HTC One S Review
We won't be spending time on the pros and cons of the new user interface on the One S, since we've examined it extensively in our HTC Sense 4.0 hands-on, and our video overview of its implementation on the HTC One X. It's lighter and more streamlined than the previous version that ran on Android Gingerbread, but still has some kinks to be worked out.
With the HTC One S being an Android Ice Cream Sandwich phone, the capacitive navigational buttons underneath the display could have been entirely replaced by on-screen ones. We are saying that not because it should be a goal in and of itself on every ICS phone – many people prefer having separate keys – but because Google has done some things with the interface that warrant a more painless transition. For example, the HTC Ones S has the three vertical dots of ICS that mark a context menu tab in each default app, and uses the right capacitive key underneath the screen for the multitasking menu. It's a good fusion, since we use the context menu key much more often than the multitasking key, so we don't have to stretch our thum way down, but just tap on the upper right screen corner instead.
The context menu button, however, appears in downloaded apps as well, but placed down in the ICS bottom strip for on-screen navigation keys, taking up precious screen real estate, yet the back and home buttons are still capacitive, making for two layers of navigational keys on top of each other. Not the most efficient arrangement.
The lighter HTC Sense feels rather peppy now, powered by the latest dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset with “Krait” cores, in its MSM8960 reincarnation with HSPA+ radio and the new Adreno 225 GPU. The phone has the usual 1GB of RAM, and also 16GB of internal memory which are all you get, since there is no microSD card slot.
We got 5136 on Quadrant at first run, which is a pretty high result, 7015 on AnTuTu, and 204.9 MFLOPS on the Linpack multi-thread test, also quite a good score for the CPU. The Adreno 225 GPU turned out capable too, maxing out NenaMark 2 at the phone’s 60.3 fps cap. The graphics processor scored 49.13fps on the taxing Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji 3D benchmark, which is pretty stellar and much higher than what Tegra 3 manages, but Taiji is known for working well with Adreno GPUs.
All in all, you won't have any issues with processing power on the HTC One S, and the phone doesn't warm up significantly under load like its One X sibling with Tegra 3.
Internet and Connectivity:
HTC has added new functions to the on-screen context menu key placed at the right of the address bar in the browser, making it a snap to change otherwise obscure settings, unless you are left-handed, of course. You can turn on and off Adobe Flash or switch to desktop mode from the mobile version of sites directly from there, instead of fumbling around in the settings menu as on most other Android phones.
Scrolling, panning around and pinching to zoom work smoothly as advertised, and the Adobe Flash rendering is pretty seamless. The phone flickers for a second before it reflows the page upon double tap, and text reflow could be more fluid and intuitive. In addition, the Bookmarks, Tabs, etc. buttons that are constantly appearing and disappearing at the bottom of the screen make for a somewhat irritating experience.
HTC has a Read mode now in the default browser, so you can strip an article you found online from all ads, pics and distractions with a touch of the Read button left from the address bar, leaving you with an e-reader style layout of just the text body reflown to fit in the screen, and introduced on one page, pretty handy.
The HTC One S sports 42Mbps HSDPA radio, meaning that it will be able to take full advantage of T-Mobile's 4G network when it hits the carrier's shelves in an AWS version. It is also laden with a full connectivity suite – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, a joint MHL/microUSB port for hooking up TVs, and DLNA for wireless media streaming, but there is no NFC chip inside.
4. baldilocks (Posts: 411; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)
Inferior Screen in both size and resolution. Lower graphics performance. Higher score from PhoneArena. LOL.
Maybe it's because it doesn't get 'warm under a heavy load'....
26. ngo2dd (Posts: 731; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
You can't say a screen is inferior because it is smaller. Lower graphics performance but better CPU, it is a trade off. Just stop
5. baldilocks (Posts: 411; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)
Almost forgot. The One S has half the built in storage. That gives it a higher score from PhoneArena too.
7. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
Different Reviewer. Maybe Daniel P. would have given HTC One X higher score.
10. moyourBB (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
Oh you are correct. Daniel may have a different perspective with Android device. :)
9. moyourBB (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
I thought Ray compared two ONE series devices with their designs. There's no doubt the One S has a better material chassis than One X. And I guess the browser issue in One X gave a bad image to Ray.
29. cheetah2k (Posts: 696; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
Aircraft aluminium vs polycarb. Either one is pretty awesome, and much more durable in a fall than the iphone's glass-aluminium composite.
