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HTC S740/S743 QWERTY smartphone video review

Review by Michael Oryl on Monday February 02, 2009.

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While touchscreen equipped smartphones are all the rage these days, especially when it comes to Windows Mobile devices, it is good to see that companies like HTC and Samsung haven't completely forgotten about Windows Mobile Standard, the non-touchscreen version of the platform. While the HTC S740 that I've been using for the past few weeks is not a direct update of the company's beloved Excalibur/S620/Dash smartphone, it definitely has a lot going for it.

The S740, and its U.S. 3G equipped S743 variant, is a compact smartphone that features not only a functional 12-key alphanumeric keypad, but also a spacious, 4-row QWERTY keyboard that slides out sideways from behind the phone's bright and crisp QVGA resolution display. The QWERTY keyboard's keys don't offer the best tactile feedback available on the market, but they are nicely shaped and nearly perfectly laid out.

The slider action of the keyboard is nicely sprung, and the entire device feels very solid. I am particularly fond of the d-pad, which has a raised outer edge that makes it easy to use in any number of ways. The rear cover of the S740 features the same oddball faceted surface as HTC's Touch Diamond, but at least this time around it is covered in a nice rubbery soft touch paint that hides fingerprints to a large extent.

The S740 we tested out was built for the European market, and as such features 900/2100MHz 3G/HSDPA support instead of the 850/1900MHz 3G support that will be found on the U.S. bound S743. Both versions feature quad-band GSM/EDGE support, though I have to admit that the S740 was only an average performer on the North American half of those frequency bands. The S743 may fare better, being tweaked for this particular part of the world. In any event, both smartphones can be easily hooked up to WiFi networks, and both support a full range of Bluetooth connectivity.

Call audio on the S740 seemed pretty good, and battery life was acceptable, if not earth shattering. The phone is rated for over 5 hours of 3G talk time and up to 16 days of standby time, but normal use will probably require recharges every other day. The phone's contacts system supports all sorts of data, and the profiles system is also quite reasonable. A voice tag based voice dial system is available, and speed dials can be set for both phone numbers as well as applications, which is quite handy.

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About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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