The INQ1 phone from 3-Mobile
INQ1 from ThreePay-As-You-Go : £66.99
Free on £15/month+ contracts
As I saw recently when I reviewed the Skype Phone S2 from 3, the company doesn't compromise on the hardware to deliver these products. The INQ, like the S2, feels well made. Closed the front brushed aluminium facia looks good and frames the 2.2" QVGA screen. The front slides up to reveal the traditional phone keypad.
Despite being a budget phone the INQ1 sports a 3.2M pixel camera which takes reasonable pictures in good light. Unfortunately there's no flash so pictures in dim light aren't going to be great.
As well as the phone the package includes a stereo headset, charger and USB cable for connection to a computer. Internal memory is somewhat limited to around 50M but you can insert a microSD card to expand this up to 4G bytes. The microSD card inserted into a slot underneath the battery, which wasn't completely obvious.
The USB cable will allow you to copy data back and forth between the installed microSD card and your computer. You'll need to do this to copy music onto the media player. Note that you can't access the contents of the internal memory via USB.
I had no problem copying music to the memory card - the INQ1 doesn't seem to require a particular layout or directory - it just automatically finds the music. Playback by the media player is very good, including playback through the integral speaker.
Bluetooth support allows for connection to a standard bluetooth headset. Of more interest will be the ability to make use of stereo headsets like the recently reviewed Motorola S9 in conjunction with the device's media player.
The INQ1 continues the theme of encouraging growth in the mobile Internet. As with the S2 the INQ1 supports Skype phone calls and also integrates with Facebook, Microsoft Messenger, Google and of course with a reasonable web-browser enabling you to browse on the move.
I was pretty impressed with how easy integration with Facebook worked - simply enter your user name and password and up pops your home page where you can see the current status of all your friends or can make posts onto your wall. Facebook applets aren't however supported.
A nice feature, becoming common in top-of-the-range products was a orientation sensor. Particularly useful when web-browsing and looking at photos. As you rotate the phone the screen image changes from portrait to landscape.
The software on the INQ1 is quite impressive. Despite the low price tag the software is for the most part responsive - and much better than a number of other 'expensive' phones I've tested. A number of activities can take place at the same time, the media player and the photo viewer for example. At times though media playback does stop when something particularly complex is taking place.
In summary a very good phone for those on the move that want to stay in touch. The inclusion of Skype means you can potentially reduce the size of your month phone bill. The only notable weakness is the lack of camera flash.
The INQ1 is available free on contract or for £66.99 on pay-as-you-go which makes it a very attractive product for those that want to keep in touch with their friends. It is however a very good phone in it's own right - in many ways similar to the S2 - so even if you're not a Facebook officianado the INQ1 is well worth a look. Full pricing details are available on the 3-mobile site:
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