HTC One S, a tale of two versions

When the HTC One S was announced last February, it looked like it can be the bang-for-the-buck mid-range phone that we’ll have this year. A 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, tough coating on a slim chassis, and a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor completes this package for those not wanting the best but still wants a beautiful and powerful handset. I was among the ones who are sold on this phone.

However, HTC One S suffered delays. It was announced along with the HTC One X and the HTC One V but it came a few months later, although HTC said it’s because they don’t want it to compete with the One X. I’m starting to think it really has something to do with shortage on the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC.

Well HTC decided to bring out another version of the HTC One S for Asia. It’s different in a couple of big ways so you might want to know this before you get one.

HTC One S on Qualcomm Snapdragon S4


The original version which was announced over at MWC has the matte black color. It’s shell underwent a process called microarc oxidation (MAO) which makes it harder than anodised aluminum. However, there are reports (and HTC is already aware of this) that miniature chippings occur as you use the phone despite not banging or dropping it. Something to do with the coating not being as flexible as the aluminum underneath.

However, this is the only version with the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor which is what you’re really gunning for when you get this phone. This version also won’t be available in official HTC stores here in our country according to HTC Philippines.

HTC One S on Qualcomm Snapdragon S3

Now the version released in Asia has the gray/blue gradient shell which looks nice if you’re tired of black. It uses anodised aluminum for its unibody shell without the MAO process, but still durable and scratch-resistant like other premium HTC phones in the past. And it doesn’t chip off easily.

HTC One S Asia

The big catch here is that it uses an old Snapdragon S3 chip (MSM8260) overclocked at 1.7GHz. It’s the same SoC as that of the HTC Sensation, Sensation XE, Sony Xperia S, and Huawei Mediapad. This is a real downer and buyers should know this especially if the S3-version is being priced at the S4-version’s level.

Fortunately, now you know if the HTC One S uses a Snapdragon S3 or a Snapdragon S4, just check the color.

There are S4 versions being sold in the grey market but you still have to deal with the chipping issue on its coating. Other phones that use the Snapdragon S4 SoC include the Samsung Galaxy S3 (LTE version), Asus Padfone, HTC One X (LTE version), and Sony Xperia GX/SX. An elite group indeed that the Asian-version of HTC One S missed out on.

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  • Looks like a fail whether you get the S3 or S4. You get stuck with an older processor that’ll suck the battery dry faster if you go with the S3. On the other hand, if you go with the S4, you’d have to deal with chipping issues. Not hating on HTC here. It is what it is.

    • crackinthewall

      Same sentiments here but I’d still go with the S4 if I’m looking for a phone to last me at least two years. Krait is just so much better and more future-proof than the S3 and I wouldn’t need to worry about the phone’s resale value. Speaking of resale value, it will probably be lower since no one will provide warranty for its body. Most online resellers here only offers shop warranty and you’ll still pay for the parts.

  • Edsar

    So yan pala ang premium phones ng HTC. Ang mahal pa kamo para sa S3? Good luck sa battery life sa S3 clock at 1.7GHz

  • John G

    What a downer. The S3 chip is also the downer in the Xperia S.

    Makes me even happier that I didn’t wait for this and got something else instead. Still thanking this though; it got me interested in getting a new phone 🙂

  • aze


  • Griswold

    Poor HTC, i hope they fix the problem with the coating on the S4 version soon. As for the S3 version, good luck selling that.

  • Not really surprised with the chip since people in the tech world should know the lack of supply of the Krait chips. HTC would rather save it for their One X than use it on One S. Good move for Samsung creating their own processor for SGS3.

    Downside of this would be Sensation users like me won’t be interested to get the One as it is very easy to just flash a Sense 4 ROM and overclock the CPU.

  • Sam

    Now these days s4 version is available in grey color. So, do they also suffer from chipping issue?
    And what about the home button bug issue if you know
    Please respond!