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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  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I have to admit I didn't try WiFI Calling, partly because on my prepaid plan WiFi calling is unsupported. I haven't had issues with WiFi in general, but then again WiFi calling does require a different QoS to be pleasant than the typical web browsing use case I stress on WiFi.

  • millerduck - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the reply Brian.

    I have exchanged this phone once and have also been pushed the OTA update without any change in performance. I am hoping another update may be in the works to resolve the issues.

    WiFi itself does seem to work fine. If there is a way to add WiFi calling tests to these reviews that would be very helpful as it is a huge selling point on the T-Mobile network.

  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    What does WiFi calling have to do with the carrier?

    It's just data to your favorite sip provider, no?
  • BoloMKXXVIII - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I find the trend of omiting a microSD card slot disturbing. I have about 8 months left on my current contract and I am hoping there are some quality phones left that still have a microSD card slot by the time I am ready to replace my current phone (HTC Inspire 4G).
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I very much agree and I'm baffled as to why reviewers seem ok with it, I think it's a bit of a joke to have a very powerful phone capable of HD video recording, HD screen and capable of increasingly fancy games with a measly 16GB of a memory and no expansion. I thought it was poor that the slot was removed on the Galaxy Nexus but assumed it would get hammered for it in reviews so no-one else would follow suit but that slipped past and now HTC are at it which again seems fine in this review - I view it as a big plus that the S3 still has micro SD yet that doesn't even get a mention in the verdict. What is the point of having all this fancy hardware if it's crippled by a lack of memory? 16GB is really nothing by the time you've loaded a few games, HD films, music and started taking advantage of the HD recording. Yes you can stream data but data caps seem to be getting increasingly tight at the moment, you need decent reception and it uses considerably more batterypower plus a device with a micro SD card slot can do all that as well if needed.

    The S3 keeping its micro SD slot is a good sign and I hope that's the way Samsung stay despite others removing the micro SD slot. I also hope they keep the removable battery as that's also something I find increasingly handy, my phone's battery life is pretty good on idle but games and web browsing quickly hammer it but I don't need to worry about that because if I kill the battery I can swap it straight over to a fully charged one without issue rather than the fiddle of trying to charge it on the move with a portable battery charger.

  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    The One S's stock browser has an inverted browsing mode - however things I've read on forums (XDA etc) seem to indicate this doesn't really improve battery life.
  • JFish222 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I, like so many, am trying to decide between the S3 vs One/Evo/etc (I'm on Sprint.)

    I prefer the HTC's in hand feel but am looking for other ways to differentiate (that damn 2GB of RAM on the S3 makes it so much hard to go w/ the HTC!)

    Can you please include the S3's in the speaker volume tests?

    Great Article!
  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    2GB RAM on the SGS3 and a removable battery


    Physical camera button, kickstand, and a slightly better display on the EVO LTE

    I opted for the latter because I prefer Sense over Touchwiz and I rarely used the extra batteries I had in the past (with both previous flagship EVOs), they were nice to have when traveling but an external USB battery pack has it's own advantages (no rebooting to slap the battery in) and works well for traveling purposes (throw phone in bag and let it charge while I sleep/move between gates).

    The kickstand and camera button are just things I'll get much more use out of. Had the Sprint SGS3 bring able to roam globally like Verizon's version I might've gone the other way tho.

    This might be my first two year phone in a while I think, barring any uptick in my travel plans. :p (or a massive failure on Sprint's part to stick to their Network Vision & LTE deployment schedule in Puerto Rico)
  • TareX - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Also, AMOLED consumes close to twice more power when displaying the predominantly white screen of web browsers compared to LCDs.
  • Mumrik - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    We're calling 4.3" device diminutive now?
    What the hell? Let's get real - that's a pretty massive phone. 4" is already biggish.

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