By November 24, 2008

HTC S740 Review

htc-s740Riding in the wake of the successful Diamond and Touch Pro comes the rather uninspiringly titled S740. It’s not easy to understand why HTC have opted for this configuration however it’s here and it’s very much worth having a look at.


2G Network – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network – HSDPA 900 / 2100
Size – 116.3 x 43.4 x 16.3 mm
Weight – 140 g
Screen – TFT, 65K colors, 240 x 320 pixels, 2.4 inches
Memory – microSD, 256 MB RAM, 256 MB ROM
Processor – Qualcomm MSM7225, 528MHz processor
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps, EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps, 3G, HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
Bluetooth – v2.0 with A2DP
USB – v2.0 miniUSB
OS – Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
Camera – 3.2 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, video
GPS with A-GPS
Battery- Standard battery, Li-Ion 1050 mAh
Stand-by – Up to 400 h
Talk time – Up to 6 h 20 min


The Diamond is notorious for being one of the prettiest phones on the market. It’s a sexy phone, coupled with attractive lines and an upgraded display. Early negative press and crippling ROM malfunctions gave the little phone no end of headaches. Month’s down the line the ROM issues have been ironed out and the phone has been released on many major networks in a variety of colours and with even sleeker looks. HTC sensibly glued on a functional QWERTY keyboard and a larger battery, called it the Touch Pro and produced one of the favourite phones of the year.

The HTC S740 really seems like an afterthought. So much effort went into the architecture of the Diamond and Touch Pro, HTC decided to update the Vox (S710) with the new look. Thus came the S740. However, one glaring oversight left the S740 out in the cold, being beaten by the ugly stick.


It’s ugly. Looking at pictures you may not fully agree however where the Vox succeeds in being petite and usable, the S740 fails, measuring a whopping 11.5cms long. It’s merely an inch shorter than a Wiimote. Sure, it is trim in keeping with the Diamond and the mirrored facia gives it an ultra modern look but in this marketplace where phones with T9 keyboards shrink annually, the S740 feels like an oddly overgrown youngster everyone is just a little bit afraid of.

This brings us along to the second folly of the S740. I cannot, for the life of me compute the target consumer for this phone. T9 pad, non-touchscreen, and a 3.2 megapixel camera all scream out to the less sophisticated user, my partner for example. No interest in 3G, Wifi, QWERTY keyboard and Microsoft Office yet this phone packages all of this. Maybe HTC imagine there is an untapped gap in the market between the average mobile phones and the low end smart phones.


Looking around the phone sees the top pretty vacant, only a large power button. This button brings up an onscreen menu much like Nokia phones. Here you can power off the phone, lock it, bring up the Task manager/Comm Manager and filter through some phone profiles. It’s fairly quick to access and rundown with the D-pad.



The sides of the phone are similarly baron. One side has volume up and down whilst the other has a dedicated camera button. The Camera button, annoyingly is a single click button. There is no pushing it down half way for focus and shot preparation, instead you push it and take a picture… or you don’t.


At the bottom are the microphone and the miniUSB connector. As with most recent HTC devices (bar the Palm Treo Pro, Touch HD and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1) this also doubles as the headphone adapter. Something most people were hoping we might have seen the last of. So from here on in, here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of this.


The back of the device houses only the camera and the speaker. The camera has a little piece of plastic built into the cover to protect the lens. Something I know is a pet hate of many users. Also the back cover has the uneven Diamond effect.


Above the QVGA screen are the ear speaker and a tiny camera for video calling. Under this is the front facing T9 keyboard. This is a standard method of input, nothing dazzling. One of the biggest let downs I felt was the D-Pad. In the middle is a ‘Select’ button however this is large enough to have been utilised as an optical pad, much like on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. The surrounding ring is rather fine and easy to slip off and press the Select button accidentally. The Call and End Call buttons are similarly fine and will take some getting used to. However, they are buttons that don’t receive as much usage as the rest.
There are two hard keys below the screen that directly reflect the options on the lower bar of the display. The Home button brings you back to the Today screen and the Back button takes you to the screen you saw previously, continual pressing will bring you right back to
the Today screen.


Hidden below the screen is a stretched Touch Pro Qwerty keyboard. On the Touch Pro this looked a little squished however it was completely up to the task at hand and ended up being one of the most competent keyboards on the market. The s740 does not manage this however. Whilst the keys occupy a longer surface area and they even do away one row of keys you are left with keys that rectangular, wide but annoyingly narrow, just a little too narrow for manly fingers. The distance your fingers have to stretch from a comfortable position is quite extreme, it all just feels unusually long.

Software-wise the S740 runs Windows Mobile Standard. This is my first experience of the Operating System in this incarnation. I have heard that is it is a great deal more stable than the Professional (touch screen) versions and I guess I would agree with that. However, there is less to go wrong with this device. There is no reset button so you’d better hope things don’t go pear shaped.

The most confusing thing, perhaps being some form of early ROM, is that the phone is laggy. As with Windows Mobile, it isn’t immediately obvious what’s running on the device and in comparison to the Touch Screen devices it isn’t easy to find out. The biggest offender of all is the screen rotation. It takes a long time to flip round. A concern we had from some of the early videos. The processor is up to the task, and the RAM is easily enough to contend with most things you want to throw at it but the phone just feels bogged down.


The Today screen does not have any of the lovely Touchflo 3D interfaces. There is a usable, vertical rotation menu affair. This covers almost everything you need on the phone in a flash. I honestly prefer this interface over most of Nokia and Sony Ericsson’s offerings lately. It’s simple and effective. Up and down takes you to the next and previous entries on the menu and left and right takes you through various features of the selection. Its light weight and I was quite shocked that it wasn’t as clunky as I had expected.


The Start menu brings up the 9 most recent programs used. I guess these will vary on what you have installed and use most frequently. The left hard button takes you to the main menu, as above. There is access to the Message client for email and SMS, Windows Calendar, Contacts, the settings menu, Multimedia tools, Office mobile, Pocket Internet Explorer, Messenger and the Call History. All of these are standard for Windows mobiles and the only real difference is Office Mobile, cut and paste action is not as easy to use without the touch screen.


There’s More! Tasks, Quick Notes, Speed Dial, Games (No Teeter, just Bubble breaker and Solitaire,) Accessories, Google Maps, HTC’s standard RSS Hub, ActiveSync and Windows Live. Again, all of these are standard for an HTC phone.


Accessories, there is little to excite. The Clear Storage is your best bet to remove all contents off the phone as there is no full hard reset button. Getting Started also accessible from the Today Screen as standard.


One thing that hit home was how much access there was to Media. This made me realise just how much effort HTC has put into making their windows mobiles more media friendly rather that relying on the frankly terrible Windows Media Player.

Overall, I struggled with this phone. Not just with using it on a daily basis but on its existence. Comments from friends have confirmed this is far from the most attractive phone on the market. It’s oversized, prone to finger prints and somewhat limited. This coupled with some what laggy performance lead me to ask, why? Why do we need this phone?

Thanks to Clove for supplying the review device

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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