The operating system features a single desktop on to which you can add up to three widgets out of a choice of Facebook, Twitter, Weather, Google search, Yahoo! search, a clock, and RSS feeds. Below this sits a carousel of shortcuts to the vast majority of the phone's main apps. INQ calls this the 'Switcher' and it can be rotated using either the D-pad or a button that sits on the right edge. By using the latter, the Switcher can be called up when using another program so you can quickly and easily flick between programs (I didn't realise you could do this when shooting the video, thus my negative comment).
The menu button opens a grid of 12 icon shortcuts to quickly open the picture, video and music folders; access the camera; and open the phone's settings (amongst other options). Once you get past the lurid main menu, all the sub-menus are intuitive and use black and white text to keep things simple.
The camera is a very basic 3.2-megapixel affair that has autofocus but no flash. It's just about adequate for the odd sunny outdoor snap but give it a low light situation and it simply can't cope, producing blurry and grainy shots that are next to useless. Likewise, video is pretty awful with just 320 x 240 pixels on offer and a framerate that simply can't cope with motion of any sort.
With the back off, you'll find a 1,500mAh battery sitting below the camera. We got a solid two days of use out of this while using the INQ Chat 3G extensively for our review. This isn't great, but turn off some of the automatic updating of the messaging services and we think this could be extended to three or more days. INQ quotes a talk-time of over nine hours and a standby of 14 days. Call quality was perfectly adequate, though nothing special, and we had no problems with finding a signal.
While the INQ Chat 3G certainly has its limitations, namely its lack of a headphone socket, poor screen, and rather underwhelming build quality, 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.