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The HTC Snap has been making the rounds to various carriers, including T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and now Alltel. Like the rest, the Alltel Snap has a heavy focus on messaging and includes HTC's Inner Circle feature to help busy mobile professionals prioritize e-mail with just a press of a button and offers dual-mode functionality for world roaming capabilities. It's a nice alternative to Alltel's BlackBerry offerings, especially for the price. The HTC Snap is available for $79.99 with a one-year contract and after a $70 mail-in rebate. Compare that to the Alltel BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, which goes for $249.99, and you've got one heck of a deal.
The design of the Alltel HTC Snap is most similar to the Verizon version. There are some slight differences, such as the addition of the Inner Circle button on the keyboard, a black battery cover, and soft-touch finish on the navigation array. For more information on the rest of the smartphone's design, please read our full review of the HTC Ozone from Verizon Wireless.
Alltel packages the HTC Snap with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired stereo headset, an audio adapter, four international adapters, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
While messaging is a key component of the HTC Snap, it is a phone first and foremost, so we'll begin with the voice features. Like the Ozone, the Snap offers dual-mode functionality for international roaming. The dual-mode part means that it supports both CDMA and GSM technologies, so here in the States, the smartphone works on Alltel's CDMA EV-DO Rev. A network, but with its SIM card slot and quad-band GSM support, the Snap can make calls and receive data overseas. The only downside is that it doesn't support international 3G bands, so you'll only get EDGE speeds while abroad. Wi-Fi is onboard, however, so there are other means of getting online.
Other phone features include a speakerphone, speed dial, smart dialing, conference calling, and text and multimedia messaging. You can also get unlimited calling to a group of contacts (up to 25) regardless of network with Alltel's My Circle plan. The contact book is limited only by the available memory, and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, instant-messaging handles, and birthdays. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a picture, a group ID, or a custom ringtone. Bluetooth is also onboard with support for mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets, hands-free kits, personal area networking, object push, file transfer, audio/video remote control, and more.
Coming back to the smartphone's messaging capabilities, the Alltel HTC Snap offers support for POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts and Microsoft Direct Push Technology for real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. In addition, like the Sprint model, it includes the HTC Inner Circle feature, which prioritizes your e-mails based on your preferences.
By pressing the dedicated Inner Circle button (the last key on the keyboard's bottom row), the HTC Snap will bring e-mails from a preselected group of people to the top of your in-box so you can read and reply to them immediately. Setting up your Inner Circle of contacts is fairly easy. By pressing the dedicated Inner Circle button, and you'll be presented with a list of all your e-mail contacts where you can go through and check those you want to include in your Inner Circle. It can be a little overwhelming if you have a long list of contacts, but there is a search feature that can save you time. Once you've set your list, you can still go back later and add or remove contacts; there is no limit to how many people you can have in your Inner Circle, though you lose some of the benefit of the feature if you select too many contacts for your Inner Circle.
As we noted in our review of the Sprint HTC Snap, we found the feature to be really useful, particularly for work e-mail. We get numerous PR pitches and miscellaneous e-mail throughout the day, so the ability to filter those out and get the most important and relevant messages with just a press of a button was quite nice.
The rest of the Snap's features doesn't stray too far from the Verizon HTC Ozone--Windows Mobile 6.1, a 2-megapixel camera, GPS/A-GPS, and 256MB onboard storage with a microSD expansion slot. There are a number of Alltel services available on the HTC Snap as well, including Alltel Pocket Express, RealTone JukeBox for ringtones, Alltel Navigation for voice-guided directions, and more apps are available through the Alltel Shop.
We tested the dual-mode HTC Snap in San Francisco using Alltel's roaming service and call quality was excellent. We were amazed at how rich voices sounded and the lack of any background noise. Our friends were also impressed and praised the sound quality. Unfortunately, the speakerphone wasn't quite as pristine. Callers sounded a bit far away when we switch over to the speakerphone, while they said our voice sounded harsh. It wasn't anything that caused us to terminate the call, however, and there was plenty of volume. We also successfully paired the HTC Snap with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
With a 528MHz processor, the HTC Snap was, well, snappy. We didn't encounter any major delays in performance during our testing period. Web browsing was relatively painless, though the Snap's screen is on the smaller side so not the best for viewing sites. Using Alltel's network, CNET's full site loaded in 53 seconds, while CNN's and ESPN's mobile sites loaded in 5 seconds and 6 seconds, respectively.
Music and video playback was smooth. The picture quality of the Snap's 2-megapixel camera was also surprisingly good. Images were quite sharp and colors were bright and vibrant, even for shots that were taken under harsh fluorescent lights.
The HTC Snap for Alltel has a rated battery talk time of 5.3 hours. We were able to meet the rated talk time in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Snap has a digital SAR rating of 1.03 watts per kilogram.