros

  • Thin and stylish design
  • Excellent performance
  • Great camera software

Cons

  • Display can't match some rivals
  • No memory expansion
  • Inconsistent Sense UI

Bottom Line

The HTC One S certainly doesn't look or feel inferior to the flagship One X. A lower resolution display is the main differentiator, but the One S makes up for that with a design that's more comfortable to hold and better battery life. If the One X's size is too much for you to handle, then you should definitely check out the One S.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)
  • Buy now (Selling at 4 stores)

  • Design Your Own HTC One S Custom Skin 5.99
  • One Max 803s 16GB Silver 530.00
  • One Mini 16GB Black 395.00
See all prices

HTC Sense doesn't always make Sense

The HTC One S runs Google's latest 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, which makes it a slick and fast smartphone that offers excellent performance. The One S again features the Sense 4.0 UI, which HTC says attempts to simplify an interface that was considered too cluttered.

The new version of HTC's Sense is almost identical to the one seen on the One X. HTC has removed some fancy 3D animations and redesigned other UI elements to tie in better with the vanilla Android theme. We love some less advertised touches. The software asks you whether you'd like to save an incoming phone number as a new contact. The four dock icons can be completely customised and automatically appear as shortcuts on the lock screen. You can automatically jump to a weather forecast when you've turned off your morning alarm. HTC's well renowned widgets, including the now iconic clock and weather widget, are still available. Best of all, there is no apparent lag or slowdown during general use. Unlike previous iterations of the software the latest version of Sense does not appear to be a greedy, resource hog.

While Sense does offer some nice touches, however, the software has continued to make changes to the standard Android interface for changes sake. The recent apps menu is a perfect example: instead of a vertical list of apps that appears as a translucent layer, Sense uses a horizontal full screen version. It looks attractive but is slower to open, only shows one app at a time and adds no real benefit over the original version. Similarly, the phone app offers excellent linking of contacts from multiple sources but the interface feels cluttered and aside from the roboto font, it doesn't achieve any consistency with the regular Android UI. The default Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard, one of our favourite features of the Galaxy Nexus, has been replaced by HTC's keyboard. It is neither better looking or better implemented and wastes valuable screen real estate thanks to directional keys on the bottom row. It comes with a handy Swype-like text input (activated in the settings menu), but it isn't as accurate or effective as Swype.

HTC's insistence on capacitive shortcut keys on the One S also creates plenty of inconsistency. The Galaxy Nexus uses on-screen shortcut keys in a predefined bar at the bottom of the screen, but on the One S the menu or option key for many apps appears at the bottom of the screen in a large, ugly block that wastes screen space. To make matters even more confusing, in the Sense skinned messaging, gallery and calendar apps the menu key appears at the top. In the YouTube app the menu key appears twice, both at the top and the bottom of the screen. In some apps, this menu key doesn't appear at all.

Finally, the One S comes with so many preloaded apps that opening the app draw will surely confuse many first time smartphone users. While we like diversity and choice, does the HTC One S really need an app shortcut for Flash Player Settings, Friend Stream, HTC Hub, Personalize, Setup, Show Me, Task Manager and Transfer, amongst others? Many of these features are easily accessible through the settings menu and certainly don't need to be present in the app drawer.

Some excellent camera features

The HTC One S shares an identical rear camera to the more expensive One X. Like its flagship counterpart, the ability to snap a photo in 0.7 seconds with a 0.2 second autofocus makes the One S one of the fastest cameras we've ever used on any smartphone. From holding your finger on the on-screen shutter button to enable burst mode (up to 99 photos), to being able to take still shots while recording uninterrupted video, HTC's camera UI is near perfect. We love how there is no need to switch from camera to video mode or vice versa — simply press the video button to immediately begin recording. We also like the ability to add a range of real time effects including distortion, vignette, depth of field and sepia.

An image we captured with the HTC One S.

