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HTC Desire S Review
Dated 11/10/2012 08:20:46
HTC Desire S Review

Pros and Cons
The Positive…

  • Good User Interface
  • Decent battery life
  • Classy design
  • Excellent call quality

The Negative….

  • Web page scrolling and zooming jerky
  • Video replay not fluid
  • Poor camera flash
  • Wi-Fi antenna badly positioned


HTC Desire S Review


Following on from the success of the HTC Desire the Desire S has kept many of its older sibling’s features, but HTC have added a few improvements.  Most notably the Desire S has benefited from a software upgrade and enhanced video recording to deliver a mid-range handset with functionality.


HTC have used a classy aluminium unibody casing for the Desire S and it feels sturdy and well made but also pretty weighty at 130g.  Measuring 115 x 59.8 x 11.6mm the Desire S is a phone to fit your pocket.

The 3.7 inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen of the HTC Desire S has a resolution of 400 x 800 pixels matching that of its predecessor, the Desire. In general the display produces clear images but clarity is lost when viewed at different angles and in bright sunlight.


The HTC Desire S is powered by a single core 1GHz processor with 768RAM.  There is 1GB of internal storage which can be expanded by up to 32GB with a microSD card. The Desire S runs on Android’s 2.3 Gingerbread operating system giving plenty of functionality and features.  HTC have overlaid this with their own Sense User Interface. The Sense/Android combination is a successful one with Sense complimenting the Android OS without overcrowding it.  

The capacitive keyboard of the Desire S is tightly packed on the small screen making it a little difficult to use accurately in portrait mode.  Things were a little better when used in landscape position.  Call quality was excellent with the HTC Desire S and it is a handset with functional messaging applications. 

The HTC Desire S is Wi-Fi and 3G enabled and the web browser is fast with web pages being quick to load.  The process of scrolling through pages and zooming in is still not as fluid as it is for the iPhone but there is now automatic text reflow, so that when you do zoom in the text automatically rearranges itself to fit the screen.  A design fault of the Desire S is the positioning of the Wi-Fi antenna.  Placed behind the panel that houses the camera it is susceptible to losing signal strength when placed on something, even if you put it down on top of a magazine.


The Desire S still retains the 5 megapixel rear-mounted camera seen on the Desire, but for a 5mp sensor the images captured are good quality.  Colours are true and details sharp, although when viewed on a larger screen this clarity is compromised.  Quality was also impaired in low light conditions.  The flash wasn’t powerful enough and the camera struggled to focus.

The camera has an autofocus function but you can also tap the screen to focus on a particular area of the shot.  There are some photo effects you can play with such as Dots, Distortion, Greyscale and others and there is also Geotagging and Face Detection.

There is no dedicated camera button which would have made a nice addition, but more positively the camera is quick to respond with very little shutter delay.

The video recording capabilities of the Desire S have been upgraded.  Video can now be captured in 720p but oddly HTC have set three non-standard framerates for the Desire S – just under 20fps, just under 21pfs and just over 21fps.   The quality of the pictures was reasonable but there was some stuttering when playing recordings back and trying to record anything in low light conditions produced unsatisfactory results.

Battery Life

The Desire S has been fitted with a bigger battery than its predecessor and HTC claim that the 1450mAh battery gives up to 20 percent more standby and talk time.  When tested with general use, including web browsing, the battery duration was about a day which is becoming the standard for smartphones.  Battery power was conserved by turning certain functions off, such as Bluetooth and the Desire S didn’t waste its battery power whilst in standby mode so all in all the battery life of this handset is quite good.

HTC Desire S Price

You can purchase an HTC Desire S for around £250 SIM free or you can opt to take out a 24 month contract and get the handset free with monthly charges of around £26.


The Desire S is a smartphone aimed at the middle of the market and for the price tag you get a lot of functionality.  It offers a good user interface, reasonable phone camera, fast web browsing and has adequate battery life.

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