The “S” in the HTC One S may stand for “superb,” “stunning” or “sublime”. Whatever the “S” stands for, this is a splendid phone.
The HTC One S is a 4G smartphone running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich), available on T-Mobile in the US. The futuristic design of the phone is curvy, lithe, and comfortable. The phone nestles in your hand comfortably like the favorite book you’ve read a thousand times.
The phone is just 7.8 mm thin, it’s the slimmest smartphone ever made by HTC, but the build is solid, substantial and balanced. The texture of the phone is smooth without being slippery. Holding the phone, you aren’t afraid that you will drop it.
This phone is a thing of beauty. I’m not a big fan of form over function, but this phone brings both. The curved design looks like a high-end sports car, rather than a practical roadster. Even the color, called Gradient Blue, sets it apart from other phones.
The phone isn’t just beautiful. This device is also packed with features such as Beats Audio™, a large and sharp screen, Bluetooth, a high quality camera and a very fast processor. HTC One S Specs
The battery life is extensive for an Android phone, with up to 10 hours of talk time and 13.2 days of standby time, according to T-Mobile. In other words, unless you’re an ultra-heavy user you should be able to get through a day using this phone without worrying about recharging.
While the advanced design and thin shape of the phone may lead you to think the phone is delicate, think again. HTC must have realized that people would be reluctant to hide this design in a case so they made the phone sturdy. The phone is built with a Corning Gorilla Glass screen to resist scratches and the body of the phone has a gradient anodized finish.
The phone is currently available from T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile provided me with a phone and a plan to test.
The One S screen is a joy to behold. The screen measures 4.3″ diagonally which is an ideal size to give you a large viewing area but still be able to fit the phone in your pocket comfortably. The screen is has a very sharp display. I don’t use tech terms on this blog, so I won’t mention that it has an AMOLED screen, but I will say that the picture is sharp and clear.
The One S has two cameras, a front-facing camera for video chats or using your phone as a high tech hand mirror, and a main camera.
The main camera on the One S is 8 MP with 3264 x 2448 pixels. The features include geotagging of pictures and face and smile detection. You can take panoramic shots as well as rapid fire shots. The continuous shooting mode captures up to 99 images in a row. The camera has image stabilization, auto flash and a dedicated imaging chip.
The camera has simultaneous HD video and image recording, meaning you can capture a photo while you are video recording or create a photo from a video that has been shot using the phone.
The camera software comes with a range of filters so you can add effects either before you take a shot or afterwards. Choose from filers such as Vignette, Distortion, Sepia, Solarize, Aqua, or other fun effects. If you’re looking for a phone with a high quality camera, you should definitely consider the One S.
The One S can function as a mobile Hotspot, turning your phone into a Wi-Fi router for Internet connection. You can connect up to five different devices at once to your phone, sharing your 4G Internet service with others. Be sure to Mind the Cap! on your data plan to avoid overage charges because five connected devices using 4G can chew through your data limit pretty quickly. The Hotspot feature is available for an added fee of $15/month but is included in some T-Mobile monthly plans.
Dropbox is intimately integrated into this phone. If you’re a Dropbox fan, you will love using this phone. If you’re not yet a Dropbox fan, you soon will be after getting this phone.
First, you get free storage space on Dropbox when you activate the Dropbox app on this phone. Currently you get 23 GB of free space on Dropbox for two years when you are the first one to activate the app. I tested this feature and received 23 GB to my Dropbox account when I activated the app.
Second, this phone makes it very easy for you to transfer files to and from your Dropbox folders. Sharing options for apps such as Gallery and Notes includes Dropbox so you can save files to Dropbox without leaving an app. You can also retrieve your files from Dropbox to have them handy on your phone.
After you take a photo, press Share => Dropbox => Upload and the image is copied into your Dropbox account.
This phone comes with the HTC Sense skin which has some handy features. One very cool feature is the Car app which gives you a different screen for driving. The screen shows the time, weather, message notices and large icons for Google Maps Navigation, Phone, Music and Internet Radio. The app is designed to limit your smartphone use when you’re in the car. You have to reply to a command to exit the app so you don’t close out of it accidentally.
Advanced features of a smartphone sometimes go unused if people don’t understand how they work. HTC provides you with helpful “How To” videos to guide you through using some of the more advanced features of the phone. Some of the instructional videos for the One S that can be found on the HTC website include:
- Capturing a panorama photo
- Smart dial, intuitive silence, and conference call
- Saving web content and reading offline
- Using Dropbox with your phone
The One S isn’t perfect. There are some features that could use improving.
The phone does not have an SD card slot so there is no expandable memory. The phone is well-integrated with Dropbox and gives you 23 GB of free Dropbox storage though, so you may not need extra space. On-board storage is 16 GB which is not expandable so if you need more space than that on your phone, then the One S isn’t your best choice.
The One S has a fixed battery so you can’t swap out your battery if your charge is running low. If you are someone who keeps a spare cell phone battery around to power your phone, you may need an external power source for extra heavy use. The battery life of the phone is strong for an Android phone so you may find you don’t need extra juice to get through the day.
The notification light is tiny. Android phones use the notification light to indicate battery charging and events such as new messages. The light on the One S is small and requires that you look at it straight on to be able to see it. If you are bothered by blinking cell phone lights this could be a plus, but if you rely on a notification light, this is a negative.
The One S has only three menu buttons at the bottom of the screen and they are capacative, not physical buttons. The menu button is noticeably missing, though it does pop up on screen in certain apps. If you’re looking for an Android phone with four physical buttons, you’ll find this design feature to be a negative.
The HTC One S is an Android phone worthy of consideration if you’re looking to get a new smartphone. The feel, form and function of the phone combine to make it a phone for the future. Thank you to T-Mobile for sending me this phone to test. I’ll be returning the phone soon, but I’ll be missing it for a long time to come.
Have you seen the HTC One S phone? Do you like the design and features? Let us know in the Comments section below!