Sleek, slim and powerful, the HTC One S lands itself a top spot in the T-Mobile lineup thanks to its zippy processor, attractive design and cutting-edge camera performance. While it falls short of the HTC One X (*Est. $100) in earning the HTC flagship title, experts say consumers shouldn't overlook the One S. While the One X and Galaxy S III both boast bigger, higher-resolution screens, the One S comes in a sleeker, lower-priced package that can match its competitors blow for blow in hardware and software performance. "The HTC One S is a modern Android ICS smartphone with all the trimmings," says Brian Bennett of CNET.
A simplified interface.While reviewers still prefer stock Android, the HTC Sense user interface has been trimmed down for a smoother experience that is less overbearing and easier to use. "Gone is much of the fancy eye candy, such as the perpetually spinning carousel of home screens," says Bennett. Instead, the UI offers more subtle tweaks while still offering the widgets and features fans of Sense enjoy.
Fast and long-lasting. The One S's dual-core processor paired with Android's Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system yields "undeniably powerful" results, says Jamie Lendino of PCMag.com. Reviewers say the smaller smartphone holds its own against the likes of the One X.
Reviewers praise the 4G speed, battery life and call quality. Web browsing is speedy and connectivity is stable. Despite the powerful screen and potentially battery-zapping multimedia features, the battery lasts throughout the day before losing its charge. Rounding it all out is the excellent call quality with "clear and crisp" voices, according to Lendino's tests.
Smart-looking phone won't break easily. The HTC One's body design is made from anodized aluminum to keep the smartphone slim yet durable. The One S can handle a few bumps and drops while still feeling like the high-end smartphone it is.
HTC's thinnest smartphone to date. The One S owes its sleekness to its aluminum unibody design. "The One S is among those rare few phones whose design moves the whole mobile industry forward," says Vlad Savov of TheVerge.com. "Everything has been rethought, optimized, and streamlined." Yet its success is also its only major flaw. The solid backing makes the battery non-removable and lacks an SD Card slot for expanding memory -- though reviewers say its 16 GB of internal storage should be plenty for most users.
The 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED screen "paints images and video with vibrant colors, high contrast, and deep blacks," says Bennett, but is still outclassed by the screens on the Samsung Galaxy S III (From $200 with contract) and the HTC One X.
Beats Audio technology falls short. Music and video player interfaces work well enough for reviewers, but all agree that the Beats Audio technology is little more than "a marketing gimmick," as Savov says. Although the manufacturer claims it enhances music quality, all reviewers hear is an increase in the bass.
The real standout feature of the One S is its camera. "This, along with the One X, is possibly the best Android cameraphone we've seen yet," says Mat Smith of Engadget.com. The innovative interface offers a variety of filters and settings, with virtually instantaneous shutter speeds. Outdoor images look "detailed, razor sharp, and colorful," continues Lendino, while indoor shots look almost as good, with some occasional blurriness in poor lighting. Video records at 1080p and produces beautiful results. Most impressive for reviewers is the ability to snap a photograph while recording video simultaneously.
Rating the HTC One S at 4 out of 5 stars, Brian Bennett compliments it for packing Android ICS, HTC Sense 4 and a "feature-filled" camera into "one of the slimmest phones on the market."
Review: HTC One S Review ( Gradient Blue, T-Mobile), Brian Bennett, April 18, 2012
2. The Verge
Vlad Savov praises the HTC One S for its design and camera while disliking its use of HTC Sense instead of stock Android. Savov states it is "simultaneously one of the thinnest and most powerful phones on the market -- but held back by HTC's addiction to Sense."
Review: HTC One S Review, Vlad Savov, April 2, 2012
Citing its looks, design and powerful software as its best features, Jamie Lendino names the HTC One S as the "favorite new powerhouse smartphone on T-Mobile." PCMag.com gives it an Editors' Choice award.
Review: HTC One S (T-Mobile), Jamie Lendino, April 19, 2012
Mat Smith notes that the HTC One S's speedy performance, smooth blend of Sense with Android ICS, sleek design and excellent camera could make it a flagship smartphone if its screen weren't "already outclassed."
Review: HTC One S Review, Mat Smith, April 2, 2012
Awarding the One S 4.5 out of 5 stars, Phil Lavelle notes it is a slim, up-to-date smartphone with good battery life, but it lacks expandable memory and could use improvements on the virtual keyboard and call quality.
Review: HTC One S Review, Phil Lavelle, May 22, 2012
Scoring the One S 4 out of 5 stars, Dragan Petric concludes that it's "not the best smartphone available, but it is one of the best on the market."
Review: HTC One S Review: A Surprisingly Powerful Android Smartphone, Dragan Petric, June 17, 2012