Review HTC One SV Smartphone

Felix Sold (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 02/07/2013

LTE for 430 Euro (~$590). The One SV is the newest member in HTC's portfolio and it's designed to shake up the hotly contested mid-range smartphone market. We look at how well the new 4.3-inch smartphone with its updated hardware, LTE support, and integrated card reader handle our battery of tests.

For the original German review, see here.

The Taiwanese manufacturer HTC expands their portfolio yet again and introduces the One SV. Although it sounds like the new smartphone is a variant of the HTC One S, that's not the case. The One SV is a completely revised and updated design and is offered in several different colors. In the US, the smartphone is sold as the "HTC One VX". One of the distinguishing factors is the integrated LTE module available on the premium version, which retails for 430 Euro (~$590). Until now, this technology has only been available on the most expensive high-end smartphones like the Apple iPhone 5 and the Nokia Lumia 920. If your carrier does not support LTE, HTC also offers the One SV - which supports 3G only - for 30 Euro less (MSRP 399 Euro / ~$545).

A dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus system-on-a-chip (SoC) powers the new phone. The other specifications include 1 GB RAM, a main camera of 5 megapixels, integrated card read for MicroSD cards, and Google’s Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Compared to the HTC One S , the 4.3-inch display of the One SV only supports a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels (3:5 ratio). Is the new model a well-rounded contender or just another phone bound to get lost in a plethora of other devices?

Case

Pleasing to the eye: the design of the HTC One SV.
Pleasing: the design of the  HTC One SV.
The advantages: pleasing to use; both build quality and sturdiness are good
The pros: pleasing to use; both build quality and sturdiness are good
The cover on the back is easy to remove.
The cover on the back is easy to remove.

The first major difference compared to the HTC One S is that the HTC One SV is constructed using a polycarbonate shell. The One S sports a premium aluminum unibody chassis. We like the overall form factor of the new phone and find the way the surfaces feel to the touch quite pleasing. The back cover is slightly rough which makes it easy to hold. An advantage over the unibody design is the fact that there is a removable cover on the back, which is easy to take off using a finger nail near the Micro USB port. Once the cover is removed, the battery can be replaced - something that's not possible with a lot of the current crop of smartphones.

We like the design. The phone is compact and features a gently curved back which fits perfectly into the hand. The phone is also quite resilient and sturdy when subjected to pressure. HTC offers the phone in different colors - of course that's largely a matter of taste. The color of our review model is called "Pyrenees Blue" - but there is also gray, red, black, and white models. 

The One SV measures 128 x 66.9 x 9.2 millimeter (5.04 x 2.63 x 0.36 inches) and weighs in at 122 grams (4.3 ounces) which is appropriate for the class. The HTC One S is a bit slimmer at 7.8 millimeter (0.31 inches), but not really any lighter. The Apple iPhone 5 is both slimmer (7.6 millimeter / 0.30 ) and lighter (112 grams /  3.95 ounces). When we compared the phones directly, we couldn't really detect a difference.

Features

The card reader handles cards up to 64 GB (unofficially tested by us successfully).
The card reader handles cards up to 64 GB.

The HTC One SV comes with 8 GB of integrated storage. HTC actually mentions different capacities, but at the moment only one capacity is offered. After the initial configuration, 4.67 GB of space is user accessible (58 percent of the total capacity) which is not a whole lot. It's easy to expand the storage using the internal card reader, which - according to the manufacturer - handles MicroSD cards up to 32 GB (SDHC). We had no issues when we used a 64 GB MicroSDXC card instead. This is definitely an advantage the One SV has over unibody smartphones without a card reader.

Just like other phones in the One series, HTC offers free storage using the cloud storage provider Dropbox. In this case, the offer includes 23 GB for two years, which is activated when the application is used for the first time. Both new and existing Dropbox users are eligible for this service.

There are no surprises as far as the device connectivity itself is concerned. There is a standard stereo headphone jack and a Micro USB port on the bottom, which is used both for charging the phone and for data transfer. We checked HTC's product page but couldn't find any reference to a USB adapter (MHL to HDMI) to hook up an external display.

