Singapore and Cellphones

May 31, 2008 / Culture, Opinion, Reviews / 21 Comments

Singaporeans are incredibly infatuated with cellphones. Everywhere you go people are text messaging, chatting, emailing all the time. It has been said that the annual cellphone sales in Singapore is often double the population of the country. So why the craze? Cellphones, otherwise known here as handphones, is a symbol of fashion forwardness, education and social standing. Decidedly, the very first thing I bought when I arrived was a brand-new cellphone.

Having just returned from a technology unsavvy country such as Canada, I wasn’t going to spend too much money on something I rarely use. But as much as I hate to admit, I’m quite the gadget enthusiast. Looks don’t matter too much. For me, the more functions the phone has, the more bang for my buck. So, I looked hard for a smartphone with wi-fi access and a QWERTY keyboard. The pool of the latest phones quickly narrowed down to two: Sony Ericsson P1 and HTC S730.

Sony Ericsson P1HTC S730

Sony Ericsson’s P1 QWERTY felt strange to the touch. HTC S730 lacked a touch screen. But I ultimately let ergonomics win me over and chose the HTC S730.

HTC S730 Review

So I’ve been using the HTC S730 for about a week now. The features are endless so I can’t say I know how to fully operate the phone but I’d say I’m an intermediate-advanced user. I’m not a professional phone review, so I won’t go into meticulous details. Thought I’d just make list of pros and cons that anyone considering to buy this should know and then wrap it with my concluding opinion.


  • Latest connectivity: 3.5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HSPA and Internet Sharing.
  • Two Good Cameras: Main camera has 2 Megapixels. Secondary VGA camera for self-camwhoring. No flash but both capture light very well!
  • Useful functions: Microsoft Office, QWERTY Keyboard, MSN Messenger, Adobe Reader, RSS Aggregator and Flash Lite Player.
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile is great for downloading many free programs like Skype on the phone.


  • Runs on Windows Mobile: Also means that it’s slow and inefficient in starting up both the phone and applications.
  • Badly-designed menus and confirmations: The developer who programmed the menu and the commands should really be shot. Everything is counter-intuitive. For example, I would expect that when I transfer SIM contacts to the phone, I’d find it under the Contacts menu or possibly under Settings. But no, the developer had to put it in an application called SIM Manager filed under a Folder called Expert – as if transferring contacts is an advanced use.
  • Badly-design file explorer: The file explorer is designed to mirror normal PC Windows. It’s very functional on a computer but quite a drag on a phone. I don’t want to be looking through phone system files while searching for a file I just sent from my computer. It’s very dangerous since I could accidentally delete something vital for phone operations.

Final Verdict


HTC clearly did a good job taking care of the ergonomics and design. The keyboard and keypad are both fairly comfortable to use – though I would have preferred the keyboard keys to be slightly larger. The camera is amazing for a 2 megapixel. Photos are sharp, colors are bright even in poor light and without a flash. Battery is decent; it lasted about two days with some bluetooth, wi-fi and 30 mins of phone calls. The matte gray finish looks quite elegant and professional. Definitely something you could bring to the office and look good in.

The biggest problem is with its operating system. Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 needs to go back to the drawing board. It’s slow, cumbersome and can barely sustain itself in a phone with 256MB ROM + 64MB RAM. The menus are a pain to use. Even for a gadget geek like me, I had to refer to the instructions manual to do some very basic things like deleting contacts.

With all that said, this is an amazing smartphone for a low price. To be precise, I got it FREE for a 2 year contract. I’d pay a few hundred for this, if I had to. This is a Blackberry and more. It’s designed for the business user, but after holding a few MSN conversations with it and checking my RSS subscriptions on it, I’d say it can definitely be used for leisure too!

Hope you enjoyed this haphazard review. Will sweep for grammatical and spelling errors tomorrow morning. I may also add a few camera samples. I’m too sleepy now. Sorry!

  • Id

    Wow, so we both have new phones. You said you wanted to play with mine, and now I can play with yours..
    .. shit that sounded wrong.

    Btw, I’ll be back around 5 p.m.. I think I’ll be in Terminal 2. You wanna have dinner or sumfin? I’m only bringing a small wheelie so luggage aint a problem.

  • Id

    Emailing you my flight information right now. Mwaks!

  • LOL, I see cell phones EVERY WHERE here. =P I’m glad to hear that you love your phone, though! =) Hehe, when I get my phone(it’ll be my first), it’ll be just a simple phone for now, since I don’t have any money to pay for anything more(the phone and service). Hehe.

