Smartphones, those mobile phones on steroids, have been popping up like mushrooms. It’s no surprise, considering that more and more people are going mobile these days. However, many Filipinos still think twice about buying one because of one big factor: the price. So when we got a hold of the full touch screen-toting, sub-P13K HTC Smart, we were really curious if the phone, despite its low price, still packs quite a punch.
Looks and feel
Despite the obvious cut in price, HTC didn’t hold back in terms of design. The HTC Smart looks, well, smart… and stylish and elegant enough that you’ll think it’s more expensive than what its price tag says. Tipping the scales at only 108g and having a small and slim body mean it’s easy to place inside your pocket. Don’t be fooled by its petite frame, though. This Smart is solidly built, unlike other small mobiles that have a “rickety” feel to them.
User interface and navigation
The HTC Smart comes with the Brew platform from Qualcomm, a relative unknown given the number of Symbians, Androids, and WinMos on the market today. It is paired with HTC’s Sense UI, which is a good thing because it makes menu navigation quite simple and easy especially for those who have already used an HTC handset. Also, there’s the nifty Scenes feature, which lets you change the overall look of the phone with just a tap as well as a level of customization available on the home screens.
However, we had some issues with the Smart’s touch screen. Although it’s far from the worst we’ve tested so far, it certainly is far from the best, too. It’s not as responsive as we wanted it to be, and there were a few times where we needed to swipe or tap repeatedly to get a response. Then again, what can you expect from the older resistive technology instead of the more responsive capacitive type?
If you get past the phone’s resistive touch screen, then you’ll be pleased to know that it is no slouch, at least for the most part. Menu transition and navigation are quite snappy and apps load with minimal lag. This is quite a surprise; the handset only has 256MB of RAM and a 300MHz processor running the show, far from the 1GHz beasts that power much more expensive phones.
For its multimedia features, the HTC Smart has basic offerings to cater to your needs. It has a music and video player that plays a variety of file types as well as an FM radio. Just don’t expect too much from the built-in speakers, though, as audio quality is only decent at best. Still, the presence of a 3.5mm audio jack means you can connect the Smart to high-quality speakers and headsets.
At 3 megapixels, the mobile phone’s camera is quite basic. We’re a bit disappointed about its reaction time. We encountered a lag of about 1.5 seconds from clicking to actually capturing the photo, which makes the camera utterly useless for moving subjects – unless you have a thing for blurred images.
The HTC Smart lacks Wi-Fi support, something which will discourage fans of mobile Internet surfing. You’ll have to use its 3G connection to access the Web. Also, you’ll have to make do with the phone’s display, as Web pages aren’t really a joy to see at a resolution of only 240 x 320 pixels.
The power department is one of the handset’s strong suits. We were able to squeeze out more than 2 days worth of juice from a single charge even when using its multimedia features quite frequently.
Given that it’s HTC’s entry to the “budget smartphone” market, we really expected the phone to lack several features that other more expensive mobile phones have. For what it’s worth, though, the HTC Smart is still a good basic smartphone that caters to your basic mobile needs – and then some. So as long as you keep your expectations grounded, you won’t be disappointed with it. At least not that much.
Click here to view the HTC Smart in the Buyer’s Guide.
A stripped-down smartphone with good looks to boot. Just don’t keep expect that much from it. It’s still a basic smartphone anyway