Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - Review

Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - Review

Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - ReviewAlso known as the HTC Cavalier, the Dopod C730 is an update to the C720W, joining the ranks of devices running on the latest Windows Mobile 6 Standard platform. The main difference between the C730 and the C720W is the addition of 3G in the former, with support also for faster HSDPA connection.


The sides and back of the C730 are made of stiff plastic with a brown metallic color. On the front, a brushed matte-silver surface surrounds the screen and keypad. While its general shape and size are similar to the C720W, the newer model comes across as more conventional and sophisticated in its design because of the lack of striking contrasts between the silver and brown parts.

With a side profile of 13.5mm, the C730 is a tad thicker but 10g lighter than the C720W with a 12.8mm girth and weighing 130g. Overall, the C730 still falls into the thin-and-light category and it sits comfortably in our pockets. More importantly, it feels good in the hands.

Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - Right SideHowever, as a QWERTY handheld, the C730 doesn't quite impress. Although the array of controls below the 2.4-inch, QVGA display are large and provide tactile feedback, we can't say the same for the keyboard. The keys are rather small and there's no spacing between each button. So we ended up pecking on the keys instead of thumbing our messages. Not a big problem if you have small digits or are just sending a short text message, though we won't say the same if we had to edit a long Word document.

An interesting element which the C730 has brought over from its predecessor is the touch-sensitive strip on the right edge of the phone. It controls the volume, opens up the messaging application and allows us to return to the previous menu. But we're not huge fans of this touch strip.

There were times when it got a little temperamental and turned cranky on us. That said, it's not all that bad because other than the volume area, the other two touch-sensitive parts require the user to double-tap to activate. And if we really hated it, we could turn it off altogether or specify it to do only certain tasks, like adjust volume in-call.

Unlike the C720W which has the microSD expansion slot behind the battery cover along the right side, the media slot on the C730 is on the left edge of the unit, making it a whole lot easier to swap cards.


Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - Left SideOther than the addition of 3G and HSDPA connectivity features on this quadband Dopod, the biggest difference between the C730 and the older C720W is the operating system. The C730 runs on the latest Windows Mobile 6 Standard edition, while the C720W is powered on the Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone edition. For a full review of Windows Mobile 6, click here.

That said, we didn't feel that there's a major overhaul between the two platforms, though there are some definite improvements on the newer OS. For instance, the WM6 ships with Office Mobile by default so we could view and edit Word and Excel PowerPoint documents on the smart phone without the need to install third-party applications. PowerPoint files, however, remain view-only. One other thing to note is that the programs don't allow the user to create new documents, at least not on the Standard edition devices.

Other refinements include the ability to view emails in all their full HTML (only on Exchange 2007) glory as well as a more friendly user interface for emails, contacts and calendar. There's also a task bar on the top row of the home screen which displays the most recently used programs. Windows Mobile 6 additionally integrates some services to give a more desktop-like experience such as the Live Search function and Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger).

We like how WM6 attempts to integrate all the various programs and services together for a wholesome experience, but we also noticed that keeping an always-on connection drains the battery rapidly. Syncing with our Exchange server was a breeze. One thing we noticed was that if we had already specified to sync, say, Contacts via a PC connection, the device would not allow us to sync Contacts again over-the-air. We had to disable the selection on the sync profile before we could do that.

As a multimedia device, the C730 is pretty much like the rest of the competition and there aren't big surprises. The 2-megapixel shooter on the back is still missing an LED flash and the handheld sorely lacks a front-facing camera for 3G video calls. It supports Bluetooth stereo (and AVRCP) so we could use our wireless headsets if we didn't want to utilize the onboard speakers on the back of the unit.

With Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, the C730 can read AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA and AMR files. Rather disappointing is the omission of an audio jack. Instead, we had to rely on the mini-USB port on the top of the phone for plugging in a USB headset, charging and synchronizing.

There's also a nifty Internet Sharing program which allows the user to deploy the C730 as a modem to share Internet connection with a computer over Bluetooth. While we're at it, this Dopod is also Wi-Fi-enabled.

On the technical specifications, the Dopod C730 is powered by a 400MHz Samsung processor with 64MB of RAM and 128MB of flash ROM. There's about 20MB of free memory to run applications.


Dopod C730 Quadband 3G Phone - BackWe tested the quadband (850/900/1800/1900MHz) Dopod C730 with our HSDPA M1 SIM card in Singapore. The unit has a rated talktime of about 6 hours and maximum standby time of 8.3 days. In actual use, with minimum Wi-Fi, 3G or HSDPA connection, the 1050mAh Lithium-ion battery lasted about two days (less if you sync with Exchange often) before it konked out. During our tests, we also synchronized with our Exchange server a couple of times and went online with Live Messenger using our HSDPA connection.

Image quality was rather decent and the image sensor tended to clip the shadows to retain the highlights. With post-processing, we could actually bring out more details from our pictures. Still, the lack of an onboard flash limited shooting options in darker environments.

As for sound quality, we didn't have any complaints. The party on the other end could hear us fine both on the speakerphone and when we had the phone to our ear. The only thing to note was that the C730 doesn't have hard buttons for volume control. Instead, we had to slide up or down the touch strip to adjust the volume.