Friday, April 13, 2012

HTC ONE V

In the midst of all the review work for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 about a month ago, something unexpected happen. I was so engrossed with shooting and planning what to write that some small things have slipped my mind. One of them being my Nokia phone being left in my jeans pocket and did some acrobatics in the washing machine. It died. My fault, I destroyed it. 

Alright, here is the full story. I came home on a Friday night after shooting at Bukit Bintang (click here for the full entry). I was extremely exhausted from my full day engineering work on site (if supervising construction work under hot sun is not tiring, I don't know what is), rushing to Bukit Bintang to meet up with Sanjit after work, and shot the streets, coming home close to midnight. Even after a full day out, I had plentiful things left in my mind to do before I call the night off: back-up photos from my computer into the external hard-drive to clear some space for the E-M5 photos, install the updated Olympus Viewer 2 to convert E-M5 RAW files, to transfer the photos from the E-M5 to my computer. As you can see, there are plenty of waiting times in between the backing up of computer files and transferring of photos from the camera, hence I decided, in that almost flattened state of mind, to do some multi-tasking so I can save some time. Bad, bad idea. The first thing that popped up in mind was to do my week long laundry. It did not occur to me that I had so many things running in my mind concurrently I have forgotten to even take my phone out of the jeans pocket. Laundry I did, and I did not realize the phone was still in the jeans pocket until I wanted to charge the phone battery. It was too late. 








Now spare me the lecture of using the hair dryer or sun-bake the phone or whatever resuscitation techniques or myths that so many people have shared. The truth is, the phone died. Full stop. End of story. 

The interesting part was, I felt no pain, or shock, mainly because I was soooooooo exhausted, my mind could not respond emotionally to the dead Nokia. Do not get me wrong, I loved the Nokia phone dearly, and I have never loved any phone that much before. Also, add to the fact that I just came home with a set of photographs shot with the E-M5, and the desire to see how the photos look on my 22 inch LCD screen overwhelmed everything else that night: not even my exhaustion or the grief for the dead Nokia can surpass the amazement as I pixel-peeped the images shot with E-M5, for the first time. 

So the old phone was dead. I used a cheap Philips RM99 phone (which I have blogged before here) as my temporary back-up phone. 

I was only fooling myself when I said I do not need a Smartphone. I know, I know, who would believe that, right? After using Nokia C6-01 for more than a year, having a smartphone has become a necessity in my life. It is time to find a replacement. 

Here are my considerations in getting that new phone to replace my dead Nokia. 

1) Cheap. There is no way for me to pay over RM1000 for a phone. I would rather use the money elsewhere. I cannot justify spending so much money for just a phone. No, I won't go for I-Phone. Unless they lower their price tag to below RM1000, but I think the world will end sooner than that. 

2) Good Audio. I need my music on the go. I already have a good pair of Sennheiser CX300 earphones, so I need a good audio player to go with. 

3) Decently sized screen, for photo viewing, and comfort of web browsing and texting

4) Small size and light, compact enough for pocket storage. 

5) Reasonably good camera, with macro shooting capability. 

6) It has got to have better overall function-ability and more powerful than my old Nokia, obviously. 


Alright, lets just cut to the chase, and I was drawn to the newly launched HTC One V, an Android based phone, running on the latest OS Ice Cream Sandwich, with HTC Sense 4.0. The reason why I was attracted to this HTC, was because it ticked all the above-listed requirements. Most importantly, it fits my intended budget of not spending over RM1000. I am not going to bore you with the specifications and "hands-on preview", because you can find that everywhere else in the internet. Why would I want to repeat what others have done?

I was at the Pavilion HTC One Roadshow, and as I was fiddling the phone, I knew it felt right. So I made the purchase. Sometimes, it is about how the device feels in your hands, if it is right, you will know it. 

I am a first time Android user, so I really have nothing to compare this phone to. The only smartphone I have used was the now dead Nokia C6-01, which I admit I was very happy with, running on the latest Symbian Nokia Belle. 

The following are some image samples taken with the HTC One V's camera. 
Camera specifications: 5MP, AF, 28mm wide angle, F2 lens, fast 4 frames per second shooting. 

