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HTC Smart

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Default HTC Smart

Reviewed by Wong Casandra

BREW-ing with HTC Smart

Smartphones are more affordable than before, but while they remain more expensive than a plain mobile phone, the overall lower prices mean that smartphones targeted at the entry-level segment are getting squeezed into a rapidly shrinking niche as manufacturers struggle to strike a balance between price and quality. More often than not, they fail to get the right blend of value and features. We take a close look at one of the newer contenders to this segment - the HTC Smart.

Silver Surfer in Black

The HTC Smart easily score points for looks. The phone breaks away from the usual plastic cookie-cutter bodies that entry-level devices are famous for, sporting an unexpectedly classy black with a slight shimmer and a silver chrome body that comes across as sturdy. The phone feels extremely smooth to touch due to a completely matte surface and fits nicely into our palms. It is rare to find our fingerprints or smudges isolated only to a phone's screen, but that is the case for the HTC Smart. Overall, it impresses in the looks department.

The main controls are located below the 2.8-inch screen and include a Call, Menu/Settings, Back and Lock/Power on buttons. The Menu button is actually a smaller, thin strip located above the Call button, and it's too easy for users to accidentally press the Call button, which pops up the numeric keypad, and is an annoyance when it interrupts the mobile browsing experience. The Back button doubles up as a Home button when pressed and held. Separate from the main control buttons, the Camera button can be found at the edge of the phone, and just right of the main controls, though there are no indications otherwise.

Smartin' it up

Using none of the mainstream mobile OS (Google Android, Microsoft Windows Mobile or Symbian), the HTC Smart works on the Qualcomm BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) platform, with a cameo appearance by the popular HTC Sense UI.

If you are used to the HTC Sense UI, you will most likely find the one available in HTC lacklustre - offering only the bare minimum (due in part to BREW's skinny portfolio of apps). The only real draw here is the FriendStream feature which allows you to combine both Twitter and Facebook feeds for easy viewing. There is no existing BREW app store, so if you are interested in purchasing the HTC Smart, you must understand what that entails - being perpetually stuck with two games and the rest of the pre-installed apps.

The capacitive screen generally responds speedily but the size of its screen makes it extremely hard to type or SMS or surf the internet. To top it off, the QWERTY keyboard can only be utilized in landscape mode; it starts off with a numeric keypad in portrait mode. To switch between the two, you can't just rotate your screen - there's a dedicated soft key for that purpose. The main complaint here is that the general SMS experience on the phone is not particularly user-friendly.

HTC Smart's 3-megapixel camera is decent but seriously undermined with its fixed focus capability, making it only useful for casual snapshots. Its small screen doesn't do it much justice, visual-wise, but audio was decent, although slightly loud on the bass.

We took the Smart on a dry run and found that we were able to use the phone for around a day and a half, with light web-browsing, moderate chatting and text messaging. That is pretty sufficient for an entry-level smartphone.

Final Thoughts

The HTC Smart might not be the smartest smartphone out of the bunch (think of its higher-end cousins, HTC Desire, or HTC Legend). However, for a basic entry-level phone priced at $358, it pretty much does its job despite the occasional lag encountered, and more importantly for some users, the lack of an app store.

Product Specification
Network: HSDPA/WCDMA: 2100 MHz / Quad?band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Operating system Brew Mobile Platform
Processor Qualcomm MSM6290, 300 MHz
Built-in Memory 256MB
Display 2.8?inch TFT?LCD touch?sensitive screen with QVGA resolution
Camera 3.0 megapixel color camera with fixed focus and flashlight
Video Support MP3, 3GP, 3G2 and M4V
Audio Support AAC, AMR, QCP, MID, M4A, MP3, WMA and WAV
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.0 / d A2DP / 11?pin mini?USB 2.0 / 3.5mm stereo audio jack
Storage Type Internal and Expansion Slot microSD memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
Battery Rechargeable Lithium?ion polymer battery, 1100 mAh
Standby / Talk time Up to 600 hours for WCDMA, Up to 450 hours for GSM / Up to 370 minutes for WCDMA, Up to 450 minutes for GSM
Dimensions 104mm (L) x 55mm (W) x 12.8mm (T)
Weight 108g (with battery)
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aitchala (14-06-2010), m7ckey (14-06-2010), [email protected] (14-06-2010)

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