late last year, I was testing the HTC S310 (code named HTC Oxygen) which is HTC's first budget Windows Mobile Smartphone. No, for techies and gadget-lovers,
this device isn't anything special but for newbies, beginners or simply users
without any further needs in their mobile phone, this Smartphone is a stylish
device to start with as well as it is a cheap device for business users.
That said, the HTC S310 has everything you can expect from a Windows Mobile
Smartphone since the device features Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone with
support for Microsoft's push E-Mail functionality, quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0 (with
wireless stereo/A2DP) but it doesn't features W-LAN. Multimedia-wise the S310
includes a 1.3 megapixel camera, has an inbuilt memory of 64 MB RAM and 64 MB
ROM which can be extended with miniSD cards and is powered by a TI OMAP 850 CPU
at 200 MHz.
Quite unusual is the 2" screen which features Windows Mobile's "previous" QCIF+
resolution at 176x220 pixel only while most of today's Windows Mobile
Smartphones features either landscape or portrait QVGA resolutions at 240x320/320x240.
Last but not least, the S310 is available in three stylish colors: white/silver,
black/silver, grey/black. For this review, I got the white/silver version which
looks iPod-like and might attract mostly fashion victims.
The sales pack includes everything you need to start: the mobile phone, a
removable and chargeable 1150mAh battery, the AC adapter, a USB sync cable as
well as a wired stereo headset with microphone, user manual, quick start guide
and software CD.
During Christmas, I was even asked by a friend if this is the Apple iPhone
(sorry Apple - I was asked so please don't sue me over this) and for sure
it's not but it's running Windows Mobile with the original Windows Mobile user
interface (invented and copyrighted by Microsoft).
As mentioned before, the glossy finish of the devices looks pretty stylish and
the size is just perfect for business travelers:
The keypad is nice designed and has the right size to dial, find contacts or
send messages like SMS, MMS or E-Mails on the go. Also the tactical feedback is
pretty good which lets you type messages, more or less, blind:
Typical for HTC devices, also the S310 features the extended mini USB adapter
only, no separate headset jack but just the mini USB port. However, this
specially designed mini USB port also takes HTC's wired headset which is part of
the sales pack. In addition, the device can be synched and recharged with any
standard USB to mini USB cable:
Since the S310 also features Bluetooth, for sure also wireless Bluetooth
headsets can be used instead.
As I said before, the HTC S310 is a pretty basic Windows Mobile Smartphone which
isn't bad at all - is it featuring everything Microsoft packed into the
Smartphone edition of Windows Mobile. Therefore it includes the Contacts,
Calendar and Tasks applications which can be synched with Microsoft Outlook or
Microsoft Exchange server, Internet Explorer Mobile, Inbox, which supports SMS
and E-Mail by default (including Microsoft's Push E-Mail service with Exchange
servers) and HTC added a MMS client to make it fully GSM compatible. The Windows
Media Player Mobile plays WMA and MP3 audio files as well as WMV video files.
Since the S310 also supports the A2DP/AVRC Bluetooth profiles, music can be
streamed through stereo Bluetooth headsets as well which means it could easily
replace an MP3 player - as long as the used storage card is big enough.
The HTC S310 is nothing special but maybe this makes it so special. It's just a
(smart) mobile phone with all the basic features you can expect from today's
mobile phones. Sure, a 1.3 megapixel camera isn't state of the art anymore and
HTC isn't known for the best camera quality but for snapshots, you can send via
MMS or upload to the web, it's still good enough.
A little bit unusual is the QCIF+ display but this shouldn't be too bad,
depending on what you want to do with the S310. If it is just used for phone
calls, messaging and web browsing here and there, it's enough. For watching
videos it's definitely too small, especially if you want to watch videos during
flights or place shift TV like from your Slingbox or Orb MyCast (which you can
do thanks to the EDGE support).
Thanks to the quadband support, the S310 is a true global roamer you can
virtually use everywhere in the world (except Japan where you need a UMTS
device). And with the support of GPRS and EDGE you can stay always connected
which is important for business users but also becomes a more common requirement
for consumers these days.
So yes, basically the S310 provides everything you need and if it's missing
something you can easily extend it by installing 3rd party applications, thanks
to Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphone.
Last but not least the design which is pretty stylish and far away from a geek
device. It just looks nice and I'm sure, the S310 can attract many users.
The HTC S310 is available for around 250 Euro without a contract. Not a bad
price for a Windows Mobile Smartphone.
Cheers ~ Arne