HTC One SV Review

Introduction and Design

The mid-range smartphone category reminds us of a college party – there's always room for one more to join the fun! Naturally, we have nothing against that as the broader the selection of handsets is, the harder smartphone makers are trying to bring a truly competitive device. The HTC One SV is one of them offering a display of respectable size, well-performing dual-core processor, and LTE connectivity for rapid access to the web. U.S. carrier Cricket Wireless will be offering the smartphone starting January 16, but it can already be purchased in other parts of the world, including Australia, the U.K., and select Asian markets. However, is the HTC One SV as worthy of a pick as it seems? Well, let's put it through its paces and find out!

The package contains:

  • Wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • Wired stereo earphones with tangle-free cord
  • Safety guide, warranty statement, and other documentation


Shortly after taking the HTC One SV out of its eco-friendly packaging we found ourselves oohing and aahing, impressed by the device's visual appeal. It is one beautiful handset, we must admit, and even though it is made mostly out of plastic, it seems well-built and definitely doesn't have a cheapo feel. The phone is relatively slim and light as well, sporting a thickness of only 9.2 millimeters while tipping the scales at 122 grams, and its slightly curved back side allows it to rest nicely in the hand. Speaking of which, the dimensions of the unit are quite suitable for single-handed operation.

You can compare the HTC One SV with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

There's a couple of things, however, that we're pretty disappointed by. One of them is the hideous earpiece grill that totally spoils the looks of the device's front side. And then there's the screen lock button located on the top side of the HTC One SV. The key is soft, lacks tactile response, and since it is far from the user's index finger, reaching for it is anything but comfortable. The volume rocker and the capacitive buttons, on the other hand, work just as expected.


First the good news: with the HTC One SV you get a screen that is neither too big, nor too small – a 4.3-inch Super LCD2 panel, to be more specific. Colors on it look vivid and accurate even when viewed at an angle and its outdoor visibility can be described as acceptable, even though this surely isn't the brightest mobile display out there. Furthermore, sliding your fingers across the protective layer of Gorilla Glass 2 is a pleasure, especially when you know that the few fingerprints it might collect are really easy to get rid of.

However, the bad news is that you only get 480 by 800 pixels of resolution, which, although passable, is a bit underwhelming to see on a smartphone of this caliber. Due to the somewhat low pixel count, text and graphics don't look as sharp as we'd like them to be, and that makes things like surfing the web, for example, a bit less enjoyable. We should also mention that the screen exhibits a slight blurriness when moving objects are displayed, presumably caused by relatively low pixel response times. That's not too big of a deal, but perfectionists might find it annoying.

HTC One SV 360-degrees View:


There's a lot to like about the pretty HTC Sense 4.1 if you ignore the fact that it is running on Android 4.0.4 instead of anything newer. For starters, there's the lock screen capable of fitting four shortcuts to apps of your choice. Pull the ring up and you'll arrive at the home screen, where HTC's quite functional weather widget is situated. And speaking of widgets, there's a ton of them to pick from – clocks, bookmarks bar, favorite contacts, email and text message viewers, and more. The on-screen virtual keyboard is also quite pleasant to use regardless of its orientation – with large, easy-to-reach buttons and built-in word prediction.


First of all, kudos to HTC for pre-loading the complete, 206-page One SV user guide in PDF format. There's also a simple PDF viewer app on board, along with Polaris Office, a Movie Editor, database of How-To guides for users that are new to smartphones, and a Stocks app powered by Yahoo! Finance. We should also mention that the HTC Rescue application comes pre-loaded. Powered by the LogMeIn service, it allows an HTC Care representative to provide technical assistance by accessing and diagnosing the user's smartphone remotely.

Processor and Memory:

There's a dual-core Snapdragon S4 system-on-a-chip inside the HTC One SV, equipped with a pair of 1.2GHz Krait CPUs and Adreno 305 graphics. One gigabyte of RAM has also been thrown in for good measure. Overall, the smartphone's performance is flawless 99% of the time, free of lag or dropped frames, no matter what you choose to throw at it. Naturally, demanding 3D games are also playable and they run at pretty high framerates, we should note. The immaculate real-life performance of the HTC One SV is also reflected in the benchmark scores that we got.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
HTC One SV44561121160
HTC One X48481102447,4
Samsung Galaxy S III 53351201658,6
HTC One S4867701260,7

Most users might find the on-board storage available on the HTC One SV insufficient. There are 8GB total, out of which 1.1GB are allocated for apps and an additional 4.15GB may be used for storing files and media. Expanding the smartphone's storage using a microSD card is recommended. Note that with the One SV you get 25GB of Dropbox storage for two years, courtesy of HTC.

