HTC One S review

22 Jun 2012

A fine screen and camera backed up by surprisingly powerful hardware make for an excellent mid-range handset

5

HTC tends to get as much use as possible out of its names - just look at its eight variants of the Desire if you need proof - so it's no surprise to see more phones arriving with the One moniker attached after the barnstorming debut of the One X.

The phone in question sits just beneath the One X in the HTC range, and it’s dubbed the One S. The most obvious difference between the two models is the physical design: while the One X's chassis is milled from a single block of polycarbonate, the One S is assembled from a variety of aluminium parts.

HTC One S

While this makes the One S less innovative and striking, we can't fault the build quality. This is still a very sturdy phone that feels strong in the hand, and it looks like a smart bit of kit.

There’s less innovation when it comes to the components inside too. The One S doesn’t share the quad-core Tegra 3 chipset of its stablemate, instead relying on an older Snapdragon one. Specifically, it's the MSM8260A, only previously seen in Asus experimental Padfone and an obscure ZTE handset; it has two cores that run at 1.5GHz. Graphics power comes from the Adreno 225, and storage is provided by 16GB of memory inside the phone, with no expansion slot for adding additional capacity.

On paper, it sounds like the One X and Samsung Galaxy S III have nothing to worry about, but benchmark tests reveal the One S is an extremely capable handset. In Quadrant the One S scored 4,717, which isn't far behind the One X's 4,927; is within touching distance of the S III's 5,413; and far ahead of the 3,205 scored by the similarly affordable Sony Xperia S.

HTC One S

In the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, the One S's 1,824ms result was actually better than the 2,071ms result of the One X and further ahead of the 2,611ms result of the Sony - although, again, the Samsung's 1,430ms pace trumps the lot. Our final benchmark, the battery test, saw the One S retain 60% of its 1,650mAh power pack after our 24-hour test; a decent result that's on a par with the best handsets.

The One S is an extremely slick handset in use. There's no hint of stutter when navigating HTC Sense 4's multitude of homescreens, and high-end games are all playable: top-end titles such as Modern Combat 3 and ShadowGun exhibited a tiny bit of slowdown, but not enough to put us off.

Details

Price ex VAT Free
Price inc VAT Free
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £21.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider Vodafone
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Physical

Dimensions 65 x 8 x 131mm (WDH)
Weight 120g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 540 x 960
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android