While at Mobius last week, I was given an HTC S740, code name “Rose”. Although I thought the phone was attractive enough when opening the box, I honestly didn’t see how it could ever replace my iPhone. But being game to try something new, I got Vincent to pull out a paperclip (which he carries for this purpose in his wallet, can you believe it?) so I could remove my iPhone’s SIM and give the S740 a try. I’ve reached almost a week of solid use, and I figured that it was time to post some impressions…
Measuring approximately 4.6″ long x 1.7″ wide x 0.7″ thick, the S740 weighs in at 5 ounces, and I’ll go on record as saying that I completely approve of its chunky and weighty body. The width is perfect for my hand, and the weight makes the phone feel substantial and well…expensive! In some ways, I think that its build could be compared to the two Vertus I have owned. Sound crazy? Perhaps. But I think the comparison is valid.
For starters, although it isn’t covered in leather or metal, the faceted Diamond-style back still feels much better than the typical plastic mobile phone would, because its facets are covered in rubberized paint. The facets on its back make the S740 fit snugly into my hand – even better than the Vertu Ascent ever did, and I didn’t think any phone would ever be able to do that.
The thicker body, necessary because of the hidden keyboard, is caressable; it gives me something to grip when I am carrying the phone, using the phone as an extension of my arm and gesturing with as I often do. A lanyard hole would have been nice, but it’s not necessary; I certainly didn’t have one on my iPhone, much less either of the Vertus.
A minor disappointment is that it uses a proprietary HTC ExtUSB instead of a miniUSB, which became a problem when I needed to transfer data from a camera and all I had handy was the cable which came with the phone. In the future, I’ll just have to bring along a miniUSB cable, which will work with both devices.
There are some who will gnash their teeth over the lack of 3G, but as you all have probably tired of hearing – it is no big deal to me. Until the Concho Valley has 3G, I’ll be just fine with European and Asian phones that don’t.
There are so many little touches that make the phone seem like a premium device: I like the way it vibrates when a call connection is made, the way the D-pad lights up with its swirling white LED when I have a missed call or received a new text message, and I like that the speakerphone blows away any other phone’s I’ve ever used…seriously! That was something I really appreciated on the Vertu Ascent, and I feel that the S740 totally got it right…for $5500 less! If I could have changed one thing, it would have been the location of the external speaker; it’s on the back instead of the sides, but to listen to it you wouldn’t even be able to tell.
Here are a rundown of the S740′s specifications, with things I thought worth noting highlighted:
|Processor||Qualcomm® MSM7225™, 528MHz|
|Operating System||Windows Mobile® 6.1 Standard|
RAM: 256MB SDRAM
|Dimensions (LxWxT)||116.3 mm x 43.4 mm x 16.6 mm (4.58 in x 1.71 in x 0.65 in)|
|Weight||140 grams (4.94 ounces) with battery|
|Display||2.4 inch TFT-LCD with backlight LEDs and QVGA resolution|
· Europe: 900/2100 MHz
· Up to 384 kbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds
· 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
(Band frequency and data speed are operator dependent.)
|Device Control||4-Way navigation control with Enter button|
|Keyboard||Slide-out 4-row QWERTY keyboard|
|GPS||GPS and A-GPS ready|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for stereo wireless headsets
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
|Camera||3.2 megapixel color camera with fixed focus|
|Audio||Built-in microphone, speaker and FM radio
Ring tone formats:
· AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV
· 40 polyphonic and standard MIDI format 0 and 1 (SMF)/SP MIDI
|Battery||Rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery
Capacity: 1000 mAh
Up to 300 minutes for WCDMA
· Up to 350 minutes for GSM
· Up to 400 hours for WCDMA
· Up to 260 hours for GSM(The above are subject to network and phone usage.)
|Expansion Slot||microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)|
|AC Adapter||Voltage range/frequency: 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60 Hz
DC output: 5V and 1A
The SIM card and microSD slide into the compartment hidden on the backside of the keyboard; it would be worth it to get a larger memory card to keep from having to swap because it is a total hassle to get in and out of this compartment.
The front of the S740 is hard to describe, but I think it most looks like a muted mirrored surface which has been covered in clear plastic; it is extremely shiny and totally prone to fingerprints, but when it is clean, it looks absolutely brilliant. I find myself compulsively wiping it…all the time
The keyboard buttons are ever so slightly puffed, and I am getting better at discerning one from one another when entering data. Worth noting is that many of the buttons necessary for use when surfing or tying emails do not require the use of the function key for deployment.
I would be remiss if I didn’t compare the S740 to the, as they are both non-touchscreen smartphones of a similar size, albeit completely different operating systems. As you can see here, the N82 is slightly shorter, but of a similar thickness and definitely wider.
The Nokia has a fabulous 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, a lens cover, and a xenon flash; the S740 has a mediocre 3.2 megapixel camera, no flash, and no lens cover. The HTC S740 counters with its full keyboard, better in-hand feel, and the Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard operating system, which I am already beginning to re-appreciate.
One of the most amazing things I’ve noticed is the S740′s battery life. It’s only a 1000mAh, but I have found that I can easily go two to three days without charging, even with my typical heavy texting, syncing with Plaxo, and manually pulling email. Granted, I am not running WiFi 24/7, nor am I on an exchange server, but I still expected to need to recharge daily, which has not been the case.
Don’t get me wrong; my iPhone was set up exactly the way I wanted it to be, and I am now struggling to replicate some of the programs I loved which may or may not have WM Standard equivalents…and yes, I do feel slightly frustrated when the non-touchscreen won’t recognize things that need to be clicked from within webpages that I could have touched with a finger on the iPhone’s screen to activate, but for the most part, I am surprisingly happy with the experience thus far. I feel like the S740 is probably the nicest, most feature-rich mobile phone that I have ever used. Will that be enough to keep me on it? Time will tell…
Things that I like:
- Excellent mobile phone: call clarity and signal are fabulous
- Battery life is amazing
- Device build is fantastic; it feels substantial and expensive
- The built-in keyboard makes texting a breeze
- The rubberized coating on the faceted back makes the S740 extremely comfortable to hold…and yes, pretty!
- The best mobile speakerphone I’ve ever used
Things that are frustrating me:
- Camera is “okay”, not great. I wish HTC would invest in some good optics!
- Inconvenient microSD slot
- HTC ExtUSB instead of a miniUSB [must remember to discard the phone's cable and replace with a miniUSB. ]
- Non 3G (in USA)