Give this phone to people and you’ll get good comments. People will polish the
keys and mention the bright screen, but rarely will they notice the added bonus
to this normal-looking phone. What is it? Well, I’ll show you…
spring-loaded QWERTY keyboard slides from the back.
This instantly turns the phone into a fantastic multi-purpose messaging handset. It’s a testament to the phones designers that no-one I gave this phone
to spotted the additional keyboard. Even I continually kept using the numeric
keypad to write messages because I forgot it was there too. This really
is a normal phone-sized device which expertly hides a killer feature.
When you first use the device you’ll no doubt notice the weight of it. It is
noticeably heavier than other devices. With the keyboard tucked away you may
notice that it’s a little loose in its moorings. It’s nothing major, however
there is the possibility for cards to slide into the gap on the left side of the
phone when closed. Whilst this is noticeable it’s by no means weak or floppy. ….
As a comparison I took a shot of the device next to the Orange
SPV C600. It’s a little wider but still around the same depth as the C600. The
HTC s710 is a little shorter than the C600 but packs a bigger 2.4” QVGA screen.
The HTC s710 is one of the first Smartphones to get Windows
Mobile 6.0 Standard. The "Standard" means "not touch screen" and current owners
of Pocket PC’s (Windows Mobile Pro) devices may find themselves tapping the
screen for a short while after buying this. Windows Mobile 6.0 however does
bring some added benefits, such as the Office Mobile suite – something which is
suits the keyboard on this device well. Powered by a Texus Instruments
OMAP 850 CPU running at a little over 200Mhz there’s 64Mb RAM and 128Mb FLASH
ROM. Using a QVGA 240×320 LCD screen there’s also a 2.0 megapixel camera and a
MicroSD card slot for storing the images on.
Connectivity is good, although there’s a lack of 3G in this handset
unfortunately. You do get GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band connectivity along with
WiFi and stereo Bluetooth. Inside you get Windows Mobile 6 (Standard) along with
Windows Live for sending / receiving instant messages and more.
In the box
Along with the CD’s and manuals needed to get your started
you’ll find a standard MiniUSB cable for hooking up your device, a charger,
headphone / handsfree kit, battery and the handset itself.
Around the device
Let’s have a look at the handset with our usual close-up camera.
At the front the numeric keypad is almost reminiscent of those on the
Lobster 700 we reviewed a while back in that the keys are tilted
backwards. This time though it works and the keys don’t jiggle around and they
work rather well.
The outer keys are a polished silver colour with the call answer
/ release keys being on the bottom portion of the keypad. It doesn’t take too
long to get used to these frequently-used keys being here. The "home" and "back"
keys are just above and the polished silver is continued around the screen.
The central navigation pad is raised slightly and has the two
soft-keys either side for choosing menu items with Windows Mobile. You may also
see the small light sensor at the bottom of the keypad just below the "0" key.
This senses when to turn the backlight on for the keys – a cool blue colour is
used on both keyboards.
The QWERTY keyboard pops out with a small push and a sound is played at the
same time. I was inclined to turn this off after a bit as it played when the
keyboard was extended with another tune being played when the keyboard was
retracted. It seemed to slow the screen switch down a little and ended up
getting a little annoying, however it’s easy enough to turn off
(Settings->Sounds->Keyboard Sliding->Off). There’s two status lights on the top
left. The first is the familiar "CAPS" light you’ll have seen on your normal PC
keyboard whilst the second indicates whether the FN key is in use. This gives
you access into extra functions shown below in blue.
In addition to the QWERTY keyboard you’ve got two more soft-keys
at the top, plus if you need to you can still use the numeric keypad even while
the rear keyboard is extended. I found this useful for the all-important "Home"
key and for navigating webpages, answering calls etc. With the keyboard extended
you’ll probably start using the normal navigation pad to browse webpages without
even thinking about it.
As we look toward the top of the device there’s a rather sexy little earpiece
containing a couple of LED’s for Bluetooth / network / charging activity. These
will flash to let you know what’s happening with the device.
At the very top of the handset is the power button. You can see in this shot
how rounded the device is too, it fits nicely in the hand and lacks any harsh
If we flip the device over you’ll see the 2 megapixel camera.
