HTC Incredible S Review

HTC have been around for ages it seems and their handsets seem to get better and better with time, especially in the Android range and the Incredible S is another device which fits into that category.

This review device was sent to us by the kind people at HTC PR who only a day after I had asked them if any were available had one arriving at my door in the first batch so we can cover on CoolSmartPhone to a big thanks for their continued support.

The Incredible S has some very impressive specifications as you would expect on a device these days and they are:

  • Android 2.2 FroYo (Gingerbread due though)
  • 8 Megapixel Camera
  • HSDPA 14.4mb/s
  • HSUPA 5.76mb/s
  • Bluetooth, WiFi & GPS

HTC Incredible S Review

The Incredible S is a rather interesting creation from HTC taking the best parts from the Desire HD and the original Desire and merging them into a new device such as this.  The ‘Incredible’ is not a new idea as over in the States they have had the original Incredible device but this never made it’s way to Europe just like their EVO range.  Weighing in at 135g this phone is quite a bit lighter than the HTC 7 Pro we just reviewed but this comes at a price with the materials used, the Incredible S has a more plastic/rubber feel to it and does not feel as expensive as the 7 Pro even though it will set you back £30 a month from Carphone Warehouse or over £450.00 if you want sim free.

Last year Snapdragon was the word everyone was looking for, this year the new innovation in processor technology is going under the name Scorpion and the Incredible S features a 1Ghz Scorpion processor under the hood.  With 768mb RAM and 1.5gb ROM plus an 8gb MicroSD card in the box you never have to worry about memory or the phone crashing or slowing down.

HTC Incredible S Review

Looking at the front of the device you have the large speaker grill at the top, just below this and next to the HTC logo is the new front facing camera which can be used for video calling using a third party application like Tango or Skype for video calling over 3G or WiFi, like with all Android phones with exception to the Samsung Galaxy S there is no ‘standard’ video calling like we see on other devices like the Nokia N8 or older phones with front facing camera’s.  This is a good thing though as the cost is minimal due to it coming from a data allowance instead of a separate price of around 50p a minute you used to have to pay.

You have a nice sized 4 inch screen with a pixel resolution of 480 by 800 which helps display sharp images you have taken, is great for web browsing and also great for taking pictures, you can really see detail in the camera quality with this screen, something lacking for some people on the Desire HD due to the massive screen and resolution used.

Below the screen are the four standard Android buttons on nearly all phones and these are touch sensitive, not actual buttons and are for HOME, MENU, BACK and SEARCH which if you have used an Android phone before you will know exactly how to use these.

HTC Incredible S Review

The back of the phone has the 8 megapixel camera now also featuring a Dual LED flash which using certain apps in the Android Market can also be used as a flashlight and can come in handy but this will drain your battery remember.

You also have the speakerphone which unfortunately once again HTC seem to struggle to get decent audio quality pumped through a loudspeaker just like we mentioned on other reviews in the past.  This is a real shame and something which hopefully HTC will address in future products and start concentrating more on individual design points than spending most of the time on the software customization of Sense and what the phone looks like.

If you look at the back of the Incredible S you get very odd shaped design which almost looks sim card shaped with the cut off corner but this is the actual back cover.  The strange thing about this bit at the back which sticks out is it looks purely design focused and not there because of a bigger battery in the phone, the Incredible S comes with a standard sized 1450mah battery which will get you through a day with reasonable use I found during the review time.  This once again looks to be another design over function statement from HTC.  If you are going to make the back bigger and have the space for a larger battery then use this while you have the chance

HTC Incredible S ReviewHTC Incredible S ReviewHTC Incredible S ReviewHTC Incredible S ReviewHTC Incredible S Review

The camera has been upped from the original 5 megapixel on the Desire and this Incredible S comes equipped with an 8 megapixel camera which again as with a lot of phones these days especially from HTC you need near perfect lighting to get good pictures, even the twin LED flash cannot help the camera quality it seems.

Thankfully when taking the pictures for the review the weather was the nicest it has been all year which meant that the pictures taken were very good quality with a lot of detail captured.

Video is at what seems to be standard now 720p HD quality, judge the quality for yourself by checking out the sample video below but initial impressions are it looks quite poor, you can really see the poor colour management in the video in the ginger parts it almost looks blurred.

HTC Incredible S Review

The bottom of the phone has the microphone for voice calls and also has the small  slot you use to take the back cover on and off again to reveal the SIM card, MicroSD card and the removable battery.

HTC Incredible S Review

At the top of the device you have a single button which is used to switch the phone on and off but also to lock the keys when not in use.  You also have a very handy 3.5mm headset jack as seen on a lot of HTC devices now and this is where you can plug in a headset to listen to music.

HTC Incredible S Review

Looking at the left side at the top you have the up and down volume controls which can be used when in voice calls, also on the main menu these buttons will also put the phone into silent or vibrate mode and also can be used when playing media such as video clips or music.  At the bottom there is a Micro USB port which is used for connecting the phone to a computer for data transfer of modem use and also for the charger too.

