Apr 25 AT 8:40 AM Nick Gray 59 Comments

The international version of the HTC One S has been available for a few weeks already and now customers in the U.S. can purchase the phone from T-Mobile for $199.99 (after $50 mail-in rebate) with a new two year contract. HTC was kind enough to send us a demo unit a few weeks early so that we could give you a detailed look at what to expect from the HTC One S. Early reviews of the international version of the HTC One S were favorable, but does T-Mobile’s software tweaks and HSPA+ network allow the One S to live up to its full potential?

1. Hardware design

Since the introduction of the HTC Magician, HTC has focused on delivering handsets which feature a unique personality and standing apart from the indistinguishable plastic slabs pushed out by the competition. The HTC One S takes HTC’s design language to the next level while bringing back many of the characteristics which give the phone that recognizable HTC look. To say that the design of the HTC One S is minimalistic would be a gross understatement.

The HTC One S is an astonishingly elegant phone made of a single piece of aluminum which wraps around the entire device. The front of the phone features 4.3-inch display, three capacitive buttons, a front-facing camera and micro-drilled speaker holes. The One S features an MHL enabled microUSB port long its left edge, volume rocker on its right edge and the phone’s power button and 3.5mm headphone jack can be found along the top. The back of the phone is accented by a blue ring around the camera lens which is paired with an LED flash, an HTC logo in the middle and a Beats Audio logo towards to bottom. The back of the phone features two plastic panels which house the antenna, speakerphone and microSIM card slot.

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2. Build quality

With the exception of a few select devices, the majority of smartphones produced these days are made of cheap, glossy plastics. These phones may look nice in a display case, but once you get your hands on them, you can feel that very little thought was actually put into the production material and you find yourself constantly looking for ways to clean the phone from the smudges left behind by your greasy fingers.

Fortunately, the HTC One S is one of the few devices where the design of the phone is just as important as the materials used to make it. HTC has been milling aluminum casings for their phones since the HTC Legend was introduced in 2010, but HTC has taken things one step further this time by giving the aluminum a gradient finish on the HTC One S. The color of the phone fades from dark to light. The color fade is present on all sides of the device, but it is more noticeable when looking at the back.

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The HTC One S measures 130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm, making is the thinnest phone ever produced by HTC. Though the handset only weighs 119.5 grams, its balance and aluminum shell give the device a solid feel.The attention to detail on the One is is pretty remarkable. Rather than cutting out a hole in the aluminum and fitting it with a cheap speaker grill, HTC used a micro drill to create 76 holes in the aluminum.

HTC has also stepped up things up when it comes to the glass which covers the display on the One S. While most phones have a glass panel which covers the front of the phone, the glass on the One S flows over the sides, accentuating the slight curve on the back of the phone. But HTC did not stop there. A closer look reveals that the glass panel features a raised edge which keeps the glass from making contact when the phone is placed face down on a surface.

3. Display

The HTC One S is the first phone from HTC to feature a Samsung Super AMOLED display. HTC dabbled with AMOLED displays from Samsung a few years back, but made the switch to Sony’s Super LCD panels when supply issues caused production delays for the original HTC DROID Incredible. Since then, the technology has gotten a lot better and it seems as though Samsung has been able to boost production enough to keep up with demand.

The 4.3-inch qHD display on the HTC One S should be a familiar size for those’s who are familiar with the HTC Sensation or the EVO 3D from last year. The size of the display may not be as impressive as the 4.7-inches of the HTC One X, but it does allow single hand use of the phone without  re-positioning your grip to reach the far edges of the display or pull down the notification bar.

The display on the One S is optically laminated to its Gorilla Glass covering, reducing the space between the glass, producing some pretty amazing viewing angles. Unfortunately, the optical lamination does not make up for the fact that the pentile matrix display looks inferior to the Super LCD displays HTC has used in the past. The traditional RGB subpixel layout is swapped for a RGBG configuration, causing noticeable discoloration in high contrast situations. The issue is easily noticeable in the application drawer where white application icons show a green hue on their left edge and a magenta hue along the right side.

Another down side to the Super AMOLED display on the one S is its outdoor performance. We wouldn’t suggest taking your phone out of your pocket to check your email in direct sunlight, but you will be able to use the phone on a cloudy day or if you’re in a shaded area.

4. Software

Besides the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the HTC One S is the first new phone to be released by a U.S. carrier with Android 4.0 pre-installed. Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, the HTC One S does not come with stock Android. Like the overwhelming majority of Android phones, the One S comes with a custom skin – HTC Sense 4.0. In the past, HTC Sense offered some amazing advancements, but things got a little stale last year when HTC introduced Sense 3.0 on the HTC Sensation. The software build got a lot heavier that it needed to be with 3D animations and glossy buttons that didn’t add any real benefit to the end user.

