HTC Desire S review

HTC Desire S review

T3 4
  • The latest HTC Desire S has great hardware and UI, but it doesn't quite feel like enough to fight off the dual-core challengers just around the corner.

    HTC Desire S review

    Love

    • Sleek design
    • HTC Sense UI
    • Battery

    Hate

    • Processor
    • Media player
    • Lack of progress

    Side by side, the Desire S is slightly shorter in the body, but differences are minimal. The familiar Android buttons have become softkeys, and the central optical trackpad has disappeared. The phone body is sculpted out of a single chunk of aluminium (a la HTC Legend), apart from two oblong rubberised sections on the rear – one housing the 5MP camera and LED flash, the other being the battery cover with a cunning integrated antenna.

    HTC Mozart owners would recognise the latter, as well as the fiendish SIM/MicroSD internal cover and slide-in battery.Overall it’s a pleasant weight in the hand, and the build quality of the Alu case and silver detailing around the front VGA camera and headphone jack is excellent.

    HTC Desire S spec

    The muted good news continues here – more RAM (768mb), tweaked internal storage (up to 1.1Gb) and a newer although similar-headline-spec Snapdragon processor. As we noted in the review of the Desire S’s sibling, the HTC Incredible S, the UI is slick enough at the moment, but the competition (Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy 2) has taken a giant dual-core-shaped leap as opposed to this incremental baby step. HTC is likely to suffer later in the year for this.

    HTC Desire S Android 2.3 Gingerbread

    The Desire S is rocking Android 2.3 Gingerbread straight out of the box, and jolly slick it is too. Of course, HTC Sense 2.1 overlays the whole experience, making it instantly familiar. An obvious innovation is an extended top bar menu, which now features a handy ‘quick settings’ tab when swiped down. We think HTC Sense is still the best skin for Android compared to LG, Samsung, Moto and SE, with excellent social networking and neat features like a customise icon.

    HTC Desire S screen

    HTC is still suffering from the lack of AMOLED availability, and in spite of PR offensives, Super LCD just isn’t quite as warm. Bright with good off-angle viewing, colours are a bit muted, and in low light the screen lags pretty badly and content viewed isn’t pin sharp - this is especially noticeable next to the SE Neo.

    However, this 3.7 in WVGA resolution screen doesn’t entirely embarrass itself – it’s just not very exciting next to its bigger brother, the Incredible S, and the AMOLED/Retina-screened competition like the Dell Venue Pro or Samsung Galaxy S.

    HTC Desire S Camera

    Pictures taken in low light are noisier than rivals such as the Nokia E7, but they seem fairly sharp. However, generally on default settings the colours are far more muted than rivals, and colours really lack punch. However, this would suit someone who wanted a more natural pictures. Flash is powerful though, in spite of it’s single LED, while video shooting was pretty good, sharp with natural colours. Overall, it’s a competent performance, but not an exciting one – it’s outclassed by many.

    HTC Desire S battery

    Maybe it’s the power-saving SLCD screen, maybe there’s been a lot of frugal optimising done, but whichever way the Desire S battery is pretty decent. It’s nothing to get excited about, but there’s a full day here and no mistake.

    HTC Desire S verdict

    Yet another accomplished handset from HTC, but this isn’t an unqualified success. For current owners of the HTC Desire, there’s not a lot more here, and the competition is fierce – especially from the dual-core crew. These last are potentially the real HTC Desire S killers, and it’s hard to see anything here that will hold them off. Even the HTC Incredible S (admittedly at a higher price point) looks like a better bet with exactly the same spec but a bigger screen.

    There’s a general feeling that HTC needs to do more, both on hardware and on some aspects of their otherwise solid software - their media player really needs to improve. If you’re hankering after an HTC, this is one to look at if design is your bag, but the Incredible S destroys it on specs.

    HTC Desire S launch date: Out now, link HTC

    HTC Desire S price: £380-£410 online, around £25 a month - T3 readers get £10 off here with code 'T3'

  • In typical HTC style, the HTC Desire S is hewn from a single block of aluminium for a sleek and solid finish. The design will be familiar to anyone who's played with or owned its previous incarnation, the original HTC Desire, with smooth, cuving edges and a cool metal feel to the touch.

    HTC Desire S review

    Love

    • Sleek design
    • HTC Sense UI
    • Battery

    Hate

    • Processor
    • Media player
    • Lack of progress

    However, small adjustments have been made to the successor: the Desire S has lost the clickable buttons at the bottom of the handset and replaced them with touch sensitive icons, and the optical trackball has gone, too, resulting in a phone that is marginally lighter (130 grams) and smaller (115mm x 59.8mm x 11.6mm) than its predecessor.


    HTC Desire S Android

    The HTC Desire S comes running Android 2.2 FroYo, but HTC are promising an upgrade to 2.3 Gingerbread in the near future, presumably with its excellent Sense UI spread neatly over the top. We love the Sense UI on the current stable of HTC phones, but we're not fans of how the HTC MWC candidates are all launching with a behind-the-times operating system, especially with Android 2.3 Gingerbread featuring so prominently on other MWC competing handsets.

    HTC Desire S Screen

    The screen is actually a step down from the original Desire (at its initial launch), owing to the global shortage of AMOLED screens. So, while the original Desire sported pitch blacks and vivid contrasts, its bigger brother has to make do with what HTC call a Super LCD screen - kinder to batteries than regular LCD, but more power hungry and less vivd than AMOLED.

    HTC Desire S Camera

    The camera is a standard 5MP snapper with auto focus and an LED flash. It also records video in the now-standard 720p HD. Furthermore, the post-iPhone 4 standard front facing camera also makes an appearance, for those into video calling.

    HTC Desire S Battery

    The battery on the Desire S has had a slight upgrade from the original Desire, boosting up from 1400 mAh to 1500 mAh, which would normally mean the phone could keep going for longer off a single charge. However, the original Desire also boasted an AMOLED screen, which apart from offering fantastic contrast also uses less power than the Super LCD screen that appears on the new Desire S. Still, battery life rests on more than just mAh, so we'll have to wait until we're gifted one by the folks at HTC to see how it really measures up to its predecessor.

    HTC Desire S Price

    Amazon.co.uk has the HTC Desire S listed for pre-order on their site, priced at £419.99.

     

    HTC Desire S Launch Date

    Amazon put the release date for the Desire S at April 18th, 2011.

    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ht/xs_HTC_DesireSTop_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ht/xs_HTC_DesireS_Camera_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ht/xs_HTC_DesireS_Side_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ht/xs_HTC_DesireSbot_624.jpg
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  • HTC Desire S

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