As you'll know if you've been following our coverage of the device, the HTC One S comes in two flavors -- anodized aluminum (grey) and ceramic (black). The black version is treated using a process called micro-arc oxidation, which involves taking the aluminum unibody and pumping it full of electricity until, through the power of science, the surface takes on a ceramic-like texture.

However, some One S owners have reported that after just a few days, the fancy matte coating is already starting to erode. There's even the customary XDA thread with photos of unsightly scratches along the top edge of some devices, apparently through normal use rather than being dropped or knocked around. We haven't noticed anything that drastic with our MAO-coated review unit, but it has picked up a few smudges here and there. Then again, a phone picking up scuffs over time is hardly news in itself.

In a statement sent to The Verge, HTC says it's aware of the repots and is investigating the issue. That's the way these things work, and we're hopeful HTC will make things right for those with genuine defects.

But it's also worth mentioning that just because a phone's been fried in plasma, doesn't make it immune to the laws of physics. Scratches will still happen, even on a surface that's purportedly four times harder than the standard anodized aluminum. A good analogy here is Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is stronger than regular glass, but although it's bendable and shatter resistant, it remains susceptible to hairline scratches. The point of a reinforced surface is to avoid structural, not cosmetic damage. It's also true that manufacturing defects happen, particularly in the early days, and these aren't necessarily indicative of a flawed design.

However this pans out, we'll be watching with interest, and we'll keep you posted of further developments. Be sure to share your own experiences with the One S down in the comments.

Source: The Verge


Reader comments

HTC looking into reports of chipped ceramic coating on some One S phones


The EVO3D can't have this issue. It was not manufactured with this process. And mine is in perfect condition still, bought it within a week of Sprint launching it.

Yep. My Evo 3D is also launch day and is in PERFECT condition. I do not use a case. The 3D has a soft plastic back and sides.

Why this news isn't spreading like wildfire throughout the media is beyond me. Had this been another famous phone maker exhibiting even the tiniest scratch, everyone would be pouncing on them and demanding class-action lawsuit status.

Oh yeah, forgot. Everyone already has low expectations from Android phones. Sorry, my bad. Nevermind.

maybe because this is cosmetic.
The last problem the "other" phone maker exhibited was the antenna issue. I'll take a cosmetic issue over the phone not working worth a damn any day. Be gone iTroll.

Either way this is totally unacceptable. The whole point of the "new" process was it was supposed to be super strong and able to stand up to wear and tear such as this.

The fact that this is happening to almost brand new handsets proves that this actually created a material that does NOT stand up to the claims.

This also shows that HTC does not field test their products because if they did this issue would have been discovered long before the final product release.

HTC has constant fit, finish and build quality issues. People can knock on Samsung materials all they want but my Galaxy is light, thin, and has no light leakage or battery cover creacking that haunts just about every HTC product.

Strange then that I had an Evo 4G and now an Evo 3D and neither had any build problems at all. No light leakage. No battery cover problems. Nothing.

You are over-generalizing.

Same here CRXSSI, I bought an EVO 4G and now have the EVO 3D, the 4G EVO is still in use today, never had any issues with either phone. No light leakage, no creaking, no screen issues. Either the reports of build quality are greatly exagerated or I am so lucky as to get two of the only phones that were built correctly.

If I am that lucky I need to go pick up some lotto tickets right away.

And unless Samsung releases a phone on Sprint that rivals the new EVO, the new EVO will be my next device. And I suspect that I won't have any issues with the next HTC phone I get.

You should pick up lottery tickets because the light leakage issue is well documented for the Evo. :)

And don't get me wrong I am not here just to knock HTC, I think that ALL manufactures have issues and they all need to step up game.

To spend $600+ on a piece of equipment that has glaring issues that should have been resolved before mass production is just not acceptable.

I had high hopes when HTC released the statement that they were going to have more focused and higher quality products starting this year, but seems to be all talk at this point.

Lotto tickets have been purchased.