There’s no flash here, but it seems to work a lot better in low-light
than any other HTC camera I’ve seen before. More on this later. You’ll also
notice the main loudspeaker behind the grill on the right.
While we’re looking at this area I’ll show you how the back of
the phone looks with the keyboard extended…
See the slot on the lower right of the above picture? This is
actually where your SIM card goes. I should mention here that all HTC-branded
handsets are SIM free, so you can stick any SIM card in here and it’ll just
work, regardless of network. It’s certainly a lot easier to install a SIM card
in here and there’s no need to fiddle around with the battery and battery cover
to access it. Here’s another look at the same slot with the phone upright and
the keyboard closed. You may also just be able to see the strap-hook on the
lower left corner which let’s you have the phone around your kneck or wrist
should you wish.
Continuing up the left-side of the phone we’ve got the
voice-dial button. Press this and it’ll go into the voice-dial application.
Press and hold it to get the "Notes" application allowing you to record audio
notes. One definite bonus I’ve noticed here is that all of these keys work even
when the device is in its "power saving" mode. This means I can just tap this or
the camera button without having to use the power button first.
The volume control buttons are just above the speed-dial button
and, if I’m honest, they’re not as good as they could be. I couldn’t find them
easily enough during a call and ended up having to take the phone away from my
ear to adjust the volume. Again, this is probably just me being a tad picky but
they’re not quite prominent enough to find by touch alone.
Switch to the right-side of the handset we’ve got the camera
button on the top right. This will activate the camera application and will take
photos in a portrait style – this makes photos very "tall" instead of "wide"
with a resolution of up to 1200×1600. Thankfully HTC have actually set it to be
1200×1600 (2 megapixel) as default – so many times I’ve picked up
handsets and they’ve been set to resolutions lower than the maximum as
the default "out of the box" setting.
More on the camera later.
At the bottom right we’ve got the MicroSD slot. This is tucked
behind a rubber flap and lets you increase your storage capacity easily. Check
out the prices at www.mobymemory.com
if you’re after a cheap card for this device.
At the very bottom of the phone is your miniUSB connector. This
is where you’ll plug in the supplied headset / hands-free kit, your charger or
PC cable. This again is hidden behind a rubber door. I found it a little tricky
to open and close, however if it did fall off I don’t think I’d miss it much :)
To the left is your microphone.
I did take a little too many photos of this device, so here’s a
few more of the phone from various different angles ;)
The HTC homescreen is relatively uncluttered and gives you the information you
need. Here you can see that the WiFi is turned off (you’ll see the WiFi symbol
in a moment) and the GPRS / Bluetooth connection plus signal strength, messages,
date, time and other important information.
You can add other bits to the homescreen, such as Windows Live search etc.
You can also see if your alarm is turned on – a small bell will appear in the
top right corner to indicate that you’ve set it. There’s also a large amount of
homescreens and themes out there for you to customize your handset. First, let’s
have a look at that WiFi. Having wireless connectivity on a "normal" phone is
still quite a new thing, so let’s connect to my home AP (access point) so that I
can browse the internet nice and quickly (and for very little money!)
Selecting the top rows (showing "Orange … Wi-Fi: Off) brings me into the
Comm Manager application. I now press "4" or move to it and press select. It’ll
do a bit of searching and then hopefully spot my access point. I should probably
mention the power saving here – the WiFi is turned off after a period of
inactivity and then back on again when you start using the phone. This is all
configurable through the "Power" setting as shown on the right here.
OK, now I’ve turned on the WiFi it’s spotted some access
points for me to choose from. Two of these are mine (I’m greedy). Pressing "2"
gets me into my access point and I then need to simply add in my WEP key to get
access. You can see at the top I’ve now got a "WiFi" symbol in my status bar so
I know I’m browsing via WiFi!
You can get more detailed information about your WiFi connection through the
"Settings" option shown above. This shows you the access point your connected
to, what channel you’re on, how strong the signal is and the speed you’ve got.
You can also do advanced stuff like refreshing your IP address and more.
If you now go back to your homescreen you’ll noticed the access
point name – this will vanish and it’ll say "Off" if you don’t do anything on
the internet for a bit. Again there’s lots of options to tweak here and you can
adjust pretty much everything.
