If the fixed 16GB of storage on the HTC One S doesn't divide opinion, the phone's screen is sure to. Ostensibly, it's superb. Its 4.3in size is large but still makes the phone more manageable than the likes of the HTC One X, its 540 x 960 pixel resolution, while not HD, is still fairly high, making for a fairly sharp looking panel, and the AMOLED screen tech is dazzlingly colourful and bright yet still retains the purest of pure blacks – there's no backlight bleed or greyness here.
However, there are three problems. The first is the colour accuracy of AMOLED. Yes, colours are dazzling but they also look over saturated, making everything look larger than life. Human skin, in particular can look decidedly red and blotchy. This screen is actually better than many AMOLEDs we've seen when it comes to this, but the effect is still there.
Secondly, when viewed from an angle, a really noticeable greeny/blue tinge is introduced to the whole screen. It's surprisingly obvious when you first pick the phone up, though we actually found it less and less of an issue the more we used the handset.
Thirdly, the screen uses a pentile sub-pixel arrangement. This means that for every pixel, rather than the traditional trio of red, blue and green pixels, you have alternating green and blue/green and red. This results in a couple of noticeable effects that can be quite distracting. The first is that borders between white and dark areas can have a red or blue tinge to them while the second is that these same edges can look a bit raggedy. Sounds a bit specific and nit picky? Well, where do you often get borders of light and dark? On text. And how often do you read text on a phone?
We generally find we really can't stand this combination of issues with pentile AMOLED screens but here the resolution is just about high enough that the effects are less noticeable day to day, and for the most part, the longer we used the phone the less we noticed it. That said, we'd still rather cope with the extra size of the HTC One X to get its magnificent screen.
The HTC One S runs a Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon processor, which has a dual-core CPU running at 1.5GHz and Adreno 225 graphics. This chip uses the new Krait CPU architecture which is a marked improvement over the previous Scorpion Qualcomm chips used in the likes of the HTC Desire S. The result is one of the fastest phones we've ever tested.
In any predominantly single threaded tasks, it absolutely flies, as demonstrated in our SunSpider and BrowserMark benchmarks. It also holds up very well in multi-threaded benchmarks, even out pacing the quad core HTC One X in some tests.
When it comes to graphics, the Adreno 225 chip doesn't quite reach such lofty heights but it still holds pace with the HTC One X's Tegra 3 chip and it's only this phone and the iPhone 4S that currently beat it.
What does this all mean in real terms? Well, quite simply the phone flies. From the little interface animations, through loading apps to playing games, there is simply nothing that really causes this phone to stutter. Several other phones will soon be arriving with this chip, as well as Tegra 3, but currently the One X and One S are the only two handsets in the UK that offer such performance, aside from the iPhone 4S of course.