The HTC Incredible S is the first of a new wave of Android smartphones from HTC, and currently available exclusively at Carphone Warehouse. Other forthcoming new phones from HTC include the Desire S, Wildfire S and the Facebook-centric ChaCha.
The model we reviewed was powered by Android Froyo (2.2), but HTC say to expect an upgrade soon to the latest version, Gingerbread (2.3). But how does it compare to the rest of the HTC family, and is really all that incredible?
What we like.
It's what we've come to expect from HTC, another quality Android phone. The screen is a good size, and is the right side of bright, brilliant enough without irritating your eyes. There’s two cameras, and although you won’t be taking many pictures with the front-facing camera, it’s ready for video-chatting.
One minor detail that caught our attention is the four buttons below the screen, that, aside from emitting a mystical glittering glow, manage to rotate themselves depending on which way around your phone is. There’s also a flashing light to announce the arrival of messages, emails and missed calls.
We’re still huge fans of HTC Sense, a customised system which is now a mainstay of HTC’s Android phones. Turn the phone over, and your phone goes into silent mode, even if you turn it mid-call, while the HTC innards will also attempt to stream and cache your Google Maps, so there should be less need to re-download maps, and they should pop up faster on-screen.
Compared to the rest of HTC’s range, this comes top. We found it to be smoother than the Desire HD, and battery life was good, lasting a good day and a half on moderate to heavy use, matching the battery life of the Google Nexus S. The inclusion of a 8GB microSD card is a welcome bonus- plenty of space for your music, apps and videos.
What we don’t like.
The Android market is still a bit of a wild west in comparison to Apple’s app store, though it’s the closest to rivalling it. They still need to sort out a better way of navigating past the cheap cruddy apps that no-one needs, but still flood the Android market.
While the phone looks nice enough, we don’t find it as appealing as the glass and metal fusion that makes up the iPhone 4.
The eight-megapixel rear-facing camera didn’t wow us either, with the pictures we took looking not dissimilar from last year’s HTC Desire HD. Though the camera also takes HD video, and there’s a dual-LED for low-light snaps, there are better cameras on phones.
We think this is HTC’s strongest smartphone yet. Sorting out the battery quibbles of the Desire HD, and returning to a slightly smaller handset has meant there’s not much to hold against it.
Performance-wise, it matches the Google Nexus S, and although its lacking the latest version of Android, it's a smartphone at the top of Android pile, with a tasty layer of HTC Sense.