HTC Smart review

The budget smartphone market has seen utter domination by Android-based phones of late, but there’s now the whiff of competition in the air. The HTC Smart, in a surprising move for the Taiwanese firm, is based not on Google’s popular mobile OS or Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but on Brew MP, a platform developed by smartphone chipset giant, Qualcomm.

That may sound an exciting development, but take a closer look and it seems the Smart is far from fresh and new. The hardware bears more than a passing resemblance to the HTC Touch2 released last year with its 2.8in 240 x 320 resistive touchscreen; only the control panel, which itself looks to have been borrowed from the Nexus One, is different.

To be fair to HTC, it does feel well knitted together, as did the Touch2, and its chrome-trimmed, soft-touch matte black case looks and feels classy. But it just isn’t that exciting, and as the screen is resistive rather than capacitive, there’s no multitouch support.

HTC Smart

Neither is there much on its list of specifications to get you going. The processor looks positively antediluvian at 300MHz, there’s only 256MB of storage built in (expandable via microSD), no Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel digital camera and, although you do get HSDPA, it’s of the slower 3.6Mbits/sec variety. The inclusion of an FM tuner is little consolation.

Surely the Brew MP OS offers something new? Alas, it too brings little to the party. HTC has missed the opportunity to step out on a limb, instead offering a cut-down version of its Sense UI plugged into Brew’s underpinnings.

Initially, it’s hard to tell the difference between the Smart and other Sense-based phones: it looks similar to the front end of the excellent Desire and Legend Android handsets (complete with flippy home screen clock), and there are even alternative home screens reached with a quick swipe of the finger left or right.

These other screens play host to HTC’s social networking Friend Stream module, email, contacts, weather, plus SMS messages and a photo gallery. The browser is Opera Mobile, so websites are rendered both accurately and quickly (considering the slow processor). And everything else works as well as you might expect from what is, after all, a pretty mature software environment.

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider O2

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 7hrs 30mins
Standby, quoted 25 days

Physical

Dimensions 55 x 12 x 104mm (WDH)
Weight 108g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 256MB
ROM size 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 3.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.8in
Resolution 240 x 320
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS no

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