x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

HTC One S Review


Posted: , by Daniel P.



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
PhoneArena rating:
User rating:
9.710 Reviews

  • Options

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:21 12

1. moyourBB (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)

this phone got a higher score than One X?

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:30 5

4. baldilocks (Posts: 830; 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'....

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 14:24 1

25. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

PA reviews have been puzzling of late

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 16:10 4

26. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; 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

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:32 8

5. baldilocks (Posts: 830; 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.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:40 11

7. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)

Different Reviewer. Maybe Daniel P. would have given HTC One X higher score.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:45 7

10. moyourBB (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)

Oh you are correct. Daniel may have a different perspective with Android device. :)

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:42 1

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.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 20:27

29. cheetah2k (Posts: 1746; 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..

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 22:22

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

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:40 2

6. cripton805 (Posts: 1485; 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.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:41 3

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.

posted on 08 Apr 2012, 10:10

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

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 09:35

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.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:27

2. saket.shrivastava (Posts: 55; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)

y u no review one v ??????????/

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:30 6

3. Daniel.P (Posts: 108; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)

It's coming :)

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 10:21 3

14. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

why couldn`t you review One X ?
i am sure it deserved an 8.5.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 11:07

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 :-)

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:45 6

11. maxkobi (Posts: 30; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

i think it got a higher score because as a middle tier phone its pretty decent

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 11:40 6

21. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 408; Member since: 24 May 2011)

You are very correct my friend. Some people just lack common sense.

posted on 06 Apr 2012, 00:59

34. saket.shrivastava (Posts: 55; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)


posted on 11 Apr 2012, 23:56

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.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 17:22 1

47. remixfa (Posts: 14605; 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.

posted on 19 Apr 2012, 06:36

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?

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 09:57

12. sorcio46 (Posts: 435; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

About CONS
Video capture is slow to start
Fiddly focus in Macro mode
Very poor outdoor photos
Is that the same camera of ONE X?

posted on 08 Apr 2012, 08:05

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.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 10:00 4

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 )

posted on 07 Apr 2012, 06:11

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

posted on 08 Apr 2012, 08:08 2

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?

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 17:26

48. remixfa (Posts: 14605; 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

Want to comment? Please login or register.



OS: Android 4.1.1 4.0.4 4.0.3
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
Size5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31 inches
(130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm)
4.22 oz  (120 g)
Battery1650 mAh, 7 hours talk time

Latest stories