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HTC Incredible S review

HTC's first UK four inch screen on a novel chassis shape

Our Verdict

Another cracking phone from HTC, but one that doesn't add a lot more than a more rugged chassis and four inch screen

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 1.10 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 9.60 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Slick UI
  • Excellent 8MP camera
  • High quality screen
  • Pleasant-feeling chassis
  • Low price

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Screen poor in direct light
  • Bulbous rear
  • Locations service still buggy
  • Erratic video player

HTC Incredible S review: Interface

HTC incredible s review

The HTC Incredible S is bringing a similar experience to the others in its top end Android line - namely, using the now familiar Sense UI to make the Google experience much better thanks to some creative widget-ry.

It's not a new experience, but the new line up of phones from the HTC Desire HD onwards has had an updated version of the platform, offering connection to the cloud to seamlessly integrate into the phone.

For the uninitiated, Sense UI is a skin that sits on top of the basic Android experience, offering new widgets and a greater number of home screens to play with.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/htc-desire-hd-717295/review

If you want to access these quickly, simply pinch the screen in, and you'll see all the different pages showcased in an exploded view - really handy if you're at one end of the phone screens and want to look at something six screens away.

HTC incredible s review

One feature of HTC's Android handsets has always been a fluid experience under the finger, and once again that's on show here with the HTC Incredible S.

The HTC range has been one of the only brands that's managed to keep up with the flawless speed of the iPhone 4, and thankfully that 'snappiness' has been replicated on the Incredible S, with no hint of slowdown.

You can drag the notifications bar down from almost any application, and even if the phone is updating in the background you won't notice any juddering - the menu list (which flicks up and down with ease) will sometimes lack a spot of fluidity, but if that's the worst thing to worry about, we're in a pretty good situation.

HTC incredible s review

The four inch screen is large enough to see all your widgets displayed with ease - as it's still got a WVGA (800 x 480) resolution display, there's no more space to chuck widgets, but it's very easy to see the information with a quick glance.

The Sense UI features a few cool tweaks to play with over the older versions, making the Android system so much more intuitive to use.

The first is the extra option at the bottom of the screen - rather than having to long press the display to edit it (although you still can) there's an icon of a palette to press, which achieves the same thing.

HTC incredible s review

The editing screen has been overhauled too, with a load more options. Here you can do little things like alter your ringtone (or even the whole sound set, so all notifications will sound like fairy bells or cucumber parties or something) or change all the icons and set up of your home screen using the new 'Scenes' offering, with custom options on offer too.

We're still not happy with the decision to only offer Android 2.2 on the Incredible S though - sure, it gets the phone to market quicker, but the likes of the HTC Desire S and Wildfire S are going to be outgunning it pretty quickly in terms of functionality, and we may have to wade through network upgrade schedules, meaning quite a wait for some to get the update.

But enough of the future - let's focus on the happiness on offer here. You can scroll through all the new scenes on offer, which are preloaded with different arrangements of widgets and wallpapers, or you can hit a button to quickly download more (although you do have to have a dedicated HTCSense.com account.

Not only is it testament to the power of the HTC Incredible S (Adreno 205 GPU, 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon) that this process of scrolling through thumbnails suffers no slowdown, but the ease of which you can go online is as cool as it was on the Desire HD - if you've got data signal, this will be a breeze.

Other things you can edit include skins (to change the way the phone's notification bars and menus are shaped and coloured) and wallpaper too, making it very easy and cool to personalise your Incredible S.

We're a little peeved you can't do timed screen changeovers - making it so your phone can suddenly alter into work mode or leisure time at certain points (or even when you enter pre-defined locations) is a popular trick on a number of phones, and something we'd have expected from HTC.

HTC incredible s review

Another option is the Edit button - usually with Google's OS when you long-press on an icon or widget, the Android interface would pop up with a 'remove' option that you could drop your selection into.

Now you also get an edit option (if applicable to the widget) which allows you to change certain elements - very cool and one of the things that show off the overall slick nature of the Incredible S.

The menu layout is the same as ever - a scrollable list of icons you can mess around with and re-arrange as you see fit through long-pressing and dragging, or pop into folders to make it easier to use.

The Incredible S features the same notifications bar as the Desire HD, which you open by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen from nearly any point in the phone.

HTC incredible s review

Here you'll see your most recently-used icons, making it mega easy to swipe along and see what you've been up to - and opening up oft-love options too.

The interface on the HTC Incredible S is simply phenomenal - you can sync up loads of accounts and have a fair few background processes and yet things still tick along wonderfully in the foreground.

And another thing – the fast booting process is still present and pretty good. It only works if you've turned the phone off and not pulled out the battery (as you might do on the plane) but turning it back on yielded a start screen that we could play with in less than 8 seconds, which is amazing and we had to check it three times to believe it.

However, one major problem, and one that has plagued HTC handsets for a while (with some notable omissions): the screen is still just terrible in direct light.

Take the Incredible S outside with the screen set to the lowest brightness, and it's simply invisible. Even turning it up to maximum makes it only averagely legible, and that's a real battery sucker.

HTC incredible s review

It's not a huge problem, but when you've left your screen on lower brightness to conserve power and you have to hide it in your jacket just to SEE the screen, it's a long way from a positive.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory1.10 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time9.60 Hour
Product ModelIncredible S
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)135.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Caller ID, Conference Call, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting
Height120 mm
Width64 mm
Depth11.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameIncredible S Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99MJ008-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Dare to be different

One look at HTC Incredible S and you know it's different. The elegant contoured design is so unique that it stands out from any angle. The look, the sound, the feel... it's a phone that impresses the senses.

A standout cinematic experience

The HTC Incredible S brings everything you view to life on a stunning 4" Super LCD screen. So you can browse the web in style, admire your photo gallery, or lose yourself in a video viewing experience. And when you really want to immerse yourself in a movie, plug in your headset and enjoy virtual surround sound via SRS WOW HD.

Package Contents
  • Incredible S Smartphone
  • 3.5mm Stereo Headset
  • Battery
  • Power Adapter
  • microSD Card
  • Quick Start Guide
  • USB Cable
  • Safety and Regulatory Guide
Limited Warranty1 Year