ďWith its glossy black front, and flashes of colour around the camera on the back, it has a very attractive designĒ
When you think about it, the ďOneĒ is a strangely ironic name for HTCís latest range Android phones. Considering there are three of them, it doesnít really make sense does it?
However, those kind of thoughts fade into the background when you get your hands on the HTC One S, because, while it has its frustrations, it makes a lot of sense.
"The thinnest phone HTC has ever released"
The first thing youíll notice about the HTC One S is that itís quite the looker. With its glossy black front, and flashes of colour around the camera on the back, it has a very attractive design thatís pleasantly understated.
Adding to its fine appearance, the One S is the thinnest phone HTC has ever released. At just 7.95mm thick, it fits into most pockets nicely. Unfortunately, there are moments when the svelte form comes at the cost of function.
The HTC One S can be a tricky phone to keep hold of, particularly in landscape. There were times while trying to take photos we found ourselves juggling the phone like it were a wet fish.
Eventually, we adapted to the thin design, and slippages became rarer, but it always felt a little unwieldy to hold. In a similar way, perhaps, to the Motorola Droid RAZR, which also takes a little bit of getting used to.
If those early experiences proved anything though, itís that the HTC One S is a robust piece of kit. The casing stands up well to bumps and scrapes and the screen also seems quite resilient.
"Easy to use - fast and responsive"
So we've established the HTC One S is easy on the eye. But how is it to use? If we had to sum it up in a single word, weíd say ďfastĒ.
In fact, itís one of the most responsive phones weíve seen to date. Apps open and close in an instant, and switching between pages and activities is near-seamless. To give you an indication of just how fast it can be, itís possible to open the camera and take a photo from standby in less than 3 seconds. Thatís pretty impressive.
Also impressive is how easy the phone is to use. The HTC One uses the latest version of HTC Sense, which is built on the Android 4.0 operating system, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. There are tons of ways to customise your dashboard, and eight panes are available to drop shortcuts and widgets. Switching between them is as simple as pinching the screen.
Having said that, we do advise taking some time to customise your apps and set-up some widgets, because the first time you turn on the phone, it all looks a little busy.
HTC has included a lot of apps out of the box, such as social standards like Facebook and Twitter, and useful navigation tools like Maps, which is good, but also makes the menu a little overwhelming. Taking a bit of time to organise your front screen makes things clearer, and faster to get things done.
"Pictures are packed with detail"
And thereís a lot you can get done with the HTC One. Itís packed with features, and it does most of them very well indeed.
One particularly noteworthy feature is the excellent eight-megapixel camera. Pictures taken with the One S are sublimely crisp, and packed with detail. You can also add a variety of Instagram-style filters, and while most of these arenít particularly unique, they are fun to play with.
The One S camera can also record high-definition (HD) video to a 1080p standard. Controls for camera and video recording are side by side, so itís even possible to film video and take photos at the same time.
HTC created a lot of good feeling from music lovers with its Sensation handsets, which offered Beats Audio built in for terrific sound quality. That audio excellence carries over to the HTC One S, which also contains the technology, endorsed by Dr Dre and Lady Gaga.
"The camera can also record HD video"
When it comes to music playback, the HTC One S really sings. Tracks sound absolutely fantastic when coupled with a pair of quality headphones - some networks, including Vodafone, will provide Beats headphones along with the handset, which we think is a match made in heaven.
Even without the trendy Beats tie-in, the HTC Oneís range of music features would impress. In addition to the standard music player, HTC has included a couple of extra features. Tunein Radio, an app that lets users listen to national and local radio stations from all over the world, is certainly handy to have.
Soundhound is also included on the handset. This one ďlistensĒ to music playing, and identifies what it is. It can also do additional things like find lyrics to a song, or look up when the artist is performing next. Youíll need to pay for an upgraded version to get some of its features, but Soundhound is a fun freebie regardless.
In short, the HTC One S is a phone that sounds as good as it looks. Things are less impressive when you play music through the phoneís external speaker, which is tinny and underwhelming. But that's hardly surprising for a smartphone of such slender proportions.
And if youíre planning to listen to music this way, blaring out loud to the annoyance of your fellow bus passengers, youíre sort of missing the point. The HTC One excels as a personal music player and should be treated as such. In other words, stick to headphones.
One thing about the HTC One we think we can legitimately criticise is the battery. Itís not the worst battery weíve ever encountered, but itís far from the best. When using the screen - taking photos, watching films and playing games - the battery drains fast.
You'll also want to make use of the low-energy settings on standby. Left unplugged for 12 - 14 hours in the office overnight, the battery dwindled significantly. So even if youíre a light user, youíll need to keep your charger at hand.And while weíre complaining about things, thereís a roomy 16GB of onboard memory, but no expandable storage option. If youíre someone who likes to carry all their music, games and video, you might find you run out of space fairly quickly. Considering how well the phone handles media, thatís really quite disappointing.
But let's not dwell on the HTC One's few negative qualities. Itís hard to sulk for too long because this is still one of the best Android phones weíve ever had the pleasure of testing. Attractive, feature rich and easy to use, itís a Jack of all trades, and a master of most.
|Operating System Family||Android|
|Talk Time||0.0 hours|
|Standby Time||0.0 hours|
|Video Calling||1.3 MP and 720p|
|Touchscreen||4.3-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and HTC Sense UI and touch sensitive controls|
|Games||+ downloadable from Google Play|
|Java||via Java MIDP emulator|
|Wifi||802.11 b/g/n and DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.0 with A2DP|
|Usb||microUSB (MHL) v2.0|
|Camera||face and smile detection and geo-tagging and Simultaneous HD video and image recording|
|Browser||Adobe Flash and HTML|
|Video Camera||1080p@30fps and stereo sound rec. and video stabilization|
|Media Player||Beats Audio|
|Gps||with A-GPS support|
|Internal Memory||1 GB RAM and 16 GB|
|No deals for selection|