Web Browser and Connectivity:

The web browser on the HTC One SV is, how should we put it... twitchy. And that's not because it is slow or anything. Quite the contrary – it loads pages pretty fast and its very responsive in general. However, pinching to zoom causes the text reflow feature to rearrange text paragraphs. As a result, the area of the page, which you're trying to view, gets shifted to the side, sometimes out of the user's scope of view. Thankfully, double-tapping to zoom in and out works flawlessly and we recommend that you get used to using that gesture instead on the HTC One SV.

Other than that, the 4.3-inch screen is, for the most part, comfortable for surfing the web as it is pretty spacious, but the relatively low resolution will force you to zoom in more than you might like to. Fortunately, if you're reading an article or a blog post, for example, you have the option to clear the entire web page from non-essential content, such as ads and pictures, leaving only the text of the article.

Among the most significant stand-out features of the HTC One SV is the LTE support. Note, however, that the smartphone isn't compatible with all LTE networks throughout the world, so make sure it works with your carrier in case you're buying one SIM-free or if you plan on using it abroad. Based on data provided by HTC, the LTE radio on the One SV should work in Asia on 1800/2600MHz, Europe on 800/1800/2600MHz, and North America on 700/AWS/1900MHz. For all other markets and carriers there's the HSPA+ radio reaching download speeds of up to 42Mbps. Further down the list of connectivity features we see NFC, Wi-Fi at both 2.4 and 5GHz, GPS with GLONASS compatibility, and Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the apt-X codec for increased audio fidelity.


Upon launching the camera application we're greeted by the same familiar user interface seen on all of HTC's recent Android smartphones. And that's nothing to complain about really because the UI offers not only the usual camera features and tweaks, such as various shooting modes and scene adjustments, but also a few bells and whistles like the slow-motion video mode (120 frames per second at 768 by 464 pixels) and the built-in image filters.

But now let's take a look at some actual images. First, a few tech details: the HTC One SV offers a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with BSI sensor, F2.0 aperture, and dedicated imaging chip. However, you shouldn't be paying too much attention to those fancy terms as the photos that the smartphone captures are nothing beyond average. On the bright side of things, the shutter lag is barely there and consecutive frames can be captured at a very rapid pace. But on the other hand, images lack detail and digital noise can be easily spotted in grayish areas. When it comes to video recording, you can crank up the resolution all the way to 1080p, but again, footage lacks in detail.

HTC One SV Sample Video:

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HTC One SV Slow Motion Sample Video:

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HTC One SV Sample Video:

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So in a nutshell, the HTC One SV gets the job done if all you need is to take a casual photo every once in a while. Just don't expect any miracles out of its 5-megapixel snapper as you're likely not going to get them.


HTC has always made sure that its Android smartphones perform well in the multimedia department, and the One SV is no exception. The stock music player is rich in terms of features, so you get all the bells and whistles you'd expect like the lock-screen controls and the home-screen widget. There's also SoundHound integration, which you may use to fill all the missing information in the tracks you have stored on your HTC One SV. Last but definitely not least, Beats Audio integration is on board boosting the dynamics and lower frequency spectrum of music listened through the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.

There is no dedicated video player installed on the HTC one SV. Instead, videos that you have recorded or copied onto the smartphone's memory can be watched using the gallery application. That, actually, isn't that bad of a solution because the video UI has been enhanced with a few handy features. You can capture screenshots of the video being played, share the video on a social network of your choice, or spice up the audio track with the help of Beats Audio technology. Any popular video format you can think of is playable out of the box, except for DivX. All of our video samples, including those in 1080p ran without skipping a frame.

Call quality:

We have nothing bad to say about the way the earpiece performs. In fact, calls taken with the HTC One SV sound great – loud and natural, without any traces of noise or static. The microphone, however, could have been a bit better than that. On the other side of the line, voices are distinguishable, yet slightly muffled, probably due to the presence of a secondary microphone, which filters a fair amount of the background noise.

Battery Life:

There's a 1,800mAh removable battery powering the HTC One SV, but the maker has not published any official information as to how long it should last on a single charge. That mostly depends on your usage habits, as well as on whether LTE connectivity is being actively used. Judging by what we got out of it during our testing, you should expect it to last at least one single day, as long as you don't push it too much.


Not bad, HTC, not bad. The smarthpone that you've crafted may be a bit rough around the edges, but it is still a very solid Android offering, and the presence of LTE connectivity is, of course, more than welcome. Whoever picks the HTC One SV up will be pleased by the excellent performance driving it and delighted by its outstanding appearance.

Yet let us not forget that the HTC One SV belongs to the mid-range category, although one might assume it is a high-end handset prior to actually using it. In other words, there are some compromises that an One SV owner should learn to live with, among which are the relatively low-res display and the not-so-amazing 5-megapixel camera.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android 4.0.4
HTC Sense version: 4.1
Software number: 1.16.708.2

HTC One SV Video Review:

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  • LTE connectivity
  • Slim, light, good-looking smartphone
  • Excellent performance


  • Camera leaves room for improvement
  • Unimpressive screen resolution of 800 by 480 pixels

PhoneArena Rating:


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