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HTC One V review

 Review: April 2012  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The HTC One V is a mid-range smartphone running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and with a good all-round set of features.

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The One V is the baby in HTC's new One series, and is very much a mid-range phone, in contrast to the One X and One S superphones.

The One V is smaller than the other One phones, but it can't be described as a compact phone. It's certainly larger than Samsung's mid-range offerings and even bigger than the iPhone. The design of the One V is a step back into the past, with the bottom "chin" that reminds us of early HTC phones. We don't really get the chin - it just seems like a waste of space. But there's no denying that the One V feels strong and sturdy and built to last. The display is a good-sized 3.7 inches, but we can't help feeling that it could have been bigger if that silly chin wasn't there. And it's just a plain LCD screen, so it doesn't wow us in any way, despite having a high resolution of 480 x 800 pixels.

The One V runs the latest Google software - Android 4.0 - and HTC Sense 4. We were worried that the relatively modest 1GHz processor might not be up to the job of running this, but in fact the user interface responds fluidly, and apps run smoothly, so that's not a problem.

Now, one of the key features of the One series is its photographic capabilities, so we were keen to see whether the One V retains these. The One V has a 5 megapixel sensor instead of 8, but 5 megapixels is standard for mid-range smartphones, so that doesn't concern us. The One V's camera has a lot to commend it - autofocus, a wide f2.0 aperture lens to let in lots of light, and a smart LED flash that varies its brightness depending on the subject. The camera is capable of taking some great shots. It can record video in HD too, and can even take still photos whilst recording HD video. Having said that, the processor doesn't seem to be up to the job, with rather jerky videos. There's also no front-facing camera, so no video calling with the One V. We can't say that the One V excels at photography, but it's as good as most other mid-range phones, and better than many.

When it comes to music, the One V performs well, with a good music player and excellent sound output via its 3.5mm headphone jack. The built-in Beats Audio software works hard to enhance your music experience, although you won't find any Beats headphones in the box unfortunately.

The phone is great for web browsing, with a good-sized screen, fast data downloads via Wi-Fi or 3G HSPA, and a fully-featured web browser capable of handling HTML5 and flash. There are custom apps for facebook, etc, making best use of the available screen space.

Memory is not a problem, with 4GB of built-in storage, plus a microSD card slot, and free 25GB of cloud-based Dropbox storage as well. We would have appreciated a bit more RAM however - 512MB isn't very 2012.

Battery life isn't bad for a smartphone. With a large 1500mAh battery and no excessively power-hungry hardware, there's no reason why you shouldn't get a few days between charges if you use it carefully and don't spend all your free time playing games.

So, there you have it - the HTC One V. Apart from the *annoying chin* there's nothing not to like. It doesn't have anything missing, it doesn't do anything naughty. Our rational fact-based scoring system tells us that we must award the phone 5 stars. And yet ... it leaves us disappointed. It's a phone that reeks of compromise. Everything has been cut to the bone to make it fit the price. It's screen is just big enough, its processor just fast enough, its RAM just sufficient. That could make it the perfectly balanced phone - not missing out in any single area - yet it leaves us cold. Despite being forced by our rational system to give the One V 5 stars, we'd never choose it ourselves. Instead, we'd snap up the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S without thinking twice. The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is also very similar.

HTC One V features include:

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HTC One V user reviews

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Average rating from 6 reviews:

Reviewed by Chris from UK on 29th Sep 2012
I changed from a Sony Ericsson W995 to an HTC One V four months ago, so it's had a fair test. The screen is very sharp and clear, but not bright enough outside except on very dull days.

As a phone, it makes clear calls except for the occasional "you're breaking up" that everyone gets, and I haven't had a problem with signal strength.

Texting is easy when you rotate the phone because the buttons double in size.

The Bluetooth connects to my Moto stereo headset and to my car's handsfree without any problem.

No complaints with the Sat Nav, or with browsing the web.

