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>> Hi. I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor for CNET.com, and today we're taking a First Look at the HTC Snap for Sprint. The Snap was introduced at CTIA 2009, and Sprint is the first carrier to release the smartphone. There's some changes that they made to the device that I'm not really happy about. First, they changed the design of the phone. The unlocked GSM Version, I thought, CTIA had a nice soft touch finish, but the Sprint Snap has this slick plastic casing that makes it feel kind of cheap. They also replaced the trackball navigator with a traditional directional keypad, which is fine, but I find the trackball easier for scrolling through longer messages and webpages. The Snap's QWERTY keyboard is also different. The buttons are smaller, and there's very little spacing between them, so I couldn't really type as fast as I wanted. And I think it'll give people with larger thumbs even more problems than me. One other minor annoying thing is that the Caps shift key is where the "A" button usually is on most QWERTY devices, so I kept accidentally hitting the shift key when I wanted to type an "A." The HTC Snap is a good messaging device, though. It offers Microsoft Exchange Support and works with other popular email services, like Yahoo, Windows Live, and Gmail. It also has HTC's Inner Circle feature, which will surface emails from a pre-selected group of people to the top of your inbox so you can read them and reply to them immediately. There's no limit to how many people you have in your group, and if you don't want to scroll through a long list, you can just do a search and find a contact. I found the feature really useful, especially for my work emails since I get a lot of PR pitches and spam. So it was just nice to hit a button and get the most important messages for me in one view without all the other junk. The rest of this smartphone is pretty standard for Windows Mobile. You get Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and Windows Live Integration. The HTC Snap also ships with the newer Internet Explorer Mobile 6 web browser, but I'm really disappointed that they took away the Wi-Fi integration. Even though the smartphone works on Sprint's 3G network, we still like having the Wi-Fi option just in case you're out of a coverage area or have access to a Wi-Fi network. And I really just don't understand why they took it out, especially since T-Mobile and Verizon's version of the HTC Snap will have Wi-Fi. Overall, the HTC Snap is disappointing to me since it's stripped of a lot of good features that we saw at CTIA. I'd say it's a good basic messaging smartphone for Sprint users, and it's quite a fast device and has good call quality. But it's priced a little too high, in my opinion, at $149.99 with a two-year contract. Verizon is offering the same phone under the HTC Ozone name, and it's $100.00 cheaper and also has Wi-Fi and world roaming capability, so hopefully Sprint will drop the price on this fast, otherwise I think it's gonna be a hard sell. I'm Bonnie Cha, and this has been your First Look at the HTC Snap for Sprint.
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