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HTC One S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £413
inc VAT

A slim and light handset with an excellent camera, a fast chip and Android 4.0, but HTC's software can be annoying, there's no memory card slot and the faster One X doesn't cost much more


Android 4.0, 4.3in 540×960 display

HTC’s One S is the middle phone in the new One line-up – it’s slightly smaller and lighter than the HTC One X, and costs slightly less, but it’s got the same camera and HTC’s Sense 4 software. The major difference is that it’s based on a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset rather than the One X’s quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset. However, the 1.5GHz dual-core MSM8260A “Krait” processor is anything but second-class – in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, the One S scored an impressive 1,816, only just slower than the One X’s 1,746.


Although it doesn’t have the wow factor of the One X’s 4.7in 1,280×720 screen and lozenge-like design, the One S is still an attractive phone. Our black model didn’t really show off the way the screen melds smoothly with the case, but the phone’s oxidised aluminium casing is impressively light and tough – HTC claims it’s five times stronger than normal aluminium. The handset is just 8mm thick and weighs just 120g.

There are a few other differences under the surface: the screen uses a Super AMOLED panel rather than the X’s IPS panel, but it’s just as bright and clear, and benefits from deeper blacks. The 960×540 (qHD) resolution is more than large enough for web browsing, though text isn’t quite as crisp as on its larger brethren. When watching movies its hard to spot the extra resolution, but then the X’s larger screen comes into play. Both screens use scratch-proof Corning Gorilla glass, and we found the One S’s touch interface smooth, responsive and highly resistant to greasy fingerprints.

The One S lacks the X’s NFC chip and comes with half the storage space – you get a total of 16GB rather than 32GB, which translates into 2.2GB of app storage space and 9.9GB of other storage, and as there’s no memory card slot you’ll need to be careful how you manage your photos and music. Like the One X, the One S requires a micro SIM card and you can’t swap out the battery when it wears out.

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Price £413
Rating ****


Main display size 4.3in
Native resolution 540×960
CCD effective megapixels 8-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format MP4
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 16384MB
Memory card support none
Memory card included 0MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSPA, WCDMA
Size 131x65x8mm
Weight 120g


Operating system Android 4.0
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint editors, PDF viewer
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support AAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, FLAC, WAV
Video playback formats MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headphones, data cable, charger

Buying Information

SIM-free price £413
Price on contract £31-per-month, 18-month contract
Prepay price £370
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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