The HTC One S has an internal 1650 mAh 3.7V nominal battery, which works out to a capacity of 6.1 Whr. That’s smaller than the 6.66 Whr battery (1800 mAh, 3.7V) in the HTC One X / XL, but still pretty big for a phone of this size and thickness. The question then becomes what battery life is like on the One S, and to test I turned to our current smartphone battery life tests which I’ve described before. The web browsing tests consist of a few dozen pages which are loaded every 10 seconds with the display set at precisely 200 nits (using a meter) until the phone dies - this is done over WiFi and cellular data. The tethering test consists of a single client notebook attached to the device using its onboard WiFi hotspot function, and four tabs of our page load test alongside a 128 kbps streaming MP3 station are loaded on that notebook until the phone dies.

Battery Capacity

I should also note that the One S T-Mobile and International results differ somewhat because of the difference in air interface - the T-Mobile variant is on that network’s DC-HSPA+, whereas the One S International I had to test on AT&T in an 850 MHz market (Pinal county) where AT&T holds an 850 MHz license just north of me. Where I live, AT&T is only PCS 1900 MHz.

Remember that DC-HSPA+ is aggregating together two 5 MHz wide WCDMA carriers on the downlink which in theory should require more power from the power amplifiers per unit time. The age old question, however, is whether the increase in throughput can result in the system both achieving a higher data/time rate, and suspending quicker, thus saving some power. Some of the One S International results are also absent because of my limited time in 850 MHz AT&T markets.

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

Web Browsing (WiFi)

Cellular Talk Time

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

I’ve had requests to measure charge time on smartphones, and thankfully the One S makes this possible with the charging status LED. I measured 1.533 hours required to charge the One S from completely empty to full using the supplied charger; this is a pretty speedy charge time compared to some of the other devices I’ve reviewed as of late. I’ll spare everyone the usual rant about USB charging spec and using the right charger that implements the appropriate data pin impedance.

While the One S has basically the same 28nm dual core Krait SoC as the One X (MSM8960 and MSM8260A differ in baseband), the One S also has to deal with a relatively power hungry SAMOLED display. We’ve shown before that this combination suffers in our battery life test especially because our test pages all have white backgrounds.

In day to day use with the One S on auto brightness, I have to say that I’ve never been want for more battery life at all. If you look at the web browsing test, the One S is just a half hour short of the iPhone 4 result. I’d say that’s pretty impressive. If you’re on a One S (or any AMOLED phone) and trying to eek some more longevity out of the device, as always my suggestion is to lower display brightness and set a black background on the home screen, which is what I do with all my AMOLED phones. 

Physical Impressions and Cases Performance
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  • A5 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I'm not exactly sure how to set-up the plan (I assume it's through the website after you activate the SIM), but getting the SIM is very easy.
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Oh, I know getting the SIM is easy. The issue is actually getting a decent phone from T-Mobile to go along with it, that's what I meant by 'getting one of the matching phones (aka crappy phones)' that they have list options for those plans. If I want to pay full price for an HTC One S or a SGS3 there doesn't seem to be a way to do that through T-Mobile's site. They won't allow you to checkout with one of those 'good' phones without a contract plan - there is no 'full price' option.

    Perhaps you have to call to order to do that or go to a store, or get the phone unlocked from a third party source. T-Mobile does not make it easy to get a good phone with those plans.

    Those plans have one caveat though - the coverage is not equivalent to contract plans. Like other low cost plans that MVNO's resell, you can use the T-Mobile network *only*. It might work for some people but it's an important difference between the 'Value Packages' (same as contract coverage) and the 'Monthly4G Prepaid Plans' (T-Mobile network coverage only)
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Coverage maps to see the difference (this is similar to the way all MVNO versus contract plans are - T-Mobile just happens to be their own MVNO in this case for the 'Monthly4G Prepaid Plans', so to speak):

    'Classic Plans/Value Packages'

    'Monthly4G Prepaid Plans'
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    You can get the phone in store at full price, no contract. You can probably also get the phone by itself on their website at full price as well. T-Mobile has one of the dumbest marketing strategies I've seen - you often cannot buy a particular combo on their website.
  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Buy it off someone who is keeping the contract anyway but doesn't need/want a new phone. Win - Win - Win!

    It's unfortunate they call it the TMobile version instead of the US version. The One S is great, hits all the features (except uSD and its use of uSim). I would consider buying this. There is a concern about timely/any software updates, developer community, but that is the same for all devices other than the Nexus.
  • antef - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Yes! Use it with any phone you like. The $350 Galaxy Nexus is a great choice. Find all the details you need here:
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Yeah, just have to source the phone somewhere other than T-Mobile's website I guess. But I've rejected those plans (and other MVNO plans) because, despite the nice savings, the coverage for the Monthly 4G Prepaid Plans sucks. It's worth it imo to pay more for at least good voice coverage in places where you're more likely to need it - outside of major highways and towns.
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Why not just get their value plans? It's like $20 more per month with full coverage and a lot more minutes?
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Who makes phone calls anymore?
  • antef - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Yes, you can get the value plans for 50 bucks a month as OCedHrt said, but they require a contract, or you can do something like Straight Talk which is $45/month, no contract, and offers AT&T coverage. Getting the phone from somewhere else is not hard - Google sells the Galaxy Nexus directly for $349:

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