HTC S730 review: HTC S730

The Good 3G connectivity with HSDPA; supports two-way video calling; slide-out Qwerty keyboard; accessible microSD card slot.

The Bad Bulky and heavy for a smart phone; moderate battery life.

The Bottom Line Aside from 3G, this update to the S710 adds little improvement. In fact, the S730 is slightly heavier than its predecessor and delivers less battery life. Whether you go for the S730 will depend largely on how much you need 3G

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7.5 Overall

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HTC turns out Windows Mobile devices with impressive regularity, covering almost every conceivable niche. The HTC S730 is an update to the S710, which was a real innovation when it appeared last year, being the first Windows Mobile smart phone with a slide-out keyboard.

The S730 is fairly large for a smart phone. It's significantly bigger than the average mobile phone, and only slightly smaller than some of the more compact Windows Mobile Professional handhelds such as the HTC Touch Dual and E-Ten Glofiish X800. In fact, HTC does not quote a weight for the S730 on its Web site -- we measured it at 150g, which makes it heavier than both of the above devices (120g and 147g, respectively).

The Qwerty keyboard has a standard layout, and each key has a raised central area

The HTC S730's 50mm by 101mm footprint isn't that different from the average mobile phone, but at 18mm it's considerably thicker than many mobiles. This is largely due to the keyboard, which slides out from the right-hand long edge as required.

The keyboard has a standard Qwerty layout, each key having a raised central area to make it easier to hit. There's a very slight difference in size between the inner and outer keys, but this is barely noticeable.

The number keys are accessed via Function key combinations. In fact, every key has a second function, offering either a number, a non-Qwerty character or access to a system feature such as Messaging or Internet Explorer. Two softmenu keys sit above the keyboard, along with indicator lights for the function key and Caps Lock. As you slide the keyboard out, the S730's screen automatically goes into landscape orientation.

With the keyboard stowed away, the HTC S730 looks like a fairly ordinary Windows Mobile smart phone. The bottom third of the fascia is occupied by a number pad with tall, thin Call and End keys to the left and right, with the usual Windows Mobile keys above it (Home, Back, two softmenu keys and a navigation button).

The number pad is rather squeezed by the other keys, and has clearly been sacrificed in order to provide as much space as possible for the screen. This measures 61mm across the diagonal, and offers a standard 240x320-pixel resolution. We will discuss the side-mounted keys below, when we cover the features they control.

The HTC S730 comes with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a headset, a user manual and an ActiveSync CD.

The HTC S730 runs Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard, which is designed for voice-centric devices without touch-screens. It's a quad-band GSM device with GPRS/EDGE and 3G/HSDPA connectivity. This S730 has a front-facing camera for making video calls as well as a rear-mounted 2-megapixel unit for shooting stills and video. The latter has a small self-portrait mirror, but no flash. A control button on the right-hand side of the device activates the camera software.

Both Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0 are built in, with a button on the left side of the device, just below a volume rocker, giving access to the Windows Mobile Comm Manager. This allows you to independently control Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, turn the cellular radio on and off, and also switch into 'airplane mode' where all communications are turned off.

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