DESIGN & HANDLING
With excellent finishing and a singular design, the One V visually stands out among its competitors. Now, whether you're a fan of the hardware or not (it's very similar to the HTC Legend, minus the optical trackball), you have to admit that HTC took a risk on this one: coming out with a design that's both bold and elegant.
Contrary to the glossy plastic found on most smartphones, the One V's extremely touchable matte black unibody frame widely reduces smudging.
Whereas the One X and One S feature SLCD and Super AMOLED screens, respectively, the smaller One V has a more classic display with 800 x 480 resolution and wide viewing angles. Colours are displayed relatively accurately (delta E of 4.6, which is close to the dE of 3 needed for accurate colours) and the contrast ratio is good (1300:1), whether the brightness is set to max at 330 cd/m² or only to 200 cd/m². The average colour temperature leans a bits too close to blue.
INTERFACE & NAVIGATION
As expected, HTC has added its Sense 4.0 interface on top of the basic Android OS. Rich and revised, this latest incarnation of Sense is user-friendly and includes a large number of widgets for customising your phone. Compared to the Sense found on the X and S, this version is slightly different. It has been adapted and optimised for the smaller screen and downgraded specs. But for anyone who wants to spice up the Android OS, this version still has a lot to offer. However, buyers beware: on HTC smartphones, it's Sense or nothing at all. HTC doesn't give you the option of turning Sense off and using regular, old Android the way the Huawei Honor does.
To be clear, going by benchmarks alone, the One V's technical specs (1 GHz Qualcomm CPU and 512 MB of RAM) do not match those of the One X and One S. And going by numbers alone, the One V will never be high up on the "most powerful smartphones in the world" list. But in use, this is a responsive device that gives an honourable performance—even though certain apps will necessarily take a couple seconds longer to load and you won't be playing the biggest, most recent 3D video games on it... A word of advice: remember to use the multitasking menu to close any apps you have running in the background.
Let's start this section off with one rather astonishing aspect of the One V. Multimedia is clearly not one of its selling points, but looking at the phone you would assume that you can at least take photos and store music and a few videos on it. But it only has 4 GB of internal storage. Well, that's what HTC has written under 'Specs'... Because in practice that comes down to barely 1 GB of space for the user! I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one. So, needless to say, if you want to store any content on the One V, you'll have to add the cost of a microSD card to the overall price tag.
For the 5-Megapixel camera we would have preferred a physical 'shoot' button along the edges of the phone, but we wouldn't want to be too picky... As mentioned in our One X review, there are so many filters and options for touching up images that photo editing fans are bound to find what they're looking for.
As far as rendering goes, the sensor on the One V isn't too shabby. It renders less detail than the One S (which has an 8-Megapixel camera), but for an entry-level smartphone it's perfectly adequate and will do for taking shots of friends and family and sharing them on Facebook or via MMS or e-mail. The images are a bit noisy, especially in dark areas—slightly more so than on the One S. Compared with the Huawei Honor and its 8-Megapixel camera, the One V clearly comes out on top, especially when it comes to sharpness. As we keep saying, pixels aren't everything!
The audio rendering is pretty much the same on all three One models. In other words it's good (for a smartphone). The speaker, however, is slightly quieter than on the One X and S.
The One V is effective when it comes to web browsing, as long as the pages you load don't have too much content on them. When they do contain a lot of content, the browser slows down and pages take longer to load. Note that while it does support Flash, you can always deactivate it, in which case the pages load more quickly. The web browser is enjoyable to use and well-suited for mobile web surfing.
After the Huawei Honor (another low-cost Android phone that's a direct competitor to the One V), it's HTC's turn to prove its mettle in the smartphone endurance test. Except it has to do so with a less powerful battery. Aided by a sleep mode that eats up practically no battery life, and with intensive 3G and Wi-Fi usage, the One V easily lasts all day. Unless you literally can't keep your hands off of it, this smartphone will keep on chugging until noon the next day. Not bad at all!