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HTC Snap
Mobile Phones | First Looks
Tue 07 Jul 2009



Going QWERTY

By Luke Tan

While the touchscreen smartphone market has seen numerous offerings from HTC, the same cannot be said for the "QWERTY-bar" device genre. But with its product portfolio booming in recent times, it seems logical that the Taiwanese firm would now have the means to launch a fresh attack on that front as well. Enter the new HTC Snap.

Smart and Snappy

Comparisons with the popular Nokia E71 are inevitable, and the HTC Snap's soft-touch coated plastics makes it the perfect counterpoint to the former's stainless steel. Surprisingly, it fits the pocket better than the E71 despite clocking in a tad thicker and larger. It does manage to be slightly lighter at 120g. Most of its bulk is taken up by the 1500 mAh battery and with such capacity, Snap owners should spend little time plugged in during the day.

Buried somewhere beneath is a Qualcomm MSM7225 processor running at 528MHz and backed by 192MB of RAM, making the Snap the QWERTY analogue of the HTC Touch 3G, and helping it live up to its name in performance. Even with every app we could find open at once, the Snap remained fast and responsive.

Be Part of the Inner Circle

HTC's key selling point for the Snap is such a simple feature as to be almost questionable in its usefulness. Pressing the Inner Circle button on the keyboard brings up emails from a predefined group of contacts - your "inner circle" so to speak. The goal is to help you reduce the communications clutter in your life, but while some may find it useful, we feel that it's not the Snap's best asset.

No, that would have to be the excellent keyboard instead, which mounts a serious challenge to Finland and Canada's best. The keys are rounded and well-spaced vertically and give a convincing "click" with balanced pressure, making for very few mistypes.

Now on to the odds and ends. HTC has remixed some of its apps for the Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard platform, such as the Album, Comm Manager and more, but the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack and the rather weak 2-megapixel camera mean that multimedia capabilities are nothing to write home about. GPS performance was above average. We tested a 2-minute Time To First Fix, but once locked on, the Snap held on to the signal well in trains and buses.

The Snap doesn't appear to have many flaws, but the two we found could be deal-breakers for some folks: the reedy display fonts which could do with some anti-aliasing smoothing and the inability to edit Microsoft Office documents on Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard. As Standard devices tend to be business-oriented rather than multimedia powerhouses, this latter omission remains a grave mistake on Microsoft's part.

Concluding Thoughts

HTC's entries into the segment where the Snap plays are literally few and far between, but this one should have no problem making a name for itself. Even discounting the rather gimmicky Inner Circle feature and the weak multimedia, those messaging freaks who seek an alternative to the E71 or the various BlackBerries now have a worthy option at a rather recession-friendly price point of S$688.

Product Specifications

  • Network Support: GSM 850/900/1800/1900/UMTS/HSDPA
  • Display: 2.4-inch with 320 x 240 resolution
  • Memory:

    - 256MB ROM
    - 192MB RAM
    - microSD (HC) expandable
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM7225, 528MHz
  • Operating System: Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
  • Connectivity:

    - Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR
    - Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
    - mini-USB 2.0
    - GPS
  • Battery: 1500mAh
  • Standby Time: Up to 480 hours
  • Talk Time: Up to 300 minutes
  • Dimensions: 116.5 X 61.5 X 12mm
  • Weight: 120g
  • Price: S$688