I guess I am super lucky then.
I know several folks with HTC phones, 2 of them still rocking the EVO 4G no issues with thier phones either.

While I am sure people have issues with thier phones, hence the documented cases, but there are issues with all phones from all manufacturers.

Dig a little and you can find someone to complain about anything.

Looks like HTC is going to fix the phones that have the problem, so it's all moot anyhow.

Not here to defend one manufacturer over the other that is not my job. There are reports of manufacturing 'fit & finish' issues with HTC in the past - I had problems with my Evo 4G's ill-fitting battery cover from the start - but to be fair that happens with almost any sofisticated electronic product now a days. In an ideal world, every device should come to the consumer with no manufacturing or functional flaws of any kind - this is not a perfect world and shyte happens.

In regards to Samsung, though I like their design, built and specs, I have owned the Epic 4G and the Nexus S 4G and I can tell you on my samples the radios and GPS receivers were not as reliable or strong as those on my Evo 4G. On my wife's LG Optimus S, the bluetooth stack is very unreliable and fails to connect very often.

So there you have it, no phone maunfacturer is perfect or absolutely free of defects. If you pick a bad copy and detect a major problem early on, then exchange it or get a different brand altoguether.

If this ends up being a systemic manufacturing defect, I am sure HTC will address it and make ammends to the affected customers, they can't afford not to.

This "new" coating is a bit of a double edge sword - hard typically means brittle, and this seems to be the case here. HTC probably shouldn't have designed the phone to have that sharp edge line, which seems to be where the chips are happening.

I don't envy manufacturers these days, as people's expectations are pretty extreme - it has to weigh nothing, be impossibly thin, not flex, be impervious to scratches, run for ever on a charge and print money...

I get that chips are unsightly, but really, just a handful of years ago (before smartphones), people's plastic phones were typically beat, scratched and chipped to hell, and no one cared. Now, a phone is both a status symbol and a prized possession that defines who a person is. Kind of a scary commentary on our priorities.

As for Samsung's supposed quality, I beg to differ. Of all the Samsung phones I've owned or seen, they all feel like cheap plastic crap. Every one, including (I might even say especially) the great Galaxy Nexus. I'll take a chipped up, metal bodied, HTC any day.

OK... acting like this is a massive design flaw in the One S series is silly. So far, a couple of people have *reported* it. That doesn't even make it true. It's entirely possible like 1 in every 10,000 has some small issue like this or maybe just a small batch. I don't know enough about how the process it done to comment on that. Defects happen. Always have, always will, and to *every* manufacturer.

As for HTC having "build quality issues", I've owned 3 HTC phones now and they've all been perfect. My daughter has an HTC and it's been great, too. As for Samsung, I know several people who've had Galaxy S and S II phones that were great. I've also known a few people that owned ones that just plain wouldn't work. Forget build quality. I'm talking about random reboots, wouldn't ring, screen wouldn't get bright enough to see in a dark room, etc. And don't even get me *started* on the GPS antenna issue ;) One friend's GS constantly tries to give her directions starting in Florida. We live in Texas, BTW.

All manufacturers have to deal with stuff like this. Android is a crazy hot market right now, so everyone is rushing to get their device out first. Unfortunately, that can lead to some defects in manufacturing. That's bad, but not the end of the world, so long as HTC owns up and makes it right with these users. And I believe they will.

For 600 ducats, I do expect a level of quality. So therefore I expect my device, no matter what it is, to last longer then one of my pooping extravaganza's.

Every Evo 4G I own, which is three of them and still being used, have light leaks and on two of them, the batt cover doesn't fit right. The Evo 3D i had for all of 3 weeks had signal issues but was pretty much flawless cosmetic wise...until I noticed tons of dust under the screen....

My E4GT works and still looks flawless internally and cosmetically. I can say HTC's quality sucks and THEY need to start expecting more out of thier own devices. But to each his own and no animals were harmed in the making of this post.