The HTC S710 - previously code-named 'Vox' - is a neat, petite and easy-to-use smartphone from HTC.

HTC, formerly known as a manufacturer of gadgetry for the likes of O2 and T-Mobile, finally launched handsets under its own name late last year. These were similar to the handsets it had been making for network operators but, crucially, were 3G rather than 2.5G.

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So it's a disappointing surprise to discover that the firm's HTC S710 handset is a 2.5G model with GPRS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but no HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) connectivity. On the plus side, the HTC S710 is the first we've seen that sports the new Windows Mobile 6.0 OS (operating system).

As well as email, Outlook synchronisation, to-do lists, calendaring, ClearVue and Adobe Reader LE document viewers, you can use the Bluetooth function of the HTC S710 for remote access via your SIM.

You can also share your HTC S710's internet connection with your laptop via either USB or Bluetooth, which is handy whenever you're not in Wi-Fi range.

Internet access itself seems improved – common domains and email suffixes are pre-programmed into the HTC S710's memory. The HTC S710's massive, bright screen makes surfing a pleasure, with the fine resolution ensuring everything is legible.

We were impressed by the HTC S710's 2Mp (megapixel) camera, which produced crisp, colour-balanced shots, while the audio player is let down only by the dodgy earphones HTC provides. For once you don't need to delve under the HTC S710's battery to insert your SIM card. Slide out the keyboard and you can pull the SIM open with your thumb – a nice touch.

The slide-out keyboard is a good idea that will appeal to some. In practice, however, the HTC S710's keys aren't much easier to use than those on the average phone handset.

HTC is selling the HTC S710 via sites such as Expansys as an operator-agnostic device, so you don't have to tie yourself to a contract. However, you may prefer to do so rather than shelling out £300 to buy the HTC S710 outright.

HTC S710: Specs

  • 2.5G GSM/GPRS/Edge quad-band phone
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard
  • 64MB RAM
  • Bluetooth
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 2Mp camera
  • microphone
  • 50x19x102mm
  • 140g
  • 2.5G GSM/GPRS/Edge quad-band phone
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard
  • 64MB RAM
  • Bluetooth
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 2Mp camera
  • microphone
  • 50x19x102mm
  • 140g

OUR VERDICT

Regarded as a PDA, the HTC S710 is neat and petite – but slightly heavier than it looks. Six months ago we took a look at another HTC handset that was a smartphone proper and we found its standard phone keypad easier to use than this. Still, the HTC S710's is a neat design. And we've seen sufficient numbers of its predecessor adopted by business users to believe it will be well received.

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