Is HTC's Incredible S as incredible as it sounds? We nitpick our way through HTC's latest in a busy line-up of Android smartphones of 2011.
Any way you look at it, the HTC Incredible S is a modish bit of kit with a contoured yet masculine design and an all-round industrial look and feel that has become a winning formula for the gamut of HTC Android phones that have landed in past couple of years.
Like the Desire HD, the Incredible S is made of a sturdy aluminium unibody shell with a matte finish that lends it a solid, easy-to-grip feel and is also more resistant to smudges. Though only just, which I will come to later.
Measuring 120mm in height, 64mm in width and 11.7mm in depth at its thickest point, the Incredible S is a smidgeon larger than the Google Nexus S. Despite its fairly expansive dimensions, it also weighs less than the iPhone 4, tipping the scales at a respectable 135.5g.
And speaking of 'thickest', what we’re really talking about is the design of the battery cover, which juts out slightly almost in the shape of a SIM card - a trait that it shares with its American cousin the Droid Incredible.
We admit, it does look a bit weird at first, but hold it in your hand and you’ll barely notice it’s there. If anything, it gives the Incredible S a unique edge much like the Legend did with its legendary ‘chin’.
As with most high-end kit, the Incredible S is packed to the brim with cutting edge features, chief among which is a 4-inch Super LCD display with a 480 by 800 resolution, meaning there’s plenty of screen space here for gaming and watching clips on the go. Alas, it’s also a major smudge magnet, so you’ll need to keep a clean cloth handy to give it a good spit and polish every now and then.
That minor gripe, however, is more than made up for with the Incredible S’s eight-megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash that captures incredible snaps, if you’ll pardon the pun, and shoots clips in crystal clear 720p HD. Plus, there’s a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for fans of video calling.
The impressive snapper is matched in the 'wow' stakes by an equally powerful 1GHz Qualcomm processor, with 768MB of RAM, which in layman’s terms means ‘plenty’ for multitasking, gaming and whathaveyou.
In terms of connectivity, you’re looking at the usual Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, a 3.5mm headset jack and a mini USB port. There's no HDMI port unfortunately, but there is DLNA support for streaming content wirelessly to supported devices. Last but not least, the customary microSD slot is available for storage of up to 32GB.
Although the Incredible S unit that the good people at mobiles.co.uk sent us still runs the ageing Android 2.2, aka Froyo, out of the box, rest assured it will be upgradable to Gingerbread 2.3 via an over the air update shortly after hitting store shelves.
Of course, as with virtually all of HTC’s Android-flavoured handsets, the Incredible S is layered with the highly customisable HTC Sense UI. So if you’ve used Sense before on the Desire HD, you’ll be right at home here.
You can also expect to find a plethora of apps preinstalled for you, such as Amazon MP3, QuickOffice, Adobe Reader, SoundHum (a music identification app like Shazam), etc, plus the usual array of some of Google’s best apps and services such as Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Latitude and so on.
HTC has also packed in a number of bespoke social networking apps as the HTC Hub, HTC Likes and Friend Stream, which seamlessly merges status updates from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one easy to follow timeline.
Ease of use
HTC Incredible S is an incredibly safe phone. It doesn’t do anything particularly new or innovative but what it does, it does really well. If you’ve used Android, particularly an HTC Android phone before, you’ll know exactly what to expect. If you haven’t, you will love it. Android is still not as user-friendly as it could be, but it’s getting there. HTC’s Sense UI is brilliant and makes life a whole lot easier, enabling you to simply manage information that matters to you - especially if you take the time to customise all seven home screen it offers you.
If you’re in the market for a new Android or a smartphone in general, you’ll not be disappointed. Though it might be worth considering waiting until Gingerbread is available for the handset for your preferred network, just to stay on the safe side.
- 4-inch, 480 x 800 Super LCD touchscreen display
- 120(W) x 64(H) x 11.7(D)mm, 135.5g
- 1GHz CPU, 768 RAM
- Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 with FTP/OPP
- 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, dual LED flash and 720p video recording
- microSD slot expandable by up to 32GB
Overall mark: 8