HTC One SV review: HTC One SV

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre

Average User Rating

4 stars 7 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good 4G connectivity; Good battery life.

The Bad Low-resolution screen; Average specs; Expensive for what it is.

The Bottom Line The HTC One SV is little more than a One S with 4G LTE support. It boasts weaker specifications and will end up costing you significantly more due to the current high price of 4G contracts. If you’re gagging for additional network speed you’d be better off choosing a more powerful phone than this.

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The HTC One SV is a one of the first mid-range handsets to boast 4G connectivity. It has a 1.2GHz dual core processor with 1GB of RAM, comes with 8GB of internal storage and packs microSD card support. The screen is a 4.3-inch, 480x800-pixel resolution Super LCD2 panel, and around the back there’s a 5-megapixel snapper. The One SV is running Android 4.0 -- otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich -- as well as version 4.1 of HTC’s own Sense user interface skin.

Because it’s 4G, the HTC One SV is currently exclusive to EE -- the only network in the UK to offer 4G connectivity on its contracts. For £36 per month on a two year contract, you can get the phone and a 500MB monthly allowance. Alternatively, the handset can be picked up for around £280 SIM free and unlocked.

Should I buy the HTC One SV?

It’s commendable that HTC is looking to bring 4G speeds to the masses, but aside from being able to download an album in double-quick time, there’s very little else on offer here that will impress mobile buyers.

The One SV is basically a weaker iteration of last year’s HTC One S , with a slower processor, inferior camera and lower-resolution screen. 4G is the only tangible advantage this newer phone offers and when you consider the relatively high cost, it’s hard to justify paying nearly £1,000 over the course of a two-year contract just to have the benefit of speedier downloads. By this time next year, the One SV will look positively archaic in technical terms.

Image description
The front of the One SV is dominated by that 4.3-inch Super LCD2 screen.

There’s little sense in choosing such an average device when other 4G-ready handsets are already available, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE. They might cost you a little more, but you won't be regretting your purchase 12 months down the line.

Design

The One SV abandons the unibody construction showcased by so many of HTC’s other recent handsets. The back of the device pops off to reveal a removable 1,800mAh battery, micro-SIM bay and microSD card slot. High-end blowers with back covers you can remove are becoming increasingly rare these days, but there are definite plus points to this arrangement.

Image description
Around the back, you'll find a plastic battery cover which is slightly textured to enhance grip.

For starters, you can double up on batteries and carry a spare with you for long trips, and having a snap-on cover means that you don’t have the SIM and SD-card ports on the edges of the device, which results in a less cluttered external design.

The front of the One SV is a fairly plain slab of black Corning Gorilla Glass 2, with the earphone grille providing the only real landmark. It’s actually more of a indent than a traditional grille, and its depth means that dust and fluff accumulates inside it faster than I’d personally like. During the course of the review I found myself constantly having to dig debris out of it with my keys.

The back cover is plastic, but boasts a rubber-touch texture designed to increase grip. Around the edge of the phone you’ll find the volume rocker and power button set into a metallic-finish plastic casing. While it doesn’t feel like an expensive phone exactly, the One SV certainly feels like a sturdy, high-quality device. With the rear panel clicked firmly into place, you’d have little reason to think this wasn’t an entirely sealed design, like those of its more illustrious siblings.

Display

The One SV’s 4.3-inch screen is the same size as the one on the One S, but the resolution has taken a hit. The One S had a 540x960-pixel panel, while this more recent offering can only muster 480x800 pixels.

Image description
The screen is bright and has good viewing angles, but the resolution is disappointing.

That delivers a pixel density of 216ppi, which isn’t going to win any awards these days. Thankfully, the use of Super LCD2 technology does mean an above-average image quality, with bold colours and rock-solid viewing angles. Even so, when placed alongside the (cheaper) Google Nexus 4’s 768x1,280 pixels screen, the One SV ends up looking quite blocky.

Processing Power

The One SV is packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset, which is comprised of a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU and Adreno 305 graphics processor. This arrangement is held together by 1GB of RAM, which means that performance isn’t anywhere near as smooth as it is on some of the leading Android devices on the market -- many of which are boasting quad core chipsets and double the amount of memory.

Image description
The earpiece grille is set quite deep, and gathers dust like nobody's business.

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Where to Buy

HTC One SV

Part Number: 99HSH008-00

Typical Price: £280.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Service Provider not specified
  • Weight 122 g
  • Diagonal Size 4.3 in
  • Sensor Resolution 5 pixels