HTC One S: T-Mobile's First Android 4.0 Phone - InformationWeek

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4/18/2012
03:25 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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HTC One S: T-Mobile's First Android 4.0 Phone

Fast, sleek HTC One S zooms along on 42Mbps HSPA+ and takes pictures incredibly fast. It's the best phone available from the nation's fourth-largest carrier.

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HTC's One S just one-upped the competition. The One S, first announced in February, is making its U.S. debut on T-Mobile USA's network April 25. The Android smartphone, which is part of HTC's new One series of devices, falls in the middle of the lineup but still manages to pack a punch. It easily tops every other handset the carrier is offering in design, quality, and features.

The One S is a thin, strong smartphone that shows off HTC's design and engineering chops. It was milled from a single block of aluminum, and this unibody design makes it incredibly sturdy. The Super AMOLED screen measures 4.3 inches and packs qHD (960 x 540) resolution. The One S is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor at 1.5GHz, backed by 1GB of RAM. It's plenty fast. The S4 chip--though not the Tegra 3 quad-core beast on the HTC One X--is a fantastic chip in its own right, and sips power while computing with the brain power of 1.5 billion Einsteins.

Like the One X--which is headed to AT&T on May 6--the One S has an 8-megapixel camera aided by an ImageChip to help process images faster. The ImageChip adds a noticeable performance boost to the camera, which is amazingly fast. This phone can take a picture every 0.7 seconds. It shoots 1080p HD video, and users can capture still images while recording video. This is a neat capability.

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The One S runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0 from HTC, and the user experience is a good one. There's plenty of room for customization, and HTC's Sense UI takes a step back in intrusiveness.

HTC has integrated its Beats Audio software across all audio applications, so even Slacker and Pandora can take advantage of the One S's advanced sound-processing software. In addition to Beats Audio, T-Mobile forged a special relationship with Google and its Play Music service. A few weeks after launch, T-Mobile stores will have available stations that show users how to use Google Play, and how to sample the sound quality from Beats Audio headphones.

Other features of the phone include a 1630mAh battery, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and built-in storage for media. It has a number of T-Mobile services preinstalled, as well as apps such as LookOut Mobile, DropBox, Amazon, and others.

The One S works with T-Mobile's HSPA+ 3G/4G network and can reach a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps. When T-Mobile's 42Mbps coverage isn't available, it falls back to 21Mbps or 14Mbps, both of which are plenty fast.

The phone costs $199.99 after rebate with a new contract. Or customers can pay full retail, which is a whopping $599.99. Either way, for customers who head to T-Mobile's retail stores on April 25, there's little else that compares to the One S. The HTC One S just landed at the top of T-Mobile USA's smartphone hill.

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