Boost Mobile’s first device to make use of Sprint’s 4G LTE mobile network is worth checking out even if Sprint hasn’t brought 4G LTE to your area yet.
The HTC One SV runs Android 4 and offers smooth, speedy performance with its 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. It comes with a fairly generous 8 GB of internal memory, and you can add an optional microSD card for additional storage.
The phone measures 5.04″ by 2.63″ by .36″ and weighs 4.3 oz, which makes it slightly lighter than competing phones. Its 4.3″ WVGA display is clear and vibrant despite its lack of HD. The One SV also has Beats Audio for exceptional sound quality.
The device’s camera offers some nifty high-level features over and above taking nice photos with its 5 MP capability (1.6 MP front-facing) and 1080p HD video recording (720 front-facing).
It has a dedicated HTC ImageChip to help with focus and sharpness of your shots. Continuous shooting lets you capture up to 60 shots at a time, something parents of small children might find especially useful. Being able to take dozens of pictures in a row with one touch makes it easier to catch that perfect birthday party or other special occasion picture, and this feature, also known as “burst mode,” doesn’t come with all phones.
Smart Flash automatically uses one of five levels of flash, based on distance to your subject, and the flash did indeed seem to produce nice indoor photos. VideoPic even lets you shoot video and capture pictures simultaneously. The phone takes nice videos, though the stabilization feature doesn’t seem to make the video a whole lot less shaky than other phones’ HD camcorders.
Overall, the HTC One SV’s video and still cameras don’t rival the most sophisticated phones like the Galaxy S III, but take much better shots than phones on the low end of the spectrum.
I like using the free Dropbox cloud service for automatically syncing pictures and videos with my computer. It lets you easily transfer large video or picture files without having to email them or use USB. The service lets you choose to only use Wi-Fi for your uploads so you don’t burn through your monthly data allotment.
With Dropbox set to auto upload your photos, it will transfer the shots you take using the burst feature along with all your other photos and videos. That means you can go back to your computer to look at your pictures and pick the best ones.
The One SV’s onscreen keyboard with multi-function keys works well, and the included Polaris Office app is great for creating or editing documents or spreadsheets on the go. Multi-function keys let you hold in a letter to type a number or symbol, as an alternative to switching to the numeric keypad.
Many people grow fond of Google Voice Commands over the keyboard, though, and it’s easy to see why. In car mode, you can easily compose and respond to messages without typing. However, even while sitting in your living room, you might find dictating a whole lot easier than typing on a small, virtual keypad, especially as Android phones’ voice recognition technology works so amazingly well.
The One SV has an excellent display, and popular games like Words With Friends and Angry Birds play nicely on the phone’s touchscreen. The touchscreen seems to have just the right amount of sensitivity so that you don’t make something happen by accident.
Both videos and games look fantastic on the One SV’s display. Videos load quickly using a Wi-Fi connection and play smoothly, whether short ones from YouTube or longer ones from HBOGO.
Messages and articles are easy on the eyes with clear, crisp text. By default, the text seems larger than on other phones, making it easier to read for some folks who have trouble reading the rather tiny text on other phones. If the medium size font is too large for you, it’s easy to change it to small under Settings.
I was really impressed by the One SV’s standby battery life. Even batteries on more costly phones generally won’t last much more than a day of light usage if you have apps running in the background. As I type this, the phone has been off charge for more than 12 hours and has lost only a small bar on the battery meter. I’ve gone two or three days without charging the phone when it sat there on its own collecting emails and with a couple of games running in the background.
You’ll still drain the battery at a pretty good clip by playing games or watching videos, like on other phones, but it does not seem to drain quickly just by sitting around.
The One SV uses Sprint’s new 4G LTE mobile network, which is still being rolled out and currently available in some areas, though most people make liberal use of Wi-Fi where available.
Boost Mobile doesn’t charge extra for going over their 2.5 GB monthly data allotment, but they do slow down the speed significantly. This won’t affect the majority of users, especially if you use Wi-Fi when you can. However, you can easily check of your data usage under Settings, Usage, or download a free widget such as 3G Watchdog, which actually monitors both 4G and 3G usage.
All mobile carriers have some dead areas. If you’ll need frequent access to a reliable mobile network, I recommend trying a friend’s phone that uses the Sprint network in your neighborhood or workplace to make sure you have adequate coverage.
The One SV costs $279.99 online from Boost Mobile and comes with their 30-day return policy, provided you save all the original packaging. The upfront cost comes with no strings attached. You don’t sign a contract with Boost Mobile or pay a penalty if you get tired of one phone and want to jump to another one.
Prepaid phones make great choices for teens, since they don’t have limits on data or texts that could result in unexpectedly large bills. Anyone can enjoy saving hundreds of dollars a year on mobile phone bills, though.
Not everyone needs, wants or can afford one of the hottest phones on the market. If you want a minimal monthly outlay without sacrificing heavily on the phone’s features, the HTC One SV deserves a close look.