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HTC Snap review

HTC moves away from touchscreens, with the BlackBerry-style Qwerty keyboard and trackball equipped Snap. Is it onto a winner?

The UI on the HTC Snap is called HTC Home, and is essentially a non-touchscreen version of TouchFLO. HTC Home transforms the Snap's homescreen into an almost bottomless list of key features. You can scroll up and down using the trackball to see all the information you need and would expect on the touchscreen version of the homescreen, including calendar entries, profiles, the weather, email, texts, missed calls etc, plus it gives you direct access to the music player and Internet Explorer.

However, HTC Home is only on the very top level and you'll have to face the antiquated Windows Mobile interface a lot more than most would like.

Part of Home is HTC's Inner Circle feature, and the Snap is the first device to include this. It's essentially a private email app for your favourite contacts and is accessed via a shortcut key on the bottom right hand side of the keyboard. When you tap on the button, it enables you to view email conversations with your closest contacts.

Battery life is where the HTC Snap really excels. Compared to the BlackBerry Bold, it's a real dream, despite having the same 1500 mAh capacity as the latter. We managed to squeeze out three days of moderate usage on the Snap, where the Bold would only provide around a day of juice before re-charging was necessary.

The HTC Snap is a breath of fresh air for those who want a Windows Mobile smartphone but don't get on with touchscreens. The QWERTY is responsive and comfortable to use, while the battery life will keep you going for days. The screen is the biggest let down here, but for a device costing the same as the BlackBerry Curve 8900 (which doesn't feature 3G or Wi-Fi), it's a top choice.

Verdict

The HTC Snap is a top alternative to a BlackBerry. Although the screen is small and it runs on Windows Mobile, it’s not a chore to use, especially with a responsive keyboard. A microSD card will be needed if you plan on adding lots of apps, but this is no huge expense.

Connectivity: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G, HSDPA 7.2Mbps

Display: 320x240 pixels, 2.4in

Processor: 528 MHz

Storage: 256MB, microSD card slot

Camera: 2 MP, 1600x1200 pixels

GPS: Yes

Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g

Dimensions: 61.5x12x116.5mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 120g

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