Top: power button, microphone, audio
Top: power button, microphone, audio
Bottom: microphone, Micro USB port
Bottom: microphone, Micro USB port

Software

HTC ships the One SV with the older Google Android 4.0.4 aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) . The user interface HTC Sense UI (4.1) was developed in-house and we have already encountered the same UI on other HTC phones, including the HTC One S. Visually, the UI is pleasing and official updates from Google take their time though, since the releases have to be modified to work with the interface. HTC is planning on releasing the current version of the Android OS "Jelly Beanin the first quarter of 2013. According to a press release, this timeframe is only a target, however.

We found the performance of the Android phone pretty snappy most of the time and there was no lag, indicating that the OS is well tuned. Of course, current high-end phones operate a bit quicker - take for example the Google Nexus 4, which ships with (more or less) vanilla Android. All in all, the middle-class One SV performs well enough.

Communication & GPS

GPS test
GPS test

The communication features are extensive and without a doubt rarely seen in this price bracket. HTC includes mostly state-of-the-art components - usually reserved for high-end.

The WLAN module supports 802.11a/b/g/n and both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands (dual-band). The phone also supports Bluetooth 4.0 (aptX) and NFC (Near Field Communication). The NFC module is integrated in the removable cover of the smartphone and connects via two internal contacts to the chassis.

The One SV supports HSPA/WCDMA (900, 1900, and 2100 MHz) and also the faster LTE (Long Term Evolution) protocol. In Europe, the 800, 1800, and 2600 MHz frequency bands are supported. Of course one major disadvantage is the substantial costs for LTE connections, and for that reason, HTC also offers a model of the phone without LTE for 30 Euro (~$40) less.

For location specific tasks and services, the smartphone includes a GPS module. We used the (free) Google app "GPS Test" to check the performance. After starting the app, the first initial connection happened within a few seconds. The accuracy is also very good. While we didn't experience any issues while outside, we did notice a pretty rapid deterioration of both accuracy and signal reception while inside (hallways, garage etc.).

Phone Functionality

Operating the phone works as one would expect from an Android smartphone, although the phone app might look slightly different because of the user interface, the HTC Sense UI 4.1. Overall, operation is intuitive and clear. Google contacts are synced automatically after the setup. Since the phone supports all four main GSM frequencies (850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz), the HTC One SV can be used in almost all countries of the world without any issues. Of course, we would recommend checking out the fees for calls, text messages, or data downloads for roaming beforehand. 

Cameras & Multimedia

The HTC One SV has two cameras for photos and videos. The main camera is located on the back, featuring a resolution of 5 megapixels (2592 x 1552 pixels), an LED light, and supports the recording of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels, Full-HD) videos. To get an idea of the quality, we compare the output to the Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels) and a Sony NEX-5R with a 16.1 megapixels sensor and the standard zoom lens. The photo quality of the HTC One SV is actually quite decent. The digital zoom is not very useful - that's true for both smartphones. The optical zoom of the full-fledged camera is much better here. For a middle-class phone, the photo quality of the One SV is perfectly acceptable, since most owners will want to use it for snapshots and not much more.

The second camera (located on the front) is of  1.6 megapixels (1456 x 800 pixels) and records 720p video (1280 x 720 pixels). On paper, this camera is better than the one found on the Apple iPhone 5. Our tests reveal that the smartphone from Cupertino handles unfavorable lighting conditions better - but both phones are not exemplary in this area, as the pictures are not very sharp. For video chats, the quality should be adequate.

HTC One SV: 5 megapixel main camera (no zoom)
HTC One SV: 5 megapixel main camera (no zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel main camera (no zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel main camera (no zoom)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel (18 mm, ISO 100)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel (18 mm, ISO 100)
HTC One SV: 5 megapixel (50 % zoom)
HTC One SV: 5 megapixel (50 % zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel (50 % zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel (50 % zoom)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel (35 mm, ISO 100)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel (35 mm, ISO 100)
HTC One SV: 5 megapixel (100 % zoom)
HTC One SV: 5 megapixel (100 % zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel (100 % zoom)
Apple iPhone 5: 8 megapixel (100 % zoom)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel (55mm, ISO 100)
Sony NEX-5R: 16,1 megapixel  (55mm, ISO 100)
HTC One SV: 1.6 megapixel camera - front
HTC One SV: 1.6 megapixel camera - front
Apple iPhone 5: 1.2 megapixel camera - front
Apple iPhone 5: 1.2 megapixel camera - front

The HTC One SV can handle most common multimedia formats. Additional apps from the Google Play Store like the well-known VLC Player - can extend the functionality further. Recordings of audio and video data are saved using the extensions .amr and .mp4, respectively.