View from the outside of Ampang Look-Out Point, Hulu Langat. 

Iced tea

Nasi Goreng Ayam

Glass Reflections. I do not like how the blue colour is rendered here. 

Pudu Jail

Unhealthy sugary treats

Wall murals

Pudu Jail walls

Testing the 28mm lens. Well... not quite wide enough but, good enough. 


Nonetheless, let me list down my thoughts and first impressions with this HTC One V, after using it for one week. Bear in mind those are my own opinion, so they are all entirely subjective. 

1) I like the music player. 
HTC marketed their ONE series phones with built in Beats Audio. Not surprising, because HTC owns a large chunk of share in Beats. Nonetheless, people who know will know that this is nothing more than a mere marketing gimmick, and the Beats Audio technology is really just the plain old "equalizer setting" to enhance the audio sound. There is no magic here. However, listening to what this HTC One V can scream out of my modest Sennheiser CX300 aging earphones, I dare say the audio is better than I expected in the first place. The sound quality is miles ahead of what I heard coming out from my previous Nokia phone, or even the much loved Olympus M:Robe MP3 Player. Oh, in case you do not know, my first ever Olympus consumer product was not a camera, but an MP3 player. And yes, Olympus used to make MP3 players many years ago, and their MP3 players were very good. 

2) So and so camera
While HTC may have scored well with their audio capability, they may have oversold the camera part. The built in camera has F2 lens (wow.....) and "presumably" good low light shooting. To be honest, I was rather disappointed with the camera image quality. Images taken outdoors show plenty of "noise", which should not have been there at all. Those were not sharpening artifacts either, because I can tell them apart, believe me I can. And used in low light shooting, the camera is rather.... well, I am trying to find a better word, but I can't, so I am just going to be blunt and say..... useless. 

3) Android-Nice !!
I am completely alien to Android, but it only took me one night to set up the phone, and installed all the necessary apps. I can see now why Android is gaining such a huge fan-base and followers. You can do so much with your phone, and my HTC One V is not even that powerful. It only runs on a single core 1Ghz processor, and 512Mb RAM. Nonetheless, I felt that the HTC One V specs is a lot more than I need. I do not play games, and I do not intend to play games at all with this phone. I want a phone which is still a phone, and does a little more, like web-browsing, personal organization (to-do notes, calendar reminders, etc), checking and replying emails on the go, and all the basic functions. I do not have high demands on the phone. 

4) Cheap build quality
I have only been using thee the HTC One V, and the paint on the plastic cover at the back started to wear off already. I do miss my Nokia though, it was built like a tank. The back-cover on Nokia was all metal, and  feels solid like a brick. HTC One V on the other hand feels more like a budget phone, and I guess that was intended to sway most people to their flagship overpriced model: One X. 

5) Good Screen
The 3.7 inch super LCD screen is splendid, and I treasure the larger size in comparison to my older 3.2 inch screen on Nokia. I can type SMS text messages a lot easier without errors, and web-browsing has become more comfortable. Viewing images were good enough, though we all know larger screens would have been better. I must complain about the screen colors though. The colors appear too vibrant and over-saturated. They look almost cartoonish and fake to me. I would have preferred a more balanced and neutral color profile on the LCD screen, coming from a heavy photography background. 

All in all, HTC One V is just a budget smartphone, targeted at those who do not intend to burn holes through their pocket, like myself. For that, I believe it is a very good smartphone, and performs its duty very well. Obviously I am not expecting any miracles, and no one should. 

I seriously hope the camera on the big brother One X is much better than what I have in One V. Or else, Nokia Pureview with 41MP is going to roll everything over. 



39 comments:

  1. Something useful to know: next time you drown some electronic gadget, cover it in (uncooked!) rice as soon as possible. You won't believe the wonders that can do!

    And thanks a lot for your blog, I love it!

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  2. hello Bert,
    thanks for the compliments and tips

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  3. Check the HTC One V section on http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1551

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link but I rarely participate in forums.

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  4. Check the HTC One V section on http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1551

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  5. It's time to get back to Whatsapp world!

