The cheapest Android 4 smartphone we've seen yet
We've reviewed a handful of Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones over the last few months, but they've all been on the pricey side. The HTC One V, on the other hand, is a rather more affordable option at just over £200 without a contract – this is even less than Samsung's own moderately priced Galaxy Advance.
The metal-clad HTC One V is clearly from the same family as the One X and S models we've already reviewed, but it's smaller than both and has an angled ‘chin' at the bottom of its case. This serves no practical purpose that we can see, but a pop-off panel on its rear gives access to the SIM and microSD card slots (though not the non-removable battery).
Anyone spending this amount of money on a new smartphone obviously needs to lower their expectations when it comes to certain specifications, and that's certainly the case with the HTC One V's screen. Its 3.7in size and 480x800 pixel resolution wouldn't be out of place on a smartphone from two years ago, but while it lacks the crispness and vibrancy of the AMOLED screens found on the far costlier Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One V, it's still clear, bright and perfectly adequate for everyday use.
Onboard storage is another area where HTC has cut costs as the One V comes with a mere 1GB. This is still more than some other budget Android smartphones we've seen, but it makes a memory card a must for anyone fond of apps, photos and music.
The One V's five-megapixel camera is merely good rather than great since it produces images with a lot of noise and it needs a very steady hand when taking flash-free shots in anything other than bright light. There's next to no shutter lag though, and while video recording is limited to 720p rather than the increasingly popular 1080p, the ability to capture a still during shooting is a much more useful feature.
The relatively low price means the processor is a single-core 1GHz model, but this still feels smooth and sprightly. Our tests show this processor to only be a little slower than some dual-core Android 2.3 smartphones we've tested too, although it probably won't have as long a useful lifespan as models with more powerful multi-core chips.
HTC's ‘Sense' interface is still in place, as are its selection of Home screen widgets, but much of the superfluous animation has been removed. This was probably done to take some strain off the single-core processor, but it seems to have made little positive impact on battery life. The One V lasted for a so-so 6.5 hours in our video playback test with flight mode enabled.
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At this price, the HTC One V is a bit of a bargain. It's a stylish and sturdy Android 4 smartphone, although its single-core processor may shorten its useful life span
Stylish; Sturdy; Relatively inexpensive
Mediocre battery life; Single-core processor
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