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Fortunately, HTC listened to consumer feedback and gave birth to Sense 4.0. The latest version of HTC’s UI is intended to allow users to customize the look and feel of their device while making interaction with the OS slightly easier. But HTC Sense is a lot more than just a skin. HTC has modified or replaced the majority of the stock Android applications on the phone is order to give users a consistent look and feel.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you turn on the HTC One S is the new lock screen. Users can choose between a variety of lockscreen styles which display the weather, calendar events, stock quotes, pictures or even social media updates from friends. But the customization doesn’t end there. While stock Android allow users to unlock the device or launch directly into the camera, the Sense 4.0 lock screen allows users to launch whichever application or folder is placed in the launcher dock on the home screen.

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HTC has also taken the liberty of customizing the multitasking menu in Android 4.0. Rather than displaying a vertical list of applications with cropped images, Sense 4.0 features application cards (similar to those in webOS) which scroll horizontally and must be flicked up to be removed from the list.

There are many who think HTC and other OEMs should be forced to produce phones with stock Android. Unfortunately, we don’t see that happening any time soon. Sense 4.0 may not be as sharp as stock Android, but it’s the best custom skin we’ve used in quite some time.

5. Performance

The Android ecosystem is made up of some amazing devices, but when it comes to performance – the HTC One S takes the crown. Inside the HTC One S is a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon S4 processor (paired with an Adreno 225 GPU) which runs laps around the competition.

Those who love to play games on their Android phone will certainly enjoy using the HTC One S. The phone was able to tear through games like Temple Run, Dead Space, Shadowgun and NBA Jam without missing a beat and we wouldn’t be surprised if the phone’s power is able to keep up with the newest titles for at least a year.

When it comes to regular use, the HTC One S is as smooth as silk. We didn’t experience any lag within the UI and launching applications is faster than ever.

To give you an idea how much power the HTC One S has under the hood, we run the phone through a few benchmarks. The HTC One S came out on top in most benchmark tests – even beating out the quad-core Tegra 3 powered HTC One X on several occasions. Naturally, you should always take benchmark score with a grain of salt since they don’t really tell you how a phone will perform in day-to-day situations, but we were blown away.

Benchmark Test Score
AnTuTU 7020
Quadrant 5057
Linpack 104.8 (single-thread) 221.4 (multi-thread)
Nenamark 2 60.3 FPS
Vellamo 2426
SunSpider 0.9.1 1833.7ms

6. Cameras

The HTC One S may be the thinnest and most powerful phone ever made by HTC, but one of the main selling points is the handset’s advanced camera and ImageSense technology. HTC’s focus with the One series is to give users “the power of a true digital camera on your phone.” In order to pull that off, HTC has equipped the HTC One S with an 8 megapixel BSI (back side illuminated) imaging sensor, f2.0 lens and a dedicated imaging chip which work seamlessly and deliver some of the most stunning images we have ever seen from a camera phone.

But HTC didn’t just add amazing hardware components and call it a day. HTC completely redesigned the camera application on the HTC one S, giving users quicker access to more settings. The most noticeable difference in the camera application is the camera shutter and video capture button which are shown at the same time. This simple change allows you to launch the camera application and record a video or snap a shot without having to dig through the menu switch between video or camera mode.

What’s even more interesting is that you can capture images while recording video in 1080p HD. While recording, you can press the camera shutter button and the One S will extract the frame from the video and gave it to your gallery. The system isn’t perfect since pressing the button while shooting video can cause the phone to move slightly, but we doubt most people will notice since most people have a hard time holding their phone still while recording video as it is. If you forget to snap a picture while recording a video, you can always go back and extract the image you want after the fact. Images extracted from video will match the size of the video resolution, producing 2 megapixel images while recording in 1080p.

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Capturing a picture at the right time has gotten a lot easier with the HTC One S. Rather than going into setting and selecting Bust Mode, simply press and hold the camera shutter button and the One S will capture four pictures every second (up to 99). Once you are done shooting, the interface shows you all the images you captured and you can choose to save as many as you want or just the one shot which captured the moment just right.

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The flash has also been improved with an LED Smart Flash with 5 power levels which automatically adjust based on lighting levels. The new flash settings do a better job than most LED flashes we have used in the past, but the BSI sensor on the One S allows you to snap pictures in very low lit situations.

The front-facing camera on the HTC One S is capable of capturing video and pictures in VGA (640 x 480), a dramatic reduction from what the main camera is capable of. The resolution may sound like a drawback since there are devices on the market with feature 1.3 megapixel front-facing cameras capable of recording video in 720p, but we’ve found that the only thing we really use the front-facing camera for is the new face-unlock feature in Android 4.0.

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7. Battery

The HTC One S features a an average sized 1650 mAh battery which is built into the phone. Those who are used to carrying around an extra battery or two to make sure they can make it through the full day have voiced their concern with HTC’s decision, but we really don’t see too much of an issue. In the few days we have spent with the HTC One S, we observed better than average battery life which is most likely due to the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip used to power the device and the Super AMOLED display.

The longest the battery has been able to keep the HTC One S up and running has been a little over nine and a half hours. In that time period, I used the One S to stay on top of multiple email accounts, browse the web, listen to Pandora for a good hour, tweet, run benchmark and network speed tests several times, capture 100+ pictures and record 10 minutes of video. If that’s not considered heavy use, I don’t know what is.

