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HTC Snap smartphone

HTC Snap smartphone

HTC's Snap smartphone possesses one of the best QWERTY keyboards we've seen on a mobile

HTC's Snap smartphone sports a thin profile, a stylish matte black finish and an excellent QWERTY keyboard. It doesn't offer anything revolutionary, but it is a good choice if you aren't interested in a touch-screen smartphone.

The HTC Snap is one of the more attractive non-touch-screen Windows Mobile smartphones on the market. It's one of the thinnest, too, at just 12mm thick. The matte black, rubber-style finish may not provide the gloss and glamour of other smartphones, but for business users the HTC Snap is definitely an attractive and functional device.

Heavy e-mailers will be happy to know the HTC Snap possesses an outstanding keyboard. The keys themselves are raised and provide great tactile feedback. They are well spaced, making typing a breeze. It is one of the best keyboards on a Windows Mobile smartphone we've reviewed. The answer and end call keys, two selection buttons and shortcuts for home and back are comfortable to use and well placed.

Along with the keyboard, the HTC Snap has trackball that's remarkably similar to those seen on BlackBerry smartphones such as the BlackBerry Bold. The Snap's trackball is a little small though and it's not raised enough. We also found it difficult to get just the right sensitivity: by default the trackball response was far too slow but there are only three settings (fast, normal and slow).

The phone features HTC's exclusive Home Screen layout, consisting of quick access boxes that can easily be scrolled through using the trackball. Eliminating the need to constantly enter the Start menu, the HTC Snap allows quick access to missed calls, Telstra BigPond services, appointments, settings, weather, e-mail and messages. Being a Telstra exclusive, the Home Screen also offers direct access to Telstra content including news, Sensis maps, Yellow Pages, WhereIs and Mobile Foxtel.

The HTC Snap runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, so it includes the Office Mobile suite of Excel, PowerPoint and Word applications, Windows Media Player and a range of PIM functions. It's easy to configure for use with Microsoft Exchange, and you can also use standard POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts. A suite of Windows Live applications includes Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail. A great aspect of the Snap is its speed — it is actually snappy and surprisingly intuitive for a Windows Mobile device, delivering an excellent user experience.

HTC's Inner Circle feature is a highlight of the Snap. Pressing the dedicated Inner Circle button brings e-mails from up to 10 predefined contacts to the top of the inbox for quick access. This is HTC's way of "prioritising the people who matter most to you" and it works effectively.

The HTC Snap is a 7.2Mbps HSDPA-capable smartphone. It also has built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP. For mobile Internet, the standard Internet Explorer browser isn't the most intuitive to use (especially in the absence of a touch screen) but pages load quite quickly.

The HTC Snap could have been a capable multimedia device, as it includes a 2-megapixel camera that doubles as a video recorder, Windows Media Player to handle both video and music, and a streaming media player that lets you subscribe to and watch Telstra's Mobile Foxtel service. Unfortunately, the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack is its major downfall, with HTC opting for a mini-USB headphone jack instead. The HTC Snap includes expandable memory thanks to a microSD card slot located behind the battery cover (which is a little tricky to remove).

The HTC Snap is available for $0 upfront to Telstra Business and Consumer customers on a $60 or higher Telstra phone plan. The Snap is also Blue Tick–rated, meaning it has been approved for use in rural and regional areas of Australia by Telstra.

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