HTC One S smartphone review
The One S is HTC’s new dual core smartphone offering, an impressive mid-range mobile with a HD display, super slim ceramic body and powerful new features.
We took the One S for a pre-launch test drive to see if it's worth an upgrade from last year's Android devices. Short answer? Yes.
Processors (CPU and imaging)
Q: Do I need a dual core One S or a quad core One X?
A: Most smartphone users will find a dual core chip more than snappy enough for daily multitasking, gaming and music streaming. If you upgrade to quad core you will notice a marginal difference in the speed and performance of the phone, but really only use the chip's full potential if you play graphically intensive games and perform a lot of functions at once.
The One S runs on a speedy Snapdragon 4 dual core processor, which makes the phone a breeze to use. A full boot up only takes around 15 seconds, so you can start multitasking in moments. (We noted that the boot up time for HTC One S is around the same as the boot up time for its quad core big brother, the One X. This is largely due to the amount of juice required to run One X's larger 4.7" screen).
Does dual core make a massive difference to speed and performance? In our opinion, yes. The One S packs a real punch when it comes to multitasking. You'll find it much easier to manage multiple applications on this phone than on, say, a 1GHz single core Snapdragon smartphone from last year. We played Angry Birds Space while pumping out music through the speakers, receiving push notifications from email, G+ and Facebook, happily whizzing through menus on our fingertips.
HTC's dedicated imaging chip frees up power for the main processor, as your camera no longer runs on the same chip as your processes and programs. Your phone is faster, and your camera is blisteringly fast at processing super sharp images. Let's take a closer look at it and see whether the new imaging chip really is something to write home about.
Simply hold down the capture button and the phone will continuously take shots until you release the button.
The One S packs a great 8MP F2.0 28mm camera that makes taking pictures fun and super fast. The dedicated imaging chip really comes into play when you start using multishot.
Multishot is amazing on this phone and it gives you the option of selecting the best shot whilst deleting the other shots taken. This helps you get the best shots with ease and without having to manually go through and delete the bad ones.
The camera interface is easy to use and intuitive, giving you access to snazzy effects that spruce up your photos, such as distortion or dots.
Like the One X, One S has High Dynamic Range (HDR), a new feature to HTC smartphones that captures 3 simultaneous shots with different exposures and combines them to make 1 perfect shot. It's a simple formula: Low + normal + high = perfect pictures. HDR combined with the super bright onboard flash should give you some very high quality pictures.
The image chip really does kick it up a notch here, recording video in 1080p HD. If there's nothing stored on your phone's memory you can capture around 2 hours of continuous, high quality video - great for holiday movies and capturing unforgettable moments.
HTC have included a nice onboard Movie editor, which lets you choose a theme, name the movie and create multiple projects. We think One S and One X really lead the smartphone pack right now when it comes to video capture & editing.
The One S packs a 4.3" qHD screen that is super bright and can be comfortably seen at all angles. You can hardly feel where the body and screen come together, making the phone beautiful and sleek.
The 1650 mAh battery doesn’t disappoint. The phone was tested pretty extensively with games, music streaming, YouTube, photo and video capture and the battery hardly dropped at all. Doing all of that for around 2 hours, with the display set to auto brightness and Wi-Fi enabled, we saw the battery drop to around 95% from 100% - which isn’t half bad.
The One S is HTC's thinnest phone yet. The striking anodized metal cover undergoes a Micro Arc Oxidation process, which turns the surface into a ceramic finish that is up to 5 times moredurable than stainless steel. With a light to dark finish across its textured body, this phone is a thing of beauty. Watch HTC's quick video below to find out more.
The One S has all of the usual ports and hard keys you would expect on a smart phone.
The power switch is located next to the 3.5mm jack on the top of the device. The headphone jack is on the top of the device, which is handy when you're using the phone as a music player because you don't have to have the phone upside down in your pocket in order to have enough cable.
The volume rocker is very nicely placed too and you can easily control it with your thumb if you're a righty or with your index finger if you're a lefty.
The USB is located on the left hand side of the device, which seems to be the standard on newer HTC devices.
The HTC One S comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich - the latest software, as well as a brand new HTC User Interface called Sense 4.0.
HTC have gone to great lengths to improve the looks and feel of the UI. They have removed any needless animations and application in a bid to improve the overall use of their devices and to increase the battery sustainability.
The full screen multitasking application manager is stylish and simple to use. Swiping an open application upwards will stop the app from running, giving you quick control over your device.
Calling out the Car Panel is a must, as the full screen interface with its large icons is very easy to handle, even when driving. Having everything you need in that smart full screen interface, from calls to music and navigation, is a genius move.
As with most of HTC's current and continued smartphone range, the HTC One S packs Beats! The beats chip enables smart sound enhancements and brings more punch to your music. To get the best out of the beats chip, grab yourself a pair of beats headphones, plug them into the phone and get rocking.
Lets wrap this up
After our hands on with the pre-release HTC One S, we're seriously impressed with this snappy, slim phone. Everything is well thought out and polished, from the improved UI to the new camera features, One S gives you what you need for easier everyday multitasking and entertainment.
One S is by no means a superphone, but that's what the One X is for. What HTC have done here is create a device that is fun to use and fully functional. Taking pictures and recording video is a breeze and editing your snapshots on the device is just as fun.
If you are looking to upgrade and don’t need the full quad core power of the One X, get this phone. Not only will you be happy with the overall beautiful design, but the strength and performance of the device will leave you seriously impressed.