The HTC One SV for Boost Mobile is an Android phone tailor-made for bargain hunters. For $299 up front, you get a stylish handset with a bright screen and fast camera, plus access to a growing 4G LTE network (powered by Sprint). You'll pay $55 per month for unlimited talk, text and data to start, but if you pay your bill on time, you can shrink the payments over time by up to $15 monthly. Is the HTC One SV for Boost Mobile worth a second look? You bet.
Like the version sold through Cricket, the Boost Mobile HTC One SV has a bold orangey-red back that provides a nice contrast to the phone's glossy black front. This soft-touch finish on the rear also makes the One SV feel more comfortable to hold than other smartphones with brushed aluminum or plastic back plates.
The One SV's curved edges give the phone a soft look. When holding the device, we reached the power button up top and the side-mounted volume keys with ease. A Home, Back and Recent Apps button sit just under the display.
On the back of the device, you'll find HTC's logo right in the center and subtle Beats Audio speaker grilles toward the bottom.
Measuring 5 x 2.6 x 0.36 inches and weighing 4.5 ounces, the One SV feels noticeably lighter than the 5.6-ounce Droid Razr Maxx HD. While larger, the One SV weighs less than the 4.8-ounce, 4.6 x 2.5 x 0.5-inch LG Connect 4G.
Display and Audio
The One SV's 4.3-inch 800 x 480 WVGA touch screen displays text clearly, but videos appeared dull. When watching the trailer for "Iron Man 3," footage came through a bit fuzzy and colors were muted. Robert Downey Jr.'s features weren't very sharp during close-up scenes and action-packed sequences fell flat.
However, the 4.3-inch LCD fared well on our brightness test. The HTC One SV averaged 401 lux, which is far brighter than the LG Connect 4G's display (225 lux). This HTC also blows past the 223 lux smartphone average.
The One SV exudes loud and vibrant audio, but it sounded a bit distorted at its maximum volume. When listening to "Daylight" by Matt and Kim, the piano melody and vocals came through clearly, but felt shallow. The Beats Audio technology, which only works when using headphones, kicked things up a notch. The sound was deeper and richer.
Software and Interface
The One SV runs HTC's Sense software on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, which is now two generations behind the most current flavor of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This means you won't be able to use Google Now.
Although you'll have to deal with dated app icons, HTC's Sense overlay is smooth and intuitive. The lock screen houses shortcuts for Phone, Mail, Messages and Camera.
The main home screen of the One SV features HTC's weather clock widget and room for eight apps. Creating a folder of apps is as easy as dragging and dropping an app onto another.
Pressing the Recent Apps button just below the screen displays any open applications in a 3D carousel view. Tapping the Home button twice will pull up all your current home screens in thumbnail view.
Specs and Performance
The HTC One SV's 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM performed well during our testing. The device scored 3,925 on the CPU Benchmark test, surpassing the 3,205 Android smartphone category average and the LG Connect 4G's 1.2-GHz dual-core processor (2,177). However, the One SV couldn't hold a candle to the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD's speedier 1.5-GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset, which notched an impressive 4,971 during the same test.
On the Quadrant benchmark, which tests CPU, graphics and I/O performance, the One SV's score of 5,021 edged out the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (4,971) and LG Connect 4G (2,307) while blowing past the 3,626 category average.
In terms of graphics, the One SV proved it can stack up to the competition. The handset scored a 7,243 on An3DBench, which is on a par with the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (7,261) and the LG Connect 4G (7,404).
During everyday use, we found that the HTC One SV offered quick performance. Native applications such as Camera and News launched quickly, but Google apps were a little sluggish. It took a few moments to load Google+ and images in the Google Play store.
The HTC One SV comes with 8GB of internal memory, which you can expand via the microSD card slot.
4G and Web Browsing
The HTC One SV operates on Sprint's 4G LTE network, which has a scattered footprint throughout the United States. The carrier promises that 4G LTE will eventually come to more than 200 markets throughout the country, but for now, it covers only 67 markets in the United States.
Clusters of coverage can be found in New York, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Texas, Kansas and in small sections of California, along with other markets.
Cricket's 4G LTE network, by comparison, is limited to 17 cities in six states, including Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, Philadelphia and Texas. Metro PCS currently offers 4G LTE coverage in 14 markets.
If you're stuck in areas without LTE coverage, the HTC One SV connects to Sprint's 3G CDMA EVDO Rev A network, which blankets nearly all of the U.S. When using this 3G connection to test the device's speeds via the Speedtest.net app, we found that the One SV averaged meager 178.8 Kbps download and 507.7 Kbps upload speeds.
When we originally tested the HTC One SV on Cricket's 4G network, download speeds reached up to 1.2 Mbps and upload speeds hit 688 Kbps.
The One SV comes with a stock Android browser that features a toolbar across the top. This section allows you to view your open tabs, enter a new URL in the Web address box, enter reading mode, or drop down a menu with Bookmark and History options.
Boost preloads the HTC One SV with the Boost Zone software, which includes a slew of helpful utilities that make it easy to manage your account. For example, you can add money to your existing prepaid Boost Mobile account, send funds overseas through the International Money Transfer feature, and pay bills via the Pay My Bills function. Boost Zone also comes with a handy Help section that provides information about your phone and offers a customer service number for support.
The One SV comes with HTC's Friend Stream app, which allows you to sync contacts from your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts and view them in a single stream. HTC also bundles some third-party apps into its selection as well, such as Dropbox, FM Radio, Google Chrome and Facebook.
Unfortunately, Boost Mobile doesn't offer an equivalent to Cricket's Muve service, which offers unlimited music downloads from a library of millions of tracks for users who sign up for 4G service.
The device's 1080p camcorder also captures clear footage, although we found that the picture was fairly dim in shadowy areas. When shooting video of traffic and pedestrians along a street in Queens, the camera had a bit of trouble transitioning from a sunny area to a shadowy section of the sidewalk.
Overall, we found that the One SV's 720p front-facing camera takes detailed photos, but with an orange tone.
Call Quality and Battery Life
During our test calls on Boost Mobile's (Sprint's) network, the HTC One SV delivered clear calls on both ends. Even with background chatter and noise from traffic, we had no issue hearing the caller on the other end.
The One SV showed impressive results during the LAPTOP Battery Test, although it was operating on 3G rather than 4G. The handset's 1,800 mAh battery lasted 7 hours and 1 minute, beating the 6:06 Android smartphone category average by nearly an hour. This run time is significantly longer than the LG Connect 4G, which lasted a brief 3:53.
The Cricket version of this phone, however, lasted a staggering 10 hours and 27 minutes while running on 3G, outlasting the Boost Mobile variant by more than three hours.
Plans and Value
Boost Mobile's Android Monthly Unlimited payment plan starts at $55 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web. This monthly rate can decrease over time via Boost Mobile's shrinking payment plan, which rewards customers by shaving $5 off their bill for every six on-time payments.
So, theoretically, your bill can get as low as $40 per month for unlimited voice, text and data after 18 months. Over the course of two years (which includes $299 for the device), you'll pay $1,439.
However, if you exceed 2.5GB of data per month, your throughput will be capped at 3G speeds for the rest of that period.
At $299, the HTC One SV offers solid performance and a zippy camera in a colorful design -- all for a low monthly price. The only drawbacks to this device are its low-resolution display and Sprint's limited 4G LTE coverage. Overall, the HTC One SV is a strong choice for those who want to save big bucks compared with the biggest carriers.