Most helpful positive review
503 of 514 people found the following review helpful
For the price an excellent phone
on July 13, 2012
I'd been stuck with a Droid X on another big carrier for nearly 2 years and my X started acting wacky, and since the X was out of warranty my options were to buy an expensive upgrade or walk away from it. Since I had Virgin Mobile phones for my wife and kid I took the leap and walked. Happy I did.
I'd gotten my wife an Optimus Elite a few weeks before and it is definitely a nice little phone for the price, and was thinking about getting one for myself, but I was leaning towards going the power route and getting the Evo V 4G. Luckily - just in time, as they just came out - I ran across the HTC One V first. After a bit of research and weighing the options, I decided that I was tired of carrying around big, bulky phones, and that I really didn't need the extra power and capability the Evo has, so I picked up a One V. I don't talk much, use texting more, so the $35/month plan fits me perfectly, and at that price and for only $200 up front this is a steal. Now, to the phone itself...
It is a very compact phone, very light, yet does not at all feel cheap. No plastic backing, this one has a real aluminum unibody that both looks and feels great and offers much better protection than cheaper plastic units. It has Gorilla Glass on the screen as well, so right out of the box this phone is more solidly constructed than most of the competition. I dropped it my second day (my hands still being used to gripping a big-screened monstrosity) and it took quite a tumble before it hit the floor, picked it up and brushed it off, not a scratch and kept walking. It has a no frills appearance to it that I find aesthetically pleasing as well. Slides right in and out of the pocket, don't even notice it's there. I like that coming from a big phone that you have to struggle with to get out of the pocket.
The screen is nice and vibrant. Not the best out there but it is crisp and very responsive, with every indication of quality. Decent viewing angles. I find the 3.7" just small enough to still be easily usable and easy to type on, and still big enough for some gaming and video. Big screens are nice for those things, but I think they hit the sweet spot with 3.7" - big enough but not so big as to make the phone itself too big.
The ICS operating system is very smooth, noticeably more refined (and simpler, once you get used to it) than previous versions. I don't even care if this phone ever gets Jelly Bean or not, I am perfectly happy with ICS. App compatability has been very good so far - nearly every app I had loaded on the X (and every single one I use regularly) works fine on this one, which is surprising since this one is so new.
Under the hood this one has similar specs to what my Droid X had: a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM. Higher end phones nowadays are sporting dual and even quad core processors paired with 1GB of RAM, but really, what do you need that for? Pretty much newer graphically intense gaming, which I don't really do with my phone (I have an Acer Iconia Tab A100 for that). I do light gaming on the phone, and for that this works just fine (although even this one will play many of the higher end games like Shadowgun, it's just not as smooth as the S3s of the world). As for other apps the hardware in the One V runs everything just fine with very little to no lag, so I'm not missing those extra cores and extra RAM. Note that if you intend to do serious gaming on your phone then this one is not for you, but if you are just a casual phone gamer then this works just fine.
The GPS is possibly the brightest spot on this phone - it is simply phenomenal. I toggle the GPS on, hop into GPS Status and *immediately* acquire 8 satellites - indoors. Then open maps and see that it has located me to within about 3-5 meters. I sometimes had to wait up to 5 minutes for my Droid X to get a position, this one took about 5 seconds.
The camera is not bad at all. The Droid X had an 8MP camera, this one a 5MP camera, and I can't tell the difference in quality. It does, however, have a neat little function where you can hold down the shutter button for a few seconds and it takes multiple pics rapidly, and lets you pick the one you want to keep. This is VERY handy for capturing stills of moving targets. Also, there is little to no shutter lag, which also helps.
Battery life has been pretty good so far. After about 10 hours at work doing some browsing, light gaming, some tunes, fiddling with GPS a bit, and no recharging I get home with anywhere from 20-40% remaining. That is perfectly adequate for me.
Cell reception seems to be quite good for me so far. I get decent 3G signal and download speed even when walking in an underground train tunnel and in areas where other big carrier phones don't. I had expected worse from a no-contract carrier, but am pleasantly surprised. I understand this will vary greatly depending upon location, but where I live it is very good. Call quality has also been good on both ends.
Wifi and Bluetooth work fine. I was even able to tether my tablet using FoxFi and run it off of Bluetooth... To save my data plan I turn on Wifi whenever I have access (like as soon as I get home). The 3G is for when I am out and about, and I should have no problem bumping up against VM's throttle limit of 2.5GB of data. That would only really be a problem if one was streaming lots of video or music, which I don't do.
So, in conclusion, is this a top of the line phone? No, if you want that then you will get a contract with a big carrier, and you will pay alot for it. For me, and I suspect for most users out there, this phone does what I need it to do, and it does it well. If the Galaxy S3 is top of the line, and say a Droid Razr is runner up, then this one would place third. But I am factoring the cost into my evaluation, and the cost for a One V from VM is *much* less than those types of phones, and you get a platform that does pretty much the same stuff for the vast majority of users out there. And the monthly bill is far easier to swallow. Even if you get the $55/month unlimited everything plan and add the $5 insurance (worth it IMO) it's still far less than you will be paying on any smartphone contract. As an example, our 2 smartphone contract with the old carrier with 700 minutes cost us just under $200/month, while 3 smartphones with VM with 1800 minutes total cost us $120/month. More phones + more minutes + lower monthly cost = Win every day of the week.
