Hardware Review: HTC One S

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The HTC One series phones have been all the rage since being announced early this year. The three part One series includes the HTC One V, S and X. All have their major selling points over the other and all three are available in the US on different carriers now. If you are in one of those good T-Mobile coverage areas, the HTC One S packs quite a punch for not taking too much out of your pocket. With an on-contract price of $139.99 the One S is a pretty attracive package. The $579.99 off-contract pricing is still a bit high in our book, but if you enjoy music and a good camera on your device, the One S will not disappoint.

The One S is a gem of a device that features dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, a 4.3″ super AMOLED screen and a sharp 8MP camera. The 16GB of internal storage is also expandable with MicroSD cards. The One S features HTC’s newest Sense 4 skin over Android 4.0. Overall, the One S packs the perfect punch of style and power. Clocking in with a 42Mbps HSPA+ radio system on the T-Mobile network, the One S also has the ability to download anything on the fly as fast as any home internet connection.

The device itself has quite a great feel. At 7.8 mm thick, the One S is HTC’s thinnest smartphone to date. While the device is thinner than anything they’ve made before, it does not have a cheap feel to it. The case has a solid construction and we noticed zero light leakage or separation issues like some past HTC devices had suffered from. The device also features a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for enjoying music on the go and a 1.3MP front facing camera for self-portraits and video chatting.

The rear facing camera, however, gets a section of its own on this review. Clocking in at the 8MP mark, you would probably ask why they didn’t throw something like the 16MP monster from the Titan or something in the One S? The answer is quite simple, it’s not about the size of the MP’s, it’s the quality of the sensor that matters. The 8MP sensor in the One S is flat out amazing. HTC has revamped their camera system with a new package called HTC ImageSense. New software, new sensors and new drivers completely redefine what we look for in a smartphone camera. While it might be overkill for some, HTC has done a great job of trying to replace our point-and-shoot needs with a smartphone. Many have tried, but the One S certainly did the job.

As far as everyday usage goes, the One S has an ample battery for surviving the day, giving us about 8 hours of talk time and 12 hours of standby. Once video is piped into the 4.3″ qHD screen, usage times dropped considerably, but that is to be expected. Other than that, the music player works wonderfully, just like every other Sense player we’ve used. The other part of the One S that is worth noting is that the device just has a superb feel to it. We like the feel of the One S almost as much as the HTC Radar for T-Mobile.

The bottom line on the HTC One S is that if you are looking for the best smartphone available on T-Mobile right now and are due for an upgrade, the One S is the device of choice in our book. The spectacular camera, fluid software and elegant design just make the One S feel right and look even better. The thin body design is small, yet solid. The Sense overlay brings a gorgeous look to an already beautiful software package. Overall, the HTC One S is one beautiful device that should find a home in many pockets over the summer.

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