Accessories

The package the phone comes in includes the usual standard accessories. Aside from the phone itself, there is a modular USB power adapter with cable, a simple headset, and various pamphlets. Additional accessories need to be purchased separately. HTC offers several accessories in their online shop, but it pays to shop around. The manufacturer offers an additional battery for 40 Euro (~$55) which is an interesting option for those who use their phone a lot.

Warranty

The smartphone comes with a 24 month warranty against defects; accessories are covered for the usual twelve months. Overall we consider this to be pretty decent coverage. Warranty extensions are not offered.

Input Devices & User Experience

Text input is done in typical smartphone fashion using a virtual QWERTY keyboard (QWERTZ in German), which is displayed automatically when needed. Compared to the HTC One S, there aren't really any changes. We didn't like the position of the Enter key on the bottom right, but we got used to after a while. Other points of criticism are the (slightly annoying) arrow keys in landscape mode and the overloaded layout, which is caused by the fact that both special characters and numbers are always visible. Less is sometimes more.

Those looking for better ergonomics can download other apps from the Google Play Store. One commonly used (and very popular) substitute is SwiftKey 3, which is available for free.

We really like the touchscreen - a capacitive model which works flawlessly. Any touches are immediately recognized with pinpoint accuracy. Multitouch gestures work well and without any issues.

The virtual QWERTY keyboard is compact in the portrait mode.
The virtual QWERTY keyboard is compact in portrait mode.
In landscape mode, the keyboard covers up most of the content.
In landscape mode, the keyboard covers up most of the content.

Display

4.3-inch SLCD2 display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and 216 DPI.
4.3-inch SLCD2 display with 480 x 800 pixels and 216 DPI.

The display itself shows clearly where HTC intends to position this phone in their portfolio. The 4.3-inch SLCD2 display features a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels (3:5 aspect ratio). The One SV is therefore positioned under the HTC One S but above the (less expensive) HTC Desire X. Compared to the HTC One S, which features the same screen size, the resolution is unfortunately lower, which means that the One SV fails to support the HD standard screen more expennsive devices offer. The pixel density of 216 DPI is appropriate for the class and leaves some room to spare. The Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display well, although both reflections and finger prints are an issue. HTC doesn't offer higher resolution displays for this phone.

We use the tool Gossen Mavo Monitor to examine the display more closely. The LED-backlit screen is admirably bright. We measured an average of 388 cd/m² which is brighter than the HTC One S. Brightness distribution is also very good at 90 percent. High-end phones, like the Apple iPhone 5, Gooble Nexus 4, or HTC One X feature even brighter screens.

All other measurements are also quite good. The black level is fairly low, the corresponding contrast ratio being 800:1. For extremely deep blacks, the black level should be even lower, but that's not really a criticism here. We like how the colors look. The sharpness is also good, although not comparable to displays with higher resolution.

 

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angle

Outdoors, the usual issues with most smartphones become apparent. A highly reflective display meets insufficient brightness. The HTC One SV is not really an exception in this aspect. As long as the sky is overcast, the content is clearly visible. Brighter conditions and finger prints cause problems, however. Sometimes, adjusting one's position slightly takes care of the annoying reflections. A matte screen protector can also bring some improvement.

HTC uses an SLCD2 panel (liquid crystal) sourced from Sharp. Very shallow viewing angles don't pose a problem. Even at almost 180 degrees, the content is still readable. We didn't notice any color shifts or inversions.

381
cd/m²
371
cd/m²
380
cd/m²
379
cd/m²
392
cd/m²
399
cd/m²
378
cd/m²
398
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 412 cd/m²
Average: 387.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 392 cd/m²
Black: 0.49 cd/m²
Contrast: 800:1

Performance

At the core: the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC.
At the core: the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC.
"CPU Spy“ lists the clock speeds.
"CPU Spy“ lists the clock speeds.

