HTC One V Review, raising the bar for its class
For 2012, HTC released the HTC One series of Android phones that focus on three things: build, camera and audio quality, on top of the beautiful HTC Sense UI they are known for and the reliability of their handsets.
The HTC One V is the entry-level model of HTC’s new breed of handsets and is often cast aside in favor or its impressive brother, the quad-core HTC One X. We’re here to take a look on how the HTC One V fares in its class. Is it going to be the best-sounding, best camera phone in its price point? Let’s find out.
Following the design footprints of the HTC Legend, the One V also has that pronounced chin at the bottom for a more natural feel when pressed against the ear for calls. This one feels premium with its aluminum body and a grainy texture to discourage smudges and print.
The front is dominated by a slightly raised 3.7-inch Gorilla Glass screen with the three Android 4.0 capacitive touch buttons for Back, Home, and Recent Apps below. Near the top just above the HTC logo are tiny holes for the earpiece. No secondary cam lens can be found here.
Button and port positioning is standard for HTC phones. At the top is the Power/Sleep button and the 3.5mm audio jack. There’s also a strip of LED on top that blinks when there are notifications available and lights up when charging. On the left is the volume rocker and on the right is the microUSB port for data transfer or charging. No dedicated camera button can be found on this device.
The back has that light grainy finish on the aluminum panel that we talked about. The 5-megapixel lens is located near the top edge along with the LED flash on a rubber space. The bottom part has the Beats logo on a rubber cover that houses only the SIM and microSD slot, making the battery on this phone non-replaceable without opening the whole thing up.
The phone feels great to hold especially for the ladies out there with small hands. It feels slimmer than the HTC Desire S and the HTC Rhyme which has almost the same size physically as this phone.
Display and UI
The HTC One V has a respectable 3.7-inch screen with a 480 x 800 resolution, same as the aforementioned Desire S and Rhyme. Colors appear sharp and vibrant whether you’re just admiring the UI or playing games and watching videos on it.
It has the latest HTC Sense UI 4.0 layered on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which I think makes a pretty good combination in terms of design and functionality. The shortcuts in the lockscreen are now customizable depending on the launch bar content at the bottom of the homescreen.
The app drawer is now divided into pages unlike the one long vertical scroll of before. There’s still the Frequent and Downloads tab to get to your apps easily.
They removed the useful dedicated menu button and instead placed it on the upper right portion of apps that require it. What’s new is the dedicated Recent Apps button wherein before, you need to hold Home button to access it. Closing apps is now made easy, just view your recent apps and swipe it to the left or right off the screen.
Powering the HTC One V is a single-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor commonly found on mid-range devices last year so seeing it in an entry-level handset is already a big plus.
Here’s the Quadrant score (1892) of the HTC One V.
So as not to step on the toes of the HTC Rhyme and the Desire S, the One V only has 512MB RAM. Is it enough for this phone? While I do experience smooth navigation within the UI, I also encountered a bit of lag when launching applications, updating widgets, sending messages, viewing contact details, etc. It doesn’t happen all the time but it does happen (probably when the phone has to refresh its memory) and you will notice the 2 to 3-second wait.
To let you know how the lag feels, check this video I did while navigating through the phone.
Call quality is good with no drops experienced although there’s still that tiny bit of delay before the Answer button kicks in.
It also takes a while for games to smooth out. I encounter stuttering when playing Temple Run but it eventually became smoother as the game completely loads. I even beat my game’s high score on this phone.
Web-browsing is very quick though even loading of flash content such as videos and live streams. You just can’t discount an Android phone’s ability to play flash straight from its browser.
Having an Adreno 205 GPU, the HTC One V is a very capable multimedia device for watching videos if you don’t mind viewing on a 3.7-inch screen. MKVs, AVIs, MP4s and FLVs are not a problem with this phone.
The HTC One V is now the most affordable phone in HTC’s stable that has the Beats Audio enhancement. HTC improved the software to not only apply to the Music app but to all applications and games that requires audio as long as you’re using a headphone. If you’re wondering what Beats Audio entails, you’ll get a louder, fuller sound with more bass on your music.
It doesn’t come with a matching Beats headphones by the way so feel free to use your own or the generic earphones included in the package.
While only having a 5-megapixel camera, the HTC One V is probably the best camera phone I’ve ever used in its class. It inherited the same f2.0 lens with BSI sensor and the dedicated imaging chip of its siblings, the One X and One S. It’s now fast and performs well even indoors without the need of its LED flash.
What’s new with the camera here is that it auto-focuses by itself. Wait for it to focus and click the onscreen shutter button. No need for half-presses making it one of the fastest camera phone around. In fact, you can take a photo continuously in quick succession (up to 20 shots). You can also touch any point of the screen you want it to focus on before taking your shot.
Just like other HTC phones, you can also apply effects upon taking your shots for more creative photos.
Here are a few sample photos taken with the HTC One V.
One thing that immediately stood out for me is that the imaging software tend to oversaturate photos of daylight shots when the sun is high so colors would pop out more and be vibrant. This is clearly noticed on skies and bodies of water. However, other photos turned out really good with the right sharpness so it’s just a matter of preference.
This phone also features a great level of photo editing, from applying built-in effects and frames, to adjusting different elements of the image such as levels, white balance, exposure, saturation, sharpness, etc.
Here’s a sample 720p video recording done on with the HTC One V.
Another thing HTC wants to highlight is that you can take still photos while in the middle of video recording.
The HTC One V has a battery rated at 1500mAh which we often encounter on dual-core phones or those with 4-inch displays and above. So how does it affect the One V?
I was able to use this phone as my personal and primary phone. With moderate calls and text, no 3G, WiFi always on but only connected when I’m at home (even sleeping), sync on, brightness set to auto, light surfing, picture taking, gaming and video, I was able to squeeze three days on a single charge on three consecutive occasions! Something I couldn’t accomplish on other Android phones I’ve used. If you’re a heavy user, you can easily reach 1.5 to 2 days out of the HTC One V.
In a nutshell, the HTC One V is now one of the best phones in its class. You’ll get a gorgeous 3.7-inch screen, with probably the most beautiful Android UI available out of the box, impressive camera for its size, long-lasting battery, and Beats Audio enhancement, all in one well-manufactured device using quality materials.
If we put a grading system in our review, here’s what the HTC One V’s grade will look like:
Design – 4.5/5
Speed – 3/5
Camera – 5/5
Battery – 5/5
Price – 4/5
Overall – 4.5/5
If you can get used to the occasional lags when using the phone (which I have), and the lack of front-facing came, then the HTC One V should be on the top of your lists when buying an Android phone. Having a retail price of just Php15,990 (might be cheaper in other stores) makes it more affordable than older 3.7-inch HTC phones.
|HTC One V Specs:|
|1GHz Single core Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor|
|Adreno 205 GPU|
|3.7” WVGA LCD Display, 480×800 pixels @ 252ppi|
|Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|HTC Sense UI 4.0|
|4GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD card|
|HSDPA up to 14.4Mbps|
|5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, f2.0, 28mm lens|
|720p HD video recording|
|No front-facing camera|
|1500mAh Li-Polymer battery|
|120.3 x 59.7 x 9.2 mm|