The HTC One S is the middle child of the One family but it just might be the brightest and best looking too. Inside the slender metal case is a treasure chest of new technology - the brains behind the beauty in this piece of smartphone alchemy.
HTC use not one but two advanced processes to create the metal shell of the One S. The micro arc oxidation uses 10,000V of electricity to turn the aluminum surface into ceramic, which is said to be five times stronger than aerospace aluminum or stainless steel. That creates the black finish of the phone.
The second option is a more traditional anodized aluminum, but with a twist - it has a unique, subtle gradient from medium to dark grey.
Whichever bodywork you choose, the 7.8mm of thickness is even throughout - no cheating with bumps on the back. The HTC One S feels startlingly thin in the hand.
There was no compromise with the internals either - the two Krait cores in the new Snapdragon S4 chipset promise much more power than the old Scorpion cores. Early benchmarks show it could even rival a quad Cortex-A9 CPU.
Going by specs alone, HTC have created a true wonder phone with the One S. Here are the pros and cons, if you can take your eyes off the pictures.
The non-expandable memory is either a non-issue (you get 2GB for apps and 10GB for storage) or a deal-breaker, depending on how you use the phone. You do get 25GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years though.
With the Beats logo on its back, you'd think the One S would attract music buffs. But then, there's no Beats headset included in the box and those are rather pricey to buy separately. You still get the Beats audio equalizer software, but you get a standard headset, so you might want to get your own.
Still, with the latest Android version, a much improved Sense UI, an 8MP camera that does 1080p video and full-res photos simultaneously (plus, it has continuous shooting and other cool stuff), the HTC One S is one of the best-equipped Android handsets we've laid our hands on lately.
Let's pop open the box and see what's inside before going back to the hardware. There's a lot to be said about the software too, so let's not waste any more time and jump straight in.