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Originally announced at Mobile World Congress earlier in the year, the HTC One V is the baby brother of sorts to the HTC One X and One S, two well-spec'd devices on AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively.  The One V packs a slower 1 GHz single-core Snapdragon S2 CPU, reduces the display to 3.7-inches, and substitutes a 5-megapixel camera in with 720p HD video recording.

Despite the change in specifications, the HTC One V is a delightful little smartphone with a design that pays homage to the company's history.  It's available at US Cellular now for $129.99, and while I'd probably recommend the Samsung Galaxy S II (thanks to a larger display and faster processor), those that place build quality at the forefront of their smartphone buying decision process will be very happy with the One V.

I've had the phone in the office for a couple of days.  Some initial impressions:

  • HTC has stripped out many of the flashy transition effects found in Sense 4, but despite that, the 1 GHz single-core CPU is noticeably slower.  The device lags from time to time, particularly when many things are open at once. 
  • Much like the other One series devices, the build quality is fantastic.  The One V is crafted from a single piece of metal, and it feels great in the hand.  The telltale HTC hump is far less pronounced on the One V versus previous models.

  • The 5-megapixel camera shoots video at 720p and the overall quality is noticeably less than the One X and the One S.  That said, it does feature the ImageSense features like Continuous Shooting and HTC Video Pic (which allows you to take pictures while recording video).  Images are decent, though they pale in comparison to some of the 8 and 12-megapixel alternatives on the market.
  • One V ships with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and HTC Sense 4.  HTC's Sense 4 is a much-improved version of their UI, as I've discussed in previous articles.

  • Battery life has been decent thus far, though my roaming status may play an issue in overall battery longevity (I'm not in a native US Cellular coverage area).  With moderate use that has included downloading apps, browsing the web, making test calls, sending messages, and snapping a few pictures, I've been able to make it 10-12 hours before the device powered down.  Heavy users will want to have a car charger handy, but for most, the phone will make it through a normal day.
  • One V is a 3G-only phone, so it won't be able to jump onto US Cellular's LTE network.  And sadly, I'm not able to test US Cellular's 3G speeds.

All things considered, the HTC One V is a nice phone.  While it's not going to appease the high-end user, the build quality is fantastic and it'll be ideal for the mid-range user.  It packs some of HTC's winning features - build quality and camera, to name a couple - into a smaller, less expensive unit.  And at $129.99 on a two-year agreement, it's priced to sell.


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