An impressive handset, the HTC One V has filtered down a selection of previously used specs to a new budget-friendly price tag, packaging it in an impressive and desirable shell.
Bright, responsive screen
Strong browser and UI
Slightly poor filming
No Beats headphones
Just 4GB storage
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Sibling of the quad-core powerhouse that is the HTC One X, the HTC One V might not boast the groundbreaking array of specs handed to its market-topping counterpart, but it is a handset that will push the boundaries of the lower mid-level smartphone sector.
Hosting a strong collection of innards that push the expectations of the mobile phone's modest SIM-free price point of £230 in the UK and $350 in the US, the HTC One V is the Taiwanese manufacturer's answer to the recent onslaught of boundary blurring mid-range smartphones from the likes of Samsung and Nokia.
The now standard 5MP rear-mounted camera and 720p HD video recording are bolstered by a vibrant display, strong design and Beats audio innards.
Although destined to fall in the shadows of its higher priced, higher specced namesakes, the HTC One V is an impressive pocket blower in its own right. It has a largely smooth, fluid and speedy interface paired with strong hardware and software, which offers an all-round pleasant user experience in an aesthetically pleasing package.
With certain hardware limitations an inevitable result of working a smartphone to such a competitive price point, HTC has ensured users of the One V are not left wanting more, with the handset coming packaged with 25GB of free cloud storage for two years, through Dropbox.
A welcome introduction to a handset that boasts just 4GB of internal storage, the free Dropbox access sees the HTC handset owners handed 23GB more fee-free storage than standard customers, with the system's easy to set up and manage features an added boost.
Highlighting the rampant level of progression within the smartphone sector, the newly launched lower end HTC One V hosts a near-identical selection of hardware as the iPhone, rivalling the HTC Desire with the 5MP camera, 512MB of RAM, 1GHz Qualcomm processor and even the 800 x 480p 3.7-inch display making the jump from the late 2010 must-have smartphone to the 2012 budget offering.
Further demonstrating the HTC One V's footing firmly in the modern era of smartphone development, the Samsung Galaxy Ace and Nokia Lumia 710 rival runs on the latest Google operating system, with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich taking pride of place alongside version 4.0 of HTC Sense UI, the brand's much-loved software skin.
Available on a variety of networks, the HTC One V is a new first smartphone challenger, with the pocket powerhouse available on a pay as you go basis for £230 in the UK or $350 in the US, or free on a variety of pay monthly contracts for as little as £13.50 per month in the UK.
Design and feel
Sporting a unibody design, the HTC One V has a form factor and aesthetic that arcs back to the hugely popular HTC Legend, with the kinked, curved chinned bottom helping differentiate the smartphone from its wide range of rivals. This quirk could well see it become one of the more coveted mobile phones in its price range.
Although sleek and arguably quite sexy in its appearance, the HTC One V's design and construction isn't without its flaws. The minimalist removable back plate, which helps to enhance the structural rigidity of the HTC One V, provides a definite chink in the brushed metal armour.
Leaving a noticeable seam once slotted into place, it forms a less than reassuring seal with the compact plastic panel. Although it didn't come loose during our time with the phone, it is cause for concern and a feature that failed to offer reassurance and peace of mind.
Despite an aesthetically pleasing kink at the base of the handset - a feature that helps separate the HTC One V from the mass of featureless black candybar handsets - the same elbowed design encourages a lower grip on the phone than normal, which results in a top-heavy feel that leaves it feeling unbalanced and almost disconcerting in the hand.
With a 3.7-inch touchscreen display onboard, the HTC One V is roughly the same size as an iPhone 4S, with this Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-filled handset lining up at a slender 9.2mm thick and a very reasonable and sturdy 115g in weight.
Thanks to its unibody aluminium build, the HTC One V is by far one of the sturdiest mid-range mobile phones on the market, offering zero flex or distortion when put under unusually high levels of pressure.
This feature not only ensures against unwanted damage and breakages, but also helps distinguish the device as a range leader and sets it apart from the flimsily plastic-backed Samsung Galaxy offerings.
Following the trend of modern phones, the HTC One V, like its One branded siblings, features very few physical buttons, with just a sleep-come-power button featuring alongside a physical volume control. While the volume toggle does fall within the real estate of a comfortable grip, HTC has added enough resistance to the button to ensure that it doesn't become a nuisance and fall victim to irritating accidental presses.