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Apple iPhone 4S Versus: HTC One S

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HTC has recently launched three new phones for 2012: the One X, One S and One V. The One X is the flagship model and also the largest, but we feel the One S is going to be the phone for everyone thanks to its palm-friendly size and shape coupled with a more wallet-friendly price than the One X.

With the latest in Android software, an incredible Micro-Arc oxidised ceramic casing and plenty of high-end features, the One S from HTC is set to rival the current crop of smartphones on the market. In fact, we think it’s such a good rival that we’re going to see just how well it weighs up against the iPhone 4S.

We’re going to compare the two devices in detail and see which comes out on top, so sit tight and read on.

Processing Power

    iPhone 4S: Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9

    One S: Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon


While the iPhone is no slouch by any means, aptly handling the latest in mobile gaming and HD videos, we feel through testing the two that the One S and its dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon chip takes the crown. Thanks to the Krait architecture of the HTC’s processor, it’s both powerful and power efficient, making sure your battery life doesn’t get drained too quickly.


    iPhone 4S: 3.5” Retina Display, 960×640 resolution, 330ppi, Gorilla Glass

    One S: 4.3” Super AMOLED, 960×540 resolution, 256ppi, Gorilla Glass

WINNER: iPhone 4S

The One S has a beautiful screen, let’s make that clear from the start. It’s larger than the iPhone 4S’s (4.3-inches to 3.5-inches respectively) and it’s bright and colourful due to the AMOLED screen panel used. However, the pixel density of the iPhone is much higher than that of the One S (330 pixels per inch compared to 256) and therefore Apple’s handset has a much crisper, sharper picture.

In reality, a close look at the One S’s screen and you can visibly see the individual pixels whereas on the iPhone you cannot. Text is a great example to see the difference between the two, where the 4S shows near pin-sharp text but on the One S the edges of letters appear slightly fuzzy.

Form Factor

    iPhone 4S: 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm, weighs140g

    One S: 130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm, weighs 119.5g


When the iPhone 4 was launched in 2010 it was one of the thinnest smartphones around, but in recent years it’s been outdone several times.

The One S is a fine example of that, offering an extremely sleek and lightweight phone that’s very comfortable to hold and slips into your pocket with ease.

It’s a good 20g lighter and 1.5mm thinner than the 4S and thanks to smooth rounded edges it’s much nicer to hold compared to the squared edges of the iPhone. No contest here.



    iPhone 4S: iOS 5.1

    One S: Android 4.0, HTC Sense 4.0 User Interface


Software is a hard thing to compare, unless the two devices are on the same platform. There advantages to both iOS and Android 4.0 and we find that people will always have their favourite for personal reasons. Both offer great user interfaces and the latest features you’d expect from a smartphone such as complex email, wireless hotspot and video calling. In our personal opinion we find iOS a little easier to use, while Android 4.0 and Sense 4.0 can seem confusing until you get used to it.


    iPhone 4S: 8MP Rear Camera, Face Detection, HDR, Geotagging, VGA Front Camera, Full HD 1080p Video Capture

    One S : 8MP Rear Camera, Face and Smile Detection, Geotagging, VGA Front Camera, Full HD 1080p Video Capture with Stereo Sound and Simultaneous Still Image Capture

WINNER: iPhone 4S

This one was a tough call, with both phones offering up almost the same specs on paper. Both do excellent quality Full HD video, althoug the One S wins out thanks to adding Stereo Sound recording to its Full HD video capture capabilities, along with the ability to continually take still images while recording. For still images we’ve found that the iPhone 4S takes the better image, with the One S’s camera seemingly over-saturating on most images, which can sometimes cause colours to seem inaccurate.


    iPhone 4S: HSDPA (14.4Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0

    One S : HSDPA (14.4Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, Micro USB with MHL Support


Connectivity is an area where many high-end smartphones will match each other – if they don’t carry the latest version of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi they’re bound to get shot down. Both offer the latest in data connectivity here, but the One S edges it by offering the cheaper way of mirroring onto a HDTV: a Micro USB MHL cable. Apple’s solution costs around £30 for the adapter with no HDMI cable included, whereas HTC’s all-in-one cable can be brought for £15-£20. What’s more, your One S will be charged by connecting to a HDTV using an MHL cable, whereas the iPhone won’t.


    iPhone 4S: 16/32/64GB Internal Storage, 5GB iCloud Cloud Storage (standard, can be upgraded to 10, 20 or 50GB)

    One S : 16GB Internal Storage, 25GB Dropbox Cloud Storage


While Apple’s iPhone 4S can be bought with up to a whopping 64GB in size, we’re sticking with what you get when you buy the two devices the same with 16GB internal storage. Neither phone has room for expansion via a micro SD card so you’re forced to use cloud storage systems. Apple offers you 5GB with iCloud as standard whereas HTC multiplies that by 5 and gives you 25GB thanks to its partnership with Dropbox. It’s easy to set up on the One S and can even be configured to store your camera snaps as soon as you take them.


    iPhone 4S: 7hrs 41Talktime, 6hrs 56 Web Browsing, 9hrs 24 Video Playback. Overall Average: 45 Hours

    One S : 9hrs 42 Talktime, 4hrs 03 Web Browsing, 9hrs 28 Video Playback. Overall Average: 35 hours

WINNER: iPhone 4S

The new Qualcomm processor in the One S makes for some impressive power management, especially when it comes to talktime and video. Unfortunately it falls down considerably when it comes to web browsing, and during overall tests the iPhone 4S outlasts it by a good 10 hours. If you’re cautious with your usage and know how to save battery life, the iPhone 4S can be made to last you through 2 days.


From our tests the HTC One S won overall in the categories we set out, beating the iPhone with a superior Processor and Form Factor along with more storage and a better way of connecting to your HDTV.

Apple’s iPhone 4S still packs one of the best screens around, along with an ever-impressing and sturdy design and beautiful, accurate photographs from the 8MP camera. It will also outlast the One S from a single charge, so if battery life is a big factor affecting which phone you buy, Apple’s offering may be better for you.

However, there’s no denying that the One S packs plenty of impressive tech into an impossibly thin and very tough body. If the screen of the One S still looks great to you and battery life isn’t too much of a problem, it could well be your new favourite phone.
Will you be ordering Apple’s iPhone 4S or the new HTC One S? We’d love to hear your opinions on the two devices so let us know by leaving a comment.