Android handsets are flowing thick and fast from HTC these days, with seemingly something for just about everyone and every price point.
The Incredible S comes with version 2.2 of the operating system, a 1GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera and much more besides, with a distinctive rubbery look to round things off. How does it all stack up? Let's have a look.
Design and build
Clad fully in black without the silvery touches which have become so fashionable these days, the Incredible S makes use of much more of the tactile rubberised plastic that HTC uses occasionally on its other handsets.
It not only gives it a distinctive look, but also means that the 120 x 64 x 12mm (136g) casing isn't likely to slide around when you set it down.
The four Android buttons sit below the screen on a touch-sensitive strip and, in a nice touch, the icons change their orientation when you turn the phone on its side.
And speaking of sides, these include a volume rocker and microUSB power/sync slot, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button on top. There's a bit of a bulge on the back which includes the 8-megapixel camera lens, which sits next to the dual LED flash and loudspeaker.
The 4in touchscreen may not be quite as super sharp as some of the AMOLED numbers from Samsung, for instance, but it nonetheless gives a good show of itself with 480 x 800 resolution and it's nicely sensitive to the touch too.
Interface and OS
Dual-core processors are the current trend for the higher end handsets but the Incredible S has to make do with a single-core chip. At 1GHz it's no slouch, however, and whips through menus and apps with ease.
Also just a whisker behind the times is the version of Android that's on board, 2.2 Froyo rather than the very latest 2.3 Gingerbread. So until it receives an upgrade you'll need to dry your tears at the absence of SIP calling or NFC (Near Field Communication) support, but we've a feeling you'll get over it.
It does have an up-to-date version of the HTC Sense user interface, though, which is one of HTC's most successful innovations. It's easy to find your way around, generally fun to use and there's a wealth of useful little details, like the ringer that drops in volume when you pick up the handset, and goes silent when you turn it over.
You can download your Facebook contacts to your phone but to save memory space they're only virtually present. So while you can see them, you can't organise them into groups unless you save each of them to the phone individually.
The 8-megapixel camera features a strip of icons down one side which give you the option to switch between still and video pics, activate the rather harsh dual LED flash, add effects and view your pics.
Like the Android buttons, these also rotate when you turn the camera on its side. There's a fairly basic 2x digital zoom operated by an onscreen scroll bar and options for auto focus, timer, geotagging and face detection.
With no manual shutter button on the side you're stuck with the virtual button the screen. Fortunately it's sensitive enough to operate with the lightest of presses.
While picture quality has never really been a strong point with HTC handsets, this one is certainly better than most, with decent colour balance and fairly sharp edges, though it won't do much to compensate for either too little, or too much light.
It can handle 720p HD video recording which comes out fairly well and while there's no onboard video editor supplied as standard, there are plenty available from the Android Market for the 3GPP files.
Apps and browser
The Android browser is the standard version but there's nothing wrong with that - it renders pages well for the most part, with pinch to zoom operation. There's also support for Flash video, which is one up on the iPhone.
Of the various preloaded apps, the FriendStream widget is one of the most welcome, pulling together all of your social networking, email and text updates into one scrolling list and we also really like the frankly overdesigned but rather beautiful weather app. A version of QuickOffice is on board too, allowing you to create and view Word and Excel docs.
Media and connectivity
The standard video player gives you the option to stretch films to the size of the screen, which is always welcome, even with relatively expansive screen acreage like the 4in available here.
There's DLNA networking compatibility which allows you to stream videos, pics or sound direct to a compatible TV for the big screen effect. The phone's 720p HD video recording gives a good account of itself even when blown up to 47in.
The Android music player includes a few of HTC's own audio enhancements, such as SRS WOW HD virtual surround. There's an FM radio on board, backed up by SoundHound, which seeks out the identity of mystery tracks, Shazam-style.
There's 1.1GB of memory on board as well as an 8GB microSD card, but you can increase that up to 32GB if you feel the need.
Performance and battery life
Battery life was fairly good but not outstanding, delivering a good day of quite heavy use.
- Impressive high-resolution screen
- One of the best cameras yet on an Android phone
- HTC Sense interface still a winner
- Only ships with Android Froyo
Verdict: It may not have the very latest version of Android, and it may not be dual-core, but the Incredible S is an extremely powerful and versatile Android smartphone with a dare-to-be-different design
More info: HTC Incredible S spec
Price: From free on contract; £500 SIM-free