HTC One S reviews: Critics are drooling

Reviewers say the phone is the Android device to beat in 2012

HTC One S

HTC One S

The Android 4.0-powered HTC One S arrives in the US on April 25, and so far reviews say this phone is the Android device to beat in 2012. Reviewers are going gaga over the phone's camera, battery life, responsiveness, design, and sound. However, not everyone is thrilled with the device's storage size or the usual bloatware that manufacturers and carriers love to add to new Android handsets. Here's a quick round-up of what the reviews are saying about the HTC One S.

But First the Specs

The HTC One S features a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display with 960-by-540 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 16GB onboard storage with no expansion slot, an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p video capture at 60 frames per second, front-facing camera for video chat, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin), and DLNA compatibility. The device also features the usual HTC additions such as the Sense UI overlay (version 4), Beats Audio, and (available on all HTC One series handsets) 25GB of free Dropbox storage for two years. The One S is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and available on T-Mobile for $200 (after a $50 mail-in rebate) and a new two-year contract.

Love that Camera

The most popular feature by far on the new One S is the handset's 8 megapixel camera featuring 1080p video capture at 60fps. PCWorld's Ginny Mies said the camera lived up to HTC's boast that there was virtually no shutter lag allowing you to take a series of photos relatively quickly in burst mode. Engadget called the camera "fantastic" and BGR's Zach Epstein said, "The quality of the images the One S captures is among the best I’ve seen on a smartphone." The new camera's software also features some Instagram-style filters, but from the sounds of it you're still better off using apps such as Instagram for Android and Pixlr-O-Matic.

PCWorld's HTC One S Test Video

Speedy

The One S may be a dual-core handset living in a quad-core world, but that doesn't appear to be a problem for its responsiveness. Engadget said the One S is "one of the fastest phones we've ever used," and CNET said "Menus, apps, and images opened with pep, and animations that give many other Android handsets trouble were buttery smooth."

PCWorld's benchmark tests found the One S to be faster than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, our formerly top-rated smartphone.

Great Beats

HTC's investment in Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics appears to be paying off for the company in terms of sound quality for its smartphones. The One S reportedly has superb Beats Audio integration for enhanced music listening. GigaOm said "music sounded richer and louder" on the One S, thanks to Beats integration. "Beats signal processing has a dramatic impact on sound quality; more so than equalizer functions on any other smartphone, in my opinion," said Epstein.

Bloatware

One of the biggest downsides for the One S is the bloatware that T-Mobile and HTC thrust upon users. Some of it will most likely be welcome, such as Dropbox integration, but other things including T-Mobile Mall and T-Mobile TV may not be welcome. Engadget said most of these apps cannot be uninstalled, but Mies said you could at least disable most of these annoying add-ons.

Sense 4

HTC doesn't appear to be willing to give up its user interface overlay known as Sense, but the consensus appears to be that Sense 4 is not as annoying as its predecessors. "Gone is much of the fancy eye candy, such as the perpetually spinning carousel of home screens," CNET said. GigaOm called Sense 4 "refined and intuitive, making it easy to figure out most of the phone’s functions."

"Sense 4.0 is much subtler than previous versions of the interface. The company has cleared out a lot of unnecessary icons and text that cluttered older versions of Sense," Mies said.

Sealed Up

Perhaps the biggest disappointment for reviewers was the fact that HTC decided to go the "iPhone route" with the One S by sealing the battery and deciding against an expansion slot. Most critics, however, found the battery life to be great. "I am able to get well over 24 hours of use out of the One S on a single charge," Epstein said.

PCWorld has yet to complete a full set of battery life tests for the One S.

As for storage, you only get 16GB onboard with no option to expand that capacity with a microSD card. That is unusual for an Android phone, so critics are warning prospective One S users to consider this factor carefully before purchasing the device. On the upside, at least you won't suffer through those annoying warnings that your phone's onboard storage space is getting low as often as you do on SD-expandable phones.

HTC's One S is a winner as far as the critics are concerned, but we'll have to wait until next Wednesday when the handset hits the streets to see how Android fans react to HTC's latest smartphone.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?