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INQ Chat 3G review

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INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G
  • INQ Chat 3G

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Stand-out design
  • Easy to handle
  • Impressive message capabilities

Cons

  • Stiff keyboard keys
  • Plasticky look and feel
  • Slow refresh rate

Key Features

  • 3.2-megapixel camera
  • 1,500mAh battery
  • 125g
  • Qwerty keyboard
  • 114.5mm x 61.0mm x 12.8mm
  • Manufacturer: INQ
  • Review Price: free/subscription

INQ and its sister company 3 have carved out an enviable niche in the mobile phone market, creating basic low cost phones that still have all the social networking and some of the Internet browsing abilities of much more expensive handsets. The INQ brand started with the INQ1, which cost a mere £80, and was followed by the Mini 3G that took things even lower to £60. Now, the Chat 3G moves things up a gear, adding a full QWERTY keyboard to the mix and raising the price to £89.99. It won't be a combination that appeals to everyone but those wanting a cheap and capable messaging machine should definitely pay attention.

Aesthetically, the splashes of red – most notably the whole back plate – certainly make the Chat 3G stand out from the crowd but in terms of form factor and physical layout this is a plain old QWERTY smartphone of the BlackBerry ilk. Unsurprisingly, this makes it quite a large phone at 113 x 61 x 15mm but a relatively modest weight of 125g and generally neat layout make it easy to handle.

The Chat 3G's keyboard has keys with a very pronounced curve, making them fairly easy to distinguish from each other. However, they are a little stiff and overall we prefer those of the BlackBerry Bold 9700, but then given the price difference you'd expect that to be the case. Certainly the layout is nice and intuitive and the predictive texting works very well, making speedy typing a distinct possibility.

Above the keyboard is a fairly typical selection of navigation keys including call answer and call end buttons (the latter doubling as power), two soft keys, a menu button and one labelled 'C' for Cancel. These all sit around a central circular D-pad that consists of a directional ring and inner selection button. All of these work very well together and make for a very intuitive user experience, though considering the emphasis on messaging we think many people would like to see a trackball or similar for fast scrolling.

Aside from the Chat 3G's generally plasticky look and feel, its screen is the first real clue that this is a budget phone. With a size of 2.4in yet a resolution of just 320 x 240 it is noticeably less sharp than that of just about any similarly sized device we can think of. There's also a lot of contrast shift when viewed from any angle apart from directly perpendicular, and its slow refresh rate can strain the eyes after a while. It's perfectly adequate for general messaging and phone use but viewing web pages or long emails is a chore.

The web browser itself is reasonably capable thanks to its ability to display full size webpages. However, it is quite slow, particularly when scrolling, which combined with the low resolution makes for frustrating progress. Something else that doesn't help is the lack of Wi-Fi, which means browsing is slow wherever you are despite the inclusion of 3G. Factor in the price of this handset, though, and it's about as good as could be expected.

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iamwhoiam

January 11, 2010, 5:06 am

Weird maze game at the back of the back panel?!

xenos

January 11, 2010, 5:18 am

I think your review was worded overly harshly, this costs 90 quid! An iPhone 3GS 16GB costs FIVE times as much.





Clearly a phone for a casual user, if you needed a second phone this would be a fairly good choice in my opinion..

drittenorn

January 11, 2010, 2:13 pm

3 have the Nokia E63 at £100 PAYG at present, which strikes me as a better all round bet at this kind of price point.

Keithe6e

January 11, 2010, 3:01 pm

@xenos: I think your review was worded overly harshly,





Didn't seem harsh to me,.. And also gets a value of 9.





Ed said > it fits its remit of a cheap messaging device perfectly. The integrated social networking apps are all easy to use, the browser is decent, the keyboard is impressive, and the price is definitely right.

jingyeow

January 11, 2010, 5:36 pm

Don't forget each time you top up, for the next 3 months you get 150mb internet and 600 free texts to use. Of course everyone should know by now Skype is free forever on 3.

DrDark

January 11, 2010, 5:51 pm

I'm interested in finding out how good the Twitter client is, compared to say, Gravity, on S60?





The review was ok, although I can't see why two days usage is "not great". It strikes me as "about average these days". Surely then the 3GS's half-a-day is "abysmal"?





Oh, any shots of the packaging it comes in? :)

Ed

January 11, 2010, 9:51 pm

I'm not sure what there is to say about it. It shows your feed and has a box for status updates. It's quite clear and easy to navigate. Seems little different to Gravity which seems little different to twitterific, etc. It's free and advert free which does appeal.





What's wrong with saying it's not great? Average isn't great. The 3GS gets two days easily when used the same amount.





Yes. Added.

Ed

January 11, 2010, 9:55 pm

Oops, sorry, thought we did have a photo of the box. I'll try and get one sorted tomorrow.

Caleb9ce

January 11, 2010, 10:56 pm

Doesn't the INQ Chat have GPS? 3's literature says it has so why was it not reviewed?

Ed

January 11, 2010, 11:11 pm

It does indeed, as noted in the feature table. There's not much to say, it's there, it works with GoogleMaps and various novelty apps available through the INQ hub. It's nothing special.

Premfab

January 12, 2010, 12:30 am

The INQ / 3 combination just doesn't do it for me.





The software is buggy and slow. The hardware is cheap and nasty and 3's reception is pretty rubbish in most places I go. I'm being polite.





I had the INQ1 but this has gone into the bin. I have tried many different phones over the years, but INQ just takes the biscuit. Now, they don't exist for me (yes, they really are that bad).





I would either recommend a cheap nokia (or similar) handset if you want cheap, or save up your money and buy the real thing.

DrDark

January 12, 2010, 3:41 pm

@Ed: Ta, I always like their box art :).


I suppose I've never really used a 3GS for everyday "general use" so can't speak from personal experience. I can't seem to find anyone who doesn't charge theirs daily though :P.

Jay4d0

January 12, 2010, 6:49 pm

3 mobile is the only network that doesn't drive me up the wall with their utter lies of use for data you pay for 1Gb you get 1Gb for any data use you want to use FULL STOP not you pay for some data but you cant use it for email you cant use it for youtube ect.

Janette

November 5, 2010, 3:48 pm

I bought my twin girls this phone for their birthday - 2 months later we have just changed them for the 3rd time!!!!!! they keep freezing and switching off! of the last 2 which I got on Sunday one of them won't even switch on! As an aside 3 store are being VERY UNHELPFUL both in store and on the phone. Any advice please

viktaer

January 31, 2011, 12:29 am

After using this phone for 10 month the data socket stoped working and i cant recharge it or use a hand free set.

Gate420

February 29, 2012, 3:21 am

I love my INQ 3g here in Canada I got it from telus on as a prepaid phone I bought it for 49.95 and inside it had a 25.00 prepaid card so I got the phone for like 24.95 and I love this phone I have had no problems with speed I have found this phone very adequate online and texting and the fact that the charging cable also acts as a data cable and installing and charging it on the computer is great you can easily transfer ringtones, music and games every time you plug it into your computer to charge it you can do a full backup of the phone text messages, calender and phone numbers all backed up daily in case something happens you can restore all your data.The calender alarm is great the phone will actually wake it self up when an appointment nears so if your phone is charged and turned off and an appointment comes up the phone turns itself on and lets you now about your appointment it easily synchronizes with outlook and outlook express. I added an 8 gig sd card and I know have over 300 mp3's and many games for times when your waiting around it came with headphones that you can use to listen to music and even has a mic in it so you can answer the phone while listening to music it also came with an extra back cover in case of accidents.When compared with other phones in it's price range this phone gets a 10 out of 10.

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