The big names in the mobile industry seem to be finally taking dual-SIM phones seriously as we’re starting to see some relatively high-end phones launching with this feature as well. The latest entrant is the Desire SV from HTC that’s currently up for pre-order on some online retail stores in India. The SV is a dual-SIM (GSM + GSM) handset with a very impressive spec list, at least on paper. Let’s have a look how it is in reality.
Video Review of the Desire SV from HTC
Design and build
The Desire SV is a decent looking handset with a full glossy front and a very comfortable rubberised rear panel. The chassis is made up mostly of plastic yet manages to feel very sturdy and solid in your hand. There aren’t any creaking parts or chrome bits that can get scratched easily. For connectivity, we have a microUSB port at the bottom a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The volume rocker and power button have a good feedback and are shaped well, making it easy find and use even in the dark.
A handsome looking phone
The reflective nature of the screen can be an issue under ambient light or even in sunlight. Opening the rear cover, we have the hot-swap microSD card and the two microSIM slots. One advantage the Desire SV has over phones like the Sony Xperia tipo dual is that both the SIMs can be active at the same time. This means you can send or receive calls and messages from both SIMs simultaneously. Overall,
HTC doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the build and finish of the handset.
The Desire SV runs on Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 and Sense 4.1. It should be upgradable to Jelly Bean as well once HTC pushes the update. The user interface is not silky smooth as you’d expect, which is strange considering the handset is powered by a Qualcomm S4 MSM8225 SoC that houses a dual-core CPU and Adreno 203 graphics. It’s not like it has less memory, as 768MB should be ample for a phone with a non-HD resolution. After a little more digging, we found that this chipset from Qualcomm has some rather startling limitations, which we’ll uncover through the course of the article.
A familiar interface
The screen sensitivity is good, but the quality of the screen itself is quite poor. Due to the low resolution, the pixel grid is somewhat noticeable on some backgrounds. There’s also considerable amount of screen tearing when you swipe through the apps. Switching to the second screen causes all the icons to jitter and tear badly, something that’s commonly found in entry-level Androids. The colour reproduction is pretty good since this is a Super LCD 2 screen at the end of the day; however; it’s nowhere close to the performance of the higher-end.
For storing media, you get 4GB of internal storage along with the option to expand it to 32GB via a microSD card slot. The music player also integrates SoundHound and TuneIn Radio for more information on your music and online radio. The player doesn’t have much in terms of sound enhancements other than Beats Audio, which is more hype than anything else. Thankfully, there’s no dearth of free music players in the Play Store that do a much better job.
Easy to use music player
Video playback is severely crippled as the stock player only plays MP4 and WMV; it can’t even playback 720p video! This anomaly is due to the chipset more than the fault of HTC, because the MSM8225 apparently can’t handle anything beyond 480p. It’s also restricted to a screen resolution of 800 x 480, which is why HTC couldn’t have used a better screen even if it wanted to. We’re wondering why HTC chose this SoC in the first place when it could have gone with any other SoC with a better feature set. The Desire X is plagued with the same issues, as it also features the same SoC.
The Desire SV supports quad-band on both the SIM slots as well as dual-band 3G. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. The stock ICS browser does a good job in rendering web pages and there’s very little lag even with some pinch-to-zoom action. Social networking and other services are tied into Sense as well, which includes Skydrive, Facebook, Flickr and Dropbox. All your contacts are automatically synced with various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the Friend Stream app gives you quick access to all the feeds and updates in one place.
Good Internet performance
Besides the usual assortment of Google apps, you get plenty of HTC centric apps like the Mirror (uses the front facing camera), a Task Manager to kill apps and services, Flashlight and Notes that syncs with your Evernote account to a Data transfer app that works between compatible devices. Foxit PDF viewer and Polaris Office is also present on board for viewing PDFs, Word and other Office documents. HTC’s Car setup gives you a landscape display with oversized icons that make it easy to access features on your device while you’re driving
The Desire SV comes with an 8MP camera and an LED flash. The camera manages decent outdoor performance with good detail and colours, but it didn’t exactly blow us away. We also had a little trouble with the focus in macro mode. During multiple instances, the SV simply refused to focus on the subject no matter how much we tried. The flash is quite powerful for indoor shots but only if the subject is within 2 ft of the camera.
Decent macro shots
Video recording maxes out at 480p, which is a crying shame since the 8MP camera would easily handle Full HD video recording. Sadly, the SoC just isn’t capable of this, which severely cripples the phone.
The HTC Desire SV comes with a 1620mAh battery, which managed to last us 7 hours and 10 minutes in our video drain test. This is not bad, but we expected better. Given this is a dual-SIM phone, you’re going to have a tough time using this the entire day without having to run for the charger. In our loop tests, the SV lasted about 6 hours and 20 minutes, which involved an hour of calls, two hours of video, two hours of music and about an hour of audio streaming over Wi-Fi.
Verdict and Price in India
The HTC Desire SV is a rather odd handset and at Rs. 22,590, it comes across as very expensive. On paper, the phone looks quite formidable given the dual-core CPU and 8MP shooter, but the reality is quite different. None of these key features seem to be used to the fullest, which is why the SV comes across as a very mediocre phone. The simultaneous dual-SIM functionality is one of the only highlights of this handset, everything else seems half baked. We recommend you avoid this handset for now as it’s not worth it, even if it does get a big price drop in the near future.
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