Under regular use, I expect the HTC One S will easily make it through an entire work day (12-14 hours) without needing to be recharged. I’ll be updating details about the battery performance in about a week so that I have a better representation of how long the 1650 mAh battery inside the HTC One S will last.

8. Call quality and sound

Even though the HTC One S can do some amazing things, at its roots, it’s still a phone. Call quality on the HTC One S isn’t as remarkable as the new HD Voice feature which will be available on the HTC EVO 4G LTE, but it is on par with other Android phones currently on the market. Call quality does improve when using T-Mobile’s WiFi calling application which  routes voice calls over WiFi.

Like most other HTC phones these days, the HTC One S features Beats Audio integration for an “authentic sound experience.” Unlike previous iterations of Beats on HTC’s phones, HTC Sense 4.0 integration with Beats Audio brings the audio enhancement to all audio and video applications on the device. Beats Audio doesn’t make a dramatic difference if you have a good pair of headphones, but I did conduct a “blind test” with several people and 6 out of 8 people claimed they enjoyed the audio tones better with the Beats Audio equalizer turned on.

9. 4G

When it comes to 4G speeds, LTE reigns supreme. T-Mobile’s has outlined its 4G LTE rollout plans, but the first LTE markets are not expected to go live for at least another year. Consequently, the HTC One S is equipped with a radio which is capable of taking advantage of T-Mobile’s 42 Mbps HSPA+ 4G network.

While I typically don’t have any issues with T-Mobile’s 4G network, the HTC One S has presented some curious issues. Speed tests on the device have been very inconsistent, ranging from 14.3 Mbps down and 2.1 Mbps up to 350 kbps down and 105 kbps up. I’ve also encountered issues with web pages not loading and application download errors in Google Play. I may have a faulty unit, but the issue most likely stems from a faulty radio which will probably be fixed through an update from HTC and T-Mobile.

The times when the HTC One S had a good connection, data speeds were impressive. At one point I was able to download and install a 24 megabyte game from Google Play in less than 15 seconds. While all the major networks are caught up in the 4G game, most consumers still don’t know the difference between HSPA+, LTE or WiMax. T-Mobile’s network may not technically be 4G, but it usually delivery consistent data speeds which are faster than most people’s home internet connections.

10. Multimedia and accessories

When buying a new phone, you always want to make sure there are accessories which can be used to enhance the phones functionality or protect it from your clumsiness. HTC has pledged full accessory support for the HTC One S with screen protectors, cases (some with built-in kickstands to prop up the device) and even desktop and car docks. But HTC didn’t stop there. The HTC One S comes with support for the new  HTC Media Link HD and Car Clip so that you can enjoy your phone while in the car of just sitting at home on the couch.

HTC Media Link HD is a DLNA dongle which connects to a display via HDMI and allows dual-screen and mirroring capabilities from the HTC one S over Wi-FI.  As you might expect, the device allows you to use any application on your big screen TV, browse the web, play games and a lot more, but the real magic starts when you start up a movie. Rather than being forced to put down your phone so that everyone can enjoy a full length film, the HTC Media Link HD allows you to press the home button and continue using your phone and even make a call or two while the movie continues to play on the big screen.

HTC Car Clip allows users to integrate the HTC One S into their car via  the stereo’s 3.5mm auxiliary input. A new intuitive interface on the phone surfaces your music, maps, contacts, messages and more so that users can easily access all their information on the HTC One S without the typical distractions of the traditional Android UI. There’s always the option to just buy a $5 3.5mm audio cable to connect the phone to your car stereo, but where’s the fun in that?

HTC One S8.5 / 10

Every phone we have reviewed has had its own set of issues. Some have buggy software builds while others simply don’t have enough horse power to accomplish simple tasks or play a few levels on Angry Birds. Fortunately for T-Mobile and HTC, the One S is beautifully designed, bug free (from what we can tell), features the best camera phone we have ever come across and has enough processing power to muscle through anything you can throw at it.

That being said, some people will shy away from the HTC One S due to minor issues with the display or the fact that it runs a custom skin on top of Android 4.0. Others will choose to wait things out to see what the competition has in store. There will never be a perfect phone which appeases every single consumer, but if you’re looking for the best T-Mobile phone that money can buy, the HTC One S is the phone for you.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • triangle

    Looks like a great device, but I’d rather have the One X or Evo 4G LTE simply for the HD screen.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Wow, nice job getting a review up so soon! This isn’t a ground-breaking phone imho, but it is clearly the phone to get on T-Mobile right now. I don’t think I’d consider buying anything else right now!

    • Drew

      I actually just read through this whole review, and have still failed to see how this phone is better than my GS2. sorry

      • ihatefanboys

        i guess you failed to see the name HTC ! Soooooooooo superior to SAMSUNG in soo many ways.

        • goldenboyrb

          true that! Samsung built feels cheap all the way around.

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        The CPU in this phone is much better (and hopefully much more efficient) than the CPU in your GS2.

  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    If the HTC One S has the display that’s on the HTC Rezound, it could have been the perfect phone.