The next thing you’ll probably be wanting to do is open up
Internet Explorer. You can access this from the homescreen or through the
programs menu. It’s undergone some changes since Windows Mobile 5 and seems to
render pages quicker. You’ll also notice the lack of an address bar and the
integration of Windows Live Search as a start screen. You can still enter
websites manually by clicking the "Menu" option, however the home page also
integrates your favourites (which at last, is spelt the correct English way!)
and your history using drop-down menus for fast browsing.
I start things off by doing a search for the HTC s710. As you can see it
gives me all the result in a page which is formatted for mobile viewing. If I go
back again you can see the "Favourites" drop-down menu which shows the URL’s
I’ve added into my favourites list on the phone. This time I’m going to search
for something else though, and you’ll notice that I’m not currently using the
slide-out keyboard. This is because there’s also a natty "xt9" system on board
which shows words you’ve typed previously and from its’ own built-in
dictionary – this allows speedy entry of words even if you just decide to use
the numeric keypad alone. You should be able to see it guessing the site name at
the bottom of the screenshot below.
Due to the WiFi connection pages appear really quickly and its’
nice not to worry about data charges from your regular phone network. Each page
shows up as "One Column", however you can change this plus the text size to suit
your preference. If you close your browser and then come back to it later you’ll
find that your browsing history is tucked under the relevant menu bar on the
home page – this lets’ you find the page you checked out earlier without any
OK, so you’ve browsed the web. I’m guessing you may want to go
onto Messenger now, so we’ll have a look at Windows Live Messenger. It’s
included as part of the HTC s710, however some other variations of the handset
(such as the Orange SPV E650) don’t include it.
With the combination of WiFi and more "flat rate" data tariffs
appearing it’s becoming easier to stay in touch with friends or colleagues when
you’re on the move. Windows Live Messenger is the new name for MSN Messenger and
it’s simply a matter of logging in with your account. It’ll integrate Windows
Live with your contacts list too, and with the addition of the spring-loaded
QWERTY keyboard it’s so easy to message people. Here I am with the handset in
its’ "widescreen" (i.e. keyboard extended) mode.
Next ? Well, I’m guessing you’ll probably be wanting to setup an email
account. This has been made even easier in Windows Mobile 6.0 and most of the
work is done for you if the wizard finds your settings. You’ve also got the
keyboard of course, so there’s no excuse to get your normal POP3 email setup.
Once into "Messaging" you’ll see a screen like the one above.
It’s just a matter of choosing option "3" to add a new email account. Next I
slide out that keyboard and enter the necessary information to setup my email
account. First up it’s my email address and name – again, look how the "xt9"
system picks up words for me..
The email setup process requires a few bits of information –
your name (easy enough), your email address (simple), the incoming / outgoing
mail servers (if you’re unsure, copy this off your PC settings) and the username
and password. You can then set it to automatically receive at set intervals or –
as I’ve done here – only manually when I tell it too. Once complete you’ll have
a new account to use in your "Messaging" program. This will let me check to see
if I’ve got email from you guys, and reply to it, when I’m on the train. Good
OK, so what next? We’ve got onto the WiFi, we’re on Windows Messenger, we can
browse the net and we’re all setup for email. I guess we better add some
contacts really hadn’t we? :) This part can be one really, really easily by
connecting your PC into the phone with the supplied cable. This will send across
all of your Outlook contacts onto the phone. All you need to do to add someone
is simply do it on your PC and then all of their details will magically get
transported over to the phone.
To add people in when you’re on the go it’s easily done through the Contacts
system on your handset. First up, enter "Contacts" and then choose "New". The
HTC s710 will ask if you want an Outlook Contact or a SIM contact. I’d choose
Outlook here, but it’s useful to have the SIM contact option should you be
swapping SIM cards.
You start off by entering all the usual details. Again the xt9
system helps you along the way.
As usual there’s bucket loads of fields to use up. You can, if
you wish, add just the name and number, however that’d be a bit of a waste when
you’ve got home numbers, work numbers, company numbers, email addresses, company
names, department, job title, office address, town, postcode, birthday, nickname
and so much more ! Below is an example – on the left is the taxi firm with just
some limited details, whilst on the right there’s a more detailed contact with
their own ringtone etc.
