Sunday, May 13, 2012

HTC One S

Since I'm not actively pumping out articles for Android Activist anymore I figured I'd still give the people a little of what they want.....an Android opinion. Today I'm going to take some time to write up some thoughts on the HTC One S. I've had this phone for about a week, thank you T-Mobilizer, and I've really enjoyed it. I'll go part by part and give you my ups and downs with the phone. Let's get to it.

First off, the phone is super sleek and slim. Maybe even almost too slim. It's hard to get a good grip on it and the material it's made out of makes it super slick for some reason. I haven't dropped it or anything, but I can see where a drop prone person may have issues with this phone. The overall design is nice and the phone is light, but with enough heft to make you know that you're holding a quality piece of hardware. A minor annoyance is the micro usb port being on the side instead of the bottom, but I got over that pretty quickly. Overall, build quality seems to be pretty stellar and since there's no removable battery or micro sd to worry about this slab of a phone looks like it could last a while.

Second, I'd like to hit on battery life before really diving in to the phone itself. The battery life is about average. I've been seeing anywhere from 9-14 hours on a full charge depending on use. If you've had a smartphone in the past I'm sure you have your own power management techniques for increasing the juice life, so my numbers may vary from yours. Again battery life is average.

Next order of business....what's under the hood? Ice cream M effin sandwich!! I really like what Google has done with Android. Having this phone ship with ICS was a good move, and I think HTC has listened to their customers somewhat. They have allowed ICS to be the main show and Sense has become a pretty decent supporting actor. Now, I still think I prefer vanilla Android, but Sense has yet to annoy me on this phone. The sense widgets and close integration with the ICS OS have been a nice union. Sense still takes over the dialer (I like the stock dialer better), the keyboard (I used to like the Sense keyboard, but I'd rather stock ICS), as well as contact management (it's...eh..so so), and a host of other things, but it's not too intrusive. I haven't really found myself trying to claw my eyes out because of something that Sense is or isn't doing, but I think I may still need some more time poking around. One thing that I have found curious is the fact that I can use other launchers, but I've continued to use Sense even though I miss certain features out of other launchers. I don't know if it's a laziness on my part or if I'm really that content with Sense. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I'll give Sense ahead nod on their implementation of ICS.

Beats audio. It's a good addition, but if you download a good eq app or if you're running a CM build (I'm not sure about all of the other builds) you'll get the same enhancements. Even with a pair of Beats headphones the improvement is only slightly noticeable. I'm sure someone somewhere was jumping for joy when they heard about this. I say get a pair of quality headphones and you're good to go.

The camera. Hands down one of the best cameras I've used. It could easily be used as a stand alone point and shoot camera. The quality is top notch on stills and video. In low light you get a little degradation, but still far better than most. The shutter speed is almost non existent. The only time I noticed a full second between shots is when the flash is used. Other than that it is an amazing camera.

I miss my vertical app drawer. With this phone being carried by T-mobile, I expected that they would have some bloatware and it does. They have the normal apps they usually include as well as some HTC apps, but it's not big deal. You can choose to use them or not. It's up to you. There's enough internal storage so that it doesn't really bother me that much, but it would be nice to be able to get rid of them. You can search youtube or just about any Android site to hear about all of the different included apps, so I'm not going to go into each one. I just wanted you to know that they are on there and you have the option to use them or not. It's up to you.

Wifi calling is a nice feature and helpful for those on limited plans. I found that the quality is ok depending on your wifi connection. The closer you are the better it works. It good that it allows you to receive texts over wifi also, so you can really cut down on cellular use with this feature. You're also allowed to use your phone as a wifi hotspot, so that's always a plus. GPS loks on pretty quick and is accurate and steady with the GPS on or off. The "4G" speeds have been ok. Nothing to really write home about, but faster than my nexus one. No complaints here.

One thing that I've seen that's a bit of a concern, but should be able to get fixed with an update, is random reboots. I think it has happened to me twice. Just going on about my day and the phone just reboots. I'm not sure if I'm pushing something or if it's just a glitch. 

In summation, this is a great phone. It has a lot to like about it and I think anyone who gets one will enjoy it. I'm still tempted to get a Galaxy Nexus from Google, but I'll see how attached I grow to this phone. This phone is one that I think was built with the future in mind and I hope that it continues to keep pace. I'm really interested to see how this phone handles the next Google update. That could ultimately be the biggest blemish on this phone if it doesn't update quickly and smoothly. Until then I would tell anyone who's curious to get one and they won't be disappointed. Thanks for your time and feel free to leave some comments. If there is something you'd like me to try on the phone or if you have any questions about it, feel free to leave them here or on Google plus or twitter (@ogreen32). Take care .
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