HTC One S - What the reviews say?We’ve already taken a look at the HTC One X and found it to be an outstanding phone. How does the smaller, slower One S compare? Let’s find out.
DesignWhile the One X might have a killer screen, the One S has incredible thinness. Whether this thinness is equal to the missing screen, however, is a bit of a question.
Much like the One X, reviewers loved the look and feel of the One S. The shell has had a special treatment called microarc oxidation that converts the aluminum into an incredibly strong ceramic, which both gives the One S a different feel from most phones and means that scratches aren’t readily noticeable. Microarc oxidation, by the way, is usually used on satellites to help them survive the rigors of space. The phone is a mere 7.8 mm thick, making it one of the thinnest phones ever made. And it still manages to pack in a fairly powerful dual core processor.
One thing to note: the One S available on T-Mobile in the States doesn’t have microarc oxidation. That is one of the many changes made to the T-Mobile version over the international version.
The Verge praises the physical build, saying that the styling makes the 4.3 inch screen feel like handling a 4 inch phone.
“You might not fall in love with its austere metallic surface or some of its edges, but there’s no denying that its ergonomics are as good as we could previously expect from 4-inch devices and below.”Computer World loves the feel of the phone, saying:
“The first thing you notice when you hold HTC's One S is simply how good the phone feels: This is a premium phone, and the effort put into its design is immediately apparent.”Engadget warns that for all the toughness of the shell, there is still the danger of wear.
“While it certainly feels tougher, don't expect it to behave as flawlessly as Gorilla Glass -- we did notice some light scratches on the matte surface, though we at least didn't uncover any metal. Both the top and bottom segments are coated in a soft-finish plastic which doesn't disguise wear-and-tear as well.”
ScreenUnfortunately, the screen on the One S is its biggest shortcoming. While it is a decent panel, it makes use of the PenTile pixel arrangement that boosts green and makes the panel cheaper to produce. Yes, it is an AMOLED screen running at QHD 960 x 540. But for that, you might not like the color fringing or the boosted green thanks to the RGBG pixel arrangement.
Engadget says of the screen:
Yes, we're dealing with a PenTile screen, and while there are still plenty willing to overlook that graininess, after seeing it side-by-side against the high-definition beauty on the One X, we're going to rule in favor of the latter.The Verge explains the problem:
The main problem with RGBG is that you get color fringing on high contrast edges (e.g. white text on a black background), which tends to get in the way of displaying crisp edges and fine detail. Most icons on the One S exhibit a fine sliver of green subpixels on their left edge and a similarly slender string of red subpixels on the right.The Verge also had a useful comparison graphic, showing the Gmail icon split between the One S and the One X.
Computer World wasn’t a fan either, saying:
Size aside, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the One S's screen isn't exactly its strong point. The phone uses a 960 x 540 Super AMOLED display that's less eye-poppingly impressive than the 720p HD-quality displays on other high-end devices.
PerformanceThe One S isn’t as fast as the One X, but it is hardly a turtle, either. The One S relies on a dual-core 1.5 Ghz Snapdragon processor which is more than capable of getting the job done. I fact, based on some benchmarks, the One S managed to best the One X. Engadget explains:
According to these benchmarks, the dual-core One S manages to trump its quad-core contemporary. Admittedly, tests like these can't be directly compared side-by-side, since the One X has a larger screen with much higher resolution, and takes advantage of a quad-core chip.Computer World also compliments the screen, saying:
The One S is fast -- really fast. The device is as zippy as any I've used, with snappy transitions, lag-free animations and stellar multitasking performance. Apps load instantly, home-screen swiping is fast and fluid, and Web browsing is speedy and smooth.The Verge was equally complimentary, saying:
UI lag is nowhere to be found and apps pop open with a satisfying quickness. Even the most basic tasks like loading up the camera and taking a quick snapshot, browsing through your galleries, or finding a destination in the Maps application are tangibly improved by the One S’ combination of software and hardware.
Battery Life:Now here’s the rub. As great as the One S is, you aren’t going to get great battery life from it. HTC has paired the more efficient Snapdragon processor with a smaller 1,650mAh battery.
Engadget shared their stats:
We hit just over eight and a half hours of constant video playback during our typical rundown test -- 2.5 hours more than its sibling, the HTC One X. This was at 50 percent brightness, with WiFi on (but not connected), and email and Twitter set to fetch updates at regular intervals.The Verge also shared some usage information:
The Android battery-tracking chart fell off a cliff while I was doing my camera testing, which was a mix of still and video capture with the screen kept on most of the time. Nonetheless, even with a 40-minute photography session included, the One S managed to go a full 24 hours between charges for me, which is reliable endurance by anyone’s smartphone standards.
CameraThe camera on the One S is the same as what you get on the One X, and it is just as average. Everyone still loves the software suite, though, with the Verge calling ImageSense “The best suite of camera software you’ll find on any phone.”
ConclusionThe HTC One S is a stellar phone, if you can look past a little color fringing and a small battery. It feels great in the hand, performs miraculously, and looks great. It also happens to be quite a bit cheaper than the One X, which isn’t something to underestimate.
With performance that nearly matches its beefier cousin, the One S is a must buy.