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The HTC One V joins the other models in the One series, and is a spiritual successor to the 2010 HTC Legend. Less flashy than the “X” and “S” models, it is aimed at first-time buyers of smartphones – but do its features make the grade? The HTC One V is called an essential smartphone for a reason. It will stay with you and keep you connected with the digital world at all times. Like the other HTC phones the One V offers speedy browsing and rich content and file sharing through a DropBox link. What is special about this phone is the 5 MP camera that can capture moments in a second, even in low lights. Its features give the best and clearest shots. You never have to worry about switching between different modes. Multiple tasks can be performed at the same time through HTC One V . The internal memory has a capacity of 4 GB and a 512 MB RAM. The memory can be expanded with a microSD card. The connectivity factor is enhanced by a feature that automatically suggests any phone contacts that are not on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. The Beats Audio feature will enhance the entertainment experience with all kinds of media; audio, video and gaming. You will feel immersed in the rich and vibrant sound. The phone’s design is slightly curved at the end to give a unique look. A metallic body is durable and stylish and looks great to work with.
Like the “X” model, the One V is solid in design, but it is considerably less bulky than the “X” at just 9.4mm thick, with a sleek aluminum uni-body and 3.7” screen displaying at 840x480 resolution. The phone is durable and scratch-resistant on all sides. Its three controls, including the multitask key, are raised from the main phone body. With very limited hard-drive storage space, the One V depends on removable storage such as a micro SD card.
The phone’s display, while not HD, is still of a good quality at 252dpi, and doesn’t suffer too badly in direct sunlight. Controversially, HTC have chosen to put Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on this bottom-tier smartphone – and the HTC One V’s processor (a single core - the Qualcomm Snapdragon S2) handles it surprisingly well, although some of the more demanding animations, transitions and widgets are absent. Within the HTC Sense UI v.4 there is some lag when navigating menus or apps, and it struggles with demands such as image-heavy websites, but largely it is quick and fluid. Shortcuts on the lock screen are handy, as is the multitask feature, making it simple and quick to navigate your menus and media.
The One V works particularly well for its core function of making calls. The well-spaced and user-friendly Contacts app enables users to add, remove and edit contacts effortlessly. In-call audio is clear and crisp, and the phone is effective in filtering out background noise and distortion. Signal is usually strong – the phone rarely drops calls or fails to find some coverage wherever it is – and making a call takes only seconds using the touch-screen dialing facility.
Messaging, another core phone function, has been refined for the One series and the One V provides good performance and service. All physical inputs have been removed, and the on-screen QWERTY keyboard bears a strong resemblance to that of other Android devices. Typing can be challenging in portrait but landscape is expansive and effortless. Setting up email takes only minutes, whether it’s the recommended Gmail or another account.
Widgets and app shortcuts provide immediate access to the phone’s media player. The Picture Gallery is also easy to find, and offers users a few useful tools for editing images, such as crop and rotation. On the middle-range 3.7-inch display images and videos render well, with smooth and clear playback. Of course, the display lacks the vivid and detailed colors of top-tier smartphones, but for this price bracket the performance is certainly strong. An additional feature users will appreciate is the on-location light sensor, which perfectly pitches the brightness level depending on where the viewer is.
Like the other devices in the One series, the HTC One V has an in-built player that attempts to compete with Apple’s iTunes software. The device itself is enhanced by Beats capability and the audio output is generally very strong, giving a complex, deep and nuanced sound. A passable in-built speaker takes advantage of the quirky ‘chin’ to shield output from being muffled. The FM radio’s simple interface is well built, and the radio antenna (stereo headset) does a good job of finding nearby stations.
The phone’s camera is far from state-of-the-art, dropping to a 5MP sensor compared to the 8MP of the other “One” models. The Camera app is minimalist but still includes some great features such as HDR, fake tilt-shift and simultaneous image and video capturing. Colors are passable but slightly dull. However, a lens of f/2.0 gives good snaps in lower lighting, and images can be readily enhanced via the drop-down menu using filters, distortion, field-depth enhancement or pop-art templates. The decision not to include a second camera may discourage some buyers, but keeps the phone’s price down.
The One V records video in resolutions up to 720p. It performs moderately under varying light levels and its strong focus settings put it above similar competitor models. Like other HTC models, it offers the option of slow-motion filming, but the built-in digital zoom certainly counts against it in the smartphone market, creating grainy and distorted pixel-images that will mean most users leave the function untouched.
The One V boasts 3G and Wi-Fi as options for when you’re on the go. Loading pages on 3G can be arduous, but the Wi-Fi capability is strong and reliable, connecting quickly to local networks and offering good signal. The phone charges via a standard micro-USB connection that can be unbalanced and awkward to use.
Because of its limited internal storage, many users will be pleased to take advantage of the free 25GB storage offered by Dropbox. This additional space makes it possible to store large media such as video. Via the Google Play store, owners can download games, tools and utilities to bolster their phone’s organizational and entertainment capabilities. The Calendar app allows multiple synching, easy event creation and notes. The Clock includes Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, World Clock and Timer, all easily accessible, and users can use Tasks to manage to-do lists effectively.
The phone’s browser makes use of the pinch-zoom option as well as single-swipe scroll to navigate web content. Even when zoomed, the display remains sharp. The browser offers a quick and responsive page search function, tabbed browsing, quick bookmarks, and a new ‘Forward’ button, all of which smooth the flow of web-surfing, for an immerse experience that copes well with media content. The Applications show a strong Google bias, naturally, but Facebook, Twitter and many others are also ready to go out of the box. Apps are downloadable from Google Play, a strong rival to Apple’s iOS Store, but some heavy-duty apps will cause lag if left running in sleep mode, and may even freeze entirely. Overall, performance is good and users will find plenty of content to keep them occupied.
Being an Android phone, Google Maps comes as standard software, offering free navigation help. The handset is unfortunately slow to pick up a GPS signal, but once a connection is made the phone provides clear and accurate route info.
The HTC One V is recognizable by its curved ‘chin’, its signature design quirk, which gives it surprisingly good call quality.
Considerably less expensive than the smartphones at the top of the market, but offering many of the functions of more powerful HTC phones, the One V offers excellent value for those new to smartphones who want plenty of features without the eye-watering price tag.
Sturdy, versatile and solid in performance, this is a great phone for first-time smartphone purchasers with much to recommend it. However, if video or image capture are important to you, you should consider investing in one of the more powerful HTC models.