HTC S740 Review
Supplied by Clove
Reviewer: Shaun McGill
In The Box- HTC S740, Stereo headset with mic, USB Cable, AC Adapter (UK), Carry Pouch, Getting Started CD
This S740 is a test model and thus the box is a plain white number with little to give away the true intentions of the phone itself. The accessories are standard for HTC with the inclusion of a case being the only exception. It is always nice to have a case included, but this one is made up of a flexible mesh type material and does little more than cover the phone, rather than actually protect it.
Design and Materials
Initially I would describe the design as ‘quirky’. It is long at 116mm and quite chunky at 16mm deep and when this is contrasted with a width of only 43mm we are looking at an almost unique format for the smartphone world. HTC has stuck with the Touch Diamond formula and give us the hard edged features that we are now used to- it is purely a personal choice as to if you like this style, and I am on the fence at the moment. Part of me sees it as super modern while the other side of me feels that only marketing people who spend all day in coffee bars talking pretentious nonsense will love it.
The build quality is excellent and despite the modern looks there is a sense that it could withstand more than a knock or two. Expansion and SIM cards fit into a bay that is below the keyboard and this works very well with no need to remove the battery to reach either.
The specification set is extremely high for a Windows Mobile Standard device and everything you could possibly need is included. From GPS to 7.2 Mbps HSDPA to Wi-Fi is included. Add a 3.2 Megapixel camera, more memory than is needed to run the OS and a 528Mhz processor and we are looking at one hell of a beefy unit under the hood. It really is one of those devices that should not hold so much technology because of it’s size and format, but it does.
Specifications are never the whole story, and rarely give an indication of how well a device performs in the real world. I am a fan of Windows Mobile Standard because it is very fast, super reliable and in my opinion is close to the perfect operating system for my needs. Having such a large specification set is never a bad thing, but the 528Mhz processor and memory seem like overkill- talk about never happy!
Let’s get this bit over with- the camera is shocking! Video recording is poor to say the least, but photos can be quite good provided you take your time to set things up correctly and make sure you are in good lighting conditions. This is an HTC issue, but quoting a 3.2 Megapixel camera in the specs and then making it this bad is ridiculous.
The screen is lovely and works very well in all conditions. Not having a touch facility obviously helps here, but it is the first I have seen that matches the BlackBerry Bold for clarity. At 2.4” it is not huge, but videos and photos play back extremely well and this soon felt like a media centric unit.
Even though it is only QVGA everything feels crisp and HTC has done an excellent job in this part.
One word- excellent. In two days it has not stalled once and performance is blisteringly fast with videos and complex games working perfectly every single time. If you take some time to find the interface option you prefer, or to use something like Facade, you will soon find yourself whizzing around the menu driven system. The Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard OS adds some sparkle to the home screen and things like threaded SMS are welcome.
Voice quality is a little tinny and does not match the likes of Nokia, but the speakerphone is surprisingly loud. Again the speaker gives a tinny sound, but the loudness is most important in this area. All in all, a competent voice experience.
Keyboard and Buttons
I like the main QWERTY keyboard a lot- the buttons could be more pronounced, but they are situated well and after only a few minutes I was tapping away quite comfortably. The numeric keyboard on the front is also easy to use, despite being completely flat, but the volume keys on the left hand side are tricky to say the least. I could barely tell if they registered any press at all most of the time.
There is quite a lot of extra software included such as a folder containing some HTC Debug Tools- some of these are useful for the more advanced user, but the icons used are bizarrely very low resolution and look like a late add-on. This is a test phone though so that may explain it.
Quick Notes is a nice addition and an FM Radio is also there from the start alongside an RSS Hub. There are various other addition such as Voice Notes, Streaming Media and Quick GPS so you should have just about all that you need to get started.
I was surprised to find a good 3G signal inside my house with the S740, but it held it well for the majority of the time. Wi-Fi was a snap to set up and even the GPS lock was almost instant. Sadly Opera Mini is not included so you may wish to look at installing this to improve upon the bundled Pocket IE.
Very good. Prolonged high speed internet use will of course detract the life somewhat, but it is certainly one of the better devices I have used for handling battery drain.
Operating System – Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
Processor - Qualcomm MSM7225, 528MHz
Memory – ROM: 256MB RAM: 256MB SDRAM
Display – 2.4 inch TFT-LCD with backlight LEDs and QVGA resolution
Network – HSDPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz for Europe (Up to 384 kbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps download speeds) GSM/GPRS/EDGE: Quad-band 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz (The device will operate on frequencies available from the cellular network.)
GPS – Standalone GPS / AGPS
Connectivity –Bluetooth 2.0 Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g HTC ExtUSB (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
Expansion - MicroSD
Camera – 3.2 megapixel colour camera with fixed focus
Audio – Built-in microphone and speaker
Battery – 1000mAh Rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery
Dimensions - 116.3 mm (L) X 43.4 mm (W) X 16.3 mm (T)
Weight –140g with battery
2 Year Warranty
Conclusion- I was far from sure about the S740 when I first picked it up. The design is very unusual, but time told and I was soon enjoying the experience more than I expected. The screen is fantastic and the keyboard is quickly learnt. With the superior build quality and lots of flexibility included it is hard to knock the S740 in almost any area.
It is a love it or hate it device, but I am certainly on the ‘loving it’ side.
Build Quality- 9
Ease of use- 8
Screen clarity- 9
Value for money- 8
Total score- 90%