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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  • Zoomer - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    One could also take apart the phones, hook the logic boards/screens to seperate specialized lab power supplies, and then conduct the tests that way.

    Possible? Yes. Realistic? No - unless you are Intel and want a competitive advantage.
    Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    On my SGS2, I enabled wifi-calling and limited radio to edge speed(10k/s), I can go through 2 days with normal usage at no problem.
    Android device got the power but doesn't mean you need to run it at maximum speed all the time. I run at "slower" speed most of the time, and ramp up the speed only when I "needed".

    e.g. How fast can your car drive at? How fast do you normally drive at?
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Screen size, processor clock speed. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Puny screen that doesn't show much for anyone to see. Reply
  • TareX - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Also, AMOLED consumes close to twice more power when displaying the predominantly white screen of web browsers compared to LCDs. Reply
  • Aslund - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I have recently recommended this phone to my mother, which she also bought. Initially I also thought the screen would be a huge let down, but after viewing it in real life I was pretty impressed. Sense 4 gave a good impression and the sleek feeling compared the Motorola Razr Maxx makes this phone, in my opinion, the best within its size range. Reply
  • hurrakan - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    The "Display Mate" website advises NOT to set a black background on OLED screens:

    "Because of differential aging, setting your wallpaper to all Black is most likely a bad idea because the fixed arrangement of Home Screen icons may eventually affect screen uniformity, so ghost images of the icons might become noticeable."

    http://www.displaymate.com/OLED_Galaxy_S123_ShootO...
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I suppose it depends on what tradeoff you're willing to make. If you go through phones like I do, you'll be onto the next device long before aging effects start to burn in (and remember, it's also a function of what brightness you're driving, too).

    -Brian
    Reply
  • nitram_tpr - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Nice review Brian, looks like a good phone. It's still a bit too big for my liking, I have the SE Xperia Ray and it (for me) is almost the perfect size. I'd love to see Samsong, HTC, LG etc come out with a sub 4" screen sized phone with a good high resolution.
    Size isn't everything you know?!?!

    As for battery life, the 4s is thicker than this phone and alot that are out there so will have a bigger capacity battery. It also has a less powerful CPU/GPU than the newr phones to cope with.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    For this SIM-only plan "(the magical $30/mo prepaid one with unlimited SMS, 5 GB of full speed data, and 100 minutes)", can 'anyone' (not a major tech site journalist) get the SIM through T-Mobile site or Wal-Mart without buying one of the matching phones? Reply

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