I don't know why some people don't like the one piece polycarbonate bodies. The N9 is rather damn good actually, so whatever tickles your fancy..
30. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)
The X doesn't have poor browser performance, HTC phones always come out of the box with text rewrapping automatically turned on, that is why it it pauses for a bit. turn it off and the browser is buttery smooth. just doubletap to rewrap text after zooming in
6. cripton805 (Posts: 747; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
The one reviewing the phone was an Applefanboy. You could tell during the review and when they pitted it against the iPhone. It was that same guy. "What a surprise". This seems to be a more reasonable guy and the score seems more justified.
8. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
Also dont let Victor H. review anything. And this score is correct i think but One X should have got 8.5.
42. sudhar131998 (Posts: 63; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
do you know that the snapdragon chip inside this phone has a better processor because of the processing technique.
inside htc one x runs tegra 3 which is based on 48nm or 42nm processing
in htc one s is 32nm processing with krait cores for faster speeds
therefore htc one s is a little bit better in terms of cpu tasks but the htc one x is still a winner in terms of gpu
43. DylRicho (Posts: 17; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
You would be surprised. The Snapdragon CPU in this phone scores better in all benchmarking apps that I have tried. Also, just because it doesn't have the HD resolution of the One X, doesn't mean it should be scored down. In fact, it has a better display technology than the One X and is made out of aircraft-grade aluminium which has been oxidized to make it four times as strong as stainless steel. The scores are probably based on overall performance and user experience, and with the One S featuring the better CPU with the same amount of RAM on a smaller screen, will perform better.
14. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
why couldn`t you review One X ?
i am sure it deserved an 8.5.
18. saket.shrivastava (Posts: 55; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)
pls do it at ur earliest ..................
my exam is on sunday and i am buying it first thing on monday mornin :-)
11. maxkobi (Posts: 27; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
i think it got a higher score because as a middle tier phone its pretty decent
21. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 257; Member since: 24 May 2011)
You are very correct my friend. Some people just lack common sense.
44. DylRicho (Posts: 17; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
Almost every benchmark test is better with the One S. The CPU is of a newer generation, plus it has better display technology and a screen size that is considered in the middle (not too small and not too big). The build quality is also much better than the One X. I'm assuming the scores are based on overall performance and user experience, and in comparison to these two, the One S is definitely the better of the two in both of those areas.
47. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the oneX needs to be reviewed again since it had a big driver update today that was supposed to fix a lot of issues like performance and battery.
50. vlada (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Apr 2012)
Maybe all these reviews have been made too early? Maybe all of the reviewers on all related web sites should wait a bit with detailed tests, until the new phones' firmware is somewhat more stabilized and optimized? Maybe after a few months in service?
12. sorcio46 (Posts: 390; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Video capture is slow to start
Fiddly focus in Macro mode
Very poor outdoor photos
Is that the same camera of ONE X?
39. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
yep, the same. I've always said that HTC don't know how to make good cameras.
13. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Daniel, how can you even put the Nokia lumia 900 in the same line with this??!
The One S is just as fluid and snappy, and has :
- better screen
- 120 grams of weight (compared to 170 )
- 8 mm thickness
- premium materials
- 5 TIMES more powerful graphic processor
- THIRTY TIMES more free apps available for download
- docking abilities
- full hd video
also, it's just clearly better than galaxy s 2 (better build, screen and processor )
37. Somerandomguyyy (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)
Just sayin the screen on the Galaxy S2 is better. Its not using the pentile arrangement
40. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
BUAHHAHA:D Good joke man:)
You are on of those blind sheeps who have never ever played with win 7.
Try it and you will change your mind what is fluid and what is not.
And I'm sorry but alu vs polycarbonate is a matter of taste.
You are against polycarbonate in 900 but remember that HTC used almost the same material in ONE X.
And...you have got sissy hands my dear? More than 8 mm is to thick and to uncomfy to hold?
I don't like szajsung but...saying that this half-unpolished-old phone is better than S II is just...well...put away your pills, will you?
48. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
fanboys will be fanboys.
ill take the sgs2
the 900 is the best that wp7 has to offer at the moment so why wouldn't it be fair to compare them regardless of specs
have u played with a wp7? it is smooth as smooth can be
15. Commentator (Posts: 1874; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Three of the cons are about the camera? Why not, like PhoneArena always does, just combine them into the "Sub-par/Average Camera" label?
16. bloodline (Posts: 676; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
Daniel can you teach Ray how to do a review please.
17. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
This is how the original Sensation should've been. I would love to buy this to replace my Sensation, don't really see the need for Quad Cores yet.
19. saket.shrivastava (Posts: 55; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)
rotate the 360 view, the time on the clock changes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
23. Commentator (Posts: 1874; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
That happens on every 360 view here. If PA wanted to show some semblance of professionalism, they'd manually set the clock to the same time every time they took a picture for the 360 view! (Now let's just hope this little bit of sarcasm isn't lost on anyone...)
20. nuadar1 (Posts: 24; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
Oh come on...It's same software and camera like the one in One X...it's one of the best. Engadget photos from One S are just fenomenal. Also, browser is easily changeable
And finally note to the people..this isn't midrange device..it's another flagship. See, Apple is having small flagship smartphone, Sammy giant flagship smartphone and HTC both :)
22. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
no removable battery or expandable memory? big no nos for this guy
24. willardcw4 (Posts: 169; Member since: 01 Oct 2011)
Reviews need to either be done by the same person, or have some type of normalization. Currently, the way reviews are being handled are ridiculous. Too much bias, opinion, and comparison to phones that aren't relevant.
28. BravoTeam127 (unregistered)
How is the battery life on this phone?
45. DylRicho (Posts: 17; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
I've seen a screenshot on XDA that shows the battery survives for a whole day without problems under average use.
33. wunderkind (Posts: 2; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
i think the review of one series is too early and too premature...
35. pukea (Posts: 6; Member since: 31 Dec 2010)
The worst site I have seen, you can't even make a review, One X - 7.8, One S - 8
Engadget & Verge & Gsmarena have better thoughts, i don't beleive in you, f**k*n Apple fans
Galaxy S3 - 7.3?
36. mike.messiah (Posts: 6; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)
Wow 3 out of 4 Cons is on the camera..
While on the other side of interwebs, reviewers are praising its camera. Engadget.com says-
"This, along with the One X, is possibly the best Android camera phone we've seen yet. "
WHOM TO BELIEVE???
(i dont wanna live in this planet anymore)
As for people complaining about this phone getting higher score than One X...people..one x and one s are two different catagory phones. One S got a good score in its upper-mid range segment...One X got a dismall score in its premium segment..
If the Nokia 1100 black/white phone gets 9/10 and Nokia n95 got 8/10 it doesnt mean the Nokia 1100 is better -_- ...they are rated according to their own segment.
38. saket.shrivastava (Posts: 55; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)
"i dont wanna live in this planet anymore" ???????????
well go to SA. KONY is waiting heeeeehaaaaaaaahhaahahahaaahah!!!!
41. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
it was not funny man, kony's case is not funny at all.
46. vlada (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Apr 2012)
I've had the One S in my hands today. All very nice and fine, everything works very fast and smooth, etc... Phone handles well in hand and I liked the aluminium body. All in all, I liked it much more than, for example, the plasticky SGS2 or the bulky curved Xperia Arc S (although those two are very good phones, of course).
But, being a spoiled long-term user of a superb HTC HD2 (now running the ICS flawlessly), I have a problem with all new phones that come to the market: they all lack the WOW effect which made me purchase the HD2 in the first place. I still haven't tried anything that would make me send my old rugged HD2 to a well-deserved retirement.
49. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the review was fine but we still need a normalized and published reveiw system so people know why phones get the score they do
51. muchwe (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 May 2012)
Your help. the HTC Desire S or Samsung galaxy S advanced.?.my main concerns, internet connectivity that i can share out to other gadgets as i operate in the bush often & of course battery life.
52. tywanjames (Posts: 11; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Everybody complaining that the S scored better than the X need to realize that Phonearena isn't the only ones that did that. Consumer Reports scored the S higher than the X also. Also they scored the S's video camera quality better than the X's, so there has to be a difference between the 2 cameras.
53. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 394; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
Amazingly no reviewer talks about the bugs of Sense UI. HTC has changed the android multitasking which is a pain in the ass. Sense kills apps in background very aggressively(even with huge amount of RAM). This is being done to achieve a hassle free & lag free experience with better battery life. However, none of these has been achieved in any of HTC devices. All the HTC devices struggle for battery life & UI lags. The webpage reloading in HTC phones while toggling between apps is another major issue no reviewer talks about. Dont think these Smartphone reviewers are SMART. May be I should become a "Smartphone Reviewer".. :).. HTC one series has the BEST camera & image quality among all smartphones. & the looks of HTC beats even the IPHONEs... But performance is an issue.