• HTC has created plenty of Android smartphones over the last two years, so if you thought they were all going to end up looking exactly the same, think again…

    Sitting between the Desire and Desire HD comes the Incredible S, announced within minutes of the new Desire S. Now there’s an awful lot of handsets with Desire in the title, we’ll understand if you’re getting confused and wondering where the Incredible S fits in.

    It has a smaller screen than the Desire HD, but HTC still appears to be regarding this as a flagship product. And, while neither the Desire or Desire HD had front-facing cameras for video calling (which thanks to Apple it seems everyone now wants to use again), the Incredible S has a 1.3-megapixel snapper on the front to complement the 8-megapixel one on the rear.

    Besides the slightly smaller screen, the Incredible S is positioned above the Desire HD. It also outperforms the Desire S. But, beyond that, there’s not much that is unique on the Incredible S, which is exclusively available from The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy stores in the UK.

    Besides a video calling camera (which can be used as a regular camera too), the key difference is in the styling. From the front, you have all the standard elements of yet another black smartphone slab, but on the back you will see a battery cover that doesn’t hide the innards of the phone, but accentuates them instead. It’s the phone of choice for people who used to mod their PCs and would never be seen dead with something in an anonymous aluminium shell.

    HTC argues the design makes the phone look even thinner than it is (11.7mm thick). However, in my opinion it makes the phone look thicker. This is because the bulge makes you think there are parts sticking out beyond what you would associate as the back of the phone, i.e. a flush finish.

    However the optical illusion may work for you, and the phone feels good in the hand thanks to the soft touch material that gives you confidence that you’re won’t drop it easily, as you might with the new crop of super skinny smartphones coming onto the market. I’ll even go as far as to say that thicker handsets look and feel nicer overall, especially when HTC has been able to include a  1,450mAH battery, which tops the Desire HD and should keep it going for a few hours longer.

    All things considered, the Incredible S does look pretty good. For that end, HTC has achieved what it set out to do by doing things a little bit different. Some of you will take one glance and be immediately turned off, so for you HTC will hope you’ll be turned towards the Desire S or one of the other new models. There are certainly plenty of other models to choose from in the HTC range.

    Currently all of them will give you only Android 2.2, which seems a really strange decision but is presumably down to the time it takes HTC to adapt its HTC Sense UI to work with each new OS revision.

    This is one of the compromises you have to accept and live with, in order to enjoy what is probably the best third-party user interface customisation on any Android device. It’s a worthy sacrifice, as HTC Sense really does have a huge number of tweaks to make Android more exciting, from changeable skins to audio sets – and plenty of enhancements to the camera interface (more on that later).


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