The HTC One V runs Android 4.0 right out the box, putting it ahead of the vast, vast majority of equivalents available now right, which only run Android 2.3 or earlier. One of the key advantages of the newer software is that it incorporates hardware graphics acceleration for the interface, making it much slicker and smoother feeling.
However, to counteract the lower performance of the phone’s processor, HTC has still had to tone down the interface compared to the HTC One X and One S. Whereas on those handsets you get seven homescreens (three either side of the central one), here there are just five. Tap the home button on those handsets and the view zooms out to a thumbnail overview of the homescreens, letting you pick the one you want. Here it only takes you back to the homescreen. Swipe between homescreens on those handsets and the animation is rendered in 3D like a rotating barrel of homescreens. Here they just slide left and right.
The last thing is the Recent Apps menu. On the One X and S this has been customised to use a strange side scrolling, fullscreen menu whereas here it uses the standard Android version, which is much better.
We much prefer the standard Android multi-tasking view.
The funny thing is, we actually prefer all these changes. They make the interface simpler and in particular you never get the annoyance of accidentally tapping the Home button too many times and going to the zoomed out view.
Otherwise HTC has gone to town customising the look and feel of Android to tie-in with its own styling. Anyone familiar with HTC Android handsets of the last couple of years will feel right at home.
For instance on the lock screen you can access one of four apps without having to unlock the phone first. Open up the app launcher and as well as a view that shows all your apps you also have your frequently used and Downloaded ones.
Elsewhere you’ve got typical Android features with a set of four customisable links sitting at the bottom of the screen, to either side of the main app menu launcher. Slide down from the top of the screen and it shows notifications while the homescreens can be filled with either apps, folders of apps or widgets.
HTC’s signature clock/calendar/weather widget sits centre stage by default while further widgets for your favourite contacts, the calendar, and music playback are ranged on the other screens. You can of course add or remove as many as you like.