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HTC Incredible S Review

At Mobile World Congress in February HTC announced three new phones – the successors to the HTC Desire, the Incredible, and the Wildfire, which are the company’s most popular smartphones nowadays. The HTC Desire S, the HTC Wildfire S and the HTC Incredible S trio promises great performance, novel technology, updated features and a unique customer-focused user experience.

Our pick for the day is the HTC Incredible S — the latest Android phone from the Taiwanese company. Very aptly named, the phone is yet another great high-end device from HTC that has a lot to offer its buyers. An impressive 4 inch Super LCD display, spotless connectivity, rotating buttons, updated HTC Sense UI and the proven power of Snapdragon under the hood, HTC’s new European version of the Verizon DROID Incredible is set out to mark new dimensions of superior performance and style.

But does this new HTC kid have all that it takes to be a really cool smartphone? Read our HTC Incredible S Review to find it out.


The HTC Incredible S looks really incredible, just like its name states. When you look at the phone, it seems to you it’s thin, but when you hold it in your palm, you understand it’s not thin at all — 120 x 64 x 11.7 mm, after all. Then the material used on the back cover catches your attention. It’s not as durable as metal, of course, but feels very soft and pleasant – like velvet. Besides, it’s not so easy to leave fingerprints and smudges on it. On the other hand, if you really manage to get it dirty, it will be much harder to clean it…

There is one more interesting thing about the design of the HTC Incredible S — the jog on the back area styled as a large SIM card. It looks really original, though not everyone likes it. Here on the phone’s back you’ll find the 8MP camera with dual LED flash and the speaker grill, which, by the way, has a very good sound quality.

If we take off the back cover, we’ll find the 1450mAh battery (which provides 9.5 hours of talk-time and 290 hours of stand-by on 2G networks and about 6.5 hours of talk time and 370 hours of stand0by time on 3G networks), the SIM slot and the microSD slot.

The power/screen lock button and the headset jack are located on the top side, and the microphone hole is on the bottom of the smartphone. The charging port is placed on the left side of the HTC Incredible S, below the volume rocker. I guess it won’t be really comfortable to type when the phone is being charged.

Let’s have a look at the smartphone’s “face” at last. The impressive and large 4 inch touchscreen is well worked into the black exterior. At the first sight the front surface looks strangely “plain” and clean. No buttons, nothing. But when you turn the display on, you notice the standard Home, Menu, Back and Search buttons beneath the screen; they are touch sensitive and remain hidden when the phone is off. Nothing new, you think? Just rotate the phone 90 degrees counter clockwise – the buttons will rotate, too. Not that it’s a really important feature, but it looks really nice and original – no one has done such a thing before. But I should mention that this little “trick” works only when you rotate the phone to the left, not right. Another little minus – not all the buttons are illuminated evenly.







Let’s also try to compare the appearance of the HTC Incredible S with its main competitor — the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc:

I think the HTC Incredible S looks more stylish, though… it’s up to you to decide.


The all black smartphone from HTC really stands out in the crowd thanks to its looks. Let’s now see if it’s as cool inside.


Let’s first of all have a look at what we can find inside the box:

  • The HTC Incredible S
  • A wall charger
  • A microUSB cable
  • Stereo headsets
  • An 8GB microSD card
  • A quick guide to the phone


Inside the phone rests a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 (as in the Desire HD) along with 768MB of RAM and 1.1GB of internal storage. Connectivity includes HSPA/WCDMA and quad-band GSM/EDGE, along with WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1.

The HTC Incredible S also has GPS, a digital compass, a g-sensor, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor. And a powerful 1450 mAh battery, which, as I have already mentioned above, promises up to 380 minutes of WCDMA talk time (580 minutes GSM) or up to 370 hours WCDMA standby (290 hours GSM) from a full charge. The calling quality is rather on the average side. The average network data speeds recorded read around 2.7Mbps down and 1.7Mbps up.


The HTC Incredible S gets a 4 inch Super LCD capacitive display with 800 x 480 pixels of resolution. There are smartphones with higher resolution displays on the market now, but the Incredible’s 800 x 480 still looks rather good. The screen provides good brightness levels, sharp colors and great contrast with no color distortion even in different angles of viewing. Maybe the colors are not as saturated as the ones on Super AMOLED displays, but they still look very rich and bright.

I guess the only shortcoming is that the Incredible S fails to maintain its display in the bright sunlight, so HTC still has to work on this.

As for the sensitivity of the capacitive touchscreen, it is just great, though I have to say that the Desire HD’s keyboard seemed to be better anyway. By the way, you can choose between three types of keyboards – QWERTY, T9 and SireType.


