(thanks to Garrett Zwolenski who put this together!)
The HTC Snap is a new phone that came out this weekend among the hype and fury of the Palm Pre. It's selling for $149.99 after $150 instant rebate and $100 mail in rebate and runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 Operating System. At this price, it's a nice entry into the smart phone category. If you were a fan of the Samsung Ace or the Motorola Q, this might be a phone you like too.
The HTC Snap is a full QWERTY windows mobile phone in a portrait format which looks similar to a BlackBerry Curve or the Motorola Q series phones. This phone is not a touch screen so you have to use the keyboard and a directional pad to navigate the menus and screens. The keyboard is a little small but is easy to use and has the right amount of "clickyness" that has a satisfying feel to it. A few oddities of the keyboard are the space bar is one key off center and the shift key is to the left of the A key. If you haven't been using a Curve or other QWERTY phone these probably won't bother you too much, and even if you have you will easily adapt to it within a few weeks. The keyboard has a few nice features like dedicated keys for period, question mark, email, camera, web and inner circle (more on that later).
On to the hardware
The left side of the phone houses a standard volume rocker and a mini-USB charging port is on the bottom. There is no standard 3.5mm headphone jack (which should be against the law), but there are headphones included that plug into the USB charging port. If you want to charge and listen to the headphones at the same time, you'll also have to use the special adapter that comes in the box. The adapter will also allow you to use your standard 3.5mm headphones. Not the best solution, but hey - you've been meaning to get some Bluetooth headphones anyway, right? On the back is a 2.0 Megapixel camera, and with HTC's impressive camera app, it takes some pretty respectable pictures. The back of the device is glossy piano black which is very attractive, carful of those scratchs though! The screen is a nice resolution and brightness. The size isn't bad, but the heading status bar and the start menu at the bottom tends to make it look like a smaller screen.
It's a Snap to use!
HTC has been known for their great work in making Windows Mobile skins and themes, and the Snap is no exception. In general, I'm not a big fan of Windows mobile, however the sliding panel home screen makes it surprisingly easy to use. This theme has various panels for text messages, emails, photos, weather and web favorites. You can quickly slide the selector up and down to these different panels, and then right or left to go to the previous or next item. So if you slide down to the email panel, you can arrow right and left to quickly review the from/subject information of your new emails. This sliding panel interface was by far my favorite part of the Snap! It makes Win-mo so much more user friendly and provides quick and easy access to emails, texts, calendar and more.
Apps you can't live without
The HTC Snap comes with some great pre-loaded software including YouTube, Sprint TV, Sprint Navigation and Sprint Music Store and a new feature called the Inner Circle. The phone comes with a little video that tells you how it works, but here's the quick and dirty on it.
The Snap's Inner Circle feature helps you manage your email to quickly sort through all those messages and pull out what's important. You can add contacts to your Inner Circle, and whenever you receive messages from people in your Inner Circle, a special indicator will light up. Also note that the inner circle checks all of your emails that you have set up on the phone. So if you have Gmail, Hotmail and Exchange set up - if anyone in your Inner Circle sends an email to any of those boxes Inner Circle will catch it. The phone also has a dedicated Inner Circle button which you can press to see all the messages from your Inner Circle contacts pulled together in one easy inbox. Note that the Inner Circle does not pull the emails out of your other inboxes, it just another way to look at them.
Where can I learn more?
On the Sprint website there is more information including some videos that give a good overview of how to use the phone.
This sounds like a great phone. It's like a more basic version of the HTC Touch Pro & the HTC TouchDiamond.
Did Garrett Zwolenski actually write this review then, or did he compile the info from somewhere else?
I don't know how he did the article, but I do have the Snap, and it is a wonderful little phone. Does everything I want and then some. The pictures from the camera are excellent, and the GPS is actually MORE accurate than anything on Blackberry or any other cell phone I have used.
Another feature not mentioned in the article but which is excellent is that you can install programs to run off the SD card and thus save internal memory, which is really SWEET! Voice quality is excellent, as is signal quality. Very intuitive little phone.