A little over two years ago, I wrote about my then-new Orange SPV C500, which at the time was the latest thing in Windows Smartphones. It was a nice enough thing, but I moved on to the Nokia N70 a year later. I’ve hung on to the Nokia, as I can’t really be bothered upgrading, and it does the job.
But the whole Windows Smartphone thingy has been moving along. Since Microsoft updated Exchange 2003 and Windows Mobile 5 to talk to each other nicely, it’s been very easy to have live email from the company server sent out to users’ mobile phones. And as email is one of my responsibilities, I had to test it before letting it lose on poor unsuspecting users. The first phone I tested it with was an i-Mate SP5, which was pretty much identical with the Orange SPV C600. Not surprising, as it’s made by the same company, HTC. I had that for a while before passing it on to someone who needed to have an unlocked phone and got an O2 XDA IQ, which is identical apart from being locked to the O2 network. A nice enough phone, and it’s easy to read email on the nice clear screen. However sending email is a bit restricted, as you either have to tap very fast or put your faith in predictive text, which generally works quite well, but can have some unintended results…
I knew that Palm were bringing out a Windows Treo – in fact it had been available on Vodafone for a while, and I was thinking that the company should probably let me evaluate one of those. Then I saw this little beastie.
The HTC S620 is made by the company who also made all the Orange SPVs, most HP/Compaq iPaqs, and many more clever devices. It seems they’ve finally decided that they’d rather sell products themselves rather than making them for other people – though this phone is available direct from operators under other names. I believe it’s going to be an SPV something, for instance. Anyway, a colleague had one on an evaluation basis, and I had a quick look at it. It took me about thirty seconds to say “I want one!” :slurp: And so I got one.
It’s about the same height as my Nokia N70 and a fair bit wider, but it’s very slim – significantly thinner than the SP5 / IQ / SPV C600, and it’s quite light, too. All of which means that it will easily slip into any convenient pocket. You can put it in a shirt pocket without having a sagging pocket. The back of the phone is covered in some rubber-like material which gives it a good firm hold – it’s very unlikely to slip out of your hand.
The screen is wide, bright and clear. The excellent Tube2 London streetmap application works beautifully on the larger screen, and the web browser is actually usable. I can even read Losing it on it should I need to. The dinky little keyboard is remarkably usable even for someone with big clumsy fingers like mine, and makes writing emails from wherever I happen to be extremely easy. It even works well as a phone – it keeps a good signal even in the dark corner where they keep me at work, which the SP5, IQ and most other phones on O2 totally fail to do.
Overall, I like it a lot. One feature I’m not so sure about (so much so that I’ve turned it off for now) is the odd control thingy to the right of the screen. This is supposed to let you navigate the various applications and select things by variously stroking, tapping and sliding. I found that apparently random things happened when it was on, but that might just be me.
What I’d like to try is to get hold of the HTC stereo Bluetooth headset – a nice little clip thing that allows you to plug in any standard headphones. As the phone supports stereo playback over Bluetooth, and is compatible with Napster, it would mean I could leave my Zen Micro at home, which would be nifty. Apparently, if the phone rings when you’re listening to music, it stops the music, lets you take the call, and resumed the music afterwards. Cool.
 Apparently some people like to talk on these things rather than send email or texts like civilised folk…