HTC uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC (model MSM8930) to power the One SV. The dual-core SoC is member of the Krait family and is- according to the spec sheet - capable of clock speeds of up to 1.2 GHz. We use the tool CPU Spy to check the clock speeds during idle and at load. When reading a text document, the chip operates at a low 384 MHz around 89 percent of the time, which saves power. Under load, the SoC frequency hovers between 1.13 and 1.18 GHz. Additional hardware components include the integrated Adreno 305 graphics unit, a single channel memory controller for LPDDR2 RAM (1 GB), and the LTE module. The 3G module uses a  Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8230.

For our first benchmark test we use GeekBench 2. The HTC One SV scores 1305 points - right in the middle of the pack on our comparison database. The HTC One S does much worse in this test (minus 47 percent). The comparable Sony Xperia T does a bit better and ends up with an advantage of 19 percent. The top models from Google, Apple and Asus do even better. The performance difference between the phones is less apparent when running SmartBench 2012 (productivity index). The HTC One SV runs neck and neck with the One S. The Google Nexus 4 also performs at the same level.

The One SV does really well when subjected to the Linpack multi-thread calculation. Only the Apple iPhone 5 and the Asus Padfone 2 are quite a bit faster. Other middle-class phones with the Android OS are up to 60 percent slower (Motorola RAZRi).

Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit
Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1305 Points ∼10%
HTC One S
693 Points ∼6% -47%
Google Nexus 4
2054 Points ∼17% +57%
Apple iPhone 5
1648 Points ∼13% +26%
Motorola RAZR i
995 Points ∼8% -24%
Sony Xperia T
1556 Points ∼13% +19%
Asus Padfone 2
2132 Points ∼17% +63%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
754 Points ∼6% -42%
Integer (sort by value)
HTC One SV
853 Points ∼6%
HTC One S
685 Points ∼5% -20%
Google Nexus 4
1470 Points ∼11% +72%
Apple iPhone 5
1261 Points ∼10% +48%
Motorola RAZR i
793 Points ∼6% -7%
Sony Xperia T
1017 Points ∼8% +19%
Asus Padfone 2
1506 Points ∼11% +77%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
598 Points ∼5% -30%
Floating Point (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1850 Points ∼11%
HTC One S
259 Points ∼2% -86%
Google Nexus 4
3243 Points ∼20% +75%
Apple iPhone 5
2114 Points ∼13% +14%
Motorola RAZR i
1160 Points ∼7% -37%
Sony Xperia T
2298 Points ∼14% +24%
Asus Padfone 2
3390 Points ∼20% +83%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
1050 Points ∼6% -43%
Memory (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1496 Points ∼18%
HTC One S
1655 Points ∼20% +11%
Google Nexus 4
1751 Points ∼21% +17%
Apple iPhone 5
1867 Points ∼22% +25%
Motorola RAZR i
1074 Points ∼13% -28%
Sony Xperia T
1681 Points ∼20% +12%
Asus Padfone 2
1788 Points ∼22% +20%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
787 Points ∼9% -47%
Stream (sort by value)
HTC One SV
598 Points ∼7%
HTC One S
323 Points ∼4% -46%
Google Nexus 4
551 Points ∼6% -8%
Apple iPhone 5
940 Points ∼10% +57%
Motorola RAZR i
972 Points ∼11% +63%
Sony Xperia T
598 Points ∼7% 0%
Asus Padfone 2
615 Points ∼7% +3%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
200 Points ∼2% -67%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index (sort by value)
HTC One SV
2889 points ∼28%
HTC One S
2975 points ∼29% +3%
Google Nexus 4
3178 points ∼31% +10%
Motorola RAZR i
1494 points ∼14% -48%
Sony Xperia T
3387 points ∼33% +17%
Asus Padfone 2
5239 points ∼50% +81%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
1988 points ∼19% -31%
Linpack for Android - Multi Thread (sort by value)
HTC One SV
258.3 MFLOPS ∼24%
HTC One S
186.372 MFLOPS ∼17% -28%
Google Nexus 4
221.638 MFLOPS ∼20% -14%
Apple iPhone 5
574.95 MFLOPS ∼52% +123%
Motorola RAZR i
102.346 MFLOPS ∼9% -60%
Motorola RAZR i
102.346 MFLOPS ∼9% -60%
Motorola RAZR i
102.346 MFLOPS ∼9% -60%
Sony Xperia T
172.461 MFLOPS ∼16% -33%
Asus Padfone 2
554.825 MFLOPS ∼51% +115%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
53.494 MFLOPS ∼5% -79%

