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HTC One S review

A top of the range cameraphone with an emphasis on pictures, music and connectivity. Is the One S the One to have?

Our Verdict

The HTC One S is a beautiful handset blessed with beautiful capabilities and is already available at very palatable price points.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960

View full specification

For

  • Slim, svelte and beautiful
  • Built for Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Loads of widgets
  • Excellent battery life

Against

  • Limited memory, no SD slot
  • MicroSIM is a pain for some
  • Keyboard has seen better days
  • Call quality can be slightly tinny:

Battery

OK, so HTC has never been known for its amazing batteries. We know that. And we've read your comments in the HTC One X review too where opinion seems to shift from 'What do you expect?' to 'That's outrageous.'

HTC One S review

So, in the interests of peacemaking let's just chuck this into the mix: The battery life on the HTC One S is… pretty darn good.

Yep, we're as shocked as you are. But that 1650mAh unit gives a good fight. It may not be to everybody's tastes having a battery that is sealed in but it didn't faze us too much. We don't think there are that many people (geeks aside) who carry spare batteries around with them.

HTC One S review

What people do tend to do is have a USB cable in their bag for a boost at work, a car charger in the brum-brum or one of those portable battery chargers in their bag. Let's be honest – if you run out of juice, you're hardly going to be out on a limb in most cases these days.

And there's no reason you should run out of juice on the HTC One S if you're sensible with your usage. We hammered the battery and were still very pleased with what we got out of it.

For example, one day, we took it off charge at 9am, browsed the net, sent a few tweets/emails and made about 40 minutes worth of calls. At 1pm, we fired up the FM Radio and Runkeeper Pro and went for a 90 minute run with the GPS on that whole time.

At 3pm, we were in the car with the HTC One S connected to the stereo via Bluetooth streaming music (and live radio thanks to the Car app which we'll mention in the next section) and using Google Maps Navigation for about 90 minutes again until the battery conked out at just after 4:30pm. Bear in mind, the screen was on for that whole 90 min period too!

Now, 9am-4:30pm sounds shocking (or 'standard' if you owned a T-Mobile G1 – the first Android device to hit these shores) but this is running the phone very hard. In fact, we'd say it's not even heavy usage but borders more on the sadistic end of the scale.

And it really held its own. We were really pleasantly shocked by its stamina and can confidently say that if you're a low to medium user, you'll definitely get a day and a bit out of this though it would probably be prudent to charge it every night.

For all you internet addicts out there, we also tested the HTC One S with a lot of browsing - using the screen at half brightness and browsing the web, watching online video (over Wi-Fi) while listening to music for four hours.

This is always going to be a battery killer, and we noticed quite a high drop rate: we ran out of juice by 2PM and had to charge again, with a 50% battery meter by 11.30PM.

However, it performed very well in our stock battery test, easily outstripping the performance of the HTC One X (which has notoriously poor battery life in our opinion):

Connectivity

As for connections, they are all here. Your obvious ones like HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth all turn up to the party. Unlike the HTC One X there's no NFC inside, but HTC is rolling this out slowly to its handsets.

Whilst the future of NFC is pretty exciting now that the other manufacturers are getting on board at long last, there's nothing major here just yet to get us salivating.

Bluetooth is now of the 4.0 variety which means it's pretty futureproof with the advancements we're about to see (check out our 'What is Bluetooth' article for more on that) plus Wi-Fi b/g/n are the options for fast data usage.

HTC One S review

As standard, you get the Wi-Fi hotspot feature which has come in extremely handy for us on past occasions. We're not massively thrilled with the lack of Mac connectivity support as you may have gathered from the Media section but at least if you're rocking a PC, you're in good company here.

DLNA is supplied as standard on the One S so if you fancy hooking this up to, say, a PS3 or capable TV to blast out some tunes or video, you're in luck.

We're annoyed with the support for Apple users. Or, rather, the lack of it. We couldn't sync with a Mac with the HTC Sync software only appearing to support Windows. What is this? The 90's?

OK, so it's easily fixable if you download an alternative like iSyncr or DoubleTwist but that really takes the shine off it when you have to start figuring this all out yourself. Especially if you're a new HTC user.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashNo
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne S
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Phone StyleBar
ColourGrey
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)119.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density256 ppi
Height130.9 mm
Width65 mm
Depth7.8 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne S
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineOne S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Gyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HRE011-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Amazing camera

With this camera you never miss a shot. Capture every moment with a camera that starts-up in less than a second, and has rapid-fire continuous shooting. You'll never again have to choose between capturing a video or a picture-with Video Pic you can get both at the same time. And you'll get the best images even under the worst conditions: low light, no light and back light... None are a problem.

Limited Warranty1 Year