HTC Desire S

The Desire S is the successor to the highly-popular Desire, which was released last year. Is the Desire S worth your time?

  1. User rating:
  • E-Mail
HTC Desire S The Desire S boasts a number of improvements over its predecessor but we preferred the looks of the older device
By  Jason Published  June 12, 2011

When we reviewed the original Desire in our September 2010 issue, we found it a capable device. The smartphone also turned out to be one of HTC's most popular devices in 2010 and now HTC has its successor ready for prime time.

The Desire S has big boots to fill and despite the success of its predecessor, HTC has been bold with its redesign. Placing the two smartphones side-by-side there are obvious changes. Rather than three physical buttons and an optical trackpad, the Desire S sports touch-sensitive buttons exclusively on its front façade and whereas the Desire had a two-tone colour finish, the Desire S sports a black-only finish.

The underside of the smartphone has been changed too; the Desire S now features a unibody design, which we first saw on the HTC Legend. HTC has also created a contrast on the back of the phone - the battery section and area surrounding the camera and flash are finished in a soft-touch matte material that makes the Desire S feel slightly better in hand.

Measuring 115mm in height, 59.8mm in width and 11.63mm in thickness, the Desire S is slightly smaller than its predecessor and tipping the scales at 130g, it is 5g lighter too. One issue we had with the original Desire was that we needed to recharge it after just 25 hours of use. This new model however delivered a reasonably strong 33 hours of battery life.

The Desire S runs Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), while HTC's own Sense user interface (UI) acts as the front-end interface, which provides cloud features and widgets support. There are seven different home screens as standard and depending on your preferences, you can pack them with your choice of apps, widgets and more. With a 1GHz processor and 768MB of memory the Desire S is a swift smartphone that feels more fluid than its predecessor. Given that the older Desire also packed a 1GHz processor we reckon the newer OS packs performance improvements that help the Desire S perform better.

The 5-megapixel camera proved a mixed bag however because while it managed decent still images, it struggled with close-ups (macro shots). Shots lacked detail as the camera seemed to struggle to accurately focus on the subject. As a video capture device the Desire S performs very well, we only noticed tearing when we tried panning at an accelerated rate.

While we were impressed with the Desire S, it wasn't flawless. Our test phone frequently took as long as 25-seconds to list stored SMS/MMS messages. While this didn't happen every time, it happened more often than not. The LCD screen can also be overwhelmed by direct sunlight even when running at full brightness. The makes outdoor use a challenge depending on what time of day it is.

For: Slick performance, decent battery life, built well, smaller and lighter than its predecessor.
Against: Odd SMS/MMS message display lag, camera struggles with macro shots, bright light washes out LCD.

Verdict: The Desire S is a strong follow-up to the original Desire. It offers much better battery life, is smaller and lighter and is packed with useful everyday features.

Your Review

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Performance Features Value for money

Tell us what you like about this product. This field is optional

Tell us what you don't like about this product. This field is optional

Explain to us in detail why you like or dislike the product, focusing your comments on the product's features and functionality. This field is optional

Security code