The HTC One V first caught headlines - well, not exactly - at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, alongside a much-publicized quad-core HTC One X. Together with the yet-to-launch One S model, all three smartphones of the One series make up the flagship suite of mobile devices for HTC for 2012. While its higher-end One X cousin is clearly made for users who are tech trend chasers, the One V is made for the other (oft-overlooked) spectrum of consumers: users looking for an affordable, yet highly functional smartphone. The One V aims to fill this space with its ICS-flavored treatment (Android 4.0), Sense 4.0a UI, and a 5-megapixel camera that uses a BSI (backside illuminated) sensor, and touts an F2.0 aperture. Let's take a quick look at the gadget.
HTC has had a long history of making gorgeous phones and it shows in the HTC One V - the device is simply a beauty to look at and one that is definitely not indicative of its price range. The HTC One V comes in a compact aluminum uni-body that looks classy as well as sturdy. However, we advise users to invest in a phone case as the One V is not impervious to scratches and hard knocks. The iconic chin that first made its appearance on the HTC Hero and Desire makes a comeback on the device - not that we are complaining either, since it makes it more comfortable to take a call against your cheek.
Like most Android smartphones currently in the market, the HTC One V is retrofitted with three touch buttons (back, home, multitasking). Physical buttons are plastic long strips that present good feedback and pose no problems with functionality. All four sides of the phone are left uncluttered, adding on to the sense of minimalism that HTC is long renowned for.
For those looking forward to having a taste of the HTC Sense 4.0 UI, well, you definitely have a headstart with the HTC One V. While the device doesn't use the full version of the UI due to its memory and processing limitations (it has 512MB of memory and a single core processor), it does come with a 'lighter' , less eye-candy equipped Sense 4.0a version. In any case, the current HTC Sense 4.0 should hardly pose any learning curve for existing HTC smartphone users.
If you are concerned about fingerprint smudges, you don't have to worry here. The company doesn't seem to take too kindly to glossy covers, resulting in phones that are clad with matte surfaces. From our point of view, this is fantastic as it means lesser fingerprint smudges, a better grip, and a cleaner-looking device. The 3.7-inch display is of course not resistant to fingerprints, but at the very least, it is no worse than other devices in the market.
First and foremost, the HTC One V comes with Android 4.0 and HTC Sense 4.0a user interface, the latter being a lite version that is built to run on HTC devices with smaller memory footprint and a single core processor. If you want a better look at what both offer, take a look at our Android 4.0 Basics article and our recent HTC One X review. We didn't spot any significant changes here, but local HTC representatives have informed us that the HTC Sense 4.0a UI comes with reduced UI animation like the 3D multi-tasking switcher and live wallpaper to ensure a smoother user experience. Prominently, the UI comes with lesser built-in applications (like Stocks, News, Movie Editors) and themes, and leaves it up to users to decide whether they want to include them on their phone, since most of these software can be downloaded via the HTC Hub or the Google Play Store.
Like the HTC One X, users of the HTC One V can get 25GB of Dropbox space free for two years when they sign on to their account on the phone. Do take note that you can increase your Dropbox storage space by sending referrals to your friends, which will net you an extra 500MB per successful referral. The total user accessible memory on the HTC One V is slightly on the low side (which is why the Dropbox space will come in handy): 0.94GB (for apps) and 95MB (for music, pictures, and other data). Alternatively, you can boost the storage capacity by getting an SD card.