Having manufactured the lion’s share of the world’s Windows-powered mobile devices, HTC has had plenty of practice at attempting to fashion the perfect smartphone. Its latest star, the S710, is a sterling attempt at combining QWERTY usability with a standard form factor.
Pinch an inch
Despite indulging in a few protein shakes and weighing 140g, it isn’t too much of a pocket-filler and has identical vital stats to the reasonably slimline Orange SPV C600. Then you remember that there’s a QWERTY keyboard hiding in its belly, and the design seems all the more impressive. Even with the space constraints, the keyboard doesn’t feel cramped or awkward.
The S710 is also one of the first smartphones to embrace the new Windows Mobile 6.0 OS. At a glance little seems to have changed but Microsoft has ironed out the bugs and improved e-mail management to mimic the functionality of your desktop outlook. It also uses the new Microsoft Office experience where editing Word and Excel documents on the phone doesn’t effect the original formatting. Not wildly exciting, but still useful.
Web surfing is also a joy. The above average 2.4-inch screen means you still get a sizeable footprint to view those web pages, and it handily switches to landscape mode. Intense surfing sessions also don’t drain the battery as much as other smartphones – ahem, Nokia N80 – and it lasts a good four to five days before expiring.
It’s no Walkman phone, but a new audio management menu pops up when you activate the Windows Media Player, making it far easier to sort through your music library. There’s also stereo Bluetooth for wireless streaming.
The S710 may be compact, but it hasn’t sacrificed its features for the slimline physique. With the notable exception of 3G – EDGE takes up the reins when you’re out of a Wi-Fi zone – it has enough firepower and QWERTY convenience to take on the smartphone big boys.