HTC Incredible S Review

The right hand side of the Incredible S has nothing at all…. nothing…. zip….. nada.. no buttons not even a single camera button to help when taking images which is a real shame.  On phones with large screens when you want to take a photo nothing can beat having an actual button to half-press to focus and then push in to take the picture.  Tapping the screen does work and some people will not mint using this, personally I think a camera shutter button would have been better.

HTC Incredible S Review


Final Thoughts

Giving the Incredible S a score out of 10 I would say an 8 is a fare score.  As with a lot of HTC phones recently the UI is really good and the company have done great work and the features are there to help promote this as a mid to high end range phone but when using in real world conditions yet again the camera and audio let down what could have been a better phone.

Also looking at the current range it is hard to understand where the Incredible S fits in.  You have the Desire which has just been replaced by the Desire S.  The Wildfire now with the Wildfire S and with the Desire HD about to possibly be replaced by an EVO 3D if reports from HTC_Fr on Twitter taken as confirmed where does this leave the Incredible S?.  This again seems to be an issue with new products being a slight upgrade instead of a whole new device, the Desire and Desire S are nearly the same as is the Wildfire and the Wildfire S.  The only real innovation seems to be finally coming in a 3D device hopefully not too far into the future.

I said it in my last review and this quote still stands ‘If HTC can improve the camera optics and concentrate on audio quality in future devices they will be the one to watch going forward!’.


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  • Matt

    You could have cleaned the screen and the back before taking the photos! Compare to other websites reviews, where the phones look really good.

    Takes the shine of what could have been a good and professional review.

    • Dan Carter

      With normal day to day use this is what the phone will look like. I agree photos could have been taken with the phone looking perfect but the reason they were not was it almost gives a false look at what the phone is like. A lot of people read a review before purchasing the phone and the pictures used gives a real user experience. If however there are people who agree and do want the perfect clean shots then these will replace the ones already used.

      • Dan Carter

        Sorry scratch that, The 2 pictures have now been replaced in the review and these should hopefully be better. Thanks for the feedback though, this was not something i thought of and if you thought they were bad then others would have too. I did not want the review to be effected by a few photos which is a simple fix :)

        • Matt

          Thanks for your efforts. The review itself is really good.

  • Moo Moo Head

    Hi Dan,
    Maybe you could have a mix of professional photos of the device and photos ‘in the wild’ so we can see what it looks like after you’ve dragged it out your pocket and smudged it a bit with normal hand use, could make it clear on those photos they are there for that reason?
    HTC do a good job with the software, but the overall look…. the back with it weird added on section and I think it looks overall very boring phone compared with the SE Arc..
    And why 2.2, could they just not put 2.3 on instead. seems very silly, and now loads of people who get this phone will have to wait for their local operator to approve the 2.3 update when HTC release it, which we all know takes absolutely ages. I made mistake last year getting 1.6 X10, never again will I get a phone without the latest Android OS.

  • Steve

    You forgot to mention that the touch buttons rotate when switching between landscape and portrait modes.

  • Anonymous

    If you have the 2 phones, a Photo quality comparison test between this phone & the Sony Ericsson Arc, would be very very usefull, Thanks

  • jazd

    I have this phone and have to say the performance, function and camera are better than the HTC Desire screen is perfect size for my liking and though not quite as vivid on the colours which seems to be the thing with Super LCD (only noticeable when side by side) and is better than the desire S despite the desire S having 2.3.3 the difference between 2.2 and later being negligible at this time in real terms, I went for this phone over the desire S for screen size and I get 2 days use from battery with average use, only got 1 day from the desire.
    I am very interested to see what is coming May 12th, not sure about the 3d thing though…..

  • Anonymous

    My guess would be screen size:

    Desire/Desire S – 3.7″
    Incredible/Incredible S – 4″
    Desire HD/Evo 3D – 4.3″

    Whether this slight difference really makes a difference enough to warrant another phone is debatable.

  • Anonymous

    What size steak is that? If you had it anything other than rare I’ll be disappointed. This review made me hungry.

    • Dan Carter

      20oz. Had not eaten since 4pm the day before and this was 1pm the day after so i was going all out ;)

      • Anonymous


  • Not sure about the phone but that meal looks seriously tasty Dan!

  • HTC produce great smartphone and improve this new incredible S to more than i have expected. I am HTC desire HD user. Love HTC so much!

  • Dd

    incredible ass..

  • Vesssella

     Hey there, in the article you’re mentioned it’s possible to make video calls for example in skype over wi-fi connection. PLEASE, if you figure out how to do so, tell me, cuz I got this devise ONLY for front facing camera and four days since I have it still can’t find a way to use the front camera for something else beside mirror…. :(

    • Garthmcdonald22

      did you have any luck finding out how to make video calls

  • Foster.n

    did you ever have any problems with the time? sometimes it wont be the right time and sometimes it will. thanks.