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HTC One SV is a doomed 4G phone no one will buy

HTC has come up with a product literally no one will buy: a low-power phone that will only work on the UK's most expensive network.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
2 min read
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HTC has come up with a product virtually no one will buy. The One SV is a downgraded One S with 4G. So it's a mid-range phone that's only usable on the most expensive network in the UK.

It has a 4.3-inch screen, which HTC helpfully points out is not much bigger than a credit card. That's great -- plenty of people want a manageably sized blower, not a vast great slate like the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE or One XL. But those punters don't want to be short-changed on other components, and here the One SV makes the same mistake as the disappointing S3 Mini.

HTC One SV size comparison

A dual-core 1.2GHz processor is the main offender -- it looks distinctly sluggish up against the quad-core monster in the Nexus 4, for example, and is even slower than the 1.5GHz chip in the One S. The screen's 480x800-pixel resolution is woeful compared to the Nexus 4's 768x1,280 pixels. A mediocre 5-megapixel camera is no match for the 8 megapixels on offer in the great-value One S.

Storage, at 8GB, is nothing to write home about either, but at least it's expandable via a microSD card, which you can't say for the Nexus 4 or iPhone 5. At 9.2mm thick this is no porker, but it'll be noticeably chunkier than the 7.6mm of Apple's latest. At 122g it is very light though, just 10g more than the iPhone.

HTC doesn't say which version of Android it's running, but it's widely reported to be 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, as in the One S. With its relatively weak processor, that's unlikely to ever be updated.

The One SV will be available on EE in the UK, although prices and deals are yet to be announced. EE's current cheapest phones are the Huawei P1 LTE and Nokia Lumia 820, both free on £36 per month two-year deals that give you just 500MB of data.

The One SV is hardly going to be any cheaper, so you'll be looking at the thick end of £900 over 24 months. EE's SIM-free plans are nearly as steep, so you won't save much buying the handset upfront.

HTC's 4G phones are absolutely baffling. The other one is the One XL, which is very similar to the quad-core One X, except it has a weaker dual-core processor. If you want an HTC phone, you either have 4G or great performance, but you can't have both.

You never know, this might somehow turn out to be the greatest Ice Cream Sandwich phone ever made. EE might rip up its pricing strategy and make it cheaper than the Nexus 4. We'll pass full judgement in our review, but the signs are not good. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.