The black design is great, and the sliding keyboard has a real ‘wow factor’ about it.
The lack of a touch-screen is a notable omission.
Wi-Fi and HSDPA are both great assets, but there is no GPS. This is, after all, a phone format device rather than a PDA-style one.
The device is a neat performer. The buttons are easy to use and the keyboard is small and nicely designed.
With five hours of talktime on offer this is a fairly long-lasting smartphone. Just don’t thrash the Wi-Fi or HSDPA.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,2/2/2012 3:02:03 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Neat and small but still totes a sliding QWERTY keyboard
The lack of a touch-screen can be annoying.
O2’s Xda smartphone series has been around for a long time, and new models get added to the range as time trundles on. It is fair to say that the Xda range has always shown a preference for touch-screen Windows Mobile devices over the non-touch-screen phones, but the Xda Atmos falls into the latter camp.
The Xda Atmos is, in fact, an HTC product. Available as the SIM-free HTC S730, it has had a bit of a shell redesign for O2, and some tweaking to its innards too, but the basic idea remains the same.
The device looks like a candybar, yet it packs in a QWERTY keyboard. The Xda Atmos is made in two parts, with the keyboard on the lower part. This slides out from a long edge of the Atmos when needed. When you slide it out the screen flicks itself automatically from candybar-style portrait format to landscape.
The double layer design is not unfamiliar, as smartphones with sliding keyboards generally adopt it. It makes the Xda Atmos slightly thicker than your standard candybar mobile.
And if you are into mobile email you’ll be happy with Office Mobile, which is part of Windows Mobile 6.0, as you can tap away and edit email attachments, and then send them. You won’t be able to touch-type really fast, but the keyboard is a fine thumbpad.
The Xda Atmos is well specified for over-the-air communications, with HSDPA, Bluetooth and a front-facing camera for two-way video calling. It also has Wi-Fi built in, which means you can use the phone via your own home or office network for a spot of web browsing.
The front fascia design manages to achieve a feat that not all smartphones achieve. The screen is relatively large at 2.4 inches from corner to corner, and it seems to dominate the handset. However, the buttons, while they look somewhat squeezed, remain easy to use. This is in no small part due to some clever button arrangement. The number keys are quite small but they are nicely shaped so that individual keys are easy to find. The Call and End keys are long and sit to the left and right sides, leaving lots of space for a relatively large navigation pad and softmenu buttons.
In general, we prefer Windows Mobile smartphones to have a touch-screen, as it makes it easier to get around. However, we like the general design of the Xda Atmos; its sliding keyboard is really swanky and easy to use, and the screen is relatively large.