HTC’s latest Windows Mobile phone, the S740, sees the prolific smartphone maker turn off its multimedia touch phone conveyor belt for a return to the mechanised world. And with a spacious sliding QWERTY keypad, it’s clearly aiming for the more traditional business user.
The S740 wears its corporate colours with pride. Despite the attempts of the fingerprint-attracting mirrored finish and prism-effect rear cover, its freakishly elongated chassis gives it a sober, business-like demeanour.
But while it may look overly conventional, the S740 is fun to use. The big keypad is built for speedy dialling and texting, and the four-row QWERTY and menu options help fire up new SMS, MMS, Windows Live Messenger and email messages.
The buttons are nicely defined and we had no problem typing out a long email. Onboard soft keys also mean the selection and menu navigation process is seamless.
Getting personal email up and running is a breeze – just give up your email address and password – and you can easily tweak the frequency for message retrieval. Naturally, all the usual WinMo PIM features are present and correct too, including the ability to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs.
Although not as comprehensive or swish as its TouchFLO 3D UI (as seen on its Touch range), HTC’s own sliding panels homescreen on the S740 is definitely more accessible and stylish than the standard Windows arrangement.
Unfortunately, this front-end skin still means you will have to delve into the labyrinth that is the Windows Mobile menu system from time to time, but at least these panels give more instant detailed access to popular features like email, web browser and music player. For example, you can flick through individual messages or bookmarks before selecting.
With support for 7.2Mbps flavoured HSDPA and built in Wi-Fi, brisk web browsing is assured. Pocket Internet Explorer still lags behind Stuff favourite Opera Mini for speed and ease of use, but it’s still more than adequate for full-fat internet surfing.
With its eye on efficiency, the S740 is endowed with a tidy rather than spectacular set of multimedia features. The fixed focused 3.2MP snapper is average and bereft of a flash or advanced photo modes. Similarly, CIF quality (352x288 pixels) video capture resolution is a bit weak.
Support for A-GPS is also on hand for hooking up with Google Maps, although you’ll need to download this software first.
Apart from occasional processor lag and that Marmite Windows Mobile OS, the S740 is an adept smartphone. If you’re in the market for messaging smartie but don’t fancy a touch phone or a BlackBerry-esque device, then this QWERTY-packing traditionalist might be the answer.