    • sansenoy

      Unfortunately, the first generation 720p LCD in the Rezound is as fat as display panels get, that phone is almost twice as wide as the One S…

      • Derek

        What the heck are you talking about? Twice as wide? You’re just being stupid now. The Rezound has the best display on any phone. ANY phone, even better than the iphone 4s.

        • redraider133

          I think he meant twice as thick. Since the rezound is thick not really wide.

  • redraider133

    Thought it used just amoled not super amoled?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Official HTC specs sheet shows a 4.3″ qHD Super AMOLED 960 x 540 display

  • Frank Pilone

    I don’t think this was mentioned, but the none of the HTC One series has a micro SD card slot, and in honor of Henry Ford, HTC seems to have decided to offer any size capacity as long as it’s 16GB. For people that like to carry a lot of media with them (such as large much music libraries, videos, and large apps), this could be a flaw. I know that my phone (with mostly music) has 8GB regularly filled with some of my music library, so that will remove about half of that maximum space (if all 16GB is available to the user).

    Maybe it’s just me, but until an option for at least 64GB is available, the phone should not throw out the SD card. At least on my nearly 16 month old phone, I can swap my storage if I wanted to watch a 2GB video that I didn’t want to take up my normal memory card. I could also spend about $25 and get a 32GB card if I needed too.

    And yes, I know that Google Play Music is standard with Android 4.0, but if you have high quality 320kbps music, that’s about 3MBPS of data you are using, or about 3.6GB per month if you listen to your music 1 hour a work day. While you’re not cut off, or charged overages – you’re throttled on T-Mobile’s network. If you have the 2GB plan, you’re going to have to spend more money to get the 5GB plan. And if descent sounding music can kill your data plan, what about videos which will only demand more space of the phone.

    Is it really that much of a logistics, aesthetic, or cost issue to keep the micro-SD card slot in? I like the phone with the exception of this problem. However, at least for me, this could be a determining factor, especially when one is on the Value plan, and pays full price for the phone. At $600, we are talking about close to iPhone prices which I feel is also way too over priced.

    And as much as my neutral feelings towards my G2x maybe, at least I can expand the memory, and if my G2x fails and needs to be returned, I can throw the SIM card into a backup phone. I will need to buy a second phone to have a back up on the micro-SIM card the One Series use.

    So, far – while there maybe some impressive aspects about it, is it really $600 impressive?

    • sansenoy

      It’s not HTC, blame your stupid carriers… Just offer two variants, even Apple fragments their precious lineup with larger storage models (they are a majority of their profits actually, they even lose money on the 16GB ipad).

    • Paul Atreides

      The EVO LTE(part of the One series) has a expandable storage slot. It’s definitely about what the carriers demand.

  • uzunoff

    I am a little bit disappointed from the screen. That is one of the most important features in a phone.

    I just hope that T-Mobile has not bet all hopes on this phone and there are better phone coming to T-mo. Maybe a Galaxy 3 or even Moto Razr.

    If not I would get the Galaxy Nexus for the time being and slowly start looking for another provider with real High end phones

    • WlfHart

      I’m still surprised they don’t seem to be picking up the One X. Have I just somehow missed an announcement that they do intend to carry it in the future? If not I guess I’ll have to wait for the SIII or maybe my wishful Note II

      • Paul Atreides

        There’s a rumor that they will launch a One X with stock Android at some point, maybe this summer.

        • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

          The rumor is about a month old now, but we have not seen or heard anything new since the initial report. I’m hoping it will turn out to be true, but we need more leaks to keep hope alive.

          • ihatefanboys

            one of the other moderators said the ONE X is coming late summer to T-mobile as to not overshadow the premier of the ONE S …..hope so…. like i said id prefer Tmobile come out with the G3.

    • ihatefanboys

      T-Mobile has consistently had High End phones…..the G2, the MT4G, amongst others, the other carriers have not had more high end phones, its about equal id say. But i think that T-Mobile should get HTC to make the next phone in the G series, their strongest line of phones to date…..and im not talking about the G2x…..that phone was a joke, and it wasnt made by HTC, so i dont consider it an official member of the G series.

  • MrMrMan

    How about the fact that it doesn’t have a removable battery, has a limited amount of internal storage with no expansion options, and the screen is inferior to many phones currently out. Skipping this garbage.

    • dVyper

      The iPhone doesn’t have a removable batter, has limited storage and no expansion options and that hasn’t stopped it from being the most successful phone.

      And have you actually seen the screen in person? I had a good look at several models of the S at the Gadget Show Live 2012 last weekend and I didn’t notice ANY problems at all with the screen. In fact I completely forgot that it was Pentile. It has a very nice screen. I’d have it if the X didn’t exist.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      While lacking expandable storage and a replaceable battery may be an issue for some, the average consumer is not worried about this issue. Yes, the screen is not the best (that’s why I gave it an average score) but it’s does feature a higher resolution than most other phones on the market. It would have been better if HTC would have used the same SLCD display from last year’s HTC Sensation.

  • Vance

    Garbage? Talk about an overstatement. Is it the be all end all phone? Definitely not. By design this falls as HTC’s “middle tier” phone, below the One X and above the One V. Coming from an HTC Desire (the best option on the local carrier where I used to live) I am busting with anticipation and envy everyone at AndroidandMe who have been playing with it the past several days! This phone will more than suffice for my purposes the next 12 – 18 months and then I’ll be looking for the next big thing.
    Garbage? Get real.

