HTC One SV review

Helping Optus grow its 4G network

Bringing Optus 4G to the masses

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2013 is going to be a big year for Optus. The company's second largest Telco has been putting a lot of time, money and effort into improving its network and rolling out 4G to the country.

Part of that process is delivering devices that can take advantage of LTE speeds, which is what the One SV is all about. But unlike Telstra did by using the One XL as its flagship LTE handset, Optus has instead opted for a mid-range HTC handset to join the 4G Galaxy S3 to try and sell the network.

HTC One SV review

The phone does an admirable job, and is mostly worth the asking price, but we expect Optus to drop some premium handsets in the early stages of this year as it attempts to steal mindshare away from its largest rival.

We liked

It's impossible to deny that the One SV is a delightfully well constructed phone. Nice to look at, comfortable to hold, it's a testament to HTC's engineers they could create something so unique yet so similar to the company's flagship handsets.

Having a replaceable battery and MicroSD card slot does away with most of the complaints about the One X and One XL. It doesn't fix all the problems though, especially with only 8GB of storage on board.

But the best thing is easily LTE. It's faster than many home's ADSL connections, which will make it the de facto browser of choice for some people. If only Optus' network was more ubiquitous.

HTC One SV review

We disliked

Pretty much all LTE phones are suffering from a disease, and that disease is poor battery life. Unfortunately, there's no known cure aside from bigger batteries, a treatment HTC decided to avoid with the One SV.

The copious amounts of Optus Bloatware is frustrating, especially as it can't be deleted from the phone entirely. Disabling each app helps, but better would be the ability to delete entirely.

And although it fits with the pricing of the device, the camera feels like a step down from camera on other One branded handsets. That's because it is, but it still makes us sad.

Final verdict

The One SV is a great phone for what it is - a mid-range device designed for LTE connectivity. The phone makes performance sacrifices for affordability, which helps open LTE up for a wider audience.

Unfortunately, the One SV doesn't do enough to try and make up for the battery drain of LTE. Only packing an 1800mAh battery in the device makes the faster network speed feel like a poor compromise.

There's no question that a higher-specced device, like the iPhone 5, HTC One XL or 4G Galaxy S3 offers better performance than the One SV. But if budget constraints mean these handsets aren't actually an option, the One SV is a decent option.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.