The GLBenchmark 2.5 tests 3D capability independent of the display performance and pushes the integrated Adreno 305 GPU to the limit. At a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the HTC One SV only reaches 12 fps, but still outperforms the Motorla RAZRi and the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. The Sony Xperia T performs about the same, while the high-end smartphones from Apple and Google do much better (up to 27 fps).

GLBenchmark 2.5 - 1920x1080 Egypt HD Offscreen Fixed Time (sort by value)
HTC One SV
12 fps ∼2%
Google Nexus 4
27 fps ∼5% +125%
Apple iPhone 5
22 fps ∼4% +83%
Motorola RAZR i
7.6 fps ∼1% -37%
Sony Xperia T
12 fps ∼2% 0%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
5.1 fps ∼1% -57%

For our browser benchmark comparison, we also include the new middle-class smartphones with Windows Phone 8. The HTC One SV and its pre-installed browser are right in the middle of the field, the WP8 smartphones being slightly faster when running Browsermark 2.0. Considering the very good performance of the Google Nexus 4 with the mobile version of Google's Chrome Browser, it might be advisable to use this application instead. Overall, the One SV does pretty well in this test.

Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1366 points ∼19%
Google Nexus 4
1839 points ∼26% +35%
Apple iPhone 5
2383 points ∼33% +74%
Sony Xperia T
2705 points ∼38% +98%
Asus Padfone 2
2592 points ∼36% +90%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
1038 points ∼14% -24%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
1543 points ∼21% +13%
Nokia Lumia 820
1758 points ∼24% +29%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1174 Points ∼6%
HTC One S
1468 Points ∼8% +25%
Google Nexus 4
1381 Points ∼8% +18%
Apple iPhone 5
1457 Points ∼8% +24%
Motorola RAZR i
2140 Points ∼12% +82%
Sony Xperia T
1540 Points ∼8% +31%
Asus Padfone 2
1473 Points ∼8% +25%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
1013 Points ∼6% -14%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
477 Points ∼3% -59%
Nokia Lumia 820
783 Points ∼4% -33%
Sunspider
--- (sort by value)
HTC One SV
1473.8 ms * ∼14%
HTC One S
1804.4 ms * ∼17% -22%
Google Nexus 4
1894.7 ms * ∼18% -29%
Apple iPhone 5
935.4 ms * ∼9% +37%
Motorola RAZR i
1072.4 ms * ∼10% +27%
Motorola RAZR i
1072.4 ms * ∼10% +27%
Motorola RAZR i
1072.4 ms * ∼10% +27%
Sony Xperia T
1623.3 ms * ∼15% -10%
Asus Padfone 2
1385.5 ms * ∼13% +6%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
2082.8 ms * ∼20% -41%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
1410 ms * ∼13% +4%
Nokia Lumia 820
923.2 ms * ∼9% +37%
--- (sort by value)
Google Nexus 4 (Chrome)
1580.6 ms * ∼39%
Apple iPhone 5
714 ms * ∼18%

Legend

 
HTC One SV Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
HTC One S Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8260A, Qualcomm Adreno 225, 16 GB SSD
 
Google Nexus 4 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
 
Apple iPhone 5 Apple A6, PowerVR SGX543MP3, 32 GB SSD
 
Motorola RAZR i Intel Atom Z2480, PowerVR SGX540, 8 GB SSD
 
Sony Xperia T Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8260A, Qualcomm Adreno 225, 16 GB SSD
 
Asus Padfone 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 32 GB SSD
 
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190 ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500, ARM Mali-400 MP, 8 GB SSD
 
HTC Windows Phone 8S Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8227, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 4 GB Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960, Qualcomm Adreno 225, 8 GB SSD

