HTC – S310 review

quad-band Windows Mobile Smartphone
Photo of HTC – S310
£200

HTC has been making Windows Mobile devices – both Smartphones and Pocket PCs – for a long time, but it was only earlier this year that the company decided to strike out and use its own name as a brand.

Before that, HTC had delivered devices to network operators and to PDA sellers such as companies with a name for desktop and notebook PCs, allowing them to brand the devices as they saw fit.

HTC now has six products under its own brand name, with the S310 being a Windows Mobile Smartphone designed to appeal to those who want functions but not fancy features. It is attractively priced for a device without a network operator subsidy, but does it deliver the goods?

As a Quad-band handset there is no denying its international capability, and it is small and light at 108 x 47 x 18.5mm and 106g. It is nicely designed too, in as far as it has large number buttons and a rubbery material used for much of the casing, so that it is easy to hold and to dial.

But there are some definite signs that this is a mid-range rather than a high-end Windows Mobile Smartphone. The screen is probably the most obvious of these. Its 176 x 220 pixel resolution is relatively low-end: we expect 320 x 240 pixels from a Windows Mobile Smartphone these days.

A little is shaved off the overall screen size too, with just 2.0 inches spanned corner to corner, where 2.2 inches is a more acceptable size. To be fair, though, this won’t matter a lot if you aren’t used to something better.

The Bluetooth version supports wireless stereo output, so you can send tunes to a suitably-equipped headset, which might be enough to entice you to consider using the S310 as a mobile music machine.

If you do have plans in this direction, though, you are going to need to invest in a miniSD card immediately in order to carry your music around, as our test device had just 11.5MB of free storage fresh out of the box and this simply isn’t enough to store a good array of tunes.

Most irritatingly, the card slot is under the battery, so you can’t hot-swap cards, instead needing to power the S310 down every time you want to exchange cards.

There is, of course, a camera, but some corners have been cut here too. There is no flash or self portrait mirror, and it shoots only up to 1.3-megapixels, making it decidedly average.

Battery life could have been better, too. We played music continuously with the screen forced to remain on and we got seven and a half hours of sound. That’s on the upside of average, but not by a lot, and you may find yourself hankering for longer life.

Company: HTC

Contact: 01753 218 962


Verdict
HTC's S310 functions well enough as a mobile phone for voice calls, and as a Windows Mobile Smartphone it has the usual software, PC connectivity and over the air synchronisation support. But the general specifications are not particularly exciting, and without an operator subsidy it looks expensive even though it is, in fact, very competitively priced for a SIM-free Windows Mobile Smartphone. As things currently stand, you can get better specified alternatives with an operator subsidy.