Both the HTC One S and One X ship with the combination of both Android 4.0.3 and HTC’s Sense 4. I’ve talked in the HTC One X AT&T review about how I feel about Sense 4, and think it strikes a pretty good balance between feeling ICS-ey, and the customizations added by HTC which are HTC Sense. The issue with previous versions was always that there was just too much custom stuff everywhere - Sense 4 scales that back, but it’s still ultimately a skin.

 

The places that see the most Sense 4 customization are the homescreens (obviously), lock screen, settings pages, launcher, browser, and task switcher. Adding quick shortcuts to the lock screen (in addition to a few other optional modes) is handy, and these shortcuts get inherited from the bottom row of application shortcuts on the home screen.

 

The home screen is an obvious evolution of previous Sense launchers, and includes a 3D cube effect upon rotation, a number of custom widgets in addition to the stock widgets, and the ability to rearrange pages. The launcher is paginated and scrolls left or right.

 

I also like HTC’s keyboard this time around. It strikes a nice balance between still feeling like the stock keyboard and adding a different look and feel which matches the rest of Sense 4.

 

Probably the most controversial thing is the task switcher, which deviates a lot from the stock ICS switcher by including a 3D perspective preview. Apps can then be dismissed by swiping them up, just like WebOS cards. The current controversy is that HTC’s task scheduler seems a bit aggressive about closing background tasks that aren’t present in the notifications shade. I have seen it kill some things a bit quickly (I had speedtest running in the background get killed a few times, but not Google Music, which would be infuriating) but nothing that’s been experience-killing.

 

Lastly I think it’s worth noting that HTC has gone with the traditional mass USB storage (disk drive) behavior instead of MTP. This is the same across the HTC Ones, with the exception of the EVO 4G LTE (which I’ll talk about in that review). I find it interesting that everyone seems to have gone this way instead of using MTP which Google clearly is pushing.

Filesystem             Size   Used   Free   Blksize
/dev                   342M   136K   342M   4096
/system               1007M   875M   132M   4096
/data                    2G   170M     2G   4096
/cache                 251M     4M   247M   4096
/devlog                 19M    14M     5M   4096
/mnt/asec              342M     0K   342M   4096
/mnt/obb               342M     0K   342M   4096
/firmware_radio        199M    33M   166M   4096
/firmware_q6           199M     5M   193M   4096
/firmware_wcnss          4M     1M     3M   2048
/data/secure/data      342M     0K   342M   4096
/mnt/sdcard              9G   194M     9G   32768

If you look at df you’ll see that the 16 GB of NAND ends up being exposed as a 9GB / 2GB split for the internal sdcard partition and data (apps) respectively. The rest of that 5GB is absorbed into other housekeeping. Again, the HTC One S has no expandable microSD storage.

Performance Camera - Stills and Video
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  • michael2k - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    How is the coming on 10 months old iPhone 4S still getting some of the best battery life?

    What is going on in Android land?
    Reply
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Faster processors + LTE.

    Next.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    I don't think it's that simple. Yes these recent Android phones have newer, faster Krait SoC which could draw more power compared to the Cortex A9 based Apple A5 in the iPhone 4S, however Krait has the advantage of the latest 28nm process to offset this while the A5 is still on the now more than 3 years old Samsung 45nm process. While the CPU portion of newer SoCs is faster than the A5, the A5's GPU is still faster than the GPUs in every other SoC except the recent Exynos 4412. The A5 is also known to be a large die, high transistor design, which won't do it any favours in reducing power consumption. I don't see a faster processor as being a clear disadvantage to battery life in recent Android phones compared to the iPhone 4S.

    LTE's contribution also probably isn't huge considering these battery tests are specifically done on 3G and WiFi allowing the LTE portion of the baseband to remain idle and power-gate. While hardware choice contributes, I do think software plays a role since Apple can spend all their time optimizing for one specific hardware configuration whereas Android manufacturers don't really have that luxury.
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    GPU's are power gated when you're not gaming. A powerful GPU doesn't kill battery life unless all you do is gaming.

    LTE kills battery life whether you use it or not. Just look at those 4 hour LTE phones from last year. The reason is because the LTE radio is a separate chip - it isn't controlled by the SoC and likely cannot be power gated.

    The current generation of 28 nm w/ LTE on chip does have much better battery life - however with Android's multitasking, background syncing, Android simply isn't going to get longer battery life than iPhone 4s unless you turn it all off - and you can turn it off.

    Then, as many iPhone 4s users will tell you, many of them also get shitty battery life - it probably depends even more so on how you use it.
    Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    "Then, as many iPhone 4s users will tell you, many of them also get shitty battery life - it probably depends even more so on how you use it."

    Totally agreed, a coworker here with iPhone 4 has battery drained from ~85% to ~55% overnight in "standby" mode.

    My SGS2 can go through 2 normal days easily now that I enabled wifi calling and using edge(~10k/s, it's more than enough for texting and syncing).
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    My One S's wifi calling drains more battery than 3G with strong signal. Reply
  • leexgx - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    what stands out is how can the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx have such poor web 3G browsing (unless the USA version test was done with LTE then i would cida under stand then) and Wifi Hotspot Battery time

    that seems impossible with the 3200mha bat at its disposal i cant see how them results are correct for that phone

    what also surprises me is How you manage to get most of these phones to last more then 4-5hrs of constant use (that lacks an secondary Clip on battery like i just got for my HTC One X or an bigger battery like i had for my HTC Desire phone) any phone i see cant seem to last the day of Light use half an day if used in the day unless power is supplied in the day

    one thing i hate about the HTC one X an little is Power button really could do with been on the side like the Samsung S3 (phone is to long for 1 hand power button at the top) not sure if its me but phone seems to have been made for Left handed users, the answer and hangup icons have been switched (answer should be on the left and hang up should be on the right) sure that's how my HTC desire had it (guess i should turn on on before i look dumb :) )

    other thing as well WiFi and Data go into Forced power saving mode after midnight to about 8am (it turns Wifi off and data Off Even if its Plugged into power after 15 mins screen off, comes back on screen comes on)
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I easily get 5+ hours of constant use on my One S. The screen uses up most of the battery, and the on time is always over 5 hours. Sometimes more than 6. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Was the coworker using Skype?
    Skype is notorious for draining the battery rapidly, even while in the background. It's one of the few apps that CAN do so because it's a VoIP app so gets background time (and it basically proves Apple's point that if you allow background apps time, they WILL be written by crappy engineers and they WILL do a crappy job.)

    Without wanting to make a big deal about it, I'd point out that under normal circumstances (ie Skype NOT running in the background) my iPhone4 drains by around 5% or less overnight. With Skype running it will drain by 30% or so --- which basically matches what your co-worker was seeing.
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Skype is pretty crappy, but there are other, better, VoIP apps available on Android. Reply

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