HTC One S Android phone (preview)

HTC One S preview: A mid-range Android smartphone that's just 7.6mm thick

The One X and One XL may be HTC's flagship Android phones of 2012, but the One S will definitely turn some heads. Constructed from a unibody aluminium frame that's just 7.6mm thick, the mid-range One S boasts many of the same features as its more expensive brothers.

HTC One X preview
HTC One XL preview
Best upcoming smartphones in 2012

The HTC One S features a unibody aluminium design that's is now almost synonymous with HTC smartphones. However, this isn't the same old tired HTC design: the company claims the One S has been toughened using a technique called plasma electrolytic oxidation. This coating should ensure it isn't scratched or marked during the rigours of daily use. In addition, the HTC One S is just 7.6mm thick, making it one of the thinnest phones on the market today.

There are a few downsides to the One S's design — the battery is not removable, there is no microSD card slot for extra storage and the phone uses a micro-SIM rather than a full-sized SIM card. The phone only has 16GB of internal memory, which is disappointing.

The HTC One S has a 4.3in Super AMOLED display with a qHD resolution of 960x540. While this can't quite match the 720p displays of the One X and One XL, and Google's flagship Samsung Galaxy Nexus, it certainly shouldn't be anything to scoff at. As long as the One S is competitively priced, its display is unlikely to be a weakness.

The One S is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, has 1GB of RAM and is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera with backside-illuminated sensor. The camera is one of the key features of the One range and the One S is no exception. The phone has a dedicated imaging processor that HTC says will result in less image noise, better colours and higher quality images overall. There is a vast array of software improvements, too. Users can bypass the lock-screen and immediately jump into the camera app, while the One S also allows you to take a photo while shooting HD video (called "double shutter") and can even allow you to capture a still image from an already recorded video. Holding your finger on the on-screen shutter button will also enable burst mode.

The HTC One S runs the latest 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's Android operating system and is skinned with HTC's Sense 4.0 UI. HTC has attempted to simplify an interface which has often been accused of being too cluttered — as an example it has removed some of the fancy 3D animations to improve performance, and redesigned other UI elements to tie in better with Android 4.0's interface.

New features of Sense include "ImageSense" which enables you to take a photo in 0.7 seconds with a 0.2 second autofocus, Dropbox integration with 25GB of free storage, and the ability to sync iTunes playlists automatically. The One S also comes standard with Beats Audio qualities, a direct result of HTC's "strategic partnership" with the Beats By Dr. Dre audio company. It will work in all applications, not just the music player.

HTC hasn't announced pricing or availability details for the One S, but it is expected to launch in Australia in the coming months.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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