The HTC One V is the baby of the new HTC One range, but a budget phone it isn't. With a handsome spec-sheet, the One V also offers a metal chassis, 1GHz of processing power and most impressively, a 5-megapixel camera with an f/2.2, 28mm wide-angle lens and HTC's stonking camera UI. With strong competition on the market from the likes of the Motorola MOTOLUXE and the Sony Xperia U, can the HTC One V hold its own?

HTC One V: Design

At 9.24mm deep, the handsome HTC One V is relatively slim, weighing a pocket-friendly 115g. It’s got HTC's distinctive ‘chin’ protruding at the bottom like the HTC Hero and Salsa. The 3.7-inch WVGA screen sits above the chin with three capacitive buttons. With just a power button, 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port and volume rocker, HTC as with all their One Series take a minimalist approach to ports. 

The HTC One V launches with Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich, this has been overlayed with HTC Sense 4, the latest version of HTC’s custom skin, with live widgets like Friend Stream and weather.

The One V couples soft-touch with metal finish beautifully and definitely hits the mark considering its price point. We feel it physically betters the Motorola MOTOLUXE and while we haven't reviewed the Sony Xperia U, can say the One V offers a much more solid body.

HTC One V: User Interface

Thanks be to higher powers - a low-end device running ICS. HTC have in an exemplary move endowed the entire One Series with HTC Sense 4.0 and Android 4.0 to boot. Functionality is virtually identical to that of the HTC One S and One X which impresses us no end, however, there is one omission that leaves us feeling blue.

One of the first things we do when switching on an HTC phone is pinch it to pull up the 7-screen overview. We can't explain exactly why it's so much fun, but it just is. Either HTC forgot how much fun this was, or the 1GHz processor just can't cope, but the One V doesn't overview on pinch.

The only other element that's different from the One S and X is the task manager - now the stock ICS list. We prefer this to the card system HTC lays over it's higher end One handsets, so aren't complaining about this difference.

AS for the keyboard, it's great. In addition to good sizing, layout and responsive keys, you can even hop into the settings and you can see a Swype style entry option.

HTC One V: Camera

As we mentioned in our introduction, the One V packs a very competent F/2.2 lens in front of its 5-megapixel back-side illuminated sensor. Do these numbers and words make a difference? We think so.

The images above illustrate that for the £240 asking price, the HTC One V gives you a camera phone that's very capable of supplementing your point and shoot. Outdoor shots look accurate, indoor shots aren't too noisy and macro shots have plenty of detail. The additional effects offered in HTC's Camera UI are also great to have as is the inclusion of 720p video.

HTC One V Connectivity and Storage

The One V has Wi-Fi, bluetooth and 3G as standard. Web browsing is pretty nice and speedy despite the humble processor and the phone also takes a full-sized SIM card which should please many people upgrading in this price-point.

There’s 4GB of memory, 1GB of which is usable, but unlike the HTC One X and S, there’s also a microSD card slot, which can be used for expanding the memory up to 32GB. As a bonus, anyone who buys the phone gets 25GB of cloud space for two years courtesy of Dropbox.

HTC One V: Performance

The HTC One V isn't a rip-roaring powerhouse like its bigger brothers. Text can take a second to catch up with the our typing, the UI can stagger once in a while, but the overall experience is smooth. Sense 4.0 adds a really premium polish and the fact that it looks so great on the WVGA screen, running so smoothly also makes us feel like we're getting more bang for our buck than, say the 800MHz stuttery Motorola MOTOLUXE.

Battery life is also very respectable. We comfortably got a full day and a half with some pretty heavy use on full brightness. 

HTC  One V: Conclusion

Looking at the competition, with the two main rivals being the Sony Xperia U and the Motorola MOTOLUXE, all costing around the same, we can safely say that the One V stacks up well. Sturdy build, great camera, generally smooth UI, while the Sony Xperia U is dual-core and we'd expect it to be snappier, for anyone looking for robust bit of hardware, the V could be the one to go for.