This year the HTC logo marks some of the sleekest smartphones made yet. One of the first devices to take advantage of T-Mobile's 4G 42 Mbps mobile broadband network, the HTC One S made me curious enough to test the nations fourth-largest wireless carrier.
Why you should get it
Like its larger One X sibling, the One S is solidly constructed, but still svelte, and feathery. It measures less than 8mm thick and weighs around 4.3-ounces. The brushed aluminum shell offers a premium look to set it apart from its shiny plastic competitors.
The vivid 4.3-inch screen notches in nicely between the large 4.7-inch One X and the diminutive 3.5-inch iPhone 4S. While those devices may offer finer resolution, the medium-sized form factor of the One S may have that "just right" form factor for some.
The 8MP camera also uses the same high quality camera components as in the One X - including the fast f/2.0 lens. HTC's camera captures the best low-light photos I've seen from a smartphone. The camera software is stuffed with shooting modes, options and effects filters. It should make menu geeks happy, but not get in the way of a quick and simple snap. It has a cool "rapid-fire" shooting capability.
Buyers will also get 25GB of free cloud storage for two years from DropBox to supplement the 16GB of on-board storage.
The sleep/wake and volume buttons can be a little difficult to find by touch. I found them more difficul to operate one-handed. This might also explain why HTC did not opt to use a volume key with the camera. It is likelu something you get more adept at with more time.
Some users will not be not confortable without a microSD card slot despite the free 25GB of cloud storage.
T-Mobile plans to begin rolling out its own LTE coverage next year, but the One S was extremely fast in areas endowed with its current 42 Mbps coverage. My average of 10 Mbps downloads is competitive with AT&T's and Verizon's LTE networks. Speeds ranged from as fast as 18 Mbps to a slower, but highly usable 5 Mbps which again mirrors my experience over LTE.
In remote areas T-Mobile users will find themselves on 2G. Traveling from Raleigh to Savannah there were pockets of 2G coverage along the most rural corridors of I-95, but as expected 4G appeared in all populated areas. I did encounter instances where T-Mobile outperformed the big boys, but wireless performance is a seesaw in the real world. Nothing beats a test drive.
T-Mobile's plan pricing can offer a less expensive option.If you think T-Mobile might work for you start with checking their coverage map.
Network: T-Mobile, 42 Mbps HSPA+
OS: Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense 4.0
Screen: 4.3-inch 960 X 540 qHD Super AMOLED
Processor and RAM: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 with 1GB RAM
Storage: 16GB, no microSD slot
Camera: 8MP with a f/2.0 28mm lens, LED flash, 1080p 60fps video, VGA front
Weight: 4.2 ounces
Size: 5.15 X 2.56 X 0.31 inches
Battery: 1650 mAh Li-Po
Price: $200 with a 2-year contract