HTC One S – Whatphone’s In Depth Review

HTC One S – Review

Released after the HTC One X, in Australia, the HTC One S is, most notably, a smaller device than its big brother.
I spent a week with an HTC One S at the start of August, after more than 6 weeks with the HTC One X as my primary use Smartphone and it was that ‘big brother’ element which stuck in my mind the whole time.

The HTC One S didn’t really cut it for me.

HTC One S Overview :

The HTC One S is one of 3 devices released by HTC and sold in Australia under the ‘One’ family banner.

They all run HTC Sense ( a GUI – or Graphical User Interface unique to HTC. ) The range covers different hardware specifications which I’ll discuss below.

The One S feels high quality with what is largely an aluminum body. It has an appealing two tone color scheme and feels firm and solid in the hand.

It’s HTC’s thinnest device to date – around 0.8cm thick and it was almost impossibly light.

Together with the smaller 4.3 inch screen size, this makes the HTC One S feel petite, meaning that it offers a genuine, smaller alternative for those that think the screen sizes are getting too big on the latest Android Handsets.

The dimensions also opened up the opportunity of operating the HTC One S with one hand – if that’s the sort of thing you want to do !

My personal experience is that it’s rare you’ll need to get right to the corners on a smartphone but with a unit this size, like the iPhone 4S, if you’re carrying bags and you want to check your email, you’ll be able to !


HTC One S – Specs

  • Processor :
    The HTC One S has a Dual Core chipset – as opposed to the quad core of the HTC One X. In practical usage terms though, there was no difference in my experience on the HTC One S than to any of the ultra fast Quad Core products I’ve also used heavily. Scrolling, swiping and browsing were all super smooth on the HTC One S.
  • Display :
    4.3 inch Gorilla glass protected 540 x 960 resolution – meaning while it can play HD videos out of the box, you won’t see every pixel the way you were supposed to. The screen is nice and bright and using it outside on the clear Sydney winter days we’ve had ( i.e. in lots of direct sunlight ) the HTC One S did well.
  • Memory :
    This was a major downside of the product for me. The HTC One S has only 12GB of on board memory available for the user. There is no expandable memory slot for a micro SD card. This amount of memory is not nearly enough unless you are a very light user of multimedia content.
  • Camera :
    Also slightly disappointing. Perversely, in good light conditions, I felt let down by the quality of the images it took. In low light conditions, I was impressed.

HTC One S : Younger brother syndrome :

The HTC One S is always going to be compared to it’s older brother, the HTC One X. The price points on the contracts and price plans they HTC One X and One S are offered on are remarkably similar.

In my view, they’re too close to each other, given the capabilities of the products.

While having a smaller and lighter device will appeal to some, for me, the compromise of losing the bigger screen and higher resolution capabilities of the bigger devices was too much.

Simple things, like using the text / SMS capability in portrait modes which is already not a great experience on the bigger HTC device were an even bigger obstacle on the HTC One S.

I found the battery life maddeningly short, whatever the ‘official’ specifications say as to its longevity.

The fact that the software running on the HTC One S had many of the One X’s benefits . Snapping pictures mid video and video editing are two that I liked on the One X and found on the One S.

The dual rather than quad core processors didn’t make much of a difference, overall, the younger brother doesn’t have as much of a price differential as is required to separate it from the larger device.


HTC One S – In a couple of sentences :

The HTC One S can only be a device for a very light user. The memory capabilities and battery mean that someone who uses their Smartphone all day, like me, will find it substandard where performance matters most.

Compare the HTC One S to the Galaxy SII and make sure you take a look at the best in class HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy SIII and iPhone 4S before you conclude that this is the right product for you.

And if you’d like to use Whatphone’s in depth comparison reviews of the HTC One S vs everything else, to do the heavy lifting for you, you’re welcome to.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.