* ... smaller is better

AndroBench 3 (only available for Android) checks the performance of the integrated flash storage. The scores of the One SV are neither great or dismal - just about average. The Motorola RAZRi is a real surprise here as it performs as well as the Google Nexus 4 smartphone.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One SV
38.59 MB/s ∼23%
Google Nexus 4
49.7 MB/s ∼30% +29%
Motorola RAZR i
40.45 MB/s ∼24% +5%
Sony Xperia T
40.45 MB/s ∼24% +5%
Asus Padfone 2
43.45 MB/s ∼26% +13%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
30.08 MB/s ∼18% -22%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One SV
6.94 MB/s ∼12%
Google Nexus 4
13.97 MB/s ∼24% +101%
Motorola RAZR i
10.23 MB/s ∼18% +47%
Sony Xperia T
11.09 MB/s ∼19% +60%
Asus Padfone 2
7.72 MB/s ∼13% +11%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
9.28 MB/s ∼16% +34%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One SV
7.84 MB/s ∼37%
Google Nexus 4
12.14 MB/s ∼58% +55%
Motorola RAZR i
11.69 MB/s ∼56% +49%
Sony Xperia T
4.99 MB/s ∼24% -36%
Asus Padfone 2
10.67 MB/s ∼51% +36%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
8.92 MB/s ∼43% +14%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One SV
0.28 MB/s ∼10%
Google Nexus 4
1.07 MB/s ∼37% +282%
Motorola RAZR i
1.02 MB/s ∼35% +264%
Sony Xperia T
0.26 MB/s ∼9% -7%
Asus Padfone 2
0.25 MB/s ∼9% -11%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
0.27 MB/s ∼9% -4%

Gaming Performance

The integrated Adreno 305 GPU handles the graphics duties. This GPU outperforms the Adreno 225 GPU the HTC One S is equipped with, but falls behind the Adreno 320 GPU integrated into Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. Qualcomm has a handy comparison table on their website.

We test the GPU by running two recent games. Temple Run 2 is a jump-and-run game which is not very GPU intensive and runs well on the HTC One SV. Compared to the Apple iPhone 5 which features a much higher resolution, we did notice significantly less details though. The game ShadowGun: DeadZone is much more demanding and pushes the GPU to its limit, but still runs admirably well. We only encountered occasional lag and stuttering. To be really enjoyable though, the resolution of the display should be higher.

FullHD video material also poses no real problem for the hardware. Since the display only has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, there is no advantage to using 720p or 1080p.

Simple games like the new Temple Run 2 pose no problem for the integrated GPU.
Simple games like the new Temple Run 2 pose no problem for the integrated GPU.
More demanding 3D games, however, push the hardware to its limits (ShadowGun: DeadZone).
More demanding 3D games, however, push the hardware to its limits (ShadowGun: DeadZone).

Call Quality

The call quality leaves nothing to be desired. The voices of the caller and the called person are clear and natural sounding. One reason for the good performance are the dual microphones. The one next to the Micro USB port transmits the voice of the user, the second one reduces the ambient noise.

The included headset is not a bad choice - especially if the car is not equipped with hands-free calling. For people who are on the phone all the time, there might be better choices.

Emissions

Temperature

The internal components are passively cooled, so temperatures are a concern. During idle, we measured a maximum of 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) - just a slight increase over the norm. The phone remains cool to lukewarm to the touch. Under load, temperatures increase as expected. After running the tool Stability Test for one hour, we measured a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit). The phone now gets noticeably warm at the back, although the temperatures are not critical by any means.

Max. Load
 38 °C35.7 °C34.5 °C 
 37.6 °C36 °C35.8 °C 
 37.2 °C35.6 °C33.3 °C 
Maximum: 38 °C
Average: 36 °C
33 °C33.5 °C30 °C
35.8 °C35.2 °C31 °C
35.8 °C34.3 °C30.6 °C
Maximum: 35.8 °C
Average: 33.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  38.4 °C | Room Temperature 21.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speaker

Average:The mono speaker with Beats Audio
Average: the mono speaker with Beats Audio

The HTC One SV has a mono speaker on the bottom part at the back of the phone, which emits sound through a series of small openings in the cover. A logo from Beats Audio is located above this mesh structure. The overall sound of the speaker is not very impressive, as mids, lows, and bass are pretty much nonexistent.

