INQ Mini 3G in-depth review -

 

Look and feel

The INQ Mini 3G is certainly tiny, and the cheap, bright plastic shell illustrates its low-cost attitude. Having said that, the range of colours bring a fun element to the world of smartphones and will appeal to the target market.

Ease of use

Integration is the name of the game with this handset, and it is incredibly easy and quick to set up the various sites. Over the air updates of apps should also be applauded.

Features

Facebook, Instant Messenger and Skype are all present and correct, and are deeply integrated within the handset. Twitter is the new addition to the line up, and while it works well, we were sorry to find that push updates were not sent to the home screen.

Performance

The INQ Mini 3G achieves exactly what it sets out to do, we had very few issues with performance, although response time was a little delayed on occasion.

Battery life

Battery performance was very good.

The verdict

The INQ Mini 3G is a nice little smartphone that fits its cost bracket and target market perfectly. Young consumers hooked on social networks and profile updates will love this phone and at this price, who can blame them?

 INQ Mini 3G Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,9/13/2010 10:03:57 AM

8

out of 10

Performance

6

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:

Deep Facebook and Windows Live Messenger integration, Twitter support, apps can be updated over the air.

Cons:

Lags in user interface, no push Twitter notifications

INQ came out of nowhere and stormed the social networking arena, a phone genre that didn’t even really exist until that so-called ‘Facebook’ phone, the little INQ1. Its second release is actually two – the Mini 3G and Chat 3G, both of which add Twitter functionality and 3G internet. The Mini is the lower-spec of the two, with a two-megapixel camera in a standard candybar form, but also features Facebook, Skype and Windows Live integration, and iTunes syncing.

Look and feel

If you’re plumping for any kind of lux finish, look elsewhere. Like the INQ1, the Mini’s USP is smartphone features at low, low cost. So its lightweight plastic shell in uber-gloss red and black (choice of seven different colours for the back) should come as no surprise. It’s absolutely tiny at 102.9mmx45.8mmx12.8mm, and larger fingers might have trouble texting on the number keypad.

The home screen is customisable with up to three widgets – weather, Google or Yahoo search, clock, and a choice of RSS feeds. There’s also a scrolling shortcut bar at the bottom with links to most used functions. It’s busy, but it does make everything accessible. The main menu is a funky grid style with blocks for each menu icon, rather like a three by three of paintings. It’s all very intuitive, but there is an occasional lag between pressing the D-pad and action occurring. 

There’s no 3.5mm audio jack, instead, you’ll have to plug in your headphones through a microUSB adaptor. We really liked the fact it charges through microUSB as well – as close as you can get to a universal charger till they’re actually made. In fact, there are a number of small features that make the phone a breeze to use, like the apps that update over the air, and the PC Suite that automatically installs as soon as you plug your phone in.

Integration

The Facebook functionality is excellent – messages, pokes and requests show up in the same inbox as text messages and Skype chats, and once you log into Facebook for the first time, the Mini will prompt to sync contacts with your phonebook, at which point you’ll then be able to view the live status of all synced contacts. Snap a photo, and you’ll have the option to post to Facebook, and fire up Skype and the Mini will automatically access your data connection to make phone calls. Despite the phone being hyped as a ‘Twitter phone’, you don’t actually get push Twitter notifications like you do with Facebook and Skype. But there is a Twitter app on the home screen and once signed in, you won’t be logged out until you turn the phone off.

Email isn’t the focus of the phone – for that you’d look to its QWERTY big bro, the Chat 3G – but you can set up push-email for webmail that uses IMAP protocol (that’s Gmail and Hotmail, at least). Setup isn’t as easy as with the rest of the phone though – instead of the phone automatically finding server settings for email accounts, we had to manually input, which for the tech-phobe  would involve hunting online.

Conclusion

Sure, we’d like to see deeper Twitter integration like the Chat 3G has, and small lags in the interface could get annoying over time. But the Mini 3G plays perfectly to its strengths and audience – that light of pocket, social networking ‘yoof’ - and for the money, you can’t ask much more than that.