Review: HTC One SV for Cricket Wireless
Muve Music is Cricket's premiere music product. It lets device owners stream an unlimited amount of music to their device, as well as store some locally for offline playback for a low monthly fee (it is included with most smartphone plans). The app itself works fine and makes for easy discovery of new and interesting music. It can be slow to start playing tracks, though, and I often found myself waiting a minute or more for songs to begin.
The SV also has the basic Android music player app, plus TuneIn Radio, and the Google Play Store if you want to purchase tracks directly from the handset.
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On the video front, the SV includes the stock YouTube app, the Google Play Store, and HTC's own HTC Watch application. HTC Watch is simply another avenue through which device owners can purchase video content.
The SV comes with Beats Audio technology on board. I gave it a good workout listening to the new Newsted EP. Jason's guttural growl never sounded so good.
HTC's camera software is as intuitive and speedy as ever on the SV. Since there is no hardware camera button, you have to open the camera from the home screen or the lock screen. It opens very quickly.
The controls are laid out simply. On the top-left corner you'll see the handy flash control. The full settings menu lets users adjust video quality, the review screen, the ISO, white balance, etc. There are also different types of capture and scene modes, such as HDR, panorama, portrait, macro, etc.
The SV has two main on-screen camera buttons; one for still photos, and one for video. The still camera can take continuous bursts of shots if you hold down the shutter button, and the SV lets you take still images while recording video.
I didn't see any performance problems with the SV's camera at all. It was fast across the board.
The One SV takes very good pictures for a 5-megapixel camera. Focus was sharp, white balance was accurate, and exposure was spot on. Honestly, you can't ask much more from a camera in this class of device. Nearly all the images I captured were usable and/or sharable (crummy composition and content notwithstanding). The SV can easily replace a point and shoot for your weekend get-aways.
The SV uses the stock Android gallery application, which will connect with various online accounts and let you access them all from the device. The design of the top-level menus for sorting between different photo albums could be better, but once you get the hang of it, it's not too annoying to navigate.
When viewing individual photos, on-screen controls make deleting, sharing, or editing them a snap. Editing features are limited to crop, rotate, or apply effects. The effects include black & white, antique, etc. There is no third-party photo editing software, but there is a video editor. It lets you piece together videos you've captured with the phone into simple projects.
The video camera maxes out at 1080p HD video. I thought the results were very good. The footage I captured was smooth, focus was good, and exposure was accurate. It won't replace dedicated video equipment, but it serves well for capturing everyday events that might not otherwise be recorded.
The SV ships with the old-school Android browser. It's a fine browser for rendering web sites and had no problem pulling CNN and other heavy-duty sites out of the air with all their images and video intact. As far as speed is concerned, it did well on Cricket's LTE 4G network, but not so well on its 3G network. The browser supports multiple tabs, and the bookmarking tool is robust. The SV also includes the Chrome browser, which is faster, syncs across devices, and is better at rendering web sites.
There is plenty of unnecessary bloatware on the SV, including nine Cricket-branded apps and services that I have no need for. Most of them cannot be deleted, but there's still plenty of room on the SV for your own apps.
The SV's Bluetooth works perfectly. It paired with every device I could find. Phone calls sounded good when sent through my car's hands-free system, though the volume could have been better. Music sounded very good when sent to stereo Bluetooth headphones. I had no issues pushing files to/from the SV, either.
HTC knows how to do clocks on its smartphones. If you want to change the clock on the lock screen, you need to select the "clock lock screen" set-up. Only then can you customize the clock to your liking. It's a bit convoluted, but at least it is possible. There are far too many clock widgets to choose from when it comes to home screen.
The GPS worked very well. The SV's GPS radio was able to lock on my position in less than 30 seconds, and was accurate to within about 25 feet. Thanks to the solid network access and an accurate GPS radio, directions with Google Maps were spot-on and close to real-time. The SV also has Cricket Navigator on board. The Navigator app works well, but costs an extra $5 per month.
HTC's One SV is a high-end handset for prepaid provider Cricket. Though slated for the prepaid market, it's quite the looker and would do fine at any major carrier.
Feb 25, 2013
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