HTC Incredible S Review

HTC IS - 09

Intro (grandma story)

Since years ago, people around me including myself, have been using Nokia or Sony Ericsson phones like forever. Whenever they get a new phone, it’s either of them.

Probably both Nokia and Sony Ericsson succeed in captivating the users in my country, I don’t know.. Other brands such as Motorola and Samsung do pop up occasionally at that time, but they just can’t penetrate into the market..

Our impression on Nokia’s product is tough and useful phones. Whereas Sony Ericsson produces stylish and media-centered devices, especially their K and W series, but they’re not as durable as Nokia’s.

Until the iPhone hype reached our shore, that pretty much changed everything. People here are so excited with the iDevice and they view it as a premium product which symbolizes the users’ social status.

And then, Google’s Android joins the mobile battlefield too.

Both Apple and Google had caused a huge wave of smartphone revolution, especially the Android OS which helps HTC, Motorola, LG and Samsung mobiles to gain recognition in my country.

Coincidentally, my good-ol Nokia decide to blurp a series of problems to me, so I decided to get myself a new phone. The result – HTC Incredible S (IS).

Tech Specs

CPU: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255

GPU: Adreno 205

RAM: 768MB

ROM: 1.1GB

Display: Gorilla display 4″ S-LCD 480px * 800px

Data Inputs: A-GPS, Ambient light sensor, Digital compass, G-sensor, Multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, Proximity sensor

Camera: Rear 8MP dual flash, Front 1.3MP

Size: 120mm * 64mm * 11.7mm

Weight: 135.5g (including battery)

The Look and Feel

Front – IS has a 4″ screen, and the size is quite reasonable for a phone with that large screen. There’s nothing special at the front, which is covered mostly by the screen. Front facing camera, ambient light sensor and proximity sensor are placed between the ear piece and the screen, the later two are hidden. Four capacitive buttons are placed under the screen for different functionality – home, menu, back, search. The cover surrounding the gorilla glass is made of aluminium I assume.

There’s something special on IS – The backlit icons of the four function keys are able to rotate to match the orientation of the phone.

Back – A lot of reviewers are getting so excited with the edgy design at the back. Some hated, some loved. Yes, it is special indeed, but I don’t really care much of it. The back cover is made of some sort of plastic that feels a bit soft or rubbery. It is nice to hold in the hands. 8mp camera, dual LED flash and speaker is located at the back too.

Side – The side design is minimalist. We have the power button and 3.5mm audio jack on top. Volume rocker and USB sync-charge port at the left side. Otherwise, there is no any port or buttons at the right and bottom side, not even dedicated camera button.

My point of view is, having a dedicated camera button would be nice as it feels much stable to take photos rather than using the touch screen. By the way, the ports do not have any covers to protect them from dust. I’m okay with it because my previous phone has rubber cap for the ports, however it snapped after prolonged usage and it totally destroyed the phone’s looks.

Overall, the phone looks pretty cool and personally, I like its minimalist design. When the screen is turned off, it looks simple without any buttons in view.


I had four phones prior to IS, 3 of them are Nokia and the odd one is Motorola.

The fourth phone Nokia 5700 XM even though labeled as smartphone, but the offered features are “not so smart”… Sad case isn’t it..

Android 2.2 Froyo

IS comes loaded with Android 2.2 Froyo. Well, it was kinda disappointed that HTC decide to ditch 2.3 Gingerbread in order to launch the phone as soon as possible… However Over-The-Air upgrade is promised once it was launched.

And so, I spent the first few weeks with Froyo. Since I’m not a pro in this field, I try to explain my usage experience in simplest way.

The Android experience is awesome. Loads of customization I can say. Furthermore through rooting, you gain super user access for advanced tweaks such as overclocking.

One thing I noticed, the IS’s battery life isn’t really good. It couldn’t last for more than 14hours with average usage… Most of the power is drawed by the 4inch SLCD screen.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

OTA update is available since 26th May, and I updated my IS on that day.

I must say that I’m very impressed with the update.

First, the battery life has improved a lot. The phone now can last for 14hours of average usage and left 30%+ battery power at the end of the day.

Second, the user interface is smoother, less lag.

Third, organized. The apps menu are arranged in pages with different tabs to differentiate the apps.

HTC Sense

HTC Sense is a User Interface designed by HTC for their newer devices.

Android + HTC Sense = Superb Experience

The phonebook is integrated with your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Plurk and even Flickr. Yeah, you can get almost everything in the phonebook, like status updates and photos. Another trick under HTC’s sleeves is, when your friend calls you, the caller information displays the caller name and their latest status update from their facebook/twitter/plurk… that’s genius!!! I’m the type of person who can’t socialize well, and certainly this helps a lot in my conversations.

Other tricks such as flip to silence call and etc.. feel free to visit HTC to learn more about what is HTC Sense.

However, there’s one problem though, its their cloud service. HTC promotes that HTC Sense’s cloud service such as locating our lost device, synchronizing contacts and data, locking our phone through Disappointing fact – their server always down for maintenance. I have no idea what kind of maintenance they’re having. Over-promising.

Camera & Media

The quality of the camera on this phone is average if compared with its close competitors such as Sony Ericsson & Samsung. I would say that I trade the camera quality for better user interface, more ROM & RAM.

A small sensor and unknown lens for 8MP? Based on my photography experience, it creates more noise instead of higher resolution photo. The 720p video recording isn’t smooth enough.

*PS – after using several third party camera apps, I found that the cause of low quality photo is probably due to HTC’s stock camera app. It tend to over-compress the JPEG file of the photo, thus lowering the quality. Seriously 1-2MB per 8mp photo? Ridiculous!

Music & video player are available out of the box. However, there are options available on the market. Thus, I won’t comment on this because music/movie playback depends on the media apps you’re using.

So far, I’m satisfied with the stock music player, meanwhile I replace the stock video player with MoboPlayer which plays almost everything I throw at it.

The included earphone is not good. First, it is not an in-ear earphone. Second, sound quality so-so. Third, volume control unit seems like easy to break. Fourth, I’m sticking with my Philips earphone.

Connectivity & GPS

The most common connection I used on the phone is WiFi, followed by GPS and Bluetooth.

So far, there’s isn’t any problem with the WiFi of this phone, though its a little weak in detecting WiFi signals.

Whereas the GPS works perfectly, although the first lockup with the GPS satellites took forever, however once it is locked, then the next locking time is shorter.

Bluetooth works perfectly, I tested sending files or synchronizing with bluetooth headphones.


Overall, I’m very satisfied with this phone and I’m amazed with the growth of smartphone market. It is definitely making mobile computing as easy as 123.

Although I heard loads of problems regarding this unit, such as auto reboot, miss call/SMS delay, but thank goodness my unit is free of all those reported issues, and I wouldn’t want it to happen on me. However, HTC is currently working on solving those issues.

and those who complain about single core processor or dual core processor… To be frank, the mobile industry is growing way too fast. As I remember, 1GHz single core mobile processor are fairly new in the market, and here comes the dual core.. There’s no end chasing technology. Just get what suits your need.

One thought on “HTC Incredible S Review”

  1. lyng says:

    haha… reference for me…

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