HTC S630 Cavalier with WM6 Standard

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INTRODUCTION

    The HTC S630 Cavalier is largely considered to be the successor to the HTC Excalibur (S620), bringing such improvements as faster processor, 3.5G radio, better camera, new form factor, dynamic light detection, the list goes on. When reviewing this device, we also decided to run some comparisons between the Cavalier and the Excalibur, given they are in the same family of devices. Therefore, the following review takes a close look at the Cavalier, plus compares some aspects of this device with the Excalibur. How does it fare? Is it a worthy replacement? Read on as this unit is put to the test!

WHAT’S HOT

    In the specs department, the Cavalier features a Samsung SC32442 400MHz processor, 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM, 2MP camera, GSM with UTMS/HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, and a 2.4" QVGA screen… All within a package only slightly larger than the Excalibur. The device has a nice matte finish. Although not quite as rubberized as the Excalibur, it’s certainly no fingerprint magnet. The finish is smooth build quality is solid (although the battery door did not sit flush, see image below).

Device
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44" x 2.47" x 0.52"

132 | 4.65
4.44" x 2.27" x 0.63"

156 | 5.61
4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"

157 | 5.53
4.33" x 2.09" x 0.59"

117 | 4.12
4.66" x 2.48" x 0.47"

130 | 4.58
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.64" x 2.36" x 0.48"

129 | 4.55
3.96" x 2.34" x 0.67"

133 | 4.76
4.68" x 2.44" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.58" x 2.42" x 0.47"

120 | 4.20
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.65"

178 | 6.28
3.92" x 2.41" x 0.60"

137 | 4.83
4.24" x 2.09" x 0.53"

117 | 4.12
4.17" x 2.00" x 0.85"

151 | 5.34
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.57" x 1.70" x 0.64"

140 | 4.94
4.88" x 2.44" x 0.53"

130 | 4.56
4.21" x 2.20" x 0.55"

120 | 4.20
4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47"

146 | 5.15
4.63" x 2.19" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.35" x 2.07" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.56" x 2.41" x 0.51"

125 | 4.41
4.44" x 2.36" x 0.55"

133 | 4.69
4.01" x 1.98" x 0.55"

124 | 4.37
8.28" x 4.67" x 1.08"

640 | 22.5
4.48" x 2.52" x 0.59"

154 | 5.43
4.17" x 2.38" x 0.68"

147 | 5.18
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.71"

165 | 5.82
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.41" x 2.28" x 0.73"

140 | 4.94
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.45"

110 | 3.88
4.56" x 2.36" x 0.70"
200 | 7.05
4.30" x 2.40" x 0.60"
120 | 4.23
4.20" x 2.30" x 0.60"
136 | 4.79
3.70" x 2.30" x 0.60"
126 | 4.44
4.48" x 2.39" x 0.51"
116 | 4.09
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"

134 | 4.70

4.10" x 2.10" x 0.60"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.32" x 0.75"
190 | 6.70

PRODUCT FEATURES

    The following set of shots runs through a hardware depiction plus comparison images.

What’s in the box? The HTC Cavalier, 1100 mAH battery, car/wall charger, USB cable, warranty info, quick start plus user manual, MS Outlook trial, stereo headset. Note: no case is included.

Here’s the device in the flesh. Note the new footprint.

Here it is next to a common item; it’s still nice and compact.

The rear of the unit contains speaker grill, camera + mirror, battery door and rubber stoppers.

Top right above the screen contains the light meter; this effectively measures the amount of ambient light available and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly. Very cool.

Rear of the unit contains the camera as mentioned. Here’s a close-up.

In a move away from a majority of other HTC devices, charging is via the top of the device. Access is gained by swiveling a small blank anti-clockwise. The same port is used for the wired headset.

JOGGR… Still there, but now it’s flush with the device. Less chance of accidentally activating it, I presume.

microSD slot is blanked via the same method as the miniUSB port; small plastic rotating insert. The voice memo button is also visible in this shot.

Now for the keyboard. Noticeable differences from the Excalibur, the number pad has been shifted right a character and is not a different color.

Also absent from the keyboard is a camera shortcut. This is because there is now a dedicated camera hardkey (above). Note how the battery door is not flush..?

Cavalier and Excalibur side by side. In this shot, the difference in size is noticeable.

Here’s look at the two jog strips. Note how the Excalibur’s is on a ~45 degree angle whereas the Cavalier’s is flat.

A look alongside the Moto Q9. Although the Q is larger, it has twice the ROM and a third more RAM. Click here for a full comparison.

Stack comparison, bottom to top: 5.5 gen iPod, HTC Cavalier, Excalibur, Touch.

Angled stack. Once again: 5.5 gen iPod, HTC Cavalier, Excalibur, Touch.

End perspective. Bottom to top: 5.5 gen iPod, HTC Cavalier, Excalibur, Touch.

A gadget thicket: HTC Touch, 5.5 gen iPod, HTC Excalibur and Cavalier.

Here’s another perspective courtesy of sizeasy: Moto Q9, HTC Cavalier, Excalibur, Touch.


INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

    Regarding software installed on the device, we have a fairly standard, yet complete, suite of applications. The addition of HTC’s Streaming Media is a welcome one, adding native YouTube support.

Default homescreen: only real difference here is that the JOGGR icon is enabled.

Here are the stock applications. I thought the tide was out, but there are a few folders containing additional apps. Of note above, HTC Audio Manager and Streaming Media.

After booting for the first time, there’s 20.5 free megs. Not bad.

