HTC S740

HTC S740

The HTC S740 is a rare beast in the Windows Mobile world. Remember when phones were phone-shaped? A numeric keyboard up front, a screen you can’t touch to activate stuff? Ahh.. Those were the days. The last time we reviewed a HTC “Smartphone” was the S730 but since then there’s been very little in the way of new “Windows Mobile Standard” (i.e. no touch screen) devices.




Specs

CPU – Qualcomm® MSM7225 @ 528MHz

Operating System – Windows Mobile® 6.1 Standard

ROM – 256MB

RAM – 256MB SDRAM

Dimensions (LxWxT) – 116.3 mm x 43.4 mm x 16.6 mm (4.58 in x 1.71 in x 0.65 in)

Weight – 140 grams (4.94 ounces) with battery

Display – 2.4 inch TFT-LCD with backlight LEDs and QVGA resolution

Network – HSDPA/WCDMA

· Europe: 900/2100 MHz

· Up to 384 kbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds

Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

· 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

Device Control – 4-Way navigation control with Enter button

Keyboard – Slide-out 4-row QWERTY keyboard

GPS – GPS and A-GPS ready

Connectivity – Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for stereo wireless headsets

Wi-Fi – IEEE 802.11 b/g

HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)

Camera – 3.2 megapixel color camera with fixed focus

Audio – Built-in microphone, speaker and FM radio

Battery – Rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery

Capacity -1000 mAh

Talk time –

Up to 300 minutes for WCDMA

· Up to 350 minutes for GSM

Standby time –

· Up to 400 hours for WCDMA

· Up to 260 hours for GSM

Expansion Slot – microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)

HTC S740


If you’ve never seen a Windows Mobile device without a touch screen then we should perhaps bring you up to speed. Firstly, there’s a different interface (durr) with programs and selections being made using the navigation control or numbered keys. For example, the menu system is structured in a three-by-three grid pattern. Press “5” on your numeric keypad and you’ll get the very centre option. Press “3” and you’ll get the top-right option. This is all part of the standard Windows Mobile interface. You’ll also get your contacts, email, tasks and appointments sync’d over the air or via the supplied USB cable. Office Mobile is included too, although the “WM Standard” version won’t let you create documents, just edit them. Don’t ask me why, because the easy “get around” is to just create a blank Word Document (or Excel etc), save it to your PC, copy it to the device and then edit that instead – just save it to a different name and away you go. Whilst not all Pocket PC / Windows Mobile Pro stuff will run on the Smartphone / Windows Mobile Standard, a lot of it will. Google Maps, which was installed on the S740 we tested, worked fine but you’ll need to use keyboard shortcuts or the soft-keys instead of the stylus / touch-screen interface.

HTC S740

We should tell you right here that this is a final unit running a test version of the firmware. A few bits might be a bit slower than they will in the final version, whilst other bits might be removed or changed, so don’t take the videos you see below as an absolutely perfect representation of the final user experience. ;)

We spent the weekend with the HTC S740. Initially I thought that the responsiveness from the numeric keyboard was a little dull – the “click” you receive when pushing the buttons seemed to take a little too much pressure, and locating the buttons seemed tricky too, but I’ve slowly come to realise that I’ve used the HTC Touch Dual for almost a year, so swapping to the S740 took a little for my fingers to get used to.

The videos, below, show a tour of the device plus a look at the features of the phone – the FM Radio, WiFi, GPS and more.





As usual we’ve got our infamous up-close images of the device itself. As I mentioned in the videos it’s modelled heavily on the HTC Touch Diamond and there’s an obvious design theme going through it. It’s very narrow and thin too – to have put that keyboard, the GPS, FM Radio and microSD card slot in a device which is thinner than the HTC Touch Pro is a definite coup. The edges are angular and the S740 feels no different in size to regular candy-bar style phones. The hidden bonus, of course, if the slide-out QWERTY keyboard..

HTC S740


The QWERTY is similar in style to the one found on the Touch Pro and, considering how narrow the handset is, it’s very comfortable to use with your thumbs typing away quite happily. Texting and instant messaging is a breeze with this keyboard, although I must confess that the T9 functionality is so easy and quick that you may not feel the need to slide the keyboard out.

The keyboard, when opened, has LED’s just like your regular PC keyboard. There’s three rows of keys, so you’ll have to press the “FN” key to get numbers. This is no big deal though. The keys here are easy to use with symbols appearing in different colours to differentiate things.

It didn’t take me too long to get use to the screen being over to the left when the QWERTY keyboard was slid out – this can be a slighty
strange experience for some. The soft keys found above the main numeric keypad
are also reflected here, plus you’ll find yourself using the navigation control
with your right thumb while the soft keys are swapped around to the main
keyboard.

HTC S740


Device Tour

This flap, which is located at the back of the screen, houses the microSD card with the SIM card above it.

HTC S740

There’s a little tag to help you retrieve the microSD card..

HTC S740

On the right side of the phone is a camera button – look, a camera button! This was sadly missing on the Diamond, so I’m glad to see it back. There’s some example shots from the camera a bit further down.

HTC S740


On the top is that power button, it’s the same size and shape as the one found on the Diamond and the Touch Pro. There’s also the volume up / down buttons here. The device is remarkably thin considering the kid inside – GPS, FM Radio, WiFi, 528MHz CPU, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR and microSD card plus a QWERTY keyboard too.

