Feature set summary for HTC One S review
There are loads of snapper features and a dual-core chip in the One S’s small body, plus it has a colourful 4.3inch display. It’s a pity about the meagre 16GB of onboard storage though.

Style and handling summary for HTC One S review
HTC’s One S may be slim but it’s still tough.

Battery power summary for HTC One S review
If you use your phone a lot you’ll love the One S – it gave us 36 hours on a full battery, and we were playing games, watching videos, taking photos, making calls and running apps.

Performance summary for HTC One S review
It may not have the grunt of the One X with its quad-core processor, but it still manages to keep up with the latest games with its onboard 1.5Ghz chip

User friendliness summary for HTC One S review
The One S runs Android Ice Cream sandwich, with the addition of HTC Sense 4.0, which offers a user friendly and smooth experience with plenty of opportunities for customisation. The display is really responsive, which makes it easy to navigate your way around the device.

Full Review and Specification for the HTC One S
If you’re familiar with the HTC One X, the One S is a smaller version, with a 4.3inch display rather than the One X’s 4.7 inch screen. However, even though it’s smaller, the One S offers lots of interesting features. Pretty impressive in what is the slimmest HTC phone to appear so far. But has HTC managed to cram all the best things from the One X into a smaller frame?

Slim pickings

First off, you’ll see that the HTC One S is incredibly slim, compared with the One X – it measures a svelte 7.8mm, which is almost as thin as the Motorola Razr. It also has a metallic finish that looks cool. Happily, that slim body is not flimsy, which we thought may be the case – in fact it is especially tough because it is made using an intriguing process entitled Micro-Arc Oxidation (used in making satellites!). This apparently bathes the device in plasma and then electrifies it – at some stage in the process it is ‘hotter than the sun’ we are told. The result of all this clever science stuff is immediate carbonisation, which makes the chassis incredibly tough.

To get to the SIM slot, you need to ease off the end of the phone – but don’t go looking for a Micro SD slot, because there isn’t one. Instead, you get 16GB of onboard storage – and that’s your lot – not much if you are keen on building up a music collection.

In the hand, the curved, smooth chassis of the One S feels good. The device has a decent weight to it, which makes it feel expensive, and it fits nicely in the hand for emailing or texting. There is no soft reverse on the One S, instead the metal finish covers the whole of the body.

If you want to listen to music, you’ll be happy to see the inclusion of Beats Audio, which gives a more full-bodied sound. If you have some old MP3s that seem a tad flat, Beats Audio will make them sound better and get rid of the distortion. If you’re a fan of thumping dance tunes, you’ll like how Beats Audio pumps up the bass.

Screen star

The display is not quite up there with that on the One X – the resolution has been turned down for the 4.3in screen, so HD films don’t look as good as they did on the One X. When watching films and TV programmes it suffered from blur and pixelation, although they were still very watchable.

The display is also a decent size for surfing the net, and the text looks sharp and clear. It is pretty responsive too – making it quick and easy to scroll around complex web pages. Pages also updated speedily when we zoomed out and in. Our review model didn't offer support for Flash, so you’ll have to go to Google Play to download a suitable app so you can watch iPlayer, 4Od and so on.

Despite that, we found the screen really colourful, offering vibrancy and decent colours when looking at photos. HTC’s Sense 4.0 interface also looks great on the screen – and viewing angles are impressive too, so you can watch a film with a friend should you wish without fighting over the screen.

Get the picture

There’s an 8MP snapper that produces colourful and bright images even in overcast conditions. Photos have plenty of detail when you zoom in and are really sharp too. We even managed to grab shots of fast moving objects, thanks to the speedy shutter – snaps are taken almost as soon as you hit the virtual snapper button.

The f2.0 lens allows plenty of light in, which means you get decent shots even in darker rooms – we did find some low-light images were a tad grainy though. Happily there’s an LED flash, which is able to auto adjust depending on how near you are to your subject. This clever feature means you avoid overexposure – something even the Sony Xperia S and iPhone 4S don’t achieve.

There are plenty of other clever snapper features – we like rapid shot, which allows you to take pictures quickly one after the other. It is even possible to take photos while taking Full HD video. Films were impressive too, as the lens is capable of altering to accommodate any changes in light. Audio quality was not quite so good though.

Battery beauty

Another bonus is battery life – we got an incredible 36 hours of heavy use out of a full battery – we were watching movies, using apps, playing games, making calls and it still managed to beat most other phones that give up the ghost after 24 hours at the most.

Performance wise the dual-core chip still manages to handle the latest games without showing signs of slowing down. It may not have the quad-core processor of the One X, but performance is pretty faultless. There are a few tiny quirks – there is a bit of pause when you quit the browser, for instance – but we’re not complaining.

Our conclusion

If you’re after something smaller than the mighty HTC One X, the One S is a great option. Okay, so it may not have quite the grunt of the One X, but it offers lots of features inside its neat chassis. It’s a shame that onboard storage is meagre though and that the display lacks some sharpness.