HTC S620

Summary: If you primarily want to handle email on the move, this slim BlackBerry-like Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone with Direct Push technology is a good option. It has its quirks, though, and isn't suitable for creating or editing longer documents.

  • Editors' rating:
    7.0
  • User rating:
    8.3
  • RRP:
    GBP £275.00

Pros

  • Landscape-format screen
  • Usable QWERTY keyboard
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0

Cons

  • Fiddly and awkward touch bar (the JOGGR)
  • Average battery life
  • Not suitable for creating and editing business documents

HTC’s S620 is a slim BlackBerry-like Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone with a wide-aspect screen and a small QWERTY keyboard. This is a relatively rare format for a Windows Mobile device, but not unique — we’ve seen it in Samsung's SGH-i320, for example. The HTC S620 is billed as a device for email and document management on the go. So how well does it deliver?

Design

The S620 has a black and silver livery and is basically rectangular in shape. However, the design of the silver metal plate framing the screen and keyboard makes it look as though the device has a 'waist'. The black material used for the remainder of the front, as well as the sides and back, is rubbery to the touch and feels comfortable in the hand.

The S620 measures 62.5mm by 111.5mm by 12.8mm and weighs 120g — similar in footprint to the Palm 750v, but lighter and considerably slimmer.

The QWERTY keyboard is nicely designed. We found it straightforward to use with the flat of two thumbs while holding the device in both hands. A good return and an audible click when keys are pressed (in quiet conditions) helps.

The keyboard features an embedded number pad for direct dialing, while a function key provides access to various standard symbols. We are pleased to note that a ‘£’ is one of these. When entering text, a key marked ‘sym’ provides access to an on-screen matrix of additional symbols.

The screen measures 2.4in. from corner to corner and, unlike most Windows Mobile smartphones, has a landscape rather than portrait orientation — the resolution is the standard 320 by 240 pixels. This display format is useful for reading texts such as documents that may have been received as email attachments, and for viewing web sites.

Between the keyboard and screen is a bank of shortcut buttons. These again deliver a good return, although there's a fair amount of unused space around them and larger-fingered users would appreciate them being at least a third larger.

The outside keys in this bank are the Call and End keys. Inside them are softmenu keys and the Home and Back keys. In the middle is an elongated navigation button with central select button. All of this is pretty standard Windows Mobile smartphone fare.

The same cannot be said of the JOGGR. This is a touch-sensitive strip on the right side of the screen. You can configure this into ‘scroll’, ‘adjust volume’ or ‘adjust volume (in call and Windows Media only)’ modes. The JOGGR is divided into three sections, the longest being the central one. Running a finger up and down along this adjusts the volume or, in ‘scroll’ mode, moves through a list of on-screen items. The upper section is a back button, while the lower one starts the email client.

The JOGGR’s double click and scroll speeds can be configured to your tastes. Thankfully, you can also disable it. We found it awkward to use, and too easily activated when the S620 is picked off a desk or retrieved from a pocket.

The HTC S620 comes with a mains power adapter, a stereo headset, a PC connection cable, a software CD, a printed quick-start guide and a printed manual. There's no protective case though.

Features

The HTC S620 is a quad-band GSM phone with GPRS and EDGE support. It has 128MB of ROM and 64MB of RAM. Fresh out of the box, our review sample had 67MB free for applications and data. You can expand on this memory with microSD cards: the card slot is protected by the battery cover, but you don't need to remove the battery to access it.

The S620's 1.3 megapixel camera has a self-portrait mirror and delivers no more than passable images.

There's no infrared connectivity, but both Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi are built in. An indicator icon showing when Bluetooth is active sits on the Today Screen, as is usual with Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone. An HTC Today Screen caters for Wi-Fi status to be displayed in the main body of the screen: the name of the network or device to which you are connected is displayed if Wi-Fi is active. Status lights above the screen also provide a visual indicator of wireless status.

We noted at the outset that the S620 is billed as a Windows Mobile smartphone for handheld email and document management on the go. The landscape-format screen and keyboard certainly help, but without appropriate software the job is only half done. Accordingly, the HTC S620 supports Microsoft’s Direct Push technology, so that corporate networks running Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 or Exchange Server 2007 can provision it over the air with email and other data.

HTC has added the ClearVue viewers for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and the ClearVue PDF viewer, to the standard Windows Mobile software suite. This should help when viewing email attachments, but the 320-by-240 pixel screen is unlikely to handle some business documents, such as complex spreadsheets, satisfactorily. Furthermore, these applications do not allow you to edit or create documents.

Performance & battery life

The HTC S620's battery life was distinctly average. Our usual test, getting the device to play MP3 music continuously with its screen forced on until the battery gave out, resulted in just over five hours of music. We have seen other Windows Mobile smartphones deliver more than this, and HTC’s own S310 gave us over seven-and-a-half hours of music.

The S620's QWERTY keyboard and landscape-format screen make the Windows Mobile Smartphone platform more suitable for data entry and text viewing. However, many business users will want to create and edit longer documents than text messages and emails. This requires faster, easier text entry either via a touch screen or a larger keyboard, neither of which the HTC S620 delivers.

Topics: Smartphones, Reviews

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