  • redraider133

    I really like the look of the one s

  • jamal adam

    This is a great review. I always enjoy reading Android and Me reviews. I wish the display on the One S was better but other than that it seems like T-Mobile has a winner. Hopefully, they decide to bring the One X for the ride as well.

  • rherrera

    Any idea how the display compares to the Sensation’s? I’m thinking of upgrading, but if I’m going to be taking a hit in the display dept then I’ll pass.

  • Nathan D.

    People like me would wait to get a better phone that has a HD screen and that isn’t pentile other then that this phone is rocking, thanks for the review I will surely show this to people looking at this look phone.

  • qqqqqqqqq

    Has anyone noticed the photos taken by the camera have buildings merged into each other and the same people are in multiple places on the street. Also there are people that look like they are transparent? There is no kind of manual shutter or a way to keep it open, right? No such thing as double exposure, right? At first i thought twins but realized several people are seen in multiple places on the street. Weird?

    • sammy Fdr

      I noticed that too but I think it’s the hdr feature on the camera

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      What you’re seeing is the effect of the HDR setting which captures multiple images in quick succession and them stitches them together so that you get one image with high, medium and low exposures. THe ghosting effect appears when the camera of the subjects in the frame move during the 1/5 of a second it takes to capture the multiple shots.

  • Vance

    Live from New York…. One S available for $199 on contract. Sold.

  • Darkseider

    While this is a great handset I am still hoping for T-Mobile U.S. to carry the quad core HTC One X. Otherwise I see no compelling reason to upgrade from my G2X.

  • iPhoneUser

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Vance

      Or perhaps it’s because your grasp of mobile technology so closely mirrors your grasp of the English language.

    • ihatefanboys

      What ??? Translation please ?? Typical ICrap user, dumb, ignorant, and illiterate.

      • Melissa

        With the way you put out that gibberish, I guess the phone isn’t simple enough.

  • Animate

    Re: HSPA+ speeds.

    If I remember correctly, over on Engadget they got a response about the HSPA+ speeds and said that the model needed to be brought up to date to receive more accurate speeds. The release units next weeks should show better and more consistent results.

  • amgala

    I really like the looks of this phone! But the smaller non-removable battery concerns me. With the amount of charging this phone is going to need in its lifetime, I wonder how much battery charge loss it will see over its lifetime. If it is a significant amount of loss, you can’t just pop in a new battery.

  • Melissa

    Love the phone’s looks…so gorgeous!! If I was still with T-Mobile, I’d consider getting it. The only drawback for me is that I want a phone with at least 4.5″.

  • spazby

    If I had to choose, I would go with One X

  • jamal adam

    A well written and articulated review that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the One S. However, I would prefer to have One X because of it’s HD screen and large display. This is not to say that the One S is a bad phone, on the contrary, this is a beast of a phone, but at the moment I really want a phone with an HD display and a 4.7 in screen.

  • Nicholas

    Can we have this slightly different version of the Android Schema wallpaper?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Maybe, I’ll have to check with Clark since the once in the display picture above was a modification I made.

  • Nathan D.

    It no surprised that it the best phone for T-Mobile right now and hopefully more phones like this will be support by T-Mobile. The review was great as well thanks for this I have some one that might want to look at this as well.

  • fixedimage

    Those are nice photos of Minneapolis.

  • Cesar Flores

    I have the HTC ONE S for about 48 hours. I am quite impressed. Dont judge the screen by its cover. This phone is great. The only downfall was the 16gb and no SD Card, but all phones are gonna start coming like this. Reason we have everyone offering cloud services. The manufacturer at the end makes the device how the Company wants it. Therefore T-Mobile asked not to have the SD Card, as Verizon did with The Nexus III. Why are they doing this so you can use more Data. Guess what the more Data you use the more your bill is going to be to meet the requirements of your daily Data use. Dont bad mouth what you don’t know. HTC has always made better phones, in quality, and built. Samsung makes plastic phones, which feel like they will break. I’ll choose HTC any day. I want a phone that can take hits, and last me for a while. Not a Samsung phone which never really gets updates. Sorry but to me HTC has a better track record than Samsung with service, and filling customer needs. My HTC One S is an awesome phone. I love the Beats Audio, with my Dre Beats now Play Music Sounds way better.

  • Chrissy

    Thanks for the review! I went out and got the One S last night. It’s a great replacement for my myTouch 3G which was seriously on life support. OMG this camera is simply amazing!

  • siddharth singh

    really great phone . I have readen all reviews and thinking to get this one. Love the camera performance….

  • tommyd

    Great phone with few design flaws:

    1. usb connector on the side not on the bottom – this is plain stupid engineering decision
    2. no microsd
    3. non replaceable battery
    4. expensive

  • techmonkey

    I have been long due for a new phone. I’m currently using a SGS 1. As others know, Samsung sucks at updates. I rooted my phone years ago and run the latest ICS build. Now back to upgrading. I am with TMobile and ive been eagerly awaiting the new SGS 3. Now that its been announced, I am debating on getting the HTC One due to the build quality.