Beats Audio only offers "sound optimization" when headphones or speakers are connected via the 3.5 millimeter jack. The quality is good. Bass is much more noticeable now and the maximum volume is louder. The optimization is simply an equalizer setting, which can be enabled and disabled in the system settings.

Power Consumption

The battery of the HTC One SV has a capacity of 1800 mAh.
The battery of the HTC One SV has a capacity of 1800 mAh.

During idle, the phone consumes between 0.3 and 1.1 watts. Most other comparable smartphones require a bit more - the HTC One S, for example, needs up to 1.8 watts. The Apple iPhone 5 and the Google Nexus 4 consume 1.4 watts. Under maximum load, the power consumption of the HTC One SV peaks at 4.2 watts. Here, things look a bit different. The HTC One S and the Apple iPhone 5 require less (3.2 and 2.9 watts, respectively), the Google Nexus 4 more (6.5 watts).

Considering the class of the phone and its power consumption, the replaceable lithium ion battery features a comparatively high capacity of 1800 mAh (6.84 Wh). The phone can be charged using the modular USB power adapter or via a USB connection to the PC (the second method usually takes a bit longer).

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 0 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 0.9 / 1.1 Watt
Load 2.8 / 4.2 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC-940

Battery Life

Our first test establishes the maximum battery life. With the display brightness turned all the way down and the phone in airplane mode, we simulate reading a text document. The phone lasted 24 hours before we had to recharge it - five hours more than the HTC One S. The Google Nexus 4 lasted only 12 hours, the Apple iPhone 5 about as long as our test candidate. 

The other extreme is the battery life under load. We use the tool Stability Test, turn up the brightness all the way, and turn all wireless radios on. After 3 hours 15 minutes the battery was empty - a pretty impressive performance. The Motorola RAZRi lasted about as long. To simulate a real-life scenario, we use our WLAN surf-test with the display brightness set to 150 cd/m². The One SV lasted about 10 hours which was not very different from the HTC One S. The Google Nexus 4 lags behind in this test, but the Apple iPhone 5 outperforms them all with a battery life of over 15 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
24h 00min
WiFi Surfing
10h 03min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 15min

Verdict

HTC One SV Smartphone
HTC One SV Smartphone

Our overall impression is mostly positive. The HTC One SV is pretty complete package. A middle-class smartphone with up-to-date hardware, LTE support, and a nice design. We appreciate the integrated MicroSD card reader and the replaceable battery, but don't like the fact that the phone ships with an older Android version (4.0.4). The HTC Sense UI is visually pleasing, although the virtual keyboard is way too crowded.

The voice quality, the 5MP main camera for simple snapshots, and the warranty period (24 months) are all welcome features. One of our main points of criticism is the 4.3-inch display, which only supports a low resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, but the display measurements are all quite good. We would expect at least support for the qHD standard (540 x 960 pixels). The mono speaker is also pretty average. The Beats Audio logo promises better sound quality. The performance of the Qualcomm  dual-core SoC offers decent performance. The low power consumption leads to long battery life.

For an LTE smartphone with card reader, replaceable battery, and decent overall quality, 430 Euro (~$590) is money well spent. On the other hand, Long Term Evolution (LTE) is not that common in Germany yet and unnecessary for this market. The Google Nexus 4 is another option available at a very good price of 300 Euro, but does not feature a card reader or a replaceable battery.

