HTC One Series: what’s what?

HTC One Series: what's what?

HTC recently revealed their disappointing sales figures for 2012, blaming its ‘Quietly Brilliant’ marketing strategy for its poor results. After trawling through the phones released by the Taiwanese company last year, I came across at least five models that I had never even heard of.

Now everyone will have heard of HTC’s flagship model for 2012, the One X, and even the lower-range One S, which have both made up the bulk of the manufacturer’s success this year. However, how many of you have been tempted to purchase the One S C2 or the One VX? To many of you, these models may just sound like random letters that I have just grabbed out of thin air; in fact, they are just two of the thirteen HTC One series released in 2012.

Here I will attempt to clear up the confusion and define the differences between some of the thirteen models. I have decided to organise the handsets into three categories: budget, under £250, mid-range, under £350, and high-end, under £450. Was HTC’s problem that it simply released too many models with similar specifications, or was it really, as the CEO Peter Chou announced, that the company failed to market its new released sufficiently enough?

Budget: Under £300

With some companies, such as Apple, releasing only one product per year which retails at over £500, other phone manufacturers have decided to release numerous models throughout the year, each aimed at a different target audience.

I have decided to deem the budget range of HTC phones at under £300.


The HTC One V was one of the first models released as part of its One Series in April last year. It sports a 3.7 inch screen, which is somewhat tiny for a modern smartphone, and compares more to a BlackBerry handset. Although the model has the capabilities to insert an SD card, the phone’s internal memory is only 4 GB, which is pretty small compared to most other phones’ typical 16 GB of storage.

The One V has a 5 MP camera, which is standard for a handset of its size, and is available in both black and brown, the latter being an odd choice for HTC’s usually vibrant colour scheme. It has a 1 GHz processor and runs a slightly out-dates version of Android, not upgradable to the latest Jelly Bean. While the One V does not measure up to other models in the One Series, or even to other phones in the similarly priced market, it could be a great first-time smartphone. Also, at £180 pay as you go, the One V is a good buy and from only £13.50 per month on a contract, it proves perfectly adequate for the average user.


The HTC One S is a far more well-known model compared with the One V or the One XL. It has a slightly larger screen than the former handset, measuring in at 4.3 inches. Considering the One S can be found for under £250 SIM-free, the specifications are by no means inferior to many more expensive handsets.

Although it’s not possible to increase the memory by adding an SD card, the phone’s internal memory stores 16 GB of items, which is adequate, especially for a budget handset. What makes this phone stand out is its 8 MP camera which rivals most other phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the higher-range HTC One X. To see the model’s camera quality, read our HTC One S Review.

Though newer One S handsets are pre-installed with the latest Jelly Bean Android operating system, older phones with Ice Cream Sandwich are capable of upgrading. The One S’s Dual Core 1.5 GHz Krait processor makes the phone really fast and responsive, which again makes this model stand out.

Although the One S is available in plain black and grey, at £251, and £24 per month on a monthly tariff, it’s a steal!

Mid-Range: Under £400

Most people choose to opt for mid-range phones which offer both quality and features, but for a more affordable price.


The HTC One SV the company’s latest release in the One series, and has only been released this month. It sports a 4.3 inch screen, coming in at slightly smaller than the 4.7 inch screen trend that has taken most smartphones. That said, the display is by no means small, especially when compared to the One V’s 3.7 inch screen.

The phone runs with Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system rather than the most up-to-date Jelly Bean, which is unusual for a new release. The phone has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, making its reactions rapid, though this is a slightly lower processor speed than the cheaper One S.

What’s also a little disappointing with the One SV is its meagre 5 MP camera. With the popular One X’s main selling feature being its 8 MP camera, HTC seem to have shot itself in the foot by releasing a model in a similar price range which features an inferior camera.

This latest model comes in a £346, though the price could well come down once the handset has been on the market for a little longer. On a pay-monthly tariff, the One SV comes in much cheaper, at £18.50 per month.


The HTC One X is perhaps the most well-known of the One series, and is HTC’s flagship model for 2012, released last May. Considering it features as a mid-range handset, the One X really is one of the best phones in the range.

It has a 4.7 inch screen which almost matches competition from the popular Samsung Galaxy S3. The phone has the most up-to-date Jelly Bean operating system, unlike the One SV, as well as a Quad-core 1.5 GHz processor, which dominates most other smartphones in the series, making the phone incredibly fast and responsive to use. As mentioned above, one of the One X’s most valuable features is its 8 MP camera with multiple editing options, the evidence of which can really be seen in our HTC One X Review.  

The only downside of the model for me, however, is the fact that there is no option to extend the phone’s internal memory by inserting an SD card; the 16 GB internal memory, though, is somewhat higher than the One V and should prove adequate for the average user.

The model is available in both a brushed-steel grey and a pure white, which makes it stand out from many traditional black smartphones. The HTC One X could be yours for £379 pay as you go or from £20.50 on a pay monthly tariff.

High End: Under £500

Finally we take a quick look at some of the handsets which feature in the high end of HTC’s One series, that is to say those that are retailed at £500 and under. It appears that this is where you will find the phones that get around the problems that we found in some of the cheaper handsets, such as limited internal memory or low quality cameras.

HTC One X+

The HTC One X+, as the name denotes, is very similar to the best-selling One X, but with those few extra touches.

Released in November last year, the X+ features a 4.7 inch screen, an 8 MP rear facing camera and the latest Jelly Bean operating system. What makes this model stand out is its whopping 1.7 GHz processor, which makes this phone the fastest handset to use out of all thirteen in the One series.

What’s more is that HTC, rather than making the model SD-card compatible, has instead extended the internal memory of the X+, making it available with either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. Obviously the size of the phone’s internal memory makes the price of the handset differ accordingly, but the One X+ can be found for £415 for the 32 GB model or £475 for the 64 GB version. The model is also available from only £21.50 per month on contract. When the features and build of the phone appear more superior to the iPhone, which costs from £529 payg and from £33 per month on contract, the HTC X+ can be considered a bargain!


The HTC One XL, again, bears a striking resemblance to the flagship One X. It has the same 4.7 inch screen, 8 MP camera and Jelly Bean technology. In fact, the One XL is effectively identical to the above One X+ with the exception that it features a 1.5 GHz Dual-core processor (which, let’s face it, is hardly slow!).  Although there is, yet again, no option to insert an SD card, HTC have got round this issue by extending the phone’s internal memory to 32 GB, which is more than enough.

One great feature about the One XL is that it is 4G compatible (as is the One X+), which means that you are able to make the most of the latest 4G technology rolling out ion a large scale this year without getting left behind.

The HTC One XL can be found for £499 SIM-free, or from £41 per month on a pay monthly tariff.


While this article may only feature six of the One Series’ thirteen handsets, it is clear that HTC have successfully released a high quality smartphone within each of its price ranges. Although, as you’d expect, the models at the higher end of the spectrum offer more internal storage, 8 MP cameras and faster processors, phones from the mid-range and budget categories also share some of these features. It goes to show that there can be a high-quality smartphone out there whatever your budget. Though due to the number of handsets released by manufacturers such as HTC, it’s just not always easy finding it!

Written by Charlotte Kertrestel

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