    Anyone have any tips/suggestions?

  • Neil Mercer

    I got a HTC One S last week (£16 a month in the UK for 24 months, bargain!) and I love it. It’s beautifully slim, has just the right screen size, is blisteringly fast, has an amazing camera and runs games wonderfully.

    In terms of the display, I use ipod touches for work with retina displays and while the HTC one s doesn’t quite match it for sharpness, the difference is so minimal as to be not worth mentioning. It technically the same density as my last phone (HTC desire with AMOLED), but it’s a much better display and looks sharper. I would be surprised if anyone who has actually used the phone had any real problems with the display apart from real geeks.

    In terms of the storage, yes it’s a shame that there’s no SD slot, but the 16gb onboard (10gb for media, 2gb for apps) is MUCH faster than any SD card could be, so it all helps the speed. I got mine with an unlimited data tariff, which brings the 23gb dropbox thrown in genuinely useful. With some games being huge these days (Max Payne is 1.3gb, but runs like a dream!) the storage is slightly short, but it just means you need to manage your media a little more carefully.

    A non-removable battery isn’t really an issue these days – just search on amazon for some of the amazing rechargeable battery packs you can get, like this:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/TeckNet%C2%AE-Dual-Port-Universal-Ericsson-Blackberry/dp/B000UH46YY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1340032019&sr=8-2

    Considering you can pick them up for about the price of an iphone 3gs, half the cost of an iphone 4s, it seems a bit crazy to me that anyone would go for apple phones right now.

  • jamie

    so how does this compare to the samsung galaxy 2?
    that is what I have right now and I cannot see the screen
    outside for nothing so it doesnt matter if I got another phone
    that I cant see outside either because that is what I am use to.
    I dont understand why BLACKBERRY can make a super awesome
    phone that you can see in the bright sun light but nobody else can???
    I am waiting for BB to come out with a front facing camera and then I am on it!

  • Balaram Vineeth Venugopal .P

    This is my favorite phone right now. I expected more from the s3 but it didn’t deliver.

  • Leshia .

    This phone is beautiful I have fallen in love with it. It does have a few issues but not too bad so I do plan on purchasing the phone HTC One S this Christmas (:

  • alexandria

    The front camera sucks on this phone :( but other than that I love this phone !

  • amit kumar

    HTC one S is surely a great phone with its smart looks. Really this is specific phone. I checked full specification of this phone this website as well. http://www.gadtecho.com/

  1. Looks like a great device, but I’d rather have the One X or Evo 4G LTE simply for the HD screen.

  2. Wow, nice job getting a review up so soon! This isn’t a ground-breaking phone imho, but it is clearly the phone to get on T-Mobile right now. I don’t think I’d consider buying anything else right now!

  3. If the HTC One S has the display that’s on the HTC Rezound, it could have been the perfect phone.

    • sansenoyGuest 3 years ago

      Unfortunately, the first generation 720p LCD in the Rezound is as fat as display panels get, that phone is almost twice as wide as the One S…

  4. Thought it used just amoled not super amoled?

  5. Frank PiloneGuest 3 years ago

    I don’t think this was mentioned, but the none of the HTC One series has a micro SD card slot, and in honor of Henry Ford, HTC seems to have decided to offer any size capacity as long as it’s 16GB. For people that like to carry a lot of media with them (such as large much music libraries, videos, and large apps), this could be a flaw. I know that my phone (with mostly music) has 8GB regularly filled with some of my music library, so that will remove about half of that maximum space (if all 16GB is available to the user).

    Maybe it’s just me, but until an option for at least 64GB is available, the phone should not throw out the SD card. At least on my nearly 16 month old phone, I can swap my storage if I wanted to watch a 2GB video that I didn’t want to take up my normal memory card. I could also spend about $25 and get a 32GB card if I needed too.

    And yes, I know that Google Play Music is standard with Android 4.0, but if you have high quality 320kbps music, that’s about 3MBPS of data you are using, or about 3.6GB per month if you listen to your music 1 hour a work day. While you’re not cut off, or charged overages – you’re throttled on T-Mobile’s network. If you have the 2GB plan, you’re going to have to spend more money to get the 5GB plan. And if descent sounding music can kill your data plan, what about videos which will only demand more space of the phone.

    Is it really that much of a logistics, aesthetic, or cost issue to keep the micro-SD card slot in? I like the phone with the exception of this problem. However, at least for me, this could be a determining factor, especially when one is on the Value plan, and pays full price for the phone. At $600, we are talking about close to iPhone prices which I feel is also way too over priced.

    And as much as my neutral feelings towards my G2x maybe, at least I can expand the memory, and if my G2x fails and needs to be returned, I can throw the SIM card into a backup phone. I will need to buy a second phone to have a back up on the micro-SIM card the One Series use.

    So, far – while there maybe some impressive aspects about it, is it really $600 impressive?

    • sansenoyGuest 3 years ago

      It’s not HTC, blame your stupid carriers… Just offer two variants, even Apple fragments their precious lineup with larger storage models (they are a majority of their profits actually, they even lose money on the 16GB ipad).