Once you’ve saved your contact it’s easy to edit or find it.
From the homescreen you simply need to start typing out the name. If I
wanted to call Richard Branson I’d just need to start typing "742" and the
predictive dial will find it. It’ll look for names starting with "RIC" or "SHA"
in your contacts and call history along with any numbers starting "742".
This makes calling people a breeze.
All of these contacts have been added in using Outlook – I
just plugged the phone in and it mirrored everything across. Now, this
doesn’t mean that I can’t still edit those contacts – this is easily done by
choosing "Edit" on the menu, plus any changes I make will be reflected back
wth the PC after. I can also beam contact details and send them as a vCard
or add them to Windows Live. There’s bags more stuff to choose from
depending on what you’re part of the contact card you’re looking at.
I touched on the Call History before. This will not only
show you the contacts you’ve called but also those who’ve called you, plus
your missed calls, timers and more.
Let’s have a little look around the Office Suite. It’s
slightly different to the PocketPC / Windows Mobile Pro version. You can’t
create files with the Microsoft Office applications here, however you can
edit them. It’s a slimmed-down version of the Window Mobile Pro editing
capabilities too, but there’s enough functionality to keep you and your
slide-out keyboard happy.
Yes, you heard me right – you can’t create documents.
You can, if you wish, copy a couple of blank documents (say, blank.doc and
blank.xls) to the phone and use these as "templates", then do a "Save As".
I’ve already done this and it works well – an excellent work around. Here’s
Excel. One thing I did notice is that – if you’ve got Office 2007 on your PC
– you CANNOT copy the new "xlsx" documents over to Office Excel on the
phone. Even though the "xlsx" format it now saved as standard on
Office 2007 you’ll have to manually go in and choose "Save As -> Office
97-2003 Workbook" and then copy it to the phone. Yes, yes – I know.
Here’s me viewing a document. You then have to switch to "Edit" mode to
tweak the document and then you can save it or send it on.
Word has a lovely smooth scrolling system and when you’re
viewing documents it’s so nice to slide down the .doc file. Again you can
choose "Edit" mode and change bits about the file. You can also adjust the
zoom, adjust font style and perform searches.
Powerpoint lets you view slides before you get to a
presentation or meeting and will let you prep for that all-important
briefing. Again there’s lots of viewing options and the ability to go to
certain slides, show links and orientation control.
An essential piece of software (at least in our book) is
Adobe PDF. There’s zoom control and a whole lot more packed in here so you
can open up PDF documents that you may have been sent on email. One thing
I’m disappointed about is the lack of "Zip". If you get any of these
documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe PDF) zipped up you’re stuck. :(
I almost wasn’t going to load up the "Calculator"
application. In Windows Mobile 5.0 the calculator is a bit… meh. But look
what’s happened. It’s undergone a serious facelift, plus they (and I mean
the Microsoft "they") have made it easier to use by including the
mathematical functions on the navigation pad.
Let’s say we want to do 4 multiplied by 18 divided by 6. I’d just press "4",
"left", "18", "right", "6" then it’s just a matter of press the navigation
button in the centre and bingo – you’re done. What a fantastic idea, and so
damned simple. Lovely, just lovely.
Let’s have a look at the messaging application again. We
touched on the email side earlier, but most people will want to know about
the text (SMS) messaging and MMS messaging. Writing a message is simply a
matter of clicking "New" (which is hidden away under "Menu") and then using
the predictive function we saw earlier (when dialing someone) to choose the
recipient. Below you can see the message listing screen. If you open one up
you’ll see the contact picture at the top of the message plus the whole
When typing out a message you can use the "xt9" system to
help you out or – if you want to use the old way and type without assistance
if you wish. Either way, you can use the slide-out keyboard to type stuff
out fairly rapidly by using your thumbs.
Picture messaging / MMS is easily done and follows a similar
pattern. You choose the MMS account, select a contact and insert objects or
pictures. It’ll tell you if any attachment is too big and will offer up
resize options on the fly.