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    Replies
    1. Ermm... no way !! LOL... again same reason, that thing eats battery too fast.

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    2. Where got? It's only Nokia... :D

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    3. AHaha, the point is, I dont switch on my 3G mobile connection at all times. I only switch it on to check emails and browse the web from time to time. If I don't have it on at all times, it sort of defeats the purpose of having Whatsapp, hence I wont use it LOL.

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    4. Bro, use it like sms.
      Reply when you on your 3G and check emails XD hahah
      then again still kinda defeats the purpose

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    5. Jian,
      yalor, if like that no point oledy.

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  6. HTC can expect a sudden surge purchase of HTC ONE V. :P

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    Replies
    1. Jason,
      I didn't say that many nice things bout this HTC so I doubt there is any effect at all lol

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    2. ur pic speaks a trillion words XD

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    3. Where got, I said the camera not so good ahhaha

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  7. I don't know if I can recommend HTC. I've had bad experience with the HTC 4G, here in the states was the first 4g phone. The battery on it was dismal. It require charging at least once mid day and if you even try to use wifi, or GPS, it drains even faster. You would need to charge it 3 or more times a day. I have no experience with the later models, but I hear the HTC 3d camera phone was the same. It was also laggy.

    Right now I got the samsung galaxy 2S and it's a great phone. Battery last all day. But it's kind of big, but big in a good way. Big screen yet thin so it's easily pocket-able. Great for viewing photos. Very responsive. I think the samsung UI is quicker than the htc sense. It has some cool apps where you can access the phone's memory through a web browser so the phone is a web server. So you don't even have to plug it into a computer to get contents off the phone. Camera is decent too.

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    1. Hello NxP3, dont you think that based on your experience on one phone, you have generelized the entire brand? Every manufacturer has a range of products (except Iphone), even Samsung has lower range. You are using a high end phone and thats great, but that is completely out of my budget. HTC seems to fit my requirements very well, as I have mentioned in my blog. In comparison to similar specs from other manufacturers, I do think this HTC is a good choice.
      I have no issues with battery life. Again, you were comparing with an older generation phone. I find my HTC One V lasting me for the whole day, with heavy music player usage and web browsing. No I do not play games, those people who play plenty of HD games will surely suffer in battery life.
      If you want to compare with your Samsung S2, have you even tried the HTC One X? If not, please give it a try. You might be impressed. Technology improves, and past mistakes should not be used to judge future offerings.

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    2. Yes true that they can improve on previous generation. and the HTC One X maybe a great phone, but I didn't have the luxury of trying everything first, that can be costly if it doesn't turn out right. You just have to go by your past experience sometimes. Glad it's working out well for you. I don't really play games on the phone, but I do use GPS, ocassional social network updates and work emails, and as a wireless access point. I also like the fact that when I take pictures it goes into my google+ or Picasa for storage automatically, I mainly use the camera for taking notes or storing receipts. My last few few nokia phones were the communicator (litterally the size of a brick), the 3650, and I had a couple of Nokia internet tablets. I haven't used nokia for a while also. I always liked it they always have nice camera with Carl Ziess lens(expensive), but it wasn't very popular in the US. I had to buy from specialized store that had it unlocked. But since they are making windows phone now, maybe they'll get some in the states.

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    3. You were right about Nokia having good camera. I tried the HTC shooting at night, it was a disaster.

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  8. I love nokia phones, but they have fallen behind in OS department.

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    1. Funny, I dont see what my Nokia Belle (latest Symbian) can't do anything of the Android on my current phone can. I do admit Android is more popularly received. But like I repeatedly mentioned, my needs are very minimal, I do not demand that much from the phone.

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  9. I'd ask you to get a Samsung S2, but it's too late because I find the S2 scores in the camera line that almost all my shots nowadays are using just that.

    Anyway, this is one good review on a phone. Love the fluidity. Ever think of going into tech blogging?

    BTW, this got me chucking:" Now spare me the lecture of using the hair dryer or sun-bake the phone or whatever resuscitation techniques or myths that so many people have shared. The truth is, the phone died. Full stop. End of story. "

    I know not less than 3 people whom actually did it, and their phones did survive, but I won't go through too much trouble if I had washed my phone either.