The camera takes good, clear shots but the lack of a dedicated shutter button makes using the onscreen button awkward, especially outside, when it's hard to see where the button is. In bright sunlight, you can't see if you've framed the shot properly. The zoom control is good indoors but a pain to use outside. The flash is good up to a couple of metres, like any camera, and doubles as a useful torch.

The music player sounds average through the built-in speaker but great through the headphones.

The battery life is surprisingly good compared with the horror stories about the earlier smartphones. I can get 2 or even 3 days between charges, but I don't spend my life checking facebook etc.

The HTC website says that it will take a 32GB SD card, so I bought a Kingston 32GB Class 10 card. The phone didn't like it - it kept telling me I had taken the card out without "dismounting" it - when I hadn't. I contacted HTC who said that they had tested the phone with the Kingston 32GB Class 4 card but not with the Class 10. Why not say that on their website!!! The Class 10 card cost me 25 and works fine in my PC.

At first I could access my emails via the Hotmail account, but after a few weeks this stopped working. I set up a standard email account to connect instead and this worked for a week then died as well. I contacted HTC about this as well and they recommended a full factory reset and don't download any apps. What use is a phone running Google Android if you can't use apps on it when they come from the Google App Store??? Don't Google check that the apps are compatible with Android before they allow them in the App Store? Or is it a fault with HTC Sense?

HTC Sense crashes every time I open the settings screen in the Calendar. It used to crash the entire phone, but now I have switched off the Weather in the Calendar, only Sense has to restart. HTC said that the factory reset and avoiding downloading apps would fix this as well.

The HTC website doesn't appear to have a download for the phone manual, but I can get one from the Virgin website. However, this tells me to improve battery life by making sure that apps have really closed down and are not running in background, but it does not tell me how. Luckily I have already discovered that Task Manager does this.

To be fair, I read this site's comments on the phone before got it, so I was aware it wasn't earth-shattering. My contract gives me 200 minutes, 500 MB and 1000 text for 17, so it's Ok for the money. But now I wish I'd paid more and got a better phone.

Reviewed by Brian from uk on 18th Sep 2012
Not sure why it gets 5 stars,had mine now 6 months,yes its a nice looking phone and nice design but is slow, hangs now and again for no apparent reason.My first one had to go back wouldn't connect on wifi or blue-tooth,the replacement yes now connects but signal is up down,up down on the WiFi ,my Samsung galaxy sitting in the same chair connects no problem and its download speed over WiFi is double the speed of the HTC.The girlfriend is going to have this I'm going back to Samsung and getting the S2.If this is you first step into android and are not a power user phone might suit your needs since it can be had on a cheap-ish contract but shop around first there is better phones out there.

Reviewed by Jamie from UK on 14th Aug 2012
Love the phone - but its no good when it bricks itself in your pocket. You can't remove the battery. Had a replacement which has done the same in less than a week.

Reviewed by Charlieee from India on 13th May 2012
It's amazing.

Reviewed by JT from UK on 9th May 2012
Wanted a replacement phone and this seemed the best price/quality balance. Have had it for just over a week and very happy.

Very good screen, smooth interface, solid build, excellent camera quality (5megapixels fine for snaps). Great battery life too - seems to be 3/4 days of average use whereas I've been used to charging every day previously.

The specs are perfect for anyone that wants a high quality phone without needing things like quad-core processors.
Not knocking the One S or One X, but I prefer the design of this phone too. Also, micro SD card is a big plus for me.

Reviewed by lee from nw england on 4th May 2012
HTC are weird why did they release this phone as a 3.7 screened fone - when they've the 1 X & S as 4.7's = why not release this as a 4" or a 4.3..???????

AS for the back dated Sense = What are HTC playing at ? it should never have been altered as much as it was, ok tweeked but not radicalised as it was.

This is why Samsung is stealing a march over them.

Good size fone the though BUT the big 'S' still wins over in this price/size bracket.

This is like a Desire but modernised, slightly!

Reply by Gary from Eltham, London on 7th May 2012
HTC have 3 different screen sizes in the One range, One X 4.7, One S 4.3 and the One V 3.7.

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