You can keep your life in check too by using the Calendar.
This will synchronize with your PC or Exchange and keep you on-time for
those all important meetings and appointments.
You’re also able to change appointments or suggest new times
as well as replying to meeting requests.
Now let’s have a look at the programs available in this HTC
s710. We’ve covered a few of them already, however it’s good for you to see
what’s available. Don’t forget that you can navigate this menu system with
your navigation pad or press the relevant numeric keys – i.e. 1 for
"Messaging", 2 for "Call History" etc.
Messaging, Call History, Internet Explorer, Contacts,
Calendar we’ve already covered. We’ll have a look at the camera in a moment
but first up let’s use the "Pictures and Videos" application. This does
pretty much what it states – you can watch a slideshow of your pictures,
send them off to your Windows Live space, change folders, copy and paste. If
you select a picture you can perform some cropping, auto-correction or
rotation, beam the picture, set it as your home screen, zoom or save it
under a different name.
The Tasks system let’s you create a "To Do" list in order to
keep your life in order. Here you can see I’ve added in a critical task
using the keyboard and given it a high priority..
On the next page of applications we’ve got Messenger that we
showed earlier, plus Activesync for getting your stuff synched up with your
PC (and Exchange etc). There’s also an "Expert" folder which will let you do
advanced things like wiping the storage (i.e. resetting the phone back to
factory defaults). We’ve also looked at Office Mobile already so lets’
examine the other goodies that we can play with….
Windows Media Player comes into its own with the inbuilt
WiFi connection. It’s a shame that the handset doesn’t have 3G, so you’re
restricted somewhat. However, when you do get WiFi it’s all systems go – you
can open streaming media links meaning that TV and radio can be viewed on
your phone. I’ve already used this to listen to
the house – just hook onto the wireless, open up the relevant web page and
then fire up the streaming URL. I can then bop away around the house (or
anywhere else with a wireless access point) with my headphones on or I can
place the phone on one side so that everyone can hear it.
Above I’m listening to a streaming radio station, however I
can easily open up a TV station like BBC News 24 (there’s more streams like
http://mobile.coolsmartphone.com). Here’s me watching a news report
in normal view and widescreen..
Windows Media Player also includes the usual library system
to easily categorise your music and video files by name, genre and album
plus you can update or switch the library from the internal storage to the
MicroSD card for more room.
File Explorer comes on board and lets you do most of the stuff you’re able
to do in Windows Explorer on your PC. Rename files, copy, sort, beam,
delete, make new folders or send the files as email attachments. There’s
alsoa Bluetooth explorer that’ll let you browse other handsets as if they
were a network share. This makes moving files a lot easier.
Our last page of programs includes the Comm Manager (seen
right) which will let you control all of the various connectivity functions
of your phone. You can set the phone to flight mode, turn the WiFi on /off
or mute the sound, turn push email on / off an more.
A task manager helps to display what programs are currently
running in the background. This can help to speed up your phone if you find
that one application is sucking all of the phones’ resources or memory. I’ve
got all this stuff running and still have over 7Mb free.
In the settings you’ve got stacks of options to choose from
and change. Everything from the sounds, background image, power, security
and regional settings can be changed plus there’s now a Window Update
function to help keep your phone running smoothly.
Remember years ago I mentioned how rubbish the Smartphone alarm system was?
Well, luckily enough I got the chance to go over to Seattle and tell the
Microsoft boys myself. End result? It’s now slighlty better. It’s still not as
configurable as the Pocket PC (Windows Mobile Pro) version, however it’ll now
let you sound the alarm every day, on weekdays or not at all. Huzzar!
Many of you will want to know about the sounds, ringtones and message alerts on
this handset. They’re better than the Windows Mobile 5 OS and you’ve got more
choice now too. You can always download more from our downloads section if you
As you can see there’s sounds for everything – even that keyboard sliding sound
I mentioned earlier.
There’s also several Profiles to choose from and you can edit each one to suit
your tastes. That "Automatic" one at the bottom will turn the phone onto
"Silent" mode when you’re in a meeting that you’ve scheduled. Clever huh?
There’s also home screen options and colour schemes, so you can change the green
areas to be a different colour etc.
