After its design what really makes the HTC One V standout with respect to its mid-range peers is how good the screen is. It's only a 3.7in LCD panel with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels but boy does it look great. It has the same vividness and great viewing angles as the exquisite HTC One X, and also has that feeling of the display being right on the surface of the screen, not somewhere behind it.
Size wise, it does feel almost restrictive compared to the monster 4in models we've been seeing – you can't for instance read a fullscreen webpage, and video doesn't have the same impact – but in actual fact it's essentially the same width as the iPhone and about 5mm taller. The 480 x 800 pixel resolution clearly isn't all that high but you hardly notice a difference in real world use between it and the super dense display of the iPhone 4/4S.
The only downside is that the surface seems less oleophobic than other premium screens so fingerprints show up more. A quick wipe on a sleeve has you up and running again though.
So far so good for the HTC One V, however this isn't a £220 phone for no reason. The big downgrade from larger more expensive phones is the processor. The 1GHz single core chip (Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon) is noticeably slower than dual-core models, with apps taking just that bit longer to load and more notably there being more occasions where the phone has a little pause to think about what it's doing. However, we're not talking deathly slow here by any means. It's about comparable to any single core Android phone of last year and similar to the iPhone 4 in the overall nippiness stakes.
Putting the phone to task with a few benchmarks, you can see quite how close to the raw performance of an iPhone 4 this phone is. In the web browser based benchmarks SunSpider and BrowserMark, the two phones are almost identical while the Orange San Francisco II shows what a truly slow phone looks like. In the gaming benchmark GLBenchMark the One V and iPhone 4 are running very close again while AnTuTu demonstrates the gap to higher-end dual-core toting models like the HTC One S.