2012 is the year of the quad – core smartphones , dubbed “superphones” . All the OEM’s are moving with new flagships and their own respective series. Samsung with their Galaxy and the S3 at its helm, and LG’s Optimus series. HTC had a shaky year last year, with the Sensation line failing to ward of all the die – hard S2 fans. This year, they’re looking to mimic what they did in 2010 with the Desire, which won the hearts of everyone. This year is the year of the ONE , and HTC ‘s got 3 very capable Ones to do that job. The One X is their flagship superphone, followed by the dual – core One S, which still tugs along as fast as that Quad Core brother, with better battery life. That leaves us with the third , and youngest member of the One family , the ONE V. A single core , 5Mp sporting phone running on the latest Android with Sense 4 on top, and a RM999 price tag, where exactly does the One V fit in today’s power hungry crowd? Will it be the new benchmark for sub-RM1000 phones? Can Ice Cream Sandwich be enough to justify this guy? Read on to find out our verdict of the HTC One V .
The One V has taken a cue from the Legend of 2010, bringing back that familiar aluminium body and trademark chin, but upping the real estate. The whole handset is built with an aluminium unibody housing, with only a small removable cover at the back for SIM and SD card hot swapping. The Gorilla Glass equipped screen is positioned slightly above the phone, above the chin and 3 capacitive buttons, Back , Home and Multitasking. The screen as well as the whole handset itself was very resilient to scratches and aggressive handling, and no matter how much we tried, we could never manage a creak from the phone. No squeaks or creaks. This was one well built phone.
On the front, you only get the screen and 3 ICS friendly touch buttons, no front facing camera for your Instagram fantasies.We suspect this is a move to keep costs down. On the right side, there’s the slightly plasticky volume rocker and the micro USB port on the left hand side. At the back , there’s a drilled speaker grill and the Beats Audio logo at the bottom. Both of this sit on the removable cover mentioned earlier, which snaps off and back on fairly easily. On the top part of the back plate sits the 5MP camera with LED flash. The camera unit sits on a special rubberized plate, which gives the back a tri – colour setting. On the top of the device sits the power button, 3.5mm headphone jack, and one feature we wish all devices had, an LED indicator. Yes, the One V blinks on and on to remind you of that notification.
With the One V , there’s no question of using an SD Card or not. Even though it’s advertised with 4GB of internal memory, only 1GB is user – accessible . The good news is there’s support for up to 32GB memory cards and they’re hot swappable, so you don’t have to turn of your phone to remove / insert the SD. I would like to mention however, that I experienced some issues with the phone not recognizing my SD card. I kept getting an ” SD unexpectedly removed ” error.
The One V punches 800 x 480 pixels into its 3.7 inch display, which is also a Super LCD2 display like its older brother , the One X. Don’t get us wrong. The Super LCD2 is one of the best displays available , head to head with Samsung’s Super AMOLED . With 252 ppi, it’s not easy to discern the individual pixels. The display gives an illusion of a densly packed nHD resolution. The one thing that shines in the display of the One V is its superb viewing angles and clarity. You can tilt this phone as much as you like, but you’ll never experience a loss of colour , until about 150″ , and nobody uses a phone from that angle anyway. Colours were vibrant and punchy , and had just the right amount of saturation , unlike the over saturated AMOLED displays. Outdoor readability was also excellent. Cranking up the brightness to 100% and pitting it against Malaysia’s extreme heat, I could use the phone without any difficulties. It was perfectly usable and readable, but don’t expect to read an ebook out here. The screen was also very responsive to touch, with only slight touches enough to register a response on the digitizer. The same can be said with the 3 capacitive buttons at the bottom, which light up when it senses dark environments, were very responsive and we never experienced accidental touches with the device.
