First Look: HTC S730

s730 I received my HTC S730 from Mobileplanet.com a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been using it now to replace my T-Mobile Wing.  Here’s a quick rundown on what it does and my experience with it so far.  I’m pretty particular about what I expect from my mobile devices.  The closest I’ve been to a perfect device was with my T-Mobile Dash.  Let’s take a look at how the S730 stacks up.

Size
The size of the S730 is perfect to slip into your pocket, although a little thicker (about .75 inches) than what I am used to.  Having had the Wing and the T-Mobile Dash, this phone fit the candy bar profile, but obviously wasn’t quite as thin as the Dash.  The weight seems lighter than the Wing and comparable to the Dash.  Overall, size is nicer and fits well in the hand.

Battery Life
Battery life so far seems to be pretty decent with DirectPush and Bluetooth all day.  I usually hook it back up to the charger before bed every night.  I haven’t used it enough to run it below 40-50%. 

Performance
The S730 has the new Qualcomm MSM 7200 400 MHz processor which is suppose to be pretty fast and also have the GPS capabilities built into the chip, however the GPS functionality is disabled on this particular phone.

Initial indications are that the device really isn’t that fast from a visual perspective, but speculation amid the Internet is that HTC is not shipping the correct driver (or any driver for that matter) for the video on the device which shows up in performance from anything like loading an application to screen refreshes.

Additionally, even though the device ships with a 256 MB ROM and 64 MB RAM, on a cold boot the device will only have 10-12 MB of free memory which doesn’t leave much for running applications.  This memory problem has also been acknowledged and is suppose to be fixed in an upcoming ROM release.

As far as data performance is concerned, this device supports HSDPA (high-speed data), however, T-Mobile in the US has very limited if any coverage for HSDPA at this time.  Users in Europe have found that HSDPA tends to eat lots of battery.

Applications
This is a smartphone, so it ships with Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard.  This means that the Office Mobile applications included are only capable of reading documents and editing existing documents; they cannot create new files.  For some, this is a shortfall, but then again, I don’t know how many people use Windows Mobile to actually create Office content.

Nothing out of the ordinary ships with the S730 from an application standpoint.  The standard Windows Mobile apps apply, as well as a Task Manager, but other than that, nothing special to write home about.  But why include any apps when you don’t have the memory to run them? 

Extras
A front and rear camera on this phone is a neat feature especially when video calls become more mainstream.  Until real high-speed data is available in the US, this probably won’t be all that useful.  Nonetheless, the camera on the front of the phone is a VGA camera, while the camera on the back is a two megapixel.  I’ve heard complaints about this, but what do you really expect your phone to do?  It’s a high expectation for a device that does practically everything else for you while in your pocket.

Overall Impressions
The size of this device is perfect and it fits the role of phone first, data device second.  This is the type of device I prefer. 

The sound quality is decent and the phone worked when expected.  Again, I use it as a phone first, and then email second.  It’s important for me to receive my email and calendar, but its critical that I can answer my phone when it rings and the party on the other end can hear me.

The performance isn’t quite there yet for the power user and hopefully with the help from HTC and a new ROM release, these issues will be taken care of.  However, the typical user in most cases will find the performance and capabilities of this phone completely acceptable.