The S310 is not the best specified Windows Mobile Smartphone I’ve ever seen, and in fact there are some key specs that disappoint.
First off, there is the memory. With 64MB each of RAM and ROM my sample review unit had just 11MB of storage memory free. You are definitely going to need to invest in a miniSD card to boost this, and you should buy the largest capacity card you can afford, because it lives under the battery making swapping cards a real pain.
Second, the screen is small at 2.0 inches corner to corner, and low resolution at 176 x 220 pixels. To be fair, in everyday use the screen isn’t too bad, but if you compare it to other Windows Mobile Smartphones, now more usually sporting 240 x 320 pixel displays you’ll see the difference in quality immediately.
You might think a smaller screen makes for longer battery life, but the seven and a half hours of continuous music playback I got from my usual test is far from spectacular.
At least the S310 is a quad-band handset, which means if you are an international traveller you can carry it with you and keep on using it.
When it comes to the built in camera you have to settle for 1.3 megapixels and no flash or self portrait mirror. There are some plus points though. One is that when you run the camera software it detects if you have a memory card inserted and asks if you’d like to save images to it. Another is that the settings are very easy to access via the device softmenus so that making settings changes quickly is easy.
Image quality is variable. My standard shot of the coloured tray taken indoors with ordinary lighting is reasonable though not quite as sharp as I’d like. The two images of flowers have good colour reproduction, but if you look at the cat’s head in the final image you’ll see the blurring indicative of some shutter lag. I’ve seen a lot worse than this, but any lag at all is going to make capturing candid shots hit and miss.
HTC adds the ClearVue viewers for PDF files and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the standard Windows Mobile Smartphone software. If you want to use this handset for mobile email they could prove useful, but the low screen resolution and its small size mean it is not ideal for reading documents in these formats.
The S310 is a mix of good hardware design and some let-downs in terms of specifications and functions. It is short on memory, has a poorly located expansion slot and battery life is unremarkable.
Perhaps most disappointing aspect though is the screen. It shouldn’t be a problem if your requirements don’t include viewing information like Web pages and email attachments, which need a higher resolution and larger screen, but this is a smartphone and so you have a right to make that demand.