TC@MWC: Hands-On With The HTC One S

The HTC One X is clearly the device everyone wants to see, which is why I decided to give its little brother a bit of spotlight first.

The One S is sort of a puzzle to me. Though it’s meant to be more of a mid-range device than the powerhouse that is the HTC One X, the One S sports an arguably handsomer exterior. Unlike its polycarbonate-clad counterpart, the One S sports a frame made from single piece of aluminum, which imbues it with a more robust, premium feel despite its light weight and slim (7.9mm!) frame. Much as I like the One X, I think there’s a very real chance that the One S will ultimately be the real leader of the pack when it comes to popularity.

It felt rather zippy too — there was nary a hiccup to be seen, thanks in large part to its 1GB of RAM and its 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor. While it may seem on paper like a step down from the quad-core savagery of the One X’s Tegra 3 SoC, there was (to me at least) very little difference in performance between the two. This is hardly a scientific determination: there were no Quadrant scores or benchmarks involved, but the flipping through menus and playing with apps didn’t leave me with the impression that the One S would easily be flummoxed.

The Super AMOLED qHD screen weighs in at 4.3 inches diagonal, which actually made me chuckle when I heard it. Remember the days when the Evo 4G seemed like overkill? I can be picky when it comes to my screens, but with solid viewing angles and vivid colors, the One S didn’t leave me with much fodder to work with.

Sense 4.0 is a strangely welcome addition to the One S, and believe me — I never thought I’d be saying that. Though I much prefer stock Ice Cream Sandwich, Sense 4.0 seems much more tasteful, and far less of a headache than it was in years past. That isn’t to say that HTC’s classic eye candy has been axed completely, but you can tell while using it that HTC took efforts to remove a lot of Sense’s cruft. Sense 4.0 has been tweaked with a handful of new additions like the updated camera, but one of my favorite new bits is the Music Hub, which aggregates all of a user’s music and music apps into one central location. All things considered it’s a much more mature take on Sense than I’m used to seeing, and HTC is far, far better off with it.

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