HTC One S Review
Call quality is very good on the HTC One S – due to the strong and very clear sound in the earpiece, we could easily tell the caller. The other side said we sounded very loud and clean as well, and the noise-canceling microphone duo did a great job at weeding out the background noise while we were talking. We already complained about the loudspeaker, which is not very strong, so there is a chance you might miss a call if the phone is buried in a purse in the other room, for example.
The 1650mAh battery inside the HTC One S is non-removable, and is cited for 7 hours of talk time and nearly 18 days on standby.. It holds itself up well, so you will be able to survive a day with modest to average usage.
The HTC One S might be the middle child in the new One lineup, but it can’t realistically be called mid-range just because the screen is qHD instead of HD. Upper mid-range would be a good fit, if you are a categorization nazi. We loved the compact and sturdy design with a very light and premium feel. In fact, the One S feels higher-end in the hand with its sexy slim metal body, toned by the anodized coating, than the flagship One X, made of fancy plastic.
We also liked the very good call quality and the camera speeds (although the images themselves left a lot to be desired). All in all, we love the new trend in higher-end phones to pay attention to shooting speeds, as the phone often becomes your main camera when out and about, and, while nobody expects stellar results from a phone image sensor, we can at least get some speed now, and sometimes that's all you need for an impromptu shot.
The new HTC Sense 4.0 is slimmed down, and runs peppy under the boost from the latest Snapdragon S4, which has a surprisingly good for Qualcomm new graphics processor. The OLED screen is a bit tacky to look at in the interface with its oversaturated colors, but when watching video these vivid colors, the pitch blacks and the deep contrast will make you want to throw your average cheap laptop with their terrible washed out displays out of the window.
Still, we have to take points off for the lack of a microSD card slot meaning a 16GB memory restriction, and the sealed battery compartment. These won't bother everybody, but if you are like us used to the comfort of always carrying a charged spare in your wallet, you'd hate the fact that the One S sports a non-removable unit.
As for the missing memory card slot - the free 25GB Dropbox account that comes with the One S for two years, and the SkyDrive integration in HTC Sense provide plenty of cloud storage, but data connections cost money, and those 1080p videos might fill up your 16GB of storage when vacationing pretty quickly.
Yet the HTC One S seems a better value for the money compared to the One X for our average smartphone user, which is its main target. Granted, we have 32GB of storage and an HD screen on the One X, but huge displays are not for everybody, and the One S has a more compact and premium feel.
Looking around for other competitors, our eyes inevitably stop at the Samsung Galaxy S II now that it comes at a few tens more than the One S launch price, but offers expandable storage via microSD slot. Its screen is of lower resolution, though, and the One S sports a more premium feel.
Sony Xperia S should also be in the cards, as it has a better screen and more storage, for which you’d pay roughly a few tens (bucks or euros) more as well. Granted, it sports the previous generation Snapdragon S3 processor, but we are yet to meet a regular phone buyer that would care much about that fact.
In the Windows Phone world, the Nokia Lumia 800/900 will do the trick as an alternative to the One S with its jolly and distinctive design, but it’s about the same price, and is restricted by Microsoft’s mobile OS to lower screen resolution and 720p video recording.
Software version of the reviewed unit: 1.53.401.2
HTC One S Video Review:
- Light and compact 4.3-incher with premium metal chassis
- Snappy sub-second camera
- Very good call quality
- Bright screen with good outdoor visibility
- Free 25GB Dropbox and SkyDrive integration
- No memory card slot
- Fiddly focus in Macro mode
- Unintuitive web browser
4. baldilocks (Posts: 410; 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: 728; 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: 410; 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: 745; 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: 247; 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: 1866; 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: 674; 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: 1866; 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: 392; 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.