HTC S740

At the bottom is that USB port we’re used to by now. There’s no
seperate 3.5mm port here, it’s an all-in-one USB job.

HTC S740

The numeric keypad on the front of the handset took me a little while to get used to, I’m so used to the shiny plastic keys on the HTC Touch Dual and it was almost like switching gear. The keys definitely need a tad more pressure than I was used to, but changing to any new phone always involves a change of technique. The navigation control worked well and, despite their small appearance, the call answer / drop keys were easy to locate – they’re slightly more pronounced.

HTC S740

You can see on this shot how flat the numeric keypad is…

HTC S740

The screen is right up against the glass frontage – just like the Diamond. This makes the picture crystal clear and bright.

HTC S740

At the top of the screen is your earpiece and a network activity LED. No face-pointing camera, so no video calls on this.

HTC S740

The rear of the phone, as we’ve already seen, maintains the Diamond pattern (ok, so they’re triangles) from the touch-screen Diamond along with the camera design. No flash here, but the camera does operate much better at low light in this handset. You an also see the grill that hides the rear speaker.

HTC S740
HTC S740

If we take this cover off we will, of course, reveal the battery. It’s a 1000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery which will apparently give you 350 minutes of GSM talk time. It stood up well to my daily use, even with WiFi and GPS action.

HTC S740

Here’s a shot with the battery out too..

HTC S740

We’ve already taken a quick look at the QWERTY keyboard but here it is once more in more detail. The keyboard will again be familiar to those who’ve seen our other reviews – it’s almost the same as the one on the Touch Pro, but with one less row of keys.

HTC S740

Below you can also see some comparison shots with the HTC TyTN II and some other
household objects so that you can get a grasp on the size of the S740..

HTC S740

HTC S740


Inside
 

HTC S740
HTC S740
HTC S740

When you first turn on the S740 you’re greeted with a very nice GUI from HTC. It’s called the HTC “Sliding Panels” interface and it’s a custom homescreen / theme which works very well indeed. Clicking down through it, as you’ve hopefully seen on the videos above, gives you a new tab with more options. Weather, music, pictures – all in one screen and nicely done throughout. There’s also quick access into your profiles, ringtone management, appointments, messages, emails and a whole lot more…

HTC S740
HTC S740
HTC S740

Now, as we only got two short days with the device I didn’t manage to snap much else apart from these screens, but you can also access the Office Mobile functionality, RSS reader and the FM radio through the “standard” menu system. To get to this you simply need to press the “Start” button with the left soft-key and you’ll end up in the Windows Mobile menu offering all the standard programs and utilities we’ve grown fond of during the last few years. I’ve been through pretty much all of these in the video above, however I should just ensure that the RSS Reader, Windows Live / Messenger, QuickGPS (for locating your local satellites) and voice recorder are particularly useful.

HTC S740
HTC S740
HTC S740 

I also found that the Media Player was particularly useful when coupled with the microSD card. Cards are now so cheap that you can easily grab a large capacity one and fill it with your favourite songs or videos, plus you can store all your data like Word documents easily.



Camera

The camera performed far better than any other HTC camera I’ve used in low light. It seemed to handle low-light conditions with less jerk and judder, plus you didn’t need to hold the phone completely still. The shots, however, looked a little “washed out”. The colours didn’t appear as bold or as vivid as they should. I wanted to show this by taking a photo of some colourful flowers below. The one shot (on the left) is taken with the HTC S740, whilst the other is taken with the HTC TyTN II. The S740 has a 3 megapixel camera whilst the TyTN II has a 2 megapixel shooter..

HTC S740

HTC S740
HTC S740                      
HTC TyTN II

I took some more shots, in near darkness inside and outside in the sunshine. They came out pretty well, although they were a little pale. I’m reserving judgement on this as I was using a test build of the firmware and it may need a bit of adjustment to render those pictures better.

As usual, click the shots below to get the original shots from the camera.

HTC S740

HTC S740

HTC S740
HTC S740

HTC S740

HTC S740

HTC S740

HTC S740
HTC S740


Conclusion


I’ve been crying out for a cool smartphone. This is why the site originally appeared on the internet. A phone, with a numeric pad on the front so you can mash numbers in. No stylus, no faffing. Just a phone with some very cool extra features. This thing delivered in spades. GPS worked well and operated quickly. I updated the GPS satellite location with
QuickGPS and it fired up and located me within seconds. The FM radio is a plus too, especially when you’re on the bus, train or out for a run. If you don’t want to listen to that, then simply copy some MP3’s to the storage card and listen to those, or perhaps try streaming over the fast data connection on WiFi or 3G (if you’ve got a good data plan!)



Once you get used to the numeric keypad there’s simply nothing else about this phone that feels “different” – and I mean that in a good way. The phone will sit next to other candy-bar phones in the shop and consumers will like the design and the size. This isn’t a “geek phone”. This isn’t a phone with a special stylus or finger-on-screen control. This is an old-school phone with fantastic extras. The QWERTY hides away well and doesn’t make the phone feel fat or unsightly. The GPS will guide you around. The Bluetooth will pump out your tunes in stereo and the FM radio with RDS will let you catch up on the news. Add in the mobile internet, email, text and MMS with RSS readers and all the other programs you can download for the web and you’ve got a pretty powerful device. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone just starting out in the Windows Mobile world but doesn’t want a touch-screen.


HTC S740




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