Review : 3’s brand new social phone – the INQ1

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A phone that allows you to convey your social life and business life together – fun mixed with business – now, that has never happened, unless you count the iPhone 3G and the latest slate of BlackBerry phones. But those are all smartphones, but now, there is a normal phone that could help you convey those lives.

Introducing the INQ1, allowing you to have your corporate e-mail account mixed in with your Windows Live Messenger, Skype and Facebook in one phone. Now, this is truly a dream phone that you must get.

But now, after months of waiting, TECHGEEK.com.au is pleased to celebrate the first of March, and the second year of TECHGEEK.com.au, with our very own take (and yes, we did get it on our hands to play around with it) of the latest new thing from 3.

  • Score:

    3.5 / 10

  • The Good:

    Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger support; slim design; 3.2mp camera

  • The Bad:

    No Wi-Fi; no 3.5mm jack; microSD card under battery; no flash

  • Bottom Line:

    Cheap phone to keep up to date with your online social life

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Design

The design features a sleek, brushed metal look, and is very thin for a slider phone (but it’s not as thin like the iPhone). The keypad, after sliding up the phone, is large (good for those who have fat thumbs), tactile and pretty useful.

The phone is pretty solid, however, the keys may be confusing as the centre button acts like the usual, but from switching from a Nokia phone to this phone for the review saw me learning the new keys for about two minutes or so. The phone also features a dedicated volume rocker, a dedicated camera button and a new button that would bring up the applications on your phone.

The user interface can be equated to a simple version of the Palm’s WebOS, as you can applications on standby – meaning that you can go to one app to another without closing it. However, this seems to only work with the Skype, Facebook, MySpace and Windows Live Messenger applications.

The phone also has a mini USB jack, and this used for almost for everything on the INQ1. From the headphones to charging the battery and data transferring is done with a mini USB jack. However, learning from the first-generation iPhone, with it’s own style of headphone jack, it pretty much annoying.

inq_02v3-Facebook2Features

The phone does pack a lot of features – including a media player, web browsing, a 3.2 megapixel camera – with Video recording, email support, Skype, Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live Messenger and Bluetooth with Stereo support.

The phone’s features is given a huge boost because you can tether your to your laptop and computer to use 3’s own network to connect to the internet. Software is included – which is big plus. As well, given the fact that 3’s network has a lot of content, you will be able to watch a lot of TV channels, like Animax and CNN International on the phone.

The phone has a 50MB capacity, which means you are not going to store music or videos on this phone. However, it does support microSD – just too bad you need to take the back cover and remove the battery to insert or change the microSD.

Like I said, it is pretty much a simple version of WebOS, where contacts are synced from Skype, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger, and caller ID will also show their name and their profile picture. However, since it isn’t a smartphone – this requires a lot of manual work. So if you have over 200 friends and 40 of them have Messenger accounts, you will need to have a lot of time to do all that.

Performance and Network

3’s own network is pretty fast, and this makes the phone a very good choice if you consider 3, and now Vodafone – since both companies recently announced to merge. However, don’t expect this to be right in Vodafone’s hands right now, just wait about two or three years.

Call quality is OK, but it sounds a bit static when calling on Skype – which might be typical from a 3G network, and phone-to-phone calling.

Web browsing is alone the fastest I have ever seen on a browser, and this is using the in-built one, not Opera Mini or any other browser. Video streaming is mainly stutter-free, but there is still some at the beginning – but just hope you have a big download cap.

Just don’t expect to use this on your Wi-Fi network, because it doesn’t support it – and that is also another bummer. Why not have a feature the iPhone does have? That is a question I would like to ask.

Overall

The bottom line is that the phone is pretty much a excellent phone, and reviewing had to be the highlight for the year – and why not celebrate the first day of March, and our second year online, with a review. Of course, if you don’t like reading, we have summarised the good and bad points of the phone.

Editor’s Note (2012) – The phone was reviewed in 2009 and was given a 8.5, and the score reflects phones in 2009 pre-iPhone launch in Australia. We’ve changed our score to reflect 2012 phones.