Although the memory stats are standard (64/128), there’s enough storage memory to install a decent amount of 3rd party apps should you need to.

Here’s a look at the OS/build versions.

The settings menu. Relatively normal; except Clear Storage (Hard Reset) is located here, not in a folder.

Here’s the contents of the "Expert" folder. I was surprised to see the Task Manager tucked away in here, this is one application that should not be a folder deep.

The "Office Mobile" folder contains the OS6 (Standard) applications, Modaco’s "DoNew" is required to create new documents, otherwise a blank should be saved somewhere on your device and "save as" used to preserve it.

Here’s the "Games" folder, no surprises.

The Comm Manager is slightly different to that of the Excalibur, it’s always green too, regardless of theme chosen!

Feedback is solicited after hard reset/cold boot config; annoying, but nice of them to ask!

MULTIMEDIA

   Next we’ll take a look at the multimedia capability.

The video camera application functioned as advertised, great for capturing quick clips, I wouldn’t rely on it for anything significant though.

The Audio Manager application organizes installed MP3 files,

   As mentioned, the unbranded Cavalier ships with the HTC Streaming Media application. This little gem lets users access m.youtube.com and streams clips directly on the device without any kind of local saving or adapting of files. The below clip demonstrates this ability:

CAMERA

   As mentioned, the Cavalier ships with a 2 mega pixel camera, which is larger than the Excalibur’s 1.3 mega pixel camera. The shots were above par, especially when compared with the Excalibur. Again, great for quick snaps. If you want to do professional photography, however, or take pictures of a special event, I would use a stand-alone shooter.

   

Left: Excalibur set at 1.3mp, superfine. Right: Cavalier set at 2mp, superfine.

PERFORMANCE

   Although I am a T-Mobile customer, the Cavalier is unlocked. I was able to use an AT&T SIM and get online with HSDPA/UMTS technology (High Speed Downlink Packet Access/Universal Mobile Telephone System). I did notice that the battery would deplete significantly faster though, almost akin to using WiFi. Speaking of the battery, just using the device during the normal course of a day with EDGE only (about 20-30 emails, 15 minutes of calls and roughly 30 minutes of web browsing) the Cavalier was done. In comparison, the Excalibur typically would have about 25% life remaining. A big factor is the processor packed within the Cavalier, which brings me to my next observation…

   Regarding actual device speed, the Cavalier is fast, blazing fast. I realize that perception of speed can be somewhat subjective, so I have compared the performance to the Excalibur, in order to showcase the new chip. Note: rather than rely on SPB Benchmark (which I have found to be contradictory at times) I made a short clip of both devices simultaneously installing and subsequently uninstalling Ominsoft 9Hole Golf (free download at microsfot.com). The cab file is approximately 3.5mb. In order to remove confounding variables, both phones were hard reset and neither contained SIM nor microSD cards. The Cavalier still brings up the save location dialog, as there are two locations: Internal Memory or Bluetooth. Therefore, I started the clock when I hit internal memory on the Cav and Install on the Dash. The results speak for themselves… Rather than spoil the surprise, check out the below clip. Excalibur is on the left (blue) Cavalier is on the right (green).

Is the Cavalier really that much faster than the Excalibur? Click the above to view…


HELP SUPPORT

   HTC offer limited tech support, a void that is filled by Negri Electronics, who offer fantastic support via email or phone. They also offer buyback, return and DoA services. If/when this is picked up by a carrier in the US it’s logical to assume they would offer an exchange policy also.

BUGS AND WISHES

    Overall this is a great phone. The processor is blazing fast and 3.5g speeds will certainly impress. No device is perfect though…    

    One of the biggest issues I had with this device was the keypad mapping. Some applications would register a key press as the function/alternate character by default, rather than the actual number/letter chosen. For example, within Windows Live Search, some numbers didn’t work; when pressed they would just ‘beep’ and no actual number would appear. This effects a known handful of applications, I suspect a software fix would be required to ensure these keys are mapped correctly.

    Other issues I have are hardware related. The battery door does not sit flush and the gap can be felt when holding the device. HTC should investigate and ship replacement doors stat. The device is also shaped strangely; the sharp edges give it a cool look, but make it unusual to hold/pocket. The edges quite noticeable.   

    Lastly, it would have been nice to have had builtin GPS.

PURCHASING

   
This item is available from Negri Electronics for USD$542.00 plus shipping. Incidentally, the Touch and Excalibur used in this review are also available from Negri.

PROS

  • 400 MHz processor feels fast

  • Significant number of bands, including HSDPA

  • Dynamic light meter

CONS

  • Battery door does not sit flush
  • Key mapping incorrect for some applications
  • Sharp case edges noticeable in pocket, hand
  • No GPS
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    This is an impressive piece of hardware. The lightening fast processor and high speed network access will mow through just about anything you can throw at it. The issues regarding the erroneous key mapping is unfortunate, almost an oversight. I sincerely hope this is addressed sooner rather than later, as with the battery door problem. These two issues aside, this phone is in a league of its own. It’s difficult to truly quantify the shear speed of this device, in terms of both processor and network. This configuration ensures capability for years to come, and although the battery did suffer, I am certain longer range batteries will become available in due course.

   GPS would have been nice, rounding out the capability of this unit. Stand-alone Bluetooth units have dropped in price in recent months so the capability can be added for an extra $30-40, however, it would have been great to have seen this included.

   Overall though, if you need fast data driven by a fast processor (all in a slim package), I would give this a look. If you’re more inclined to choose battery life over processor, and don’t mind the slower data speeds of the HTC Excalibur, it’s still a close 2nd.




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