HTC One S review

A top of the range cameraphone with an emphasis on pictures, music and connectivity. Is the One S the One to have?

HTC One S review
The definitive HTC One S review

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OK, so HTC has never been known for its amazing batteries. We know that. And we've read your comments in the HTC One X review too where opinion seems to shift from 'What do you expect?' to 'That's outrageous.'

HTC One S review

So, in the interests of peacemaking let's just chuck this into the mix: The battery life on the HTC One S is… pretty darn good.

Yep, we're as shocked as you are. But that 1650mAh unit gives a good fight. It may not be to everybody's tastes having a battery that is sealed in but it didn't faze us too much. We don't think there are that many people (geeks aside) who carry spare batteries around with them.

HTC One S review

What people do tend to do is have a USB cable in their bag for a boost at work, a car charger in the brum-brum or one of those portable battery chargers in their bag. Let's be honest – if you run out of juice, you're hardly going to be out on a limb in most cases these days.

And there's no reason you should run out of juice on the HTC One S if you're sensible with your usage. We hammered the battery and were still very pleased with what we got out of it.

For example, one day, we took it off charge at 9am, browsed the net, sent a few tweets/emails and made about 40 minutes worth of calls. At 1pm, we fired up the FM Radio and Runkeeper Pro and went for a 90 minute run with the GPS on that whole time.

At 3pm, we were in the car with the HTC One S connected to the stereo via Bluetooth streaming music (and live radio thanks to the Car app which we'll mention in the next section) and using Google Maps Navigation for about 90 minutes again until the battery conked out at just after 4:30pm. Bear in mind, the screen was on for that whole 90 min period too!

Now, 9am-4:30pm sounds shocking (or 'standard' if you owned a T-Mobile G1 – the first Android device to hit these shores) but this is running the phone very hard. In fact, we'd say it's not even heavy usage but borders more on the sadistic end of the scale.

And it really held its own. We were really pleasantly shocked by its stamina and can confidently say that if you're a low to medium user, you'll definitely get a day and a bit out of this though it would probably be prudent to charge it every night.

For all you internet addicts out there, we also tested the HTC One S with a lot of browsing - using the screen at half brightness and browsing the web, watching online video (over Wi-Fi) while listening to music for four hours.

This is always going to be a battery killer, and we noticed quite a high drop rate: we ran out of juice by 2PM and had to charge again, with a 50% battery meter by 11.30PM.

However, it performed very well in our stock battery test, easily outstripping the performance of the HTC One X (which has notoriously poor battery life in our opinion):


As for connections, they are all here. Your obvious ones like HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth all turn up to the party. Unlike the HTC One X there's no NFC inside, but HTC is rolling this out slowly to its handsets.

Whilst the future of NFC is pretty exciting now that the other manufacturers are getting on board at long last, there's nothing major here just yet to get us salivating.

Bluetooth is now of the 4.0 variety which means it's pretty futureproof with the advancements we're about to see (check out our 'What is Bluetooth' article for more on that) plus Wi-Fi b/g/n are the options for fast data usage.

HTC One S review

As standard, you get the Wi-Fi hotspot feature which has come in extremely handy for us on past occasions. We're not massively thrilled with the lack of Mac connectivity support as you may have gathered from the Media section but at least if you're rocking a PC, you're in good company here.

DLNA is supplied as standard on the One S so if you fancy hooking this up to, say, a PS3 or capable TV to blast out some tunes or video, you're in luck.

We're annoyed with the support for Apple users. Or, rather, the lack of it. We couldn't sync with a Mac with the HTC Sync software only appearing to support Windows. What is this? The 90's?

OK, so it's easily fixable if you download an alternative like iSyncr or DoubleTwist but that really takes the shine off it when you have to start figuring this all out yourself. Especially if you're a new HTC user.