Hands on with the HTC One S

The chaos of day 0 at Mobile World Congress is finally winding down, and HTC’s action-packed press conference is now behind us. The obvious star of the show was the HTC One X, but there’s no denying that its mid-range counterpart packs a massive punch as well. We just spent some time putting the HTC One S through the paces and first things first: this smartphone is amazingly thin. At 7.9 millimeters, it’s the thinnest smartphone HTC has ever built and it really is amazing that the company managed to pack such high-end specs into a device this slim. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below and hit the break for the rest of our initial impressions.

Several ulta-thin smartphones on the market right now feel a bit flimsy and “plasticky,” but that is anything but true with the HTC One S. The case is made of unibody aluminum that has been treated with a plasma coating at extremely high temperatures. The result is a finish that is soft and rubbery, but it’s also light and beyond sturdy. It’s probably one of the best feeling smartphones we’ve ever held, in fact.

While the high-end One X is powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the One S features a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset. While the difference between the two is big on paper, you wouldn’t know it to handle the phones. Moving around HTC’s Sense 4.0 UI on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is lightning fast even with a number of apps running in the background, and switching apps in the vendor’s new 3D task manager is almost instant.

Sense 4.0 is a bit toned down compared to earlier versions of the interface, which a number of Android fans will certainly appreciate. There are some elements from stock Ice Cream Sandwich that we still wish HTC would have retained, however, such as the menu items across the bottom of the home screens. Overall though, Sense 4.0 is very cohesive and the free 25GB of cloud storage courtesy of Dropbox with deep Sense integration is a nice touch.

The 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED display on this phone is very impressive, but even more impressive is the overall size of the handset — it is much more compact than other phones with the same size screen. The 8-megapixel camera is also a huge draw for the One S. It features the same camera as the One X complete with dedicated HTC ImageChip, f2.0 aperture and 1080p HD video recording capability.

The HTC One S is set to launch on T-Mobile in April, and we can’t wait to get our hands on this gorgeous smartphone. In the meantime, be sure to check out the hands-on images in our photo gallery linked above.

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