We’ve been looking forward to getting our hands on the HTC Smart ever since it was announced as an O2-exclusive handset way back at Mobile World Congress in February. It’s here at last – and while it lacks the firepower of its Android cousins, the HTC Desire and HTC Legend, it retains that HTC look. With the Sense user interface running on Qualcomm’s Brew OS, we’re putting it through its paces as a successor to the similarly diminuitive HTC Tattoo. For now, though, join us as we have a nosey through the box and a quick first look.
The contents of the HTC Smart’s box are pretty standard – USB wire (with mini-USB connection rather than microUSB, I’m afraid), two-part plug socket and HTC headphones. The review handset we have in is finished in a rather fetching cherry-pink with a metallic sheen.
As you’d imagine, the screen isn’t huge. In fact, it’s just 2.8-inches – but what it lacks in size it makes up for in brightness, so it’s not unpleasant to use.
The icons are pretty big so you don’t get much to a screen, but with numerous homescreens available for housing favourite contacts, widgets, music player etc. it’s not such a loss. That touchscreen is, unfortunately, resistive (boo! hiss!) which is to be expected on a low-cost handset, we suppose. As long as you’re firm with it, it’s a pretty good resisitive touchscreen. But still, we’d prefer capactive. We’d always prefer capacitive, ok HTC?
That shape isn’t a million miles away from the HTC Tattoo and we’re still liking the curved edges and the satisfying finish of the metal accents. The camera you see there is a 3-megapixel affair with fixed focus (so no autofocus or anything flashy like that) and an LED flash just above it. To its right is the external speaker.
The mini-USB connector sits at the bottom of the handset. The button panel on the front is quite strangely laid out – the answer and end buttons are pretty self-explanatory, but the off-centre ‘back’ button doubles as the menu launcher, while that tiny little also-off-centre-but-to-the-left button is the one that launches the in-app menus. The button-panel kind of offends us with its blatant disregard for symmetry.
Ahh, a 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s what we like to see on any self-respecting music-playing handset. We like using our own headphones, thank you very much. On the edge there you can also see the volume control – quite subtle, no? It’s easy to use despite being so flush to the side.
While the HTC Smart isn’t the thinnest handset we’ve ever used, it’s certainly slimmer than some of it’s competitors in the budget smartphone space. It’s also great to see a dedicated camera button, something we’d been missing on the HTC Hero, Desire and Legend. This makes snapping pictures a much easier affair – especially handy since there’s no autofocus.
With so many homescreens, you barely need the menu itself – just as well since it’s a rather staid and boring affair. Those huge icons mean you don’t get much per screen, so the menu is laid out over three panels which you can swipe between.