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    Replies
    1. hi Cyril,
      Samsung S2 is out of my budget anyway. I cannot justify spending so much money on a phone.
      Tech Blogging? I think I better stay with photography LOL.

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  10. Very skillful pictures. Like it. It is quite difficult to get such a good result with a camera phone. Thank you for sharing.

    Chi Lee

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    1. Thanks Chi Lee. My pleasure to share.

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  11. Robin, about time you downloaded the G+ app and became part of the global G+ community. Ronnie Oh, myself, Yeow and KY are already there. Get the Google Currents app as well and see your own blog on it and how good your own blog looks. It can download photo blogs and store them offline so that you can browse at leisure. Waiting for you lah....

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    1. Ananda, I dont think I have the time to keep up with so many things. Everyone asked me to join the following:
      1) Twitter
      2) Flickr
      3) 500px
      4) Google +

      I am already so busy with everything else, maintaining my blog, replying TONNNES of emails (you have no idea how hectic this is !!), and these days, I barely even touched Facebook. And if I join anything else, I am afraid it will just be there not being active.

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    2. Understand Robin, we've spoken before on this. These are all alternative social media channels and you already have an established one.

      Personal Opinion: Twitter is for those who are keen on publicity and having a legion of followers. Paris Hilton. Stephen Frye. Oprah. Not for you - I know your personality. Flickr is so yesterday. I just paid for another year of pro subscription but the user interface is dead - the only reason to keep flickr is to keep the faith with old friends and participate with new friends. You don't need it. By you I mean you. 500px is for those who want to climb into the in-crowd, to be part of the gang of black and white dudes. You don't need that. You're already famous.

      Facebook is still a dominant social network. And we have heaps of old friends there. Can't let that go and it's not just photo - it is family, old friends (my Form 3 friends from Ipoh who I have not met since Form 3 found me there.)

      But for you, Android Owner, independently famous and self confident, self respecting photographer celebrity, Google+ it is. You don't have to interact by going forward and friending. Unlike FB, Gooogle+ does not need you to friend, people can follow you like twitter and you can do likewise without intervention.

      You are not joining a clique, inner circle or wanna be - you can be yourself unlike 500px.

      More importantly, you can see everyone be themselves whether they are great or not. Once circled, your Android G+ stream just flows. And normal photogs share their happiness and their photos. Without lifting a finger.

      Unlike twitter, you are not limited to a line or two of headline without meat. Give it a go. It's effortless. You already use Picasa and Picasa will be subsumed into Google + Photos. It's already subsumed. It costs you nothing in effort to hit "share" and display your photos.

      In any case, don't let anything stop what you are doing on this blog and celebrating life.

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  12. Uhu you finally changed your phone!!

    Welcome to Android family!

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    1. NO choice, phone died LOL so need a new one.

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  13. Robin, if you love Nokia, why didn't you go for one of the budget lumia models? Anyway I enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. Hello Hariz,
      Thanks for the compliments. I guess, it is time to try out something else !! This is the perfect opportunity to test out Android (since Iphone has no cheap models). If my Nokia is still alive, I would not have bought anything else.

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    2. There are some excellent photography apps on android, just search the play store. BTW those photos you took from the One V looks amazing. Is that straight from the camera or PP

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    3. Hello Hariz,
      Those photos were already post-processed. As I have mentioned I do not quite like what I see coming out from the HTC's camera LOL.
      Nonetheless, my editing on the photos were very minimal. I only changed two things: boosted the contrast (so the black is black, and the photo looks deeper) and added saturation (the original colour was a bit dull). Thats all.

      Delete
  14. Robin, if you love Nokia, why didn't you go for one of the budget lumia models? Anyway I enjoy reading your posts.

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  15. The Eye-fi tech support told me that their Eye-Fi cards work much better on Android then iphone. Have you had any experience with their cards?

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    1. Hi Giulio,
      No I have no experience with Eye-Fi cards, would love to give it a try some time.

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. how is your phone now? thinking of getting it since my htc legend is getting old abit.

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