INQ Chat 3G in-depth review -

 

Look and feel

The QWERTY keypad adds to the phone overall, and the colourful backs livens up the predominantly black fascia.

Ease of use

Social networking is at the heart of the device and it’s easy to set up Facebook, Hotmail and Twitter accounts. This handset is designed to be infinitely usable.

Features

This is a budget phone, so camera and music player are pretty average. But its social networking functionality is top-notch, which is exactly what it set out to achieve.

Performance

Photos turned out quite poorly, though you can upload them directly to Facebook. Sound quality is quite low, and we lost connection a couple of times when talking via Skype. Overall though, performance was good.

Battery life

Battery life was above average.

 INQ Chat 3G Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/8/2011 2:32:31 PM

6

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

10

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

A full QWERTY keyboard enhances the overall social networking experience

Cons:

The phone could do with a more powerful processer. As we opened more applications we did notice a detrimental affect on the overall speed of the device

INQ has to be admired. From being virtually unknown little over a year ago, it has now established itself firmly within the social networking phone arena. We’ve been fans of all its phones so far, but we think the INQ Chat 3G might just be our favourite.

QWERTY keyboard

Having once again teamed up with 3, the main difference between the INQ Chat 3G compared to the INQ1 and INQ Mini 3G is that it sports a QWERTY keyboard as opposed to the standard 3x4. This filled us with excitement, as billing itself as a social networking phone it makes perfect sense to have the best means of communication and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a QWERTY keyboard. The overall design of the phone resembles that of a BlackBerry Curve, with the keyboard compact but spacious enough. INQ has raised all the keys to help differentiate between them, though we did resort to using our nails to guarantee accuracy. The phone itself fitted perfectly in the hand and the ruby back (there is an array of six colours) enhanced the predominantly black colour scheme.

Social networking

As stated, first and foremost the INQ Chat 3G is a social networking phone, so it’s no surprise to find Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Windows Live Messenger all pre-embedded in the phone. However, compared to the previous two INQ incarnations, the Chat 3G is unique in that it can actually stream up-to-date Twitter feeds at regular intervals. Simply set up the feed on your home page et voilà, you’ll be kept in the loop. The same applies for Facebook, and with the capability of customising your home page to include three live feeds, you can have both running at the same time – though we would advise removing the colourful wallpaper as we found this hindered our ability to read the feeds.

Setting these up was easy, and we were poking and Tweeting from our phone in next to no time. However, when we then signed into Windows Live Messenger, we found that the device as a whole began to slow down considerably. When typing text in the various text boxes there was quite often a delay between keying in the letters to them appearing. This led to a degree of confusion as the delay meant we were unsure as to whether our words had been registered, and as a result we ended up typing the same text twice. The INQ Chat 3G would benefit from a more powerful processor, though we should keep the ‘affordable’ price tag in mind. We also found that when we added a new Messenger contact we had to log back in before they appeared in our ‘live’ contacts list, despite them already being online.

Switch key

All of the phone’s applications can be found in the scroll bar that sits alongside the bottom of the home screen. Scrolling through them can be done via the circular D-pad or via the ‘switch’ key found on the right-hand side of the phone. However, what we particularly liked about this switch key is that it brings up the scroll bar no matter what application you happen to be in. It’s affectively a menu that can be pulled up at any time without having to leave that app.

Again, signing into Skype was a cinch and though the call quality was far from perfect, it’s difficult to be too critical of a service that affectively enables you to call other Skype users anywhere around the world free of charge. When calling our friend in Holland, the sound was acceptable, but we did lose connection twice – though this could have just as easily been a fault at her end.

Email delivery

The INQ Chat 3G also caters for keen emailers. Settings for the likes of Yahoo! and Hotmail are preinstalled on the device, so you’ll simply be required to enter your email address and password. While you won’t receive these as ‘push’ (i.e. immediate), you will be alerted at staggered intervals to when you have a new mail. You can also click on send/receive to speed matters along. It’s another string to the INQ Chat 3G’s bow, though for whatever reason the occasional email failed to arrive in our Hotmail account. When we checked on our PC, the emails had arrived safe and sound. Though Hotmail, Yahoo and other webmail accounts aren’t pushed to the device, Gmail is the exception, and you’ll be alerted to emails almost as soon as they have been sent.

In terms of music, the INQ Chat 3G is pretty substandard. There’s no 3.5mm headset port to plug in your own set of cans and music played via the included headset or over the loudspeaker is both echoey and scratched. Likewise, the 3.15-megapixel camera is never going to win any awards. There’s no flash, the photos lacked substance and when testing it in macro (close-up) conditions, it was near impossible to decipher what the original image was. However, INQ deserves brownie points for enabling the uploading of pics direct to both Facebook and Twitter, even if you’ll be restricted to those far from perfect snaps on a night out.

Conclusion

If you’re judging the INQ Chat 3G on what it sets out to be, a social networking guru for a credit crunch busting price, then it’s right on the money. All your social networking needs are catered for, even if the overall experience is not the breeziest affair. The QWERTY keyboard adds to the total package and vindicates our claim that this is the best INQ phone to date.