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HTC Advantage X7510 review: HTC Advantage X7510

The HTC Advantage X7510 smart phone adds Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and updates its Qwerty keypad with haptic feedback. Are these additions worth the price tag? The X7510 was supplied by clove.co.uk, where it's available for £656.

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7.5

HTC Advantage X7510

The Good

Screen; storage Qwerty keyboard; connectivity; battery life; good features.

The Bad

Price; practicality; camera; graphics performance.

The Bottom Line

For the most part, the X7510 stays close to previous models, but improves on the storage, adds a Windows Mobile 6.1 OS and updates its Qwerty keyboard with a haptic feedback system. The price will certainly be the deciding factor and it's not quite practical enough for all mobile conditions. It does provide a useful alternative to a laptop when working away from the office

Strengths
Cosmetically, the X7510 is virtually identical to the original Advantage, though a few buttons have been removed from the front facia. The OS is now Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with a standard HTC customised home interface.

Its weight and larger profile are in place to accommodate the 127mm (5-inch) touchscreen display, which, despite its VGA resolution, will at least retain better compatibility with third-party programs.

Apart from the impressive 16GB of storage, miniSD card expansion and multimedia touches -- stereo speakers/3.5mm headphone jack -- the X7510's biggest improvement lies with its keyboard. While the keypad is completely flat, it does provide a dedicated number key row and the new haptic feedback system gives off a slight vibration/audible noise when each key is pressed. This feature resulted helped produce a quicker and more comfortable typing experience than we had expected.

When the board is not in use, it clips to the front of the screen and provides basic head's-up information related to network status, battery strength and time. When required for typing it locks into position with a strong magnet and the screen angles back slightly.

The TV-out cable can be used to rig up your device to a TV/VGA monitor (S-Video/Composite/D-Sub) to watch movies. You could also utilise the USB port to attach a full-sized USB PC keyboard or flash drive.

Additionally, the X7510 is adorned with a 624MHz CPU, 128MB RAM (with 77MB free, allowing for better multitasking), HSDPA support, dual Wi-Fi and a GPS receiver. The receiver was pretty slow at picking up our location indoors using Google Maps, but there's a data utility supplied to help.

HTC also throws in a host of extra software/utilities -- far too many to list here. The cream of the crop has to be the Opera 9 browser, which alongside the display makes Web surfing a dream.

Even with the large screen, the X7510 provided respectable battery life, with a claimed 5 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby.

Weaknesses
The X7510 definitely offers a great spec, but it's still a Windows Mobile device underneath and the high price may be out of most buyers' reach.

Plus, while smaller than a laptop, it's still large, heavy and impractical for all situations. The navigation pad, for example, has been removed, which will impede those wishing to pursue gaming. Making calls feels a little strange as the keyboard really needs a flat surface to work effectively and the screen angle can't be adjusted.

The 3-megapixel camera provided above average image quality, but we did discover a strange issue when using the camera outside. After a while, the screen would start flashing and captured images would corrupt. Hopefully, a firmware upgrade will solve this issue.

Our synthetic benchmark test revealed that its graphics performance was surprisingly poor and while not really affecting Windows operation, we did detect a few lip sync issues in one of our video tests.

Conclusion
Like early Advantage models, the X7510 is one of those devices that struggles to find a common ground. It's too big to be completely functional as a smart phone, though it's lighter and more manageable than a laptop or UMPC. In theory, it does provide a useful proposition for those who don't want a full-blown Windows operating system, but at the same time still need to be kept in touch with the office.

Price is always going to be the X7510's biggest downfall, regardless if the device is well specced and featured. Despite it not being practical for all mobile situations, the X7510 is still a great piece of kit and we especially liked the new haptic Qwerty keyboard and large screen. Coupled with the instant-on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS, 16GB of storage and supplied software, you have a useful alternative to a laptop for out of office use.

Edited by Shannon Doubleday