HTC S740 review
A sleek and sexy smartphone stuffed with hardware, but the ergonomics are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Review Date: 24 Dec 2008
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: ?276 (?318 inc VAT) SIM free
Every now and then a product is launched that completely takes everyone by surprise, sweeping all before it from seemingly nowhere. Like a non-league minnow beating Premier League opposition in the FA Cup, this is exactly what HTC's Touch HD achieved recently. Its fantastic screen, and gorgeous minimal design won us over and it overtook all the favourites to score a place on our A List.
But if the Touch HD was a prime example of a good old giant killing, its latest - the HTC S740 - is a sizeable reality check, a return to muddy pitches and defeat at the hands of village plodders. It's the follow up to the popular Orange SPV E650 (aka the HTC S710) and HTC S730 smartphones, both of which we liked - they combined elements of both standard voice-centric mobiles and email-focussed smartphones and did so successfully.
As with its predecessors, the S740 boasts a numeric keypad on its front and a Qwerty keyboard that slides out to the side. This time around it's had a major makeover, though, adopting similar styling to the HTC Touch Diamond and HTC Touch Pro. The front has a lovely shiny, gleaming smoked-mirror finish to it and the rear is lightly rubberised. It's taller than its predecessor at 116mm, but considerably narrower and slimmer at 43mm and 17mm - an odd but practical shape.
We have no issue with the aesthetics of the S740 - it's a very good looking phone - and despite the extra height the S740 will slip comfortably into a pocket next to your wallet. It's the ergonomics that have us moaning at the referee. Quite what HTC was thinking when it designed the front, phone keypad on this handset we're not certain, but it can't have tried to use it before rubber stamping the design.
The buttons look great but they have hardly any travel to them and there's barely any differentiation between each key. The whole point of having a physical keypad is that it's supposed to be quick and intuitive, but we found it easier to tap out numbers on the Touch Diamond's cramped effort on-screen.
Above the numeric keypad, the cluster of navigation keys continues this fiddly theme. The five-way navigation button is horrid to use - its rim, which is used to move up, down, left and right through Windows Mobile's menu system, is just too narrow. We found our thumbs slipping off it all the time. It wouldn't be such an issue if the S740 had a touchscreen but it doesn't - it runs on Windows Mobile Standard 6.1, just like HP's Voice Messenger, and all navigation takes place using this essential control.
If this wasn't bad enough, the buttons used to pick up and hang up phone calls are a spectacular own goal. They stand proud of the rest of the keypad, but they're absolutely tiny - so small, in fact that we missed several calls through not being able to locate and press pick up quick enough. When receiving a phone, the last thing you want is to be fumbling around with your phone after fumbling around getting it out of your pocket.
The four-row slide-out keyboard doesn't hit the heights of the Touch Pro's either. It's sunk slightly below the edge of the base of the phone and the keys have an indistinct click to them, both factors that makes it difficult to get up any kind of typing speed. We preferred the simpler but easier to use keyboard on its predecessor, the S730.
- City of London slams BT for "unacceptable" broadband
- Shopping gets personal: Amazon 3D printing lets you customise your order
- Next Windows Phone 8.1 update: smart covers, sensors and 7in displays
- 5G to arrive in London by 2020
- Will right to be forgotten extend to Google.com?
- Samsung Gear VR uses smartphone for virtual reality
- Google X gathering medical data to build picture of health
- Amazon posts another loss - its biggest since 2012
- Google ditches OpenSSL in Chrome
- Apple and Swatch to buddy up for iWatch release
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- 13 computers that changed the world
- How to download YouTube videos to a PC or laptop: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
- Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive: what's the best cloud storage service of 2014?
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?