Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: HTC One S

Patrick Stafford /

HTC has been one of the leading manufacturers of smartphones over the past few years, releasing some high-quality products that have led the rest of the industry when it comes to making Android-based devices.

Its “One” series has delivered some great entries so far, but can the One “S” stand up to the rest of the competition?

Hardware and features

The HTC One S is powered by a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, with 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 225 GPU. It comes with 16GB of hard disk storage.

Just 7.8mm thick, the device comes with a 4.3 inch screen, made from AMOLED Gorilla glass. It features an eight megapixel rear camera, with smart LED flash, BSI sensor and the ability to record video at 1080p.

The device also comes in-box with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.

What’s the consensus?

The HTC One S is a good-looking at device. Over at TechRadar, the publication called it a “cracking” smartphone, the thinnest handset HTC has made so far, noting that it feels good in the hand, while the screen itself is good-looking enough to seem bright from even a few feet away.

The publication also praised the minimalist design, with just a few buttons and ports on the outside, including the power button, a headphone jack and a volume switch, along with a micro USB port.

However, it does say that because the device is so shiny and slippery, it’s hard to hold.

“In the first few days of having it, we wince at recalling how many times we dropped it. Luckily only into our lap, but we can see a lot of people breaking these within the first few weeks.”

At Engadget, the publication praised the Super AMOLED screen, saying it was crisp and clear, although noted it’s not the AMOLED “plus” screen that’s been present in some other devices.

Camera-wise, both publications praised the lens, especially with Engadget saying it was the best cameraphone they’ve seen yet.

“Video capture at 1080p is generally well-focused with a good balance of colour and light adjustment. The takeaway here is that the One series have superb cameras; hardware and software both ensure good-quality images were taken quickly and easily.”

The Verge echoed these sentiments, and it praised the battery life as well, saying that with a 40-minute photography session, along with recording video and WiFi on, the phone managed to stay on for a full 24 hours.

“Just be warned that pushing that 1.5GHz dual-core processor to its maximum won’t take you as far as other, less powerful, phones might.”

But of course, smartphones are made or broken by their software. And that’s where the bad news comes in – the Verge has complained of changes made to Android here, including a different dialler, the icon design, and capacity keys.

Although it praises some inclusions, such as the keyboard, it says other, smaller changes make the software look worse.

“HTC has rejected Google’s latest Android aesthetic in favor of a tired UI design whose iconography is over two years old in some parts, it has layered in change for change’s sake, it has made some aspects of the UX worse, and it’s brought no substantial improvements to the experience of using an Android phone.”

However, Engadget said that while HTC is trying different things, “it’s a definitive move forward”. Like with any piece of software, a lot of it comes down to personal preferences.

Who’s it for?

This is a great phone, but it doesn’t necessarily make it the best. The camera, battery life and performance are all top notch, but there are some drawbacks, including the addition of clunky Beats Audio software.

There’s a lot to like, including the great design and the camera. But if you’re after the best overall model, some of the other HTC smartphones may do the trick.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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