When the word 'incredible' is used to name your handset, you're leaving it with a lot to live up to. However, the original HTC Incredible did quite well in the US, so HTC obviously has high hopes that the Incredible S will perform just as well in the UK.
Nevertheless, one thing that’s certainly sure to spilt opinion is the phone's design. Although some people may like the slightly industrial look, just as many others will find it rather off putting. Our main bugbear is the rear of the phone. Rather than having a flat back like most of today’s smartphones, the rear is thin at the edges before giving way to a large hump in the shape of an oversized SIM card. It's somewhat reminiscent of the Motorola XT720 in this quirky regard.
This hump is used to cover the battery as well as some of the handset’s other circuitry. Not only is it a visual oddity, but it also makes the Incredible S feel strangely lumpy to hold, though not unpleasant. However, the rubberised finish does at least make it very grippy, so you’d need to be pretty clumsy to let it slip from your grasp.
From the front, on the other hand, the phone looks positively stylish, if a little same-old. As ever, we're pleased to see a single glass sheet covering the whole front, which really gives a nice minimalist look and emits a sense of quality. Naturally, most of the space is given over to the large screen, but there’s a long thin speaker grill at the top and integrated into this you’ll find a tiny LED that turns red when you’re low on battery power or blinks green to draw attention to new emails or messages, which is a nice touch
Another nice addition is the way the four touch-sensitive buttons below the screen only light up when the phone’s screen is on, disappearing into the blackness of the bezel when off. Also they have a clever party trick whereby the symbols on these buttons automatically rotate when you swap the orientation from portrait to landscape.
The only other controls are the power button on the top and volume rocker on the left-hand side. There’s no dedicated camera button, for example, which is a bit of as shame (though depressingly typical), but you do get a top-mounted standard headphone jack and a micro-USB port on the side for charging and syncing.
If the design doesn’t universally live up to the incredible in the handset’s name, then the screen certainly does. Like Samsung’s Galaxy S, which this phone aims to challenge head on, it boasts a large 4in screen with a razor sharp resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The display uses traditional TFT technology rather than the OLED used on the Galaxy S, and while it might not offer as deep blacks as Samsung’s model, colours are impressively rich and vivid, and so pictures and videos look stunning.