And one of the best things: you are not stuck with this phone. Phones become obsolete quickly, generally long before the 2 years is up on contract. About a year into the contract you're sitting there fiddling with your phone looking at the cool new stuff everyone is playing with and thinking "Oh great, I'm stuck with this thing for another year...". You have no easy ability to upgrade; you either pay a huge penalty to do so or you are just stuck with what you have, which will certainly be obsolete after the first year. With these you can just toss the phone and upgrade easily any time you want, and the new phones aren't that expensive. That is probably my favorite feature of all.
So if you are in the market for a decent no-contract phone and don't need the bells and whistles of the Evo or want it's size and bulk, this is a fantastic choice. The phone itself is not a 5 star phone, I'd give it 3.5-4 stars in today's environment - but realistically that is perfectly fine for 95% of the users out there. Most people do not actually need the uber-cool hardware of the latest release, they just need something that works, and this one does. Factoring in the cost and the flexibility of going off-contract is what gets it to 5 stars. And if you are looking at the Optimus Elite I'd recommend considering the One V; it's worth the extra $50. The OE is a nice little phone and worth its price, but this one is better; my wife is already bugging me to get her one...
Oh, and BTW - Otterbox already has a case out for these, and it is great. Amazon has them, too.
UPDATE: So, been running this phone for a few weeks now, and I am still liking it alot. A few comments:
Battery: most Android phones take a week or two to learn the user's patterns and optimize themselves, and this one is no exception. During the first week or so I had some days where it almost died on me, but now it knows me and is sipping juice. It's not abnormal for me to get home with close to 50% battery left now, which is quite good, I think. The inability to remove the battery will not be an issue, as by the time this battery goes bad (they all do eventually) this phone will be obsolete and it will be time to replace it anyway. Tough it out through those first couple of weeks and you won't be disappointed in this battery.
OS: ICS is running very smooth. I had a couple of FCs at first but as with the battery, it smoothed itself out and is running nearly to perfection now. App compatibility is still phenomenal for a relatively new phone.
Cell signal: During the first week I had 3-4 instances where the phone lost 3G signal, but I don't fault it much as I was deep within a heavy metal structure building and buried under lots of concrete. It hasn't happened since, and when it did it found the signal again within a minute, so not exactly a big deal. I have since traveled across state (TX, a big one) and found cell reception / 3G to be quite good pretty much everywhere. I never noticed any areas where I couldn't get a signal. Running on Sprint's network I didn't expect any problems in this area, and haven't really found any; they have a very well developed network and their expansion is ongoing. Also, as more people move onto 4G networks it makes 3G easier to ride.
GPS: the GPS continues to impress me. It isn't always immediate as in my first review, but it is always fairly fast (generally less than 20 seconds for multiple satellite lock). It is most definitely a real GPS, too, and not just some AGPS tomfoolery. It works fine in Airplane Mode and where there is no cell signal... Just know that you will need preloaded maps or have one downloaded via Wifi for it to be of any use if you are going out of network (there are several good apps to do this with, I personally like MapDroyd and Backcountry Navigator Pro, respectively, for their given applications).
Camera: I am still liking the camera, too. When trying to snap photos of moving objects/people just hold the shutter button down until it's passed and then select the pic you want to keep - very handy function. The quality is not great, but not bad either. Perfectly acceptable for a phone camera. The only issue I have with the camera is the zoom - not very good there. But fine for anything close up.
The wife is bugging me every day now to get her one, don't think I'll be able to hold off much longer. Taken as a whole, this phone and the plan price tag is a fantastic value, and it does everything I need it to do. Still highly recommended.
Oh, and Trident now has a nice looking case out for these. They are generally on par with Otterbox and offer another alternative. Mine will continue to wear the Otterbox for now, as I am happy with it.
UPDATE 2: After uninstalling a few apps, I am now coming home with 60% battery or so. I NEVER came close to that with the X. I took off some widget apps and just run with the stock weather/clock widget (which is actually pretty good), took off Sonic 4 Ep 1 and the Alarm Clock app, and voila! One or more of those apps was running in the background; the phone also doesn't get hot anymore unless I am REALLY pushing it... It is smooth as silk now.
I can't say enough about this phone, or the fact that it only costs me $40 a month with insurance.
UPDATE 3: After a couple of months I finally broke down and got the wife one. Ordered a Trident case for it. Like I said in the earlier review, one of the great things about these no contract phones is you can upgrade anytime you want. So the wife upgrades from the Optimus Elite to the One V, and the kid gets to upgrade from an Optimus V to an Optimus Elite. Everyone wins.
And mine is still running great. It's probably the most problem-free smartphone I've seen so far. Still highly recommend it.
UPDATE 4: Quick status update, it's New Year's, 2013, and this phone is still going strong for both me and the wife. Still a great deal, especially at the prices it's been selling at lately. I bought it for twice what it's selling at now... I'd do it all over again at the original price. That is how happy I've been with the phone.
UPDATE 5: All good things must come to an end. One of the great things about the VM line is that it's easy to upgrade whenever you want to since you're not on contract. I tried out an EVO V 4G for awhile, and it's a decent phone, but I've finally found the sweet spot with the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE. It is using Sprint's 4G LTE and it's simply a quantum leap forward. Price point is not bad at all either, and it's on sale right now for less than I paid for my One V...
The One V was a great phone, it did everything I needed and functioned well. But the future lies in 4G LTE networks. Jump on VM's next big ship and take a ride, you won't be disappointed.