First Looks: HTC S620 Smartphone

One for the Scroll

One for the Scroll

A quick glance at the HTC S620 and you’ll know that it is a smartphone directed at consumers who perform frequent messaging. By virtue of the classification ‘smartphone’, it should provide a clear hint that stylus is not part of what the phone carries where input is concerned. Indeed, the HTC S620 joins an increasingly crowded list of smartphones with QWERTY keypads and the impetus behind the soaring popularity is not so much a fad as it is practicality. Within the mass consumer market, QWERTY keypads offer better input practicality and speed over conventional numberpads.

Press my buttons

Despite the number of buttons, the keypad of the S620 is surprisingly compact. Four rows of buttons totaling 37 in all are packed closely together to keep its girth within manageable proportions. Above the assembly of alphabets lies the cluster of primary buttons for navigation and calls, but even with all these buttons, the total space consumed by input is still less than half of the front fascia. This should give you an idea of how crowded and small the alphabets are. Tactility is good while the blue backlight of the keypad is both comfortable to the eyes and sufficiently bright for input in the dark. The rubber-like skin of the handset impresses not only by offering a better grip but also a better sense of quality.

Wi-Fi surfer

Equally impressive is its sleek profile. Though not as flat as the Samsung i320, the HTC S620, at 12.8mm thick, is still considerably thin enough to be slipped into pockets easily with no concern about its shape causing an unsightly bulge. Also, considering the S620 boasts a Quad-band GSM/EDGE/GPRS radio in addition to integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, we must say HTC has actually done an impressive job for making the handset as flat as it is. Where aesthetics is concerned, the S620 manages to look fairly sophisticated with a metal ring that goes around the sides of the handset and an aluminum insert that highlights the QVGA screen and keys.

The Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone operating system is paired to a number-crunching 200MHz processor from Texas Instrument and 192MB of memory, of which 64MB is manageable by users. All the usual software refinements including SIM card management applications and document viewer are where they should be. We fired up a few Word documents and Excel spreadsheets and performance was very snappy to say the least.

We have no doubt the S620 will more than allow executives to carry out their tasks quickly and efficiently. Memory can be expanded via the built-in microSD expansion slot to fit in more applications.

Touch my JOGGR

Specifications of the onboard display are nothing to shout about by today’s standards, but when you consider its resolution and landscape orientation in relation to its integrated Wi-Fi capability, the QVGA screen suddenly makes a whole lot of sense. This coupled with the innovative touchscroller called HTC JOGGR makes the S620 a really handy Internet device for reading web pages and lengthy documents. Infrared had been left out though. Built into the right of the screen at an angle for ergonomic placement of thumb, the JOGGR is very similar to touchpads found in notebooks. Tried and tested, it allows applications to be fired up by double tapping – although horizontal scrolling is not supported.

A graphical applet called Comm Manager makes setting up the S620 for wireless Internet connection and Bluetooth pairing pretty much a painless process. When left to run wirelessly, browsing speed and email retrieval were noticeably smooth while Bluetooth pairing sequences were straightforward as expected. The same can be said of its DirectPush and synchronization speeds for Outlook and Calendar.

We particularly liked the customized Home Screen layout provided by HTC as this fully utilizes the entire QVGA screen for messages, appointments, shortcut icons, profiles and Wi-Fi control, pretty much what most users want to have, really. It even has a 1.3-megapixel digital camera at the back.

Battery life and Closing thoughts

The S620 may have scored high for ease of use but it is only an average performer when it comes to battery life. Even with conservative use of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, charging was required once every two days. What is comforting though is that because the S620 utilizes a standard mini-USB jack, it will always be easy to connect it to either your office computer or notebook for simultaneous data synchronization and charging.

Without 3G, the USD$540 HTC S620 (or Dopod C720) is immediately less appealing to demanding users, but for its Quad-band GSM radio and 802.11b/g integrated Wi-Fi, the S620 is a smartphone that rightfully deserves attention from mobile warriors with fairly light demand for data connectivity on the go.