HTC Incredible S review

HTC's first UK four inch screen on a novel chassis shape

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HTC Incredible S review: Media

HTC incredible s review

The HTC Incredible S comes with a number of different modes for media playback, be it video, audio or DLNA streaming. It's adept at most, but has trouble with some basic playback in certain areas.


The music player on the HTC Incredible S is still only slightly above average - and the internal supply of 1.1GB of storage is paltry when you consider you have to have applications installed to that as well.

HTC incredible s review

However, it comes with an 8GB microSD card as standard from The Carphone Warehouse, meaning you've got a lot more freedom to chuck as much content on there as you like.

The audio output is boosted by the addition of Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual surround sound, adding to the equaliser, although only the middle option really makes a difference sonically in a positive fashion - the rest seem to get too high-end heavy to our ears.

HTC incredible s review

It's not a terrible experience sonically, but only the bass booster option in the equaliser offered the best all round sound.

The media interface is the same as it ever has been on the HTC Android brigade - namely, swipe-able album art that takes you from song to song, and a separate menu to slide along to get to artists, albums and playlists.

Having played with a roughly similar interface on the Windows Phone 7 offerings, we prefer Microsoft's offering here if we're honest - the option to swipe through albums to change songs is so much slicker, where on the HTC Incredible S it's not instant.

A couple of nice touches: after the artist, album, genre etc there's now 'Connected Media' that searches for DLNA-enabled devices.

HTC incredible s review

This means if you've got a Windows 7-enabled PC or a Playstation 3 turned on you can see all the media contained on that and stream it straight across... and it really works well.

The other new feature is the addition of an Amazon MP3 store link - hit that to search for new music to buy and download. It doesn't add a lot in terms of media functionality, but it's an easy (and sometimes quite cheap) way to get that song you've been thinking of.

Another point - if you've got a pair of iPhone ready headphones, we found they will work without adaptor on the Incredible S, although the volume controls won't be active.


Video on the HTC Incredible S isn't bad - the lighter screen might be a draw on the battery, but this leads to some pin sharp video quality.

Video processing is quick and we saw very little evidence of judder in nearly all the file types we threw at it.

HTC incredible s review

The Incredible S doesn't seem to have the range of file playback we've come to expect from today's high end smartphone - no DivX support, for instance.

MP4 and M4V files played back with no problem, as did WMV and 3gp, as you'd expect. DivX isn't supported, so unsurprisingly didn't play back.

HTC incredible s review

HTC claims that AVI files are supported, but we chucked a number on the Incredible S and only one played back - they were all encoded in the same batch, so we've no idea why it was being picky.

However, the non-working files also ground the phone to a halt - not what we'd hoped for.

Sometimes even finding the video you want can be a challenge, as whether you survey your video list via the Videos app or through the gallery (the former is just a shortcut for the latter) you're presented with a bunch of grey tiles which should be thumbnails of your videos.

HTC incredible s review

With no labels in sight, you have to wait an extraordinarily long time to find the vid you want, where on the old Desire this was presented in a swipe-able horizontal list, and the thumbnails appeared in seconds.

It seems the AVI files were to blame here, but there was no caching of the thumbnails, so over and over again we had to wait for the loading to see which video was wihich.

A simple trip to the App Market sorts this out, as something like mVideo Player irons out all the issues, but we maintain you should never have to install third party software to do basic things.

Another issue that's still present from the Desire HD: files that would previously play in whichever screen size we wanted would only play in heavy zoom or 4:3, even though they were encoded in widescreen.

We tried the same ones on the original Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S and they played fine. At least the Incredible S brings the option to zoom in, but third party software can stretch the video with no problem, so why can't the native player?

However, the addition of Dolby Mobile here (as well as SRS virtual surround sound) is a real boon and benefit, really making your movies come to life providing you've got a decent pair of headphones. - it's really worth upgrading as the in-box buds might feature an inline controller, but are poor sonically compared to a decent pair.

Connected Media

Another new trick for the HTC Incredible S - DLNA streaming to a big-screen TV. The penchant for manufacturers these days is to actually pop an HDMI port on the phone itself (think LG Optimus 2X) and have that mirror the phone content.

It's overly complicated compared to just being able to easily send the content across, and that's what the Incredible S does with the Connected Media system.

HTC incredible s review

If you've got a DLNA-enabled TV (or are willing to buy the overly-expensive HTC dongle to turn it into one) then it really is - it's a feature that really will impress friends.

All you need to do is open up the application or click Share in the long-press menu of the media you want to pump to a big screen, and if there's a relevant display in proximity it will instantly begin playing on it - if there are multiple options the phone will present you with a list.

Simply select it and in seconds the TV will start connecting and play the media you've chosen. HD files take a little longer to get going, but the effect is the same - you can play a movie you've captured or got on your phone with no problems.

We should say if you're showing off an HD movie you've downloaded from elsewhere from the HTC Incredible S, it's not the equal of the wired-up Nokia N8, which can also support 5.1 surround sound, but for 99% of the tasks you'll want to do the HTC wireless method just looks so cool when you're sitting on the sofa just chillin'.

HTC incredible s review

However, HTC could still have done better here in our opinion: free downloads like Eyecon or Skifta can do the same thing as the Connected Media program, but also stream in data from a DLNA PC or games console - it's way cooler and something we think should have been on here by default.

We'd advise you don't try and show off a photo album using this method - it takes AGES to scroll through each one, so best to stick to music and video. You know, for parties and whatever else posh people with DLNA TVs do.

Just make sure you select the right file when you're showing off the trick to family at Easter - that Spank Inferno video from your mate down the pub isn't going to go down well with the chocolate bunnies.

FM radio

The final media cog of the HTC Incredible S machine is the FM radio, something that people sometimes forget about functionality-wise.

It's the same old story: you need headphones to make the radio work, there's no RDS for station names unless they're in ultra-strong signal areas (clue: there are none anywhere in the world, ever, when it comes to a mobile phone) and there's no FM transmitter in sight.

HTC incredible s review

The signal is pretty poor too, making it hard to get a station even when you know a standalone device can pick up a clear signal without an issue.

But the automatic station searching is cool, and while it doesn't work all the time at least the home screen widget is easy to use.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory1.10 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time9.60 Hour
Product ModelIncredible S
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)135.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height120 mm
Width64 mm
Depth11.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time290 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameIncredible S Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99MJ008-00
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Dare to be different

One look at HTC Incredible S and you know it's different. The elegant contoured design is so unique that it stands out from any angle. The look, the sound, the feel... it's a phone that impresses the senses.

A standout cinematic experience

The HTC Incredible S brings everything you view to life on a stunning 4" Super LCD screen. So you can browse the web in style, admire your photo gallery, or lose yourself in a video viewing experience. And when you really want to immerse yourself in a movie, plug in your headset and enjoy virtual surround sound via SRS WOW HD.

Package Contents
  • Incredible S Smartphone
  • 3.5mm Stereo Headset
  • Battery
  • Power Adapter
  • microSD Card
  • Quick Start Guide
  • USB Cable
  • Safety and Regulatory Guide
Limited Warranty1 Year