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HTC One S - Calling, Contacts, Messaging and Internet

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Calling, Contacts, Messaging and Internet

The Contacts/Dialler interface has been a long standing strong point of HTC handsets. The app lets you either jump straight into scrolling through your contacts, or just type a number, but the best bit is that if you start typing a number or spelling out a name the list of contacts is whittled down to only those that match – it's such a quick and neat way of finding someone. Jump into a contact entry and you can also see their pictures and updates from Facebook and Twitter. It's simply the best interface for managing your contacts that we've ever encountered on a consumer oriented smartphone.

As for the actual calling experience, it's excellent thanks to a good quality noise cancelling microphone and reasonably loud earpiece. The speaker is nothing special but is on par with much of the competition – only the iPhone and a few BlackBerrys spring to mind as being better.

As for messaging, text messages are as well handled as on any current phone while email is mostly excellent. We still find it slightly odd that you have both a gmail and an email app but once you've loaded your accounts into the main email app it generally holds up very well. The only annoyance is that you can't show emails fully zoomed out, so you can't quickly scan the whole thing at once.

You can only zoom out so far from HTML emails, meaning you have to scroll round a bit more than we'd like.

The keyboard is excellent though, providing a good layout with keys that are large enough to easily hit even at high typing speeds. We don't particularly like having the secondary functions of the keys permanently on show, as it's a bit visually distracting, but it's an improvement on previous HTC keyboards where this was even more intrusive. We do like the addition of cursor keys though. These are useful for fine tuning cursor placement when writing and editing text, among other things.

Internet browsing is quite simply excellent. We do miss the extra screen size and resolution of the HTC One X and Sony Xperia S, and the old pentile screen issue is most noticeable here but neither change the fact that it's a good web browsing handset. The speed of the handset means pages render incredibly fast and the Android interface allows you to see so much more of a page than for instance on an iPhone or Windows Phone device. With Flash support also an option you also get a full web experience. We do have one bugbear, which is the removal of the tabs button from the URL bar meaning you have to enter a menu to swap between multiple web pages.

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February 27, 2012, 6:58 pm

This was my big hope to replace my trusty, if ageing, Desire when its contract is up in a month. But no SD slot and only 16GB!!! No chance. It sounds like a fantastic phone but I need >32GB for my media library so I'm gonna have to look elsewhere :-(


February 27, 2012, 11:07 pm

ShaunB - I think you're heading for a world of pain of you're looking for a new phone with expandable storage. The only one that I've read about so far at this year's MWC is the low-end HTC One V. i think this feature is very much on the way out, as much of a shame as it is.


February 28, 2012, 1:30 pm

Tell me about it! But I'm sure I won't be alone. My phone gets used most on my long daily commute. Cloud storage really is pure vapour on a 70 MPH train going through tunnels! On board storage is a must.


April 16, 2012, 8:24 pm

All of these new handsets with non-removable storage are configured to have the same partition accessible to both user storage and to system storage. The advantage of this is that it does away with the limited app space issues common to Android phones of old. It also improves security, with support for features like full disk encryption, and it improves reliability as crucial system data can't be physically removed from the device.

It seems that all of the phone makers have followed Google's lead and decided that usability and security trumps versatility. That's not a surprising choice - I'd bet that most users don't even use 8GB of storage, let alone 32GB, and the manufacturers know it.

As jgsm says, non-removable storage appears to be the future of Android. This is sad, really. I'd like an SD card slot *on top of* my 16GB of internal storage please, even if it's just for storing media. I know, I'm demanding, but I'm a consumer.


April 16, 2012, 11:12 pm

I feel your pain.

I seems as if the most the mobile technology world is regressing slightly at the moment; mobile data is getting more expensive and more limited, micro SD cards are vaporising from spec sheets, battery life is stagnant at best (and more often than not, non-user replaceable) & handset prices are just obscene. (compared to what £4-600 can buy you in other areas of technology).

Just as a teacher can only teach as fast as the slowest child, markets will respond to the greater sales. So, I blame iPhone buyers. ;)

Best getting an unlocked SGS2 in my opinion, or if you can wait a few months, maybe the SGS3 or 'New' Galaxy?


April 17, 2012, 12:19 am

I'm glad I'm not alone in bemoaning the demise of expandable storage.

As long as one high-end phone offers it we can vote with our wallets ans show them they need to give us the choice.

When no-one offers it we're stuffed.

If they're trying to improve stability then I wouldn't mind if apps could only go to internal storage. I do however want as much storage as I can get for my media.


April 17, 2012, 7:41 pm

The GS2 has no problems with having external storage.


September 12, 2012, 6:27 pm

Anyone who is thinking of buying the HTC One S, i urge you to visit this website:

… or just google 'HTC One S home screen button problem'.

I have had two handsets, both have been affected by this problem. The phone become unusable in low signal areas. Hundreds of others have been affected but HTC has done nothing about it.

Please look in to this before buying the phone. I wish I had!

Domain Rider

September 18, 2012, 3:31 pm

I love this phone, with some very minor reservations about battery life and its ability to function in weak signal areas. It feels good, has a great screen, it's fast and smooth in operation...

I would give it 5 stars if it wasn't that it has a crippling bug, known as the 'Home Screen Button Problem'.

This bug appears, seemingly at random, in weak signal areas, when the phone is switching between signal types, and causes the home screen button to act like it's being pressed repeatedly. This kicks you back to the home screen from whatever app you're using, and disables the capacitive buttons until you manually lock then unlock the phone. The main annoyance for me is that it makes using satnav apps while driving a complete lottery - if you get out in the country with low signal coverage, you'll be stopping every few minutes to get the satnav back after this bug strikes.

Many users have returned their phones for repair or replacement, but find the phones they get back begin to suffer the same problem after a few weeks. It's a great shame, but this is a fatally flawed phone at present.

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