T-Mobile HTC One S is their best Android smartphone (hands-on gallery)

Summary:T-Mobile is the first carrier to secure one of the new HTC One series devices with the One S. It is a beautiful device that will appeal to many consumers.

Last week I posted an article on the HTC One X and One S international models and over the past week I have been spending time with the new T-Mobile HTC One S launching next week. I won't repeat all of the details on the One S I already discussed last week for the international model, but I will cover a bit more about the software and features I did not yet cover. You can see several photos of the HTC One S, and a couple taken with the device, in my image gallery.


Image Gallery: Check out photos of the HTC One S on T-Mobile USA.
Image Gallery: HTC One S retail box
Image Gallery: Back of the HTC One S

In the box and first impressions

T-Mobile has a much more impressive out-of-the box experience than AT&T and this continues with the HTC One S. Inside you will find the One S, a USB cable, charger, microSIM card, and Start Guide. This may be your first microSIM card on T-Mobile so they have included one with a small flyer on using this new SIM format.

Just like last week when I tried the international models, I am extremely impressed with the HTC One S hardware. It is sleek, well constructed, and gorgeous. T-Mobile will be carrying the Gradient Blue model that matches the international model I looked at last week.

Specifications

I previously listed the specifications for the HTC One S, but since they might be helpful for the prospective buyer I will list them again here:
  • Qualcomm 1.5 GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor
  • T-Mobile HSPA+ (42 Mbps network) data support
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS with HTC Sense 4
  • 4.3 inch qHD (540x960) Super AMOLED display
  • 8 megapixel camera with new HTC ImageChip
  • Front facing VGA camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi
  • Beats Audio available universally in the device
  • 16GB integrated storage with no expansion capability
  • Integrated 1650 mAh battery that is non-removable

The only other spec I would have liked to have seen was NFC, but it isn't yet essential in my life so I could use the HTC One S as my main device with no problem.

HTC One S or Galaxy Nexus?

I have been looking at both of these devices to see which of the two I should keep as my primary Android smartphone. At first I thought the One S was missing out on some widgets and other "pure Google" functions, but after looking at both devices side-by-side I realized that the One S actually has several more widget options and has all the greatness of ICS with some HTC enhancements.

Looking at other functions that are important to me, I much prefer the multi-tasking interface on the One S where they give you a cover flow like effect with the ability to swipe the app up still present. The Apps button also gives you quick access to the Play Store and easy filtering tabs on the HTC One S.

Folders on the HTC One S appear tiled (four shortcut images on each folder shortcut) while the Galaxy Nexus shows the shortcuts with a stacked effect.

You will also find some T-Mobile specific apps and utilities, including T-Mobile TV, 411 & More, Game Base, Mobile Hotspot, Music Hub, My T-Mobile, T-Mobile Mall, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV, and Visual Voicemail.

Another functionality specific to the T-Mobile HTC One S, as compared to the international version, is the support for WiFi Calling. WiFi Calling lets you receive and make calls over WiFi, which can be important if you have a weak signal at your house or place of business. Minutes used will be counted toward your monthly calling plan, unless you add the WiFi Calling feature to your Even More or Even More Plus plans that then allow you to have unlimited calling over WiFi. Unlike the UMA technology of the past, there is no longer a handoff between WiFi and the T-Mobile cellular network so if you lose your WiFi signal the call will drop. I tested WiFi Calling out on my home network and it worked well.

Thoughts on using the HTC One S daily

I enjoyed using the One S on a daily basis and am seriously considering picking up one for myself. I did notice the signal tended to go from 4G down to 2G in weak coverage areas and the reception doesn't seem to be quite as solid as I have seen on my HTC Radar 4G and other T-Mobile devices. I was informed this morning that an update is being pushed to the evaluation HTC One S units to fix some 4G speed connectivity issues and that the ones that consumers will purchase starting next week will have this update loaded. I will update this post with feedback after the update to see if these issues I am seeing are fixed too.

I can't get over how fantastic the device feels in my hand. HTC Sense 4 on Ice Cream Sandwich is excellent and very functional. The display is not as fantastic as the HTC One X, but it is still very good and quite vibrant. The T-Mobile HTC One S looks to be the best Android device on T-Mobile at this time and is sure to be a hot seller.

The HTC One S will be available on 25 April for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Hardware, HTC, Mobile OS, Security, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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