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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  • Death666Angel - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    4.3" is my normal. 4.0" is really the smallest I could imagine going. iPhones 3.5" is just unacceptable for my usage case and hands. The Note was not that bad, though I only tried it in the shop. 4.6"/4.7" will probably replace my SGS2 in a year or so.
  • ausaras - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I seriously doubt the AMOLED screen in One S is from SAMSUNG, not after SAMSUNG screwed HTC over.

    I have read news in Taiwan several months ago that AUO is working on AMOLED screens. After reading this article, I Googled a bit and found several sources (in English and Chinese) that AUO indeed is shipping AMOLED screens at the second half of 2012, to HTC and Sony.

    If any reader here is from Taiwan, it should be apparent that the Asian IT industry is in the mist of change. Taiwanese and Japanese companies are forming alliances against the SAMSUNG juggernaut. Another reason why I doubt the AMOLED screen in One S is from SAMSUNG.
  • tynopik - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    when i saw the pic out of the corner of my eye, i thought it was some sort weird combo phone that joined two regular phones with some metal scaffolding
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I'm glad it wasn't just me, I was trying to figure out what on earth the phone was as it looked like some sort of strange double phone attached with a metal hinge from the picture.

  • dishayu - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I love this phone. It's perfect for me. I was waiting for 3 months to be able to buy it, but then all of a sudden, HTC decided to bait and switch and now India has a One S with 1.7 Ghz Scorpion processor, unlike the krait in international version. VERY disappointed.
  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    They pulled a Samsung? Damn.
  • M0rky - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    What countries is this One S international sold in? The version sold in Europe and Asia has a S3 cpu running at 1.7Ghz. I can´t find a single review of this version and as far as I can tell the S4 version is only sold in America.
  • pikahatonjon - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    is the screen in the galaxy nexus and the galaxy s 3 the exact same?

    because i heard reports that the galaxy s 3 one is a bit more bright, but with franco's custom kernel and with the trinity kernal for the galaxy nexus, i can get it really bright. perhaps brighter than the 200 nits that you mentioned in this review. could you possible investigate?
  • azntwboy - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    So, according to your measurements, this screen has a color gamut of something like 130% sRGB? How does that actually look? Are the colors super saturated? How does it compare with the HTC X and the Google Nexus 7? Can you please provide a graphic with the color gamuts overlaid so it's easier to compare?

    One issue I have with all new phones is that they don't have replaceable batteries. I use my phone for both displaying photos for work, and GPS navigation for hiking, so I need to be able to run it for 8 days at a time. I have a HTC desire and I take 8 batteries with me for a week long hike. I wonder if a solar panel charger is something I could use instead of replaceable batteries.
  • dishayu - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    There are 12000 mAH USB battery packs on the market selling for around 60$ that you can carry along. IMO it's much more convinient than carrying 8 batteries and also a lot more versatile because you can use any USB chargable device with them.

    But i do agree, user replacable battery is one option i'd like to have as well, because ultimately when the battery performance starts to detoriate after months of usage, there's no other way.

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