The quality of images captured by the HTC One S aren't going to replace a stand alone digital camera, but they will suffice for those who would only ever use an entry-level point and shoot. Images we captured were well focussed and relatively sharp, but low light performance was poor and colours often washed out. Like most camera phones, images tend to lack detail when zoomed in and possess a fair bit of noise. Video recording quality is excellent, though autofocus is very erratic with movement. Disappointingly, the front facing camera on the One S is a poor quality VGA snapper compared to the more respectable 1.3-megapixel front camera on the One X.

The HTC One S comes with Dropbox integration and 25GB of free storage, while the music player can sync iTunes playlists automatically. The One S includes Beats Audio qualities, a direct result of HTC's "strategic partnership" with the Beats By Dr. Dre audio company. The Beats Audio profile noticeably enhances bass and works in all applications, not just the music player. However, unlike the HTC Sensation XL, the One S isn't bundled with a pair of Beats headphones. There is also no NFC (Near Field Communications) chip in the One S, a feature present in the One X.

Perhaps the best reason to choose the HTC One S over the One X is battery life. We couldn't manage to achieve a full day of use before needing a recharge on the One X, but the One S comfortably lasted a full day on more than one occasion. Power users will still need to recharge before the end of the day, but most other users should be well served.

The HTC One S will first sell through Optus and Virgin Mobile from Monday 2 July. It will be available for $0 upfront on the $50 Optus plan over 24 months, and $0 upfront on Virgin Mobile's Big Plan $39 over 24 months.

The HTC One S will also be available through Telstra from Tuesday 17 July, though no pricing or plan details have been announced as yet.

Related content

HTC One X review
HTC One XL preview
Best upcoming smartphones in 2012

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

amir

1

perfect

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

DylRicho

4.5

1

Pros
Performance; design; camera; Gorilla Glass; speaker
Cons
Storage; display resolution; HTC abandoning it
• • •

The performance of the HTC One S is great. Up against the One X (quad-core) and Galaxy S III (quad-core), its more up-to-date processor architecture clearly shows through, with it easily being just as capable, and even outperforming in many instances.

The camera takes very good photos and video and I like the features that it offers.

Its design is very appealing, when compared to the One X and Galaxy S III cheaper materials. I've dropped it onto science laboratory floors many times from knocking it off the workbench without a case, and it looks exactly like it did when I first got it. An aluminum construction made three times stronger than steel + Gorilla Glass makes for a very tough phone.

The speaker is loud but distorts at the highest setting. That being said, there really aren't many devices which don't.

Positives out of the way, I must touch on the negatives. 16 gigabytes of storage is barely anything for the experienced user (although for the average user, it's fine). Its display resolution (qHD) is relatively limited when compared to the One X, but you couldn't see HTC using the same 720p resolution on the One S, could you? It wouldn't make sense for them to do so.

Lastly, with HTC recently abandoning the device from future Android/Sense updates (because of driver issues with the Asian version, powered by the Snapdragon S3 MSM8260), it may sway your decision to other devices, which is a shame because the Snapdragon S4 version is still considered a high-end device.

htc rooter

5.0

2

Pros
its available in black market in bangkok
Cons
bkack ic truly expensive in iraq
• • •

Hey guys Ho to Bangkok and Yeh shop in the 2nd floor of the mobile mall , sits an old man with his son ..old man has a beard and son has a black mole on his left cheek ...they are selling the phone uprooted and rooted for 175 usd 200 usd respectively ...amazing fone and surely It's cheap man ly priced man ...forget everything ...order it online ...they will ship within 5 working days ...yeaaahhhhhh.....

Bernie

0.0

3

Pros
Nothing
Cons
Everything
• • •

3 years and you throw it out to add to land fill and pollution because by that time the battery is either dead or well on the way out.

One can expect nonly about 3 years out of an Li/ion battery from the time it comes off the production line.

How long your "new" phone will last depends on how long it has been out of the factory.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?