LAS VEGAS–Red alert! Cricket Wireless has an Android phone with style. The HTC One SV is the regional wireless carrier's new flagship phone, and it really doesn't appear to have any compromises. I took a quick look at it at a press event and I liked what I saw.
The One SV has a bright red polycarbonate body, topped by a 4.3 inch, 800-by-480 Super LCD 2 screen. The build and feel really stand out in Cricket's lineup of mostly budget devices. The solid plastic and luxurious edges, where the glass wraps around a little, even beat the more powerful Samsung Galaxy S III $99.99 at Let's Talk on feel.
There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.6-megapixel camera on the front. The One SV has HTC's high-end photo features, including video stabilization, fast focus, and burst shooting. There's 8GB of storage on board, plus a memory card slot, and the battery is removable. The action on the power and volume buttons was excellent.
The Android 4.0 OS is a bit of a downer–come on, they're up to 4.2 already–and there are plenty of Cricket bloatware apps, but the phone ran speedily along on its 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor in my time with it. The One SV works with Cricket's unlimited Muve Music plans. It integrates Beats Audio for pounding bass through headphones, and AptX for clear, lossless wireless music.
Ultimately, the big deal here is the build of this phone. Cricket's handsets, while capable, have a tendency to use cheap plastics to keep the cost down, and there's a lot of glossy blues and blacks in the lineup. A matte polycarbonate, bright red phone stands out, and the One SV is a lively, refreshing entrant in a sometimes otherwise similar parade of Android phones. It's the right size for most hands, too.
The One SV is one of only two 4G LTE phones Cricket offers, and LTE is the future. While we haven't tested Cricket's LTE network yet, it's going to be much faster than the carrier's relatively slow 3G system. The carrier's only other LTE phone so far is the LG Optimus Regard, a less expensive phone (at $229.99) with a much lower resolution screen. If the One SV performs well - which we haven't tested, so that's a big if–we'll probably recommend getting the One SV's better screen to better appreciate LTE Web browsing speeds.
The HTC One SV goes on sale January 16th for $349. We'll have a full review soon.