    • Paul AtreidesGuest 3 years ago

      The EVO LTE(part of the One series) has a expandable storage slot. It’s definitely about what the carriers demand.

  6. I am a little bit disappointed from the screen. That is one of the most important features in a phone.

    I just hope that T-Mobile has not bet all hopes on this phone and there are better phone coming to T-mo. Maybe a Galaxy 3 or even Moto Razr.

    If not I would get the Galaxy Nexus for the time being and slowly start looking for another provider with real High end phones

    • I’m still surprised they don’t seem to be picking up the One X. Have I just somehow missed an announcement that they do intend to carry it in the future? If not I guess I’ll have to wait for the SIII or maybe my wishful Note II

      • Paul AtreidesGuest 3 years ago

        There’s a rumor that they will launch a One X with stock Android at some point, maybe this summer.

        • The rumor is about a month old now, but we have not seen or heard anything new since the initial report. I’m hoping it will turn out to be true, but we need more leaks to keep hope alive.

          • one of the other moderators said the ONE X is coming late summer to T-mobile as to not overshadow the premier of the ONE S …..hope so…. like i said id prefer Tmobile come out with the G3.

    • T-Mobile has consistently had High End phones…..the G2, the MT4G, amongst others, the other carriers have not had more high end phones, its about equal id say. But i think that T-Mobile should get HTC to make the next phone in the G series, their strongest line of phones to date…..and im not talking about the G2x…..that phone was a joke, and it wasnt made by HTC, so i dont consider it an official member of the G series.

  7. How about the fact that it doesn’t have a removable battery, has a limited amount of internal storage with no expansion options, and the screen is inferior to many phones currently out. Skipping this garbage.

    • The iPhone doesn’t have a removable batter, has limited storage and no expansion options and that hasn’t stopped it from being the most successful phone.

      And have you actually seen the screen in person? I had a good look at several models of the S at the Gadget Show Live 2012 last weekend and I didn’t notice ANY problems at all with the screen. In fact I completely forgot that it was Pentile. It has a very nice screen. I’d have it if the X didn’t exist.

    • While lacking expandable storage and a replaceable battery may be an issue for some, the average consumer is not worried about this issue. Yes, the screen is not the best (that’s why I gave it an average score) but it’s does feature a higher resolution than most other phones on the market. It would have been better if HTC would have used the same SLCD display from last year’s HTC Sensation.

  8. Garbage? Talk about an overstatement. Is it the be all end all phone? Definitely not. By design this falls as HTC’s “middle tier” phone, below the One X and above the One V. Coming from an HTC Desire (the best option on the local carrier where I used to live) I am busting with anticipation and envy everyone at AndroidandMe who have been playing with it the past several days! This phone will more than suffice for my purposes the next 12 – 18 months and then I’ll be looking for the next big thing.
    Garbage? Get real.

  9. I really like the look of the one s

  10. This is a great review. I always enjoy reading Android and Me reviews. I wish the display on the One S was better but other than that it seems like T-Mobile has a winner. Hopefully, they decide to bring the One X for the ride as well.

  11. rherreraGuest 3 years ago

    Any idea how the display compares to the Sensation’s? I’m thinking of upgrading, but if I’m going to be taking a hit in the display dept then I’ll pass.

  12. People like me would wait to get a better phone that has a HD screen and that isn’t pentile other then that this phone is rocking, thanks for the review I will surely show this to people looking at this look phone.

  13. qqqqqqqqqGuest 3 years ago

    Has anyone noticed the photos taken by the camera have buildings merged into each other and the same people are in multiple places on the street. Also there are people that look like they are transparent? There is no kind of manual shutter or a way to keep it open, right? No such thing as double exposure, right? At first i thought twins but realized several people are seen in multiple places on the street. Weird?

    • sammy FdrGuest 3 years ago

      I noticed that too but I think it’s the hdr feature on the camera

    • What you’re seeing is the effect of the HDR setting which captures multiple images in quick succession and them stitches them together so that you get one image with high, medium and low exposures. THe ghosting effect appears when the camera of the subjects in the frame move during the 1/5 of a second it takes to capture the multiple shots.

  14. Live from New York…. One S available for $199 on contract. Sold.

  15. DarkseiderGuest 3 years ago

    While this is a great handset I am still hoping for T-Mobile U.S. to carry the quad core HTC One X. Otherwise I see no compelling reason to upgrade from my G2X.

  16. iPhoneUserGuest 3 years ago

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  17. AnimateGuest 3 years ago

    Re: HSPA+ speeds.

    If I remember correctly, over on Engadget they got a response about the HSPA+ speeds and said that the model needed to be brought up to date to receive more accurate speeds. The release units next weeks should show better and more consistent results.

  18. I really like the looks of this phone! But the smaller non-removable battery concerns me. With the amount of charging this phone is going to need in its lifetime, I wonder how much battery charge loss it will see over its lifetime. If it is a significant amount of loss, you can’t just pop in a new battery.

  19. Love the phone’s looks…so gorgeous!! If I was still with T-Mobile, I’d consider getting it. The only drawback for me is that I want a phone with at least 4.5″.

