HTC Smart

Style & Handling Summary for HTC Smart
A comfortably sized handset with a classy finish, the HTC Smart looks more expensive than it is. The screen is a nice size, although resistive rather than the superior capacitive type.
HTC Smart

User Friendliness Summary for HTC Smart
The HTC Smart is an enjoyable phone to use and pretty straightforward too. Once you’ve got used to it, you’ll sail through the home screens.

Feature Set Summary for HTC Smart
Bearing in mind its price tag, the Smart has a good range of features. The only thing it’s missing is Wi-Fi.

Performance Summary for HTC Smart
It’s not got the fastest processor in the world, but the Qualcomm’s Brew operating system makes everything run smoothly, and the touch-screen is fast and responsive.

Battery Power Summary for HTC Smart
370 minutes’ talktime is good compared to smartphones, but you’ll probably need to recharge it on a daily basis.

Full Review and Specification for the HTC Smart

HTC has really hit its stride with its Sense interface, so much so that it’s hard to tell which operating system the HTC Smart uses. In fact, it’s Qualcomm’s Brew; which, for any tech-heads who might be interested, stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, and is designed especially for feature phones that aren’t quite smartphones.

What you see, though, is the usual shortcuts such as Friendstream and Weather, alongside the intuitive and seamless navigations we’ve come to expect from Sense.

Style and handling on the HTC Smart

At £100 on prepay, the HTC Smart is affordable, but it’s certainly not cheap. The back fascia has the subtle matte pastel appearance of anodised aluminium, which you see on the iPod Nano. This effect also provides a frame for the screen and four keys that sit under it: start, end, menu and back. The Back key, which is off-centre and an oblong shape, will take you back a step or return you to the central home screen.

There are seven home screens, like you would find on HTC’s Android handsets, which you can slide in and out with a touch. The touch-screen is of the resistive variety, which means no multi-touch capability, but you can operate it wearing gloves, if you want, or using a stylus. No need for that here – Sense’s menu system is designed to be finger-sized.

Unlike Android phones, you move shortcuts on and off your list using the Settings screen – just choose the page-sized shortcuts you want and they appear, one per home screen. But where the Smart does resemble the Android is with its pull-down menu; just swipe your finger down the screen to bring up your options. There’s a work setting, which puts email and messaging up front; a personal setting that centres around FriendStream; HTC’s social networking aggregator, which supports Facebook, Twitter and Flickr; and a music player screen. You can give each of these a unique wallpaper too, to make them instantly recognisable.

Applications and shortcuts on the HTC Smart

You can also use the Clean Slate option, so only the central page has programs waiting. This displays HTC’s usual clock and weather icon as well as three shortcut buttons, which you can use for just about anything. If you swipe your finger upwards, six more shortcut buttons appear. The camera has its own hard key on the side of the handset.

As well as the more obvious shortcut options like calendar, contacts and messaging, there are some rather obscure choices too. Flashlight turns on your LED light and has three brightness settings. Rings is a well-executed game that involves flicking metal hoops into a wizard’s hat against the pull of magnets. It’s simple and addictive in the style of iPhone’s Paper Toss.

Web browsing and email on the HTC Smart

There is no Wi-Fi on board, which is a shame given the browsing-friendly screen size. You do get HSDPA connection, though, which provides a tolerably quick 3.6Mbps, provided you have a good signal. Unsurprisingly, there is no GPS, although this has become such a smartphone essential that even feature phones like the Smart feel lacking without it.

What you do get is a 3.5mm audio jack so you can plug in your own headphones, and FM radio, and a micoSD card slot for up to 16GB of storage space.

Some elements of the Sense interface sparkle on smartphone but fail to inspire here. The photo library shortcut, for example, takes you straight through to your photo album, taking up a whole screen; on HTC’s Legend, it displays like a stack of photos you can simply flick through on your home screen.

Email on the HTC Smart is very like that on smartphones: swiping a finger up or down the screen reveals the header of the next (or previous) message, and it’s intuitive and enjoyable to use.

Verdict on the HTC Smart

There are lots of handy smartphone-like little touches on the Smart, which gives you advanced features in an affordable, accessible handset. It’s a nice, comfortable size yet the screen is large enough for enjoyable web browsing. If you don’t want a smartphone for whatever reason, the HTC Smart gives you the simplicity of a basic phone, with plenty of customisation options and exciting features.