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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  • antef - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Remove the period from the end of that URL.
  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Truphone lets you go on both TMobile and ATT networks.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Anyone can do it, what I did was just buy a SIM activation kit from T-Mobile (this one, or any other, it doesn't matter: ), then just select the appropriate plan when provisioning the line. :)

  • pookguy88 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I have it on pretty good authority that the Canadian One S is Pentaband, i.e. works on AT&T and T-Mobile... checking on it now but pretty sure this is the case
  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    The US version should work on ATT too, band II, V.

    I'm assuming the phone support bands I, II IV, V. Probably not IX, X.
  • geniekid - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I think it all comes down to whether you can use the phone effectively using one hand. Given that the processing abilities are pretty much the same between the One S and the SGS3, and both have adequate battery life (arguable), the trade-off you're making is between display size and ease of one handed use.

    For some people watching shows while on the train is more important than texting while walking. For some people it's the opposite. I'm glad there are phones out there like the iPhone 4S, the HTC Incredible 4G, the One S and the Galaxy S3 that make my buying decisions so hard.
  • geniekid - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    This review is so late it's starting to lose relevance, which is unfortunate because it's the best review for the One S I've read. I hope, Mr. Klug, with absolute sincerity, that your life is finally calming down after the move.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    It finally has, I have a big backlog, so there might be a few other phones that have lost some relevance to get through here, but then it's back to being on top of things hopefully :)

  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Your reviews really are unparalleled, but Anand should seriously consider hiring someone to do some of the more mundane testing for you or something! It's a real shame that the best smartphone reviews on the web often tend to come out months after the phone's release.
  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Oh and thanks for adding some of the testing data for unreviewed phones within current reviews, it helps.

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