One V

It's hard to believe it's been more than two years since we first met the venerable HTC Legend. HTC's angular, aluminum clad beast wowed us way back at Mobile World Congress 2010, with its impressive build quality and the then cutting-edge Android 2.1. Fast-forward two years and we finally have a worthy successor to the Legend's chinny mantle -- the HTC One V.

While nowhere near as flashy -- or expensive -- as the high-end HTC One phones, the One V aims to spice up the entry-level market with a solid hardware and software foundation, and some high-end treats. Inside that angled aluminum unibody there's a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, ICS, Sense 4.0, Beats Audio and a 5MP ImageSense camera.

We've spent the past day or so getting to know the HTC One V, so join us after the break for some first impressions.

In stark contrast to the rest of the HTC One series, the One V is small, angular and chunky. Like its progenitor, it's carved from a single piece of aluminum, with soft touch areas at the top and bottom. This, combined with the phone's sizeable chin, helps the One V fit comfortably in the hand. With a 3.7-inch WVGA display (a SuperLCD 2 panel like the One X), the One V isn't necessarily aimed at heavy multimedia consumers, but there's still something to be said for this screen size and form factor.

You'll find all the buttons and ports in the usual places -- three capacitive buttons under the screen, power and headphone jack up top, volume rocker on the right side and microUSB port on the left. Around the back is the 5MP ImageSense camera with LED flash. Usually camera quality is the first thing to go, as manufacturers look to cut costs in a budget handset, but the One V's 5MP shooter is an impressive performer, easily beating the Galaxy Nexus in still image quality. That's because despite the smaller sensor, the One V's camera is backside-illuminated, and includes HTC's dedicated ImageChip for better photo processing. Video recording tops out at 720p, but that's likely because of the limited CPU power on offer.

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Speaking of which, the One V is powered by a 1GHz single-core CPU, backed up by 512MB of RAM. It's nothing to write home about, but it does the job. That said, it doesn't feel quite as snappy as the dual-core One S in day-to-day use, and there's no denying that you're dealing with a slower device. The phone's meager internal storage may end up cramping your style, too. There's just 1GB of app space and 95MB of internal media storage. Fortunately that's expandable by adding a microSD card. No card was bundled with our review unit, but we understand retail units will ship with a 2GB card.

On the software side, the One V runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4, but it's not the same Sense 4 we've come to know and love on the One X and One S. Things have been scaled back somewhat on account of the One V's less powerful hardware. Some 3D effects have been cut, as have the fancy Sense weather animations and the 3D task switcher. DLNA support and the Sense Movie Maker are also nowhere to be found. Functionally speaking, it's still HTC Sense, just with fewer bells and whistles. We've seen low-end devices running pared-back versions of Sense in the past, and that's pretty much what you'll get on the One V -- a more basic software experience for a more basic device.

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But then the One V isn't priced anywhere near the all-singing, all-dancing One X, and so some compromises are to be expected. Nevertheless, the phone shines in other areas, including its display -- SuperLCD 2 looks great, even on a smaller panel. The build quality is top-notch, and the camera is the best we've seen on a budget handset.

We've got a few sample photos from the One V's 5MP camera in the gallery below. Be sure to check back in the next few days for our full review.


Reader comments

HTC One V hands-on video and initial review


You know what? this phone is great, even with lil internal memory, if they make a good job with the price, this phone could really sell well.

Starting with Honey Comb, you could not move apps to external SD. The system designates ~1GB for "internal" and calls the rest "external." You can use a SD card for media, but if there is a way to move apps to a SD card, please let me know, my tablet is full of files from applications, and my SD card has 30GB free.
Then again, this being an entry level device, will probably no have users downloading many games that require large storage.

Agree with Mr. N - great initial review. Heck, I almost want the phone now. Seems like a more than decent choice for those who aren't concerned with games or video consumption (which ain't me).

Seems like HTC's decision to limit the number of handset choices is working out beautifully. It really seems like they put a good amount of thought into each tier. I think I could be happy with an X, S or V. Here's hoping the other manufacturers follow suit.

I think I see what HTC is doing here, they are leaving behind stuff not so useful or good, as live wallpapers and fancy effects, for the overall goodness of the phone.

This phone is a total winner, I do agree with ICU, I could be happy with an X, S or V, HTC you are doing a good job.

I'm really looking forward to this coming to Virgin Mobile. Now to choose between the One V and the Evo 3D. Decisions, decisions...

This could and should easily be a 49-79 on contract, making it quite popular I'd assume. Looks like a great entry level

I'm regretting (a little bit) getting my Gnex last week, when the One series was going to drop pretty soon. Then again, there's always something new/better around the corner. My inner geek cries because I missed out on the OneX but honestly I think the whole One series is pretty awesome... especially if they can really nail the price point. At, or slightly below current offerings (based on comparable hardware). Even though I've got a Gnex, I'm looking forward to reading the full review :)

Starting to feel bad about my GNex these days with HTC One around. Even the One V beats it in the camera department.

No stock live wallpapers. I like that. Live wallpapers are cool ... for about 3 minutes. I don't know anyone who runs live wallpapers.

Nice joke from two years ago.

Awesome looking handset. As a former Legend owner I really miss that build quality, it just felt extremely solid. I'm tempted by the V although I will probably end up with an S or X.

So the bottom of the line is the only HTC One model that gets removable storage? Maybe I'll have to give this one serious consideration.

Silly that a V can have twice the amount of storage as the "high end" phones...