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HTC Incredible S review

HTC Incredible S review
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Retail Price: RM 955
AP Price: RM 950 - 980
HTC has revealed to be the Incredible S, a new 4-inch that succeeds the original Incredible. The smartphone comes with a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8225 with a 768MB RAM, a 720p HD video capable 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing imager, and a 1450mAh battery.
Review On : HTC Incredible S
By CHONG JINN XIUNG

THE HTC Incredible S is the Taiwanese phone maker's latest high-end Android handset that packs a host of Features within a compact and slim form factor.

The phone boasts a slick Design with a predominately black chassis. The housing is a mix of metal and matte plastic. The plastic part provides a nice rubber-like grip which is nice.

Although it doesn't have the same rugged feel as the Motorola Defy, the Incredible S still feels solid and durable.
STAND OUT: The contoured design gives the Incredible S a unique look.

Design

The slim and lightweight phone tips the scale at 135.5g. Its sleek look is further enhanced by the lack of physical buttons on the front panel.

In fact, the only physical buttons on the smartphone are the volume rocker on the side and the power switch at the top. A dedicated Camera button would have been a useful addition. The capacitive buttons are cleverly hidden at the bottom of the screen and only light up when the phone is activated. What's cool about them is that the icons for the buttons rotate along with the phone. However, this only work if it's turned in an anticlockwise direction from a vertical (portrait) position to horizontal (landscape).

The Incredible S has an attractive 4in display that is sharp and vibrant. Although it retains the same 480 x 800-pixel resolution as its predecessor, the brilliantly bright screen is still great for browsing the Internet and photos, and watching videos on the go.

One qualm we have with the screen is that it is difficult to view under direct sunlight.

A front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera allows you to make video calls on the phone and also take self-portraits.

Of course, if you want to snap better pictures there's a 8-megapixel autofocus camera on the back.
SIDE VIEW: On the side you'll find the volume rocker and a microUSB port that both charges the phone and syncs with your computer.

Performance

We were surprised to find out that the phone doesn't run on the latest version of Android which is 2.3 (Gingerbread) and instead still uses Android 2.2 (Froyo).

That said, the Incredible S isn't missing out on much because Gingerbread only brings minor improvements to the table. Also, the phone is expected to get the Gingerbread update in the near future.

The Sense user interface is prominently featured on the phone and is integrated well with the phone's functions.

The interface is more than just an aesthetic make over. Sense comes with a number of handy widgets for the homescreen like Friend Stream that aggregates your social networking feeds.

Interestingly, you can also synchronise your phonebook with contacts from Twitter, Facebook and Google accounts.

The phone only has 1.1GB on-board memory which is hardly enough for storing applications and data. You'll have to invest in a microSD card if you plan to install lots of apps or keep video files on your phone. The phone supports cards of up 32GB in size.

In the hardware department, the Incredible S has a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 768MB RAM. The phone was generally snappy and ran applications smoothly. Also, there was no lag when switching apps. Browsing the Web on the phone was also pleasant - pages loaded smoothly and it was easy to navigate them.

The browser also supports Flash which is great because there are still a lot of sites that rely on it. In terms of specs, the Incredible S can't quite match the recent dual-core Android phones but it's still a pretty fast phone nonetheless.

If you are not the type that has to be on the bleeding edge of technology, then this shouldn't be an issue.

Call quality was generally good and we have no complaints. What really impressed us were the speakers which are really loud.

The first time we used the phone, the HTC start up sound was so loud that it startled us. Needless to say, the speaker phone is clear and great for group chats.

The virtual keyboard is great for text messaging and e-mail. The keys are well spaced and the predictive text engine guessed the words quite accurately.

In terms of battery life, the Incredible S lasted an entire day of using it for browsing the Web, making calls, using a few apps, and shooting a pix or two. That's not too bad because it allows you to do more with your phone than just making calls.

Multimedia

The camera proved to be quite versatile and was great for snapping pictures. The autofocus speed is fast and the ability to tap to focus is great for focusing quickly. The auto macro mode also works well for close ups.

The camera shoots in automatic mode by default although you can make manual adjustments to the exposure, contrast and saturation. There are also filter effects which can be used to add an artistic touch to your photos.

The picture quality was generally good and detailed with strong colours but the camera works best in well lit conditions.

However, the pictures tended to appear more grainy and patchy due to heavy noise reduction when we tried snapping photos where there wasn't enough light.

The dual LED flash is quite bright and good for lighting up subjects when its dark although it's a bit harsh and adds a rather unnatural glow to subjects. It isn't quite as good as a Xenon type flash.

You can also record 720p HD videos with the camera. The camera is good at capturing moving subjects and adapts to changing lighting conditions quickly.

However, the video quality isn't great and the quality drops when recording in low-light conditions.

The Incredible S natively plays a number of different video file types that includes MP4, 3GP, WMV, M4V and AAC.

However, it doesn't support standard video types like MOV, AVI and DIVX.

Still, you can easily download apps off the Android Market to play formats such as 720p MOV and MKV.

However, you won't get great results with them unless you run the files through a converter that optimises the videos for play on the Incredible S.

If you keep a lot of videos on your phone, it can be quite messy looking for a specific video using the default Gallery app.

The lack of any labelling or tagging feature makes the Gallery feel very disorganised and you could spend a long time scrolling through a long list of videos.

On the plus side, the addition of Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual surround sound helps enhance your listening experience, provided you have a pair of decent headphones.

If you have a DLNA certified TV, you have the option of streaming your media over-the-air to a compatible device.

Unfortunately, we didn't have a DLNA-enabled device to test this feature.

Conclusion

Overall, the HTC Incredible S is a sleek handset that feels and performs like a premium Android smartphone. Although it doesn't run on the latest version of Android, we encountered no noticeable performance issues with the device.

The phone is generally fast - it didn't slow down even when we opened multiple applications quickly. The browser is also pretty good as it loads pages smoothly and handles Flash well.

The 8-megapixel is also pretty good - picture and video quality were good. While it still isn't as good as a compact camera, it is great for casual shots and videos.

Also, the dual LED flash is great for illuminating subjects and also doubles up as a flashlight.

Unfortunately, the hardware is quickly being overshadowed by more powerful dual-core Android handset but this isn't really an issue as the Incredible S still has a lot to offer.

Pros: Nice, big screen; applications launch and run smoothly; decent camera; loud speakers

Cons: Pricey; runs on older Android OS; camera doesn't perform as well in low-light conditions.

HTC Incredible S Features:
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 900/2100
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
DISPLAY: 4in (480 x 800-pixels) touchscreen
CAMERA: 8-megapixels rear camera with autofocus, dual LED flash; 1.3-megapixel front camera
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, microUSB
MEMORY: 768MB RAM; 1.1GB Internal storage
EXPANSION SLOT: MicroSD
STANDBY/TALK TIME: 290 hours/9 hours
OTHER FEATURES: DLNA support, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, digital compass, GPS
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 64 x 11.7 x 120mm
WEIGHT: 135.5g
WEBSITE: www.htc.com
PRICE: RM1,999
RATING: 4
Review unit courtesy of HTC Malaysia Sdn Bhd, (03) 6201-6433


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