With the One V , you won’t be getting the flagship sensor from the One X and S , but will settle for a more humble 5MP sensor that still packs a big punch. Don’t be fooled , the 5MP sensor performed very well, and was on par with the shots taken from the iPhone 4 , albeit with a bit less colour saturation. HTC’s ImageChip is onboard , ensuring you don’t miss out on Burst capture and simultaneous video and photo capture. The sensor is rated at F/2.0 , meaning all your low light shots will be covered. The One V can record 720p video at 30fps and does so reasonably. Quality was good , with recording at consistent frame rates. The camera can tap – to – focus even while recording, something missing from some 1080p capable devices. As you can see from the gallery above, the shots were quite good for a 5MP shooter, almost on par with the iPhone 4, but were very unsaturated and lacked the poppy colours of the iPhone 4. However, the phone takes burst mode shots very well, and each burst shot is sorted into its respective folder, and you can view all of them and delete the ones you dont want, as well as delete the whole folder , with a click. Very handy. ( Please refer to the gallery at the end of the post for all camera sample shots )
The One V runs on the latest version of Android , Ice Cream Sandwich with version number 4.0.3 . Not even half of the flagships of yesterday like the S2 and Galaxy Note have received the update, and yet this humble handset ships with it , topped with HTC’s excellent Sense 4.o skin. Sense has always been a hit or miss and a love it or hate it skin for Android, with many always opting for Vanilla instead. But for Sense 4, no. Sense 4 is a totally different story, and it’s a story people are finally going to love. Finally a skin that actually does what it’s supposed to do, preserve Android’s core functionality yet add useful features without the expanse of performance. HTC have toned down Sense a lot, so much that it tugs along the single core processor without a hint of lag. In all my use, never once did I experience lags or hanging, something that plagues even the flagship models.
This Sense overlay doesn’t hog the processor, and overall looks great on a screen this size.Of course, this isn’t the same Sense running on the One X and One S, although both are dubbed Sense 4. A couple of features are dropped, like navigational arrows in the keyboard, and pinching to view all homescreens is absent. Some things are of course identical, like the personalization menu and the app drawer. Overall, the experience was smooth and delivered on what we wanted. A light skin that improves over Android, not burdens it.
Performance and Battery Life
As we said in our software section , the phone performed very well for day to day tasks. Of course , nothing will please you guys until you look at some benchmark results , so here they are. The One V actually blew away my expectations in Quadrant and Nenamark. I was expecting a 1500 – 1700 score for Quadrant, but I got a 2000+ . That’s on par with the first crop of dual – core handsets released. Impressive from the Qualcomm MSM8255 S2 CPU.
Battery life is one of the best, if not the best trait of this device. I was extremely shocked with the device ability to keep juiced even thru all the stress tests I put it through. For my power use test, which includes Mail , Facebook and Twitter on Always Sync, WiFi On always, browsing , heavy messaging, an hour of music and a tons of phone calls as well as gaming and app uses. At the end of the night,I was left with 55%, so I didn’t even have to charge the device. I continued the following day for my casual user test, which comprises of Auto – Sync on , some web browsing, a half hour of music, and two phone calls as well as light messaging. At the end of the day, I was down to 35 % . Very impressive indeed. For casual users, you might only have to charge the handset once every three days. For really power users, despite all your power draining efforts, you’ll never need to carry your charger with you. Just be sure to leave with at least an 85% charge at the beginning of the day. ( Please refer to the gallery below for screenshots )
The HTC One V is a fantastic phone, if its what you were looking far. If you want Ice Cream Sandwich, a great camera, fantastic battery life and Beats Audio all wrapped in a package less than RM1000 , then this is for you. If benchmarks are your thing, and you want a big screen with a powerful processor, then this might not be your choice. You’d have to look to the One S and X. Despite everything, we are going to give it to you straight. This is the best handset under RM1000 available today for Android. It may continue to look like it, until dual core devices become the old fashioned spec and they drop, but that’s not gonna happen soon, at least not till 2013. Congratulations HTC for building this device, it’s certainly going to lead the budget minded crowd. We would like to thank HTC Malaysia for being so kind as to provide us with a review unit of the One V. Here’s a small breakdown of the pro’s and con’s
As we said in our software section , the phone performed very well for day to day tasks. Of course , nothing will please you guys until you look at some benchmark results , so here they are. The One V actually blew away my expectations in Quadrant and Nenamark. I was expecting a 1500 – 1700 score for Quadrant, but I got a 2000 . That’s on par with the first crop of dual – core handsets released. Impressive from the Qualcomm MSM8255 S2 CPU.
– fantastic battery life
– Beats Audio
– Ice Cream Sandwich, most probably upgradeable to Jelly Bean
– Very smooth performance
– 25GB free Dropbox storage
– Burst mode camera
– Excellent build quality
– mediocre browser performance
– No NFC, digital compass
– No front facing camera