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Review: HTC One S for T-Mobile

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The One S runs Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” with HTC Sense 4. The system software and user interface are identical to that of the One X. Anyone who's ever picked up an HTC Sense device will feel at home.

The lock screen on the S offers a handful of customizable shortcuts. You can set up to four apps/actions on the lock screen that will launch when you drag them down to the little ring at the bottom of the screen. The defaults are phone, mail, messages, and camera, but you can adjust these at will. Rich's favorite lock screen feature of Sense 4.0 is that you can have a camera shortcut and a passcode at the same time. I found this to be good for security when used with a pattern unlock.

The central home screen panels all have a permanent dock at the bottom of the screen that holds five app shortcuts — the same four as the lock screen, plus the main app menu. These can be customized if you wish.

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There are three buttons below the display: Back, Home, Multitask. The first two are self-explanatory. Pressing the multitask button reveals a graphical listing of all the recently used applications. The hardware menu button has been removed entirely in Android 4.0, which is annoying, but that's Google's fault.

HTC has jazzed up the appearance of Android 4.0, but there are so many options in Settings, it takes a little while to learn where everything is.

The drop-down notification shade collects notification as before, but with Android 4.0 you can now dismiss individual notifications by swiping them sideways.

Applications are laid out via grids on the S. Swipe the pages to the left and you'll eventually jump from a list of all the apps to a list of all the widgets that are available. The widget menu lets you see what the widget looks like and tells you how big it is.

Last, on the performance front, the dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 is an impressive beast. Everything about the S is blazing fast. Screens transition in a blink, apps open in an instant, and the camera was lightning-bolt quick. I threw a number of games at it, and the S didn't blink. It tackled all tasks with gusto.


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