  20. If I had to choose, I would go with One X

  21. A well written and articulated review that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the One S. However, I would prefer to have One X because of it’s HD screen and large display. This is not to say that the One S is a bad phone, on the contrary, this is a beast of a phone, but at the moment I really want a phone with an HD display and a 4.7 in screen.

  22. NicholasGuest 3 years ago

    Can we have this slightly different version of the Android Schema wallpaper?

  23. It no surprised that it the best phone for T-Mobile right now and hopefully more phones like this will be support by T-Mobile. The review was great as well thanks for this I have some one that might want to look at this as well.

  24. fixedimageGuest 3 years ago

    Those are nice photos of Minneapolis.

  25. Cesar FloresGuest 3 years ago

    I have the HTC ONE S for about 48 hours. I am quite impressed. Dont judge the screen by its cover. This phone is great. The only downfall was the 16gb and no SD Card, but all phones are gonna start coming like this. Reason we have everyone offering cloud services. The manufacturer at the end makes the device how the Company wants it. Therefore T-Mobile asked not to have the SD Card, as Verizon did with The Nexus III. Why are they doing this so you can use more Data. Guess what the more Data you use the more your bill is going to be to meet the requirements of your daily Data use. Dont bad mouth what you don’t know. HTC has always made better phones, in quality, and built. Samsung makes plastic phones, which feel like they will break. I’ll choose HTC any day. I want a phone that can take hits, and last me for a while. Not a Samsung phone which never really gets updates. Sorry but to me HTC has a better track record than Samsung with service, and filling customer needs. My HTC One S is an awesome phone. I love the Beats Audio, with my Dre Beats now Play Music Sounds way better.

  26. ChrissyGuest 3 years ago

    Thanks for the review! I went out and got the One S last night. It’s a great replacement for my myTouch 3G which was seriously on life support. OMG this camera is simply amazing!

  27. siddharth singhGuest 3 years ago

    really great phone . I have readen all reviews and thinking to get this one. Love the camera performance….

  28. tommydGuest 3 years ago

    Great phone with few design flaws:

    1. usb connector on the side not on the bottom – this is plain stupid engineering decision
    2. no microsd
    3. non replaceable battery
    4. expensive

  29. techmonkeyGuest 3 years ago

    I have been long due for a new phone. I’m currently using a SGS 1. As others know, Samsung sucks at updates. I rooted my phone years ago and run the latest ICS build. Now back to upgrading. I am with TMobile and ive been eagerly awaiting the new SGS 3. Now that its been announced, I am debating on getting the HTC One due to the build quality.

    Anyone have any tips/suggestions?

  30. Neil MercerGuest 3 years ago

    I got a HTC One S last week (£16 a month in the UK for 24 months, bargain!) and I love it. It’s beautifully slim, has just the right screen size, is blisteringly fast, has an amazing camera and runs games wonderfully.

    In terms of the display, I use ipod touches for work with retina displays and while the HTC one s doesn’t quite match it for sharpness, the difference is so minimal as to be not worth mentioning. It technically the same density as my last phone (HTC desire with AMOLED), but it’s a much better display and looks sharper. I would be surprised if anyone who has actually used the phone had any real problems with the display apart from real geeks.

    In terms of the storage, yes it’s a shame that there’s no SD slot, but the 16gb onboard (10gb for media, 2gb for apps) is MUCH faster than any SD card could be, so it all helps the speed. I got mine with an unlimited data tariff, which brings the 23gb dropbox thrown in genuinely useful. With some games being huge these days (Max Payne is 1.3gb, but runs like a dream!) the storage is slightly short, but it just means you need to manage your media a little more carefully.

    A non-removable battery isn’t really an issue these days – just search on amazon for some of the amazing rechargeable battery packs you can get, like this:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/TeckNet%C2%AE-Dual-Port-Universal-Ericsson-Blackberry/dp/B000UH46YY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1340032019&sr=8-2

    Considering you can pick them up for about the price of an iphone 3gs, half the cost of an iphone 4s, it seems a bit crazy to me that anyone would go for apple phones right now.

  31. jamieGuest 3 years ago

    so how does this compare to the samsung galaxy 2?
    that is what I have right now and I cannot see the screen
    outside for nothing so it doesnt matter if I got another phone
    that I cant see outside either because that is what I am use to.
    I dont understand why BLACKBERRY can make a super awesome
    phone that you can see in the bright sun light but nobody else can???
    I am waiting for BB to come out with a front facing camera and then I am on it!

  32. This is my favorite phone right now. I expected more from the s3 but it didn’t deliver.

  33. Leshia .Guest 2 years ago

    This phone is beautiful I have fallen in love with it. It does have a few issues but not too bad so I do plan on purchasing the phone HTC One S this Christmas (:

  34. alexandriaGuest 2 years ago

    The front camera sucks on this phone :( but other than that I love this phone !

  35. amit kumarGuest 2 years ago

    HTC one S is surely a great phone with its smart looks. Really this is specific phone. I checked full specification of this phone this website as well. http://www.gadtecho.com/