John Galea's Blog

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HTC S630 review smartphone number 13 review

Subject: HTC S630 review smartphone number 13

I bought a new phone again. I liked the HP iPAQ 910 but the buggy firmware, pathetic battery life and turning off the microSD made this unusable. I’ve come to the realization that the Blackberry like form factor is the most useable for Windows Mobile. The HP with the touch screen had better compatibility (more programs are available for the touch screen version) but with the Blackberry form factor meant pulling out the stylus a rare event (which is a good thing).

So here are the list of devices I’ve played with so far:

HTC so far make the best of these smartphones and have a dizzying array of offerings. There has been an S620 that I’ve looked at on many occasions. But the slow 200MHZ processor has not been attractive. I have lots of experience with it on my S710 and while adequate it is starting to show it’s age, especially as the size of the music collection I carry grows. Speaking of which I bought a 16G microSD card on ebay for $54 US. Unbelievable.

So HTC have another one with a faster processor called the S630 . There is actually a 640 but it is CDMA only. I’ve had this one about a month and so far I love it. The form factor is perfect. The keyboard is better than the HP but not as good as a Berry. The non touch screen means I’ve lost the use of TomTom 6 and 7 and I am stuck with Version 5 (Tom Tom have abandoned the non touch screen sigh). I’ve gained a zippy, non buggy device with good battery life. I’ve lost the GPS that was built into the HP and worked well with it’s assisted GPS but I have bought a new smaller more sensitive GPS a Holux M-1200 review to come on that soon. Speaking of which the new trend in BT GPS devices is to add the ability to act as a stand alone logger. So you can carry the device without the need to run a program. And when you get back home you can download your tracks. The latest of these is the Holux M-241 (I like Holux products). It’s the size of a 35mm roll of film and runs on a single AAA battery. Major bonus, so you can simply carry a spare battery!

The S630 is an excellent phone. Well built, solid, good performance and great battery life. I’m back to being able to survive a day without being near a charger. HP was more like half to ¾ of a day depending on what I was doing/using. This is funny because the HPs battery was 1950 maH and the S630 is 1100. One major plus I didn’t expect is that the 630 uses the same battery as my S710 so I have two spares and an external charger!

Being an HTC it uses the proprietary audio connector that is an extended mini USB. On the positive side I already have converters (still can not buy one for the HP) so I have lots of options for listening to music.

Being back on the smartphone OS I have voice dialing back (HP’s Cyberion voice command is abysmal and unusable). I had added MS Voice command to it and it worked ok. Voice dialing works perfectly through a BT headset too.

The phone out of the box was on Mobile 6. Too bad I miss some of the features of 6.1 specifically threaded SMS, and the wonderful sliding panel home screen. Oh well … The device originally would not see my 8G microSD card but I quickly found a fix and installed it and I was happy as a lark. When I bought my 16G card slipped it on and it saw it perfectly. XDA-Developers is a great web site for any HTC smartphone

Size is great. Nice and slim in my pocket and the weight is pretty good. Most people mistake the device for a Blackberry so you don’t look too geeky with it. The phone has all the connectivity options covered, WIFI, 3G, BT 2 etc. No built in GPS unfortunately. Are you getting that I love GPS? This is Lance’s fault. Ever since I tried my first GPS that Lance loaned me to head out to Ganaraska forest, I’ve been hooked. And you should have seen the size of this puppy. If I got attacked by a bear I could have used this thing as a weapon to beat it to a pulp!

The connector for the mini USB (which does charging and audio) is on the top of the device. On the positive side this means it never interferes with carrying cases or vehicle mounts. It is well designed so that as I lift the phone off it’s cradle the USB just pulls out easily and smoothly. I discovered a little gadget on ebay that plugs in and gives the ability to change the volume, play/pause/forward/reverse, take and hang up calls. Awesome, and well with the $10 I paid for it. You have to love ebay!

I have one remaining issue with the phone which is that stereo Bluetooth does not work well. It has drop outs with one of the A2DP headsets and has pitch issues with the other 2. Thankfully because I have an audio converter for it I have options!

So I finally can say I have a phone I like and will stick with it for a bit. The snails pace of evolution from MS is painful. They are so slow RIM are catching up. The touch screen versions of MS Mobile are aweful. I hate them. The biggest weakness with MS Mobile is still the browser. There are lots of alternatives from Opera mini to now Skyfire. I’m not fond of any of them. Once again the iPhone spoiled me. The best ever mobile browsing experience hands down. It just works. Skyfire by the way is an interesting product. This is a dot com type product. I have no idea how these guys will stay in business. They back end render the web page and then hand it to you. So they are going to need a ton of back end processing power to handle large number of users. And how do you pay for that?

June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews

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