The Snap follows the traditional messaging phone layout quite closely. At the top sits the 2.4in screen. This is a standard LCD screen with no touch functionality and its 320 x 240 QVGA resolution is nothing special either. However, at least the screen is quite bright (it’s LED backlit) so it’s relatively easy to read even when you’re out and about in sunny conditions.
Directly under the display lies the trackball along with dedicated call answer and hang up keys. These are joined by two soft keys as well as home and back buttons. For the main keyboard HTC has gone with bubble-style keys that rise out at you creating a nicely peaked surface for you to press with your fingers or thumbs. The keyboard is actually one of the best features of the phone as the keys are relatively large for this type of device and feel very responsive. As a result it’s easy to get up to a decent speed when you’re typing with two fingers or thumbs.
The handset is built around a Qualcomm MSM 7225 processor running at 528MHz and this is helped along by 192MB of RAM. Overall the phone feels quite speedy in use even with a couple of applications running in the background. As there’s no touchscreen and the Snap uses Windows Mobile Standard edition you don’t get the Touchflo interface that HTC adds to its other handsets. Instead you’re stuck with the bog standard WinMo interface, albeit with the new sliding panels homescreen that Microsoft added with the upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1. These panels work well, but when you enter into the core Windows Mobile menus it’s the same old story of confusing layout and unnecessarily long lists of menu entries.
In fact, the only significant addition that HTC has made to the WinMo experience on this phone is the presence of its Inner Circle software, which is accessed via a dedicated button on the keypad. Inner Circle is essentially a way for you to prioritise messages from your key contacts. You can add contacts to your Inner Circle either from the address book or directly from the email client. Then, when you hit the Inner Circle key the latest emails from these contacts are filtered to the top of your inbox. It’s a clever idea and quite useful, but it would have been nice to be able to set up more than one inner circle – one for work contacts and one for personal contacts, for example.