HTC One S: The exterior
The One S is the smaller sibling of the HTC One X, both in terms of market positioning and pricing. With an average price of £380 it's significantly more affordable than the One X. It's half a centimetre more compact in length and width, which makes the phone feel smaller in the hand.
The design and finish of the One S is quite unique. The bulk of the case is in aluminium that's been made matte black by a process called plasma electrolytic oxidation. It has a two-fold result, it makes the material very hard and scratch-resistant, and gives it a very high-end stylish look. The latter was definitely successful, it feels nice in the hand and looks very attractive. However, several owners of the One S have reported that the oxidation layer can come loose in places, which creates ugly spots on the phone. HTC has recognised the problem and claims to have adjusted the manufacturing process so this no longer happens. Customers that experience the problem can get a free replacement or repair.
We can't say from our own experience that it scratches easily. We used it normally during the testing period and it look just fine, but we have seen proof by others who did experience the damage.
When you put the One X and One S next to each other, it's clear that they are part of the same family. The One S also has rounded edges and the unibody appears to clamp around the display. The One S does have two smaller covers on the back. Both the top and the bottom of the back are made from plastic, in order to allow the signals from GSM, 3G and GPS antennas through. The top panel can be removed to gain access to the microSIM slot.
Other than that the One S resembles the One X quite a bit. The connectors and buttons are in the same locations, and the capacitive buttons below the display are identical. The speaker grille with status LED is the same, as are the camera positions on the front and back of the phone. The camera module does protrude a little but less on the One S, and implemented more appealingly, in our opinion.