REVIEW: HTC One V

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Being the low-end phone in the HTC’s One series lineup, the HTC One V brings something surprisingly refreshing – it has a screen that is less than 4-inches. Yes, I know. Something you thought would never happen as Android phone screen sizes continue to go up (I mean, the Samsung Galaxy Note has a 5-inch screen!). However, being part of the One series, it does have some expectation to be a quality phone. So does it live up to it?

Terence Huynh reviews the HTC One V – the little phone that could?

  • Score:

    7.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Aluminium unibody; screen size is refreshingly small and reproduce colours well; the camera is good for a 5MP camera

  • The Bad:

    Hardware specs little underwhelming compared to One X; screen makes Sense UI feel cramped

  • Bottom Line:

    A decent phone for basic functions, web browsing and social media updating – in a small package

Design and Features

The HTC One V is probably one of the few phones on Android that do not feature a 4-inch-or-higher screen. And after using such large devices for a year and a half for Android, it is feels weird to go back to a smaller screen size.

The phone’s design is pretty simplistic – with a grey aluminium unibody with some bits of grey plastic. However, it does make the phone is easy to grip and it doesn’t leave any of those pesky fingerprints on the body. It does have a slight curve at the base of the phone – which serves pretty much no purpose other than to slightly different the design from other phones out there in the market

The front is taken up largely by the 3.7-inch Super LCD touchscreen, with three capacitive keys that are standard on all Android phones (home, back and windows) below. The screen is brilliant in reproducing colour, but if you’re jumping from large screen on your phone to this one, then you’ll feel that everything is cramped onto the screen. If you have big thumbs, then you’re going to have a hard time typing because the keys on the virtual keyboard will be a tad smaller than usual.

And because of the smaller screen size, the body is smaller. But one thing I like about the smaller body is that you can – like the iPhone and iPod touch – simply hold the phone and swipe from one edge of the screen to the other using only one hand.

In terms of hardware features – the phone features a 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and auto-focus, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. While it is understandable that the phone’s features are meant to be lower in comparison to the One X, the hardware seems to be its Achilles heel. In comparison to all the other phones it is meant to be competing, a 1GHz processor in mid-2012 doesn’t seem right for a smartphone.

Well, unless you’re Windows Phone 7 – and you only got Microsoft to blame.

The HTC One V, like all other phones in the One Series, runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with their own custom skin – the Sense UI.

Camera

The One V features a 5-megapixel camera, and while it is of a lower resolution compared to the 8-megapixel sensor found on the One X and other smartphones, it is surprisingly good. Of course, it isn’t as sharp and crisp as the One X’s camera lens, but for those who just want a photo – it will probably be fine (Of course, that said, if you want a better picture quality, get a camera and bring that instead).

The camera interface is, like every Android manufacturer, heavily customised. But you still get access to change the flash and change the scenes, such as Panorama and HDR photo shooting modes. It also has several Instagram-like effects, if you feel a bit artsy.

Performance

The phone is surprisingly coped well with a single core 1GHz processor. There weren’t any major problems when interacting with Android and the Sense UI – a bit of lag and jitters occasionally. But of course, with a 1GHz single core processor, it’s not going to perform the same like the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S III. Most apps worked well – but if you’re going to be using this predominantly to connect to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and browse the web, then it’s probably will handle it.

The Sense UI is pretty much the same experience as outlined as on the One X (“pretty easy to use”), except being squished into the smaller screen. Again, if you’re jumping from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich, there are some changes to how widgets are added, but these are minor problems.

Battery life on this phone is pretty good for a phone of this size and type. The phone managed to last for a two and bit days on simply using Facebook and Twitter mostly.

Conclusions

The HTC One V is more targeted towards those who are either jumping from pre-paid to a paid plan, but do not want to pay for a $60 a month plan to get a phone like the HTC One X or Galaxy S III. The phone has minor problems, but overall it is a decent phone to use for basic functions like calling, posting status messages on Twitter and checking Facebook.

The small screen size does put a major feature point of difference in comparison to its rivals – and the 3.7-inch screen will probably win those who do not necessarily need such a big screen. If only it had a dual core processor and more RAM, then it would be a more competitive alternative.

However, but you have to give credit to HTC, they would be tempted to make this more like their previous cheap phones – built with plastic and heavily underpowered. Instead, they have made a phone more aligned with the rest of the One series.

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