The Date and Time setting also lets you set an automatic time zone. I’ve
disabled it here, however you can turn it on and I’m guessing it’ll pick up the
time from the local network.
I’ve read a few reviews whilst preparing for my own and some
tend to mention the low camera quality. Now, whilst it’s not going to beat a 7-8
megapixel Canon camera it is rather good indeed. I noticed especially
that the shots in low-light were much improved over other HTC devices. This is
probably best shown rather than explained, so I did my comparison shots again.
The shots below are taken at exactly the same time on an
Orange SPV M3100 (left) and the HTC s710 (right). Here you’ll also
notice how the HTC s710 takes more "portrait" style photos. You can of course
change this by rotating the phone and then altering the picture rotation on your
Click each image for the original "un-resized" shot. All of these photos were
taken on the standard setting – I’ve not messed with the brightness / exposure
settings at all.
In daylight the camera is probably about as good as any other 2 megapixel
camera. However, it’s in low-light that this camera really works a lot better
than other devices I’ve tested. Sure, you have to make sure that both you and
your subject aren’t moving too much when you take a photo in low-light, however
the results are much better. I’ve included some more example shots below – the
shot for example was take in a room with just one lamp on. I took the same shot
on the SPV M3100 and got a black screen. However, even against a dark brown rug
our Poppy is clearly visible…
The camera application is the "new style" one we’ve grown used
to in more modern HTC-built handsets. There’s a few shortcut keys to help you
out too, for example "1" will rotate through the capture types,"2" will change
the resolution, "3" will change the exposure setting and so on. You can also use
up / down on your navigation pad to zoom and left / right to increase the
brightness. There’s also that "Metering Mode" setting that will detect either
the light at the centre of the shot or the entire shot. This helps when you’re
taking pictures with a combination of light and dark.
Below you can see me lining up a nice shot of the "review food".
Look at that lovely wood flooring in the background. I did that all myself you
know. It took ages. Anyhow.. where was I ? Oh yes – you’ll notice in the top
right that I’m storing my images / video on the phones’ internal memory. You can
change this by pressing the left soft-key (the spanner symbol) and changing it
to the memory card if you want. There’s many more settings to play with
including the photograph effects (negative, grayscale etc), time stamp, shutter
sound, review duration and more. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that, after taking
a shot it’ll give you a review of the image for a couple of seconds and then
switch back to the camera preview window again. This is good for rapid-fire
shots and cuts down on the amount of buttons you need to keep pressing.
As I mentioned before the shots are taken in a "tall" picture like this, so
photos come out in a "portrait" style instead of widescreen. Just rotate the
To zoom in you’ll need to drop the resolution a bit, so I’ve pressed "2" to
alter the resolution down to 1 megapixel (indicated below) and then used the
"up" button on the navigation pad to zoom in. On the right I’ve adjusted the
brightness too so you can see the difference.
You can also use templates or switch the timer on for more fun shots of you and
This handset has some great features. The fact that it looks and
operates like a conventional mobile phone is fantastic, and I love the fact that
I am, at last, reviewing a Smartphone (Windows Mobile Standard) handset. Sure,
Pocket PC’s (Windows Mobile Pro handsets) are great too, but the minute you get
a stylus out and start tapping on the screen a lot of people tend to knock you
down the "cool" scale somewhat.
Yes, it lacks 3G, yes, there’s no Zip application yes, the 200Mhz CPU can
sometimes drag a little on screen switching. However, you should weigh these
minor niggles against a "normal looking" phone that packs not only WiFi, but a
terrific colour screen, good camera, large storage capacity, spring-loaded
keyboard, voice dial, Office Mobile, Messenger, Windows Live, stereo Bluetooth
and MP3 / video capavilities plus a stack load more.
A few years ago we reviewed the
Orange SPV M2000 and I remember saying how much I wanted it to be
smaller and more phone like. Now that very device I wanted is here – a phone
that combines the speed and ease of a numeric keypad for dialing numbers and
the flexibility of a QWERTY keyboard and WiFi all in one compact handset.
I’ve borrowed this phone from the guys at
but now I’ve got to give it back. Ensure you don’t just loan one – buy
one of these now.
HTC s710 @