Going for a handset without an operator behind it means you pay an unsubsidised price. Getting hold of the HTC S310 could be expensive therefore, as currently it’s only available SIM free. The upside of going SIM free is that you can take your handset with you to any operator you choose. However, in this case the price is not too steep, standing at £199.95 inc VAT as I wrote this review.
The S310’s hardware design is quite appealing. My review unit was black with silver trim round the screen and edges. It’s also present around the number pad and for some of the buttons. This is the colour scheme Expansys lists as ‘black’, though you could opt instead for a ‘grey’ option, which is in fact a mixture of grey and black.
There is rounded look to the top and bottom edges, and a rubbery finish to the black parts of the casing making the phone comfortable to hold. The dimensions are 108mm tall, 47mm wide, 18.5mm thick and 105g.
About half of the front fascia is occupied by the screen, with the remainder given over to two button banks. The bottom one is the numberpad and HTC has done a good job with this, making it as big as it can possibly be and shaping the keys so that they can be felt independently of each other.
Above this is a large navigation pad which is slightly raised from its surroundings so that it is easy to locate and use. To its left and right are smaller buttons for accessing the Windows Mobile Smartphone softmenus, the Today screen and stepping back.
The call and end keys are on the far outside edges. They are larger than you might expect, because they are built into the overall design. This is a simple but clever feature which makes them easy to find and hit.
Side buttons are minimal with the left edge just housing a pair of volume control buttons. These double up so that on long presses they activate the Windows Mobile voice recorder and voice tag feature. This latter is Windows Mobile’s effort at voice control. With it you start voice calls and emails or go to Web pages that are stored in the device Contacts software, and run applications, but you need to train it for each instance by creating a voice tag.
On the right edge is another pair of buttons. One of these launches the camera and then captures images while the other has long and short press features. On a long press it acts as the power switch and with a short press it opens the QuickList. This is a feature of Windows Mobile Smartphone that lets you switch profiles and access the phone’s Comm Manager – for controlling wireless communications. One of the things you can control here is Bluetooth - there is no Wi-Fi.