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Specifications

HTC One SV

:: Processor
:: Memory
1024 MB, LPDDR2
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4.3 inch 3:5, 800x480 pixel, Capacitve, multi-touch, SLCD2, 216 DPI, Corning Gorilla Glas, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB onboard
:: Connections
Audio Connections: Stereo, Card Reader: microSD (SDHC, SDXC) up to 64 GB, Sensors: Gyroscope, proximity sensor, digital compass, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, GPS, Micro-USB
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 (aptX) Bluetooth, GSM: 850, 900, 1.800 1.900 MHz - HSPA/WCDMA: 900, 1.900 2.100 MHz - LTE: 800, 1.800 2.600 MHz
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.2 x 66.9 x 128
:: Weight
0.122 kg Power Supply: 0.054 kg
:: Battery
6.84 Wh Lithium-Ion, 1.800 mAh, removable, 3.8 volt, type: BM60100
:: Price
429 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.0
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 5 MP, LED, HTC ImageChip, F2.0, 1080p Front-facing: 1.8 MP, 720p, Speakers: Mono speaker, two microphones, Keyboard: Virtual, Smartphone, modula USB power adapter, USB cable, headset, printed documentation, 7digital, EA Games, Flash Player, Friend Stream, Gmail, Google+, Polaris Office, News, Weahter, Rescue, SoundHound, Teeter, TuneIn Radio, Ultrasound Settings, 24 Months Warranty, Model: PL80130 / 520e, micro-SIM, HTC Sense UI 4.1, Beats Audio: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv

 

Reviewed: the HTC One SV, a mid-range smartphone.
Reviewed: the HTC One SV middle-class smartphone.
The simple mono speaker is not very impressive.
The simple mono speaker is not very impressive.
Nice: The card reader recognizes cards up to 64 GB.
Nice: the card reader recognizes cards up to 64 GB.
The cover contains the NFC module.
The cover contains the NFC module.
The One SV scored 1305 points in the GeekBench 2 benchmark.
The One SV scored 1305 points during the GeekBench 2 benchmark.
All the necessary accessories are included.
All the necessary accessories are included.
The integrated camera of 5 megapixels offers good quality imagery.
The integrated camera with 5 megapixels offers good quality.
A status LED near the ear piece.
A status LED near the ear piece.
The design, fit, feel, and the build quality are impressive.
The design, fit and feel, and the build quality are impressive.
HTC offers the phone in different colors.
HTC offers the phone in different colors.
At the bottom, we find a micrphone and...
At the bottom we find a micrphone and...
... a Micro USB port for data transfer and charging.
... a Micro USB port for data transfer and charging.
The power button, the second microphone, and the audio jack.
The power button, the second microphone, and the audio jack.
The volume rocker switch offers low travel and good feedback.
The volume rocker switch offers low travel and good feedback.
The OS: Google Android 4.0.4 (HTC Sense UI 4.1).
Preinstalled: Google Android 4.0.4 (HTC Sense UI 4.1).
The typical controls under the display.
The typical controls under the display.
The HTC One SV has a glossy 4.3-inch display.
The HTC One SV has a glossy 4.3-inch display.
The display is large enough - but we think the resolution is too low.
The display measures well - but we think the resolution is too low.

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Price Comparison

Pro

+Catchy design; offered in different colors
+Pleasing to use; device is built well and sturdy
+Card reader for cards to 64 GB
+Replaceable battery
+Extensive communications options (LTE)
+Good sound quality during calls
+Display measurements
+Powerful integrated components
+Low power consumption and long battery life
 

Cons

-Ships with Google Android 4.0.4
-Stereo headset is inexpensive
-Virtual keyboard is a bit crowded
-Display resolution is only 480 x 800 pixels
-Mono speaker is pretty average

Shortcut

What we like

The good looks, the open design (battery and card reader), the communication options, and the good call quality.

What we'd like to see

A high resolution display. It doesn't even have to be one of the HD standards (720p & 1080p) - even a qHD display with 960 x 540 Pixel (16:9 ratio) would be a much better choice.

What surprises us

The overall concept. This is a well-rounded middle-class smartphone. Only the low resolution of the display hampers the recommendation.

The competition

Google Android: Google Nexus 4 (starting at 300 Euro / ~$410), the Motorola RAZRi with Intel SoC, the well-known HTC One S with the aluminum unibody and the Sony Xperia T.

The Apple iPhone 5 is often used as a reference - but it sells at a premium price.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8: HTC Windows Phone 8S or Nokia Lumia 820.

Rating

HTC One SV
08/05/2013 v3
Felix Sold

Chassis
87%
Keyboard
49%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
45%
Weight
100%
Battery
97%
Display
81%
Games Performance
30%
Application Performance
48%
Temperature
86%
Noise
100%
Add Points
80%
Average
75%
87%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review HTC One SV Smartphone
Author: Felix Sold, 2013-02- 7 (Update: 2013-06- 6)