  • Wow, the phones look very nifty!
    But I dunno, even though new gadgets fascinate me, the only thing I ask for a handphone is that it can call/sms well, able to store some songs and has a camera šŸ˜€

    A phone with too many functions might just send me to a decade of confusion. (considering my level of tech-savyness)

  • I was contemplating whether to get a HTC too but the one I wanted was wayy outta my price range. I’m happy with my Blackberry right now but oh so looking forward to the Blackberry Bold!!! Woot!

  • Ahh… You put SO much thought into buying your cell. -_-;

    I want a new one, but I don’t really want to waste the money nor am I capable of choosing one that’ll be worth it. XD

    Hope you have fun with your new cell! šŸ™‚

  • You sound a lot like me before buying a new toy. I always put a lot of thought into it, do research, and read reviews. šŸ˜›

    Great choice though!

    I have an LG chocolate. It’s good enough for me.

  • wow, a full review, very thoughtful šŸ˜€ Cell phones are sexy, aren’t they. I think I get to buy a new one this year, but I love mine so much, i don’t know if I could part with it.

  • Nice review!
    After I got my Nokia N95 I actually began to take an interest in cellphones. It’s got a 5Mpx camera, mp3 player and full wifi/3G/GPS interoperability.
    Did you consider a Nokia phone?

  • Lol, it kinda hurt to read this post, as I’m a huge HTC person… and a fan of Windows Mobile!! Heheh no worries, no hard feelings though. I got the Touch, so regardless, I still enjoy mine. I do agree though, the OS is a bit slow… however if you take a look at the sneak preview of WM7, it looks more amazing and sufficient. I’m sure after a week or two, your views about the HTC will change. Happy HTC-ing!

  • I’m not thatttt into cellphones, and I usually use cellphone for very basic functions like calling, text messaging and taking photos. Currently I’m using k770i and I have no problems with it. It’s very slim and light, and the design is very clean and neat, just my type of phone!

  • even in the US..they are cell phone obsessed.

    it’s not as crazy here in Canada…i think it also has to do with the hiiiigh service fees

  • Btw, I really can’t bring myself to NOT PUKE over htc. It really is the most terrible phone-invention since the iPhone (or vice versa).

  • lol, I am quite the gadget enthusiast too. But I always need to stop myself before I end up spending lots of money on things I don’t need or use too often (though the money to feature ratio might be very good).

    But your HTC looks very nice! And free with a two-year contract is a REALLY good price! *envious*

  • You’ve just reminded me that I need a new phone badly! My ancient Nokia 6610i has survived many mishandlings and accidents and it’s still working, but recently the keypad started to malfunction from time to time, and only will start working again when a hard tap on the phone reminds it of it’s missing appendages.

    It’s sad that the HTC phone doesn’t come with a touchscreen (since the latest HTC models do), but at least the QWERTY keyboard is a breeze of operate, unlike the weird (but inspirational and refreshing) design on Sony Ericsson’s.

    One of the biggest weakness (and probably the strengths) of the HTC phone is that it works on Windows Mobile. The bad thing is that it’s slow, inefficient (like all Microsoft products are), but the good thing is that it’s GUI is familiar to Windows users šŸ™‚

    p/s: A warm and belated welcome to Singapore!

  • Both of those phones are cool. I would have chosen the HTC also. Too bad my company doesn’t offer many phones šŸ™

  • Hello Ivy. I’m very late with this comment… I hope you are feeling better now. Is it strange to be back in Singapre or pretty much as you expected?

    Enjoy the phone… It looks cool! I’m very boring with phones. I always choose Nokia because I’m too lazy to learn a different interface! The HTC looks quite friendly though.

  • Thu

    Good choice. Even though I am a fan of SE phones, but the keyboard on the P1 just doesn’t cut it for txting. The keyboard is so similar to the BlackBerry Pearl, I just can’t get used to it.

    But not a bad choice in picking HTC. They’re not that bad, just they do need to clean up their confusing menu.

    I hope to get a new phone soon, possibly the side kick slide because txting is very important.

  • Any phone with Windows on it is no friend of mine. I would much rather have the Sony or the iPhone lol. Even the Blackberry would be better *nods* I haven’t liked any of the HTC products thus far… none of them have really been able to impress me. I’m such a phone junky myself… every 5 months or so I get a new phone xD I think I have had 4 different ones this past year alone? Lol.

  • One of my groupmates has a smartphone… although not as prettyful as that one o__O

    Enjoy the phone! It looks crazy good!