The HTC Incredible S is shutterbugs’ best friend with its 8MP auto-focus camera, 720p videos and flash.

The image quality appears to be much better than other HTC phones’ (except for the Thunderbolt that seems to have gathered good reviews for its picture quality). There is a great feature – touch-focus – you can just point on the display the object you want the camera to focus on. It works well when both taking pictures and recording videos. Face Traching and geotagging are also possible.

One more interesting thing about the camera of the HTC Incredible S – it can provide very interesting effects and filters (like Sepia, Distortion, Black and White and others).

The camera can also record HD videos with 720p resolution. The quality of the video and audio are quite good, even when recording in darkness.

The HTC Incredible S also has a 1.3MP camera on board for video calling and making self-portraits — a feature that was missing in both the EVO Shift 4G and the Arrive.

Here is a sample video. Not bad, is it?

You can have a look at example photos taken by the smartphone’s camera at the bottom of this HTC Incredible S Review.


The HTC Incredible S runs Android 2.2.1 Froyo instead of the Gingerbread atop company’s famous Sense UI. An update to Android 2.4 was promised, though no definite date was pinned on to the calendar.

HTC Sense UI

The new version of the Sense is present in many of the preloaded apps (like email, contacts, camera and weather) with a new slider option that makes navigation within the apps very easy. Also Sense now integrates with the cloud through where the phone can be managed remotely, locked and tracked down if it’s stolen.

Not much was changed in this new version. The design of the icons and the structure of the menu were changed a bit, but nothing revolutionary was added.

Here is the list of the main changes in the HTC Sense 2.1:

  • The spell checker underlines the mistakes
  • Icon design updated
  • Skype integrated
  • New messages and Unread messages (SMS, e-mail) are separate now
  • SMS tags and descriptions added
  • Birthday notifications added
  • Applications are now sorted in different tabs.
  • You don’t have to enter the country code for roaming calls now
  • Apps upgraded
  • A Built-in mechanism for rapid updating of standard programs without having to upgrade the entire firmware added.


The browser of the HTC Incredible S is really fast, which was a good surprise for us. With a good Internet connection you won’t experience any delays at all. Pinch-to-zoom and scrolling were also quite smooth. The browser has support for Flash 10.1, which makes surfing the web with the phone quite a delightful experience.

Apps and more

As usual, the phone greets you with seven homescreens that can be rearranged but not deleted. You can fill the homescreens with different widgets gaining access to your calendar, bookmarks, contacts, weather forecast, app or anything else. Of course, these widgets consume much battery, so you should keep it in mind.

The smartphone has many preloaded apps like calendar, gallery, weather, news, camera, Internet, email, FM radio and others. The Gallery is great, and you can watch your photos in different views and share them. I am sure you will enjoy it.

The FM radio interface is very simple and easy to use. Naturally, you have to plug your headset to listen to it.

The device also has the Friend Stream application that joins your Facebook, Twitter and Flicker feeds into one — very useful.

As for email, it’s also great as in all Android devices. There are two default email applications: one of them is Gmail, and for the other you can add any other email account of yours.

The Locations is another useful application of the HTC Incredible S. It helps to find different places via GPS, share it, view it on a map and do many other things.

These were only few of the applications that come preloaded on this smartphone. All the apps can’t fit in just one HTC Incredible Review, so you’ll have to discover them yourself. And these HTC Incredible S software review videos can help you:


We really liked the HTC Incredible S. The smartphone is definitely swifter in performance than its larger sibling Desire HD even if they share the same hardware specifications, plus it looks much more stylish. So this smartphone is first of all for those who like trendy things. The quality of the build is also perfect.

HTC says a new red version of the HTC Incredible S will be released soon, and I am sure it will look even more stylish.

The main competitor of the HTC Incredible is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, which has a bigger screen and similar specifications. But Sony’s smartphone’s UI loses against Sense, and besides, the Incredible S is much more stylish and costs less.

Should the HTC Incredible S be your choice for a new phone, have a look at some of the decisive factors for your next purchase.


  • Excellent battery life (heavy usage a day and a half, while moderately lasts up to two days)
  • Updated HTC Sense UI
  • Excellent 8 MP camera
  • Amazing Super LCD display with 4 inch screen


  • Screen invisibility in sunlight
  • Android 2.2 instead of Gingerbread
  • Front camera unable to make video calls over 3G

And here are the promised photos made by the camera of the HTC Incredible S.





And the effects and filters:





Thanks to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

  • Celaw_0412

    My personal experience is if you on the wifi 24 hours a day and let your phone syncronized automatically, it last less than 6 hours.

  • George80

    one of the best smartphones ever!! thanks for the review

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