With the One series HTC are in their best shape in a while and we don't need to investigate who's to blame. The big bad One X and One S will proudly plead guilty as charged. But it would be unfair to deny the HTC One V its little share of credit.
The One V is built on the solid foundations of the Desire, and its DNA can be traced all the way back to the Legend and the Hero. If you ask us, the One V rings quite a few right bells. However, not having the luxury of an unlimited budget, it had to accept compromise with the level of equipment.
To some the One V may seem like the point in the One series where HTC stopped inventing and started reusing. We personally don't mind a true classic being brought back to life. Here's the catch though: the One V is interested in users who are too young to remember the HTC Hero. Young as in new to the smartphone game.
Anyone who would call the HTC Hero a classic must've developed a good enough eye to tell that the One V is a phone that would've made sense in 2010. OK, late 2010. The Desire S is almost the exact same package - and it even has more RAM.
That said, the HTC One V must realize that it's mostly dual core smartphones it is about to compete with. And we don't mean flagships, either. The new midrange is buzzing with activity, especially with Sony trying to quickly make a name for themselves again.
The Xperia Sola and the Xperia U are perhaps the biggest threat. They both have FWVGA screens - 3.5" on the Xperia U, and 3.7" on the Sola. They're powered by dual-core processors and it's not unreasonable to expect better image quality. With the Floating Touch technology and NFC, the Xperia Sola could be on the expensive side but the Xperia U might as well match the One V price tag. The clear advantage of the One V is that it launches with ICS.
With a massive 4.3" screen and 1080p video recording, the LG Optimus L7 is another style-centered droid coming with ICS right out of the box. The Optimus L5 is worth a look too - it's even less powerful than the One V but should also be considerably more affordable.
Samsung's most recent addition to the midrange, the Ace 2, is a dual-core droid with the unusual clock speed of 800 MHz. It's launching with Gingerbread and the all-plastic build is no match for the solid unibody of the HTC One V, but it should become the better performer whenever its due ICS serving arrives. There's also the Galaxy S Advance, which is slightly more expensive, but makes up for that with a larger screen.
Windows Phone is another potential threat and the HTC One V won't enjoy being sandwiched between the Nokia Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800. With a 3.7" screen and 1.4 GHz Scorpion core each, the Finnish couple offers a choice between LCD and AMOLED, and 5MP to 8MP still cameras. The superior ecosystem of the Google OS is what should give the One V confidence in this battle, though.
Now, we didn't mean to paint a gloomy picture. The HTC One V is a handsome smartphone - there are people on our team who think it's the best looking of the One series. And it's not really all that underpowered. It's just that the pressure of dual-cores may be too much to handle. But then, nothing beats a metal unibody if you want to look cool under pressure.