HTC One V on Virgin Mobile or StraightTalk
Unbeknownst to each other, both Joe (the guy who writes most of the clothes posts) and Paul (the tech /travel guy) both ended up with the same phone. Here’s a conversation between the two as to what, from their individual perspectives, they like and don’t like about it.
Joe: First of all… it’s thin. As much as I liked my old phone, that slide out keyboard made it a little thick. It did okay in an interior blazer pocket, but you could feel the weight. This thing? No keyboard. Thin and light. You forget it’s in there, even if you’ve got it in the front pocket of some 514 Slim Straights.
Paul: The thinness is nice, but I like the cost best. After being on Verizon, I was looking to save some money. StraightTalk SIM plans are $45 a month (unlimited talk, text, and web on either T-Mobile or AT&T’s network, contract-free). Virgin has even better deals that start at $35 a month (also no contract). Because I wanted my phone to work in other countries, I bought an unlocked HTC One V on eBay ($150) which seems to have started its life in Canada. The unlocked HTC One V is compatible with AT&T’s 850Mhz 3G network, but not its 1900 band … so we’ll see how that goes. I may get stuck on 2G a bit. So far, I’ve been on AT&T’s HSDPA network and it measures in about 2x as fast as Verizon’s 3G network.
The HTC One V’s thickness, or lack thereof. About four quarters or a pen.
Joe: I think I understood maybe 25% of that. I am on the $35 per month Virgin plan, and whenever someone sees my phone and asks how much I pay, they’re stunned that plans can come so cheap on something that’s not a flip phone. $35. It’s incredible. Pretty sure the phone itself usually runs around $100 -$150 on Virgin.
Paul: I also seriously considered the new Nexus 4, but wasn’t sure if I’d ever receive the thing because it’s so backordered and I’m not a fan of the glass-on-the-back design anyway. Lack of 4G LTE isn’t a factor for me — I currently live in the boondocks where there isn’t any. The missing front camera was almost a deal-breaker, but I’ll cope. I can use my tablet if I want to video chat. Same with the non-existent Android 4.1 upgrade (the HTC One V isn’t getting 4.1), so you’ll be on 4.0 unless you go with a custom ROM. But Android 4.0 is pretty sweet and rooting is fairly easy. And the battery stacks up pretty well against other Android phones.
Joe: I have noticed that the battery life is pretty good. One thing that I do with this, a ton, is stream podcasts (diehard PTI fan here.) I’ll walk around the house doing some random chores and listen to, say, a BS Report, and it’ll go for a full hour without much damage to the battery. I rarely remember to charge it at night. But then again, I honestly can’t recall where I left it most nights.
Paul: Which is why you probably want to install an app like Lookout, with its phone locator feature. Seriously, install a security app — and use the PIN or pattern lock screen. And if you’re downloading a lot of podcasts, you may want to opt for a 32GB SD card ($25 on Amazon).
Joe: One thing I don’t like is the semi-constant blinking. There’s this light that blinks whenever I have a notification. Often times it’s someone named Cynthia, who I don’t know, wanting to see if I’m available for g-chat or something? Help me Paul.
Paul: Me, I find the metal case very slippery. Thin and slick means I’ve already bounced the thing off the floor. Luckily its aluminum case is tough. The solution to my problem also solves Joe’s problem: get a case. It’ll likely cover up the notification light and makes the thing harder to touchdown spike. Or do this to turn off notifications.
Joe: Wait… I haven’t dropped it yet, but you’re pulling the ol’ black electrical tape over the blinking VCR 12:00 trick on me? Well lemme read this thing you linked too. Oh. So all I do is press and hold the Cynthia notification and I can turn that off? Excellent. Sometimes these smart phones are a little too intuitive to me. Meanwhile, I’ve got my phone on vibrate all the time and I’ve missed calls because the vibrate is pretty gentle. If it’s in a coat pocket, there’s a good chance I won’t feel or hear it.
Paul: I find the boot animation and music on nearly every phone annoying and this one is no exception. I had to go into the guts to disable it. Otherwise, no complaints.
If saving some money on your cell phone plan is one of your 2013 resolutions, this phone is worth a look. But is a phone that would have been top-of-the-line two years ago too old to compete now? Let us know in the comments.