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INQ Mini 3G review

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

We were seriously impressed by INQ's first mobile phone, the INQ1. It was a cheap, simple slider phone that slickly incorporated a number of social networking features as well as Skype calling and was available on 3 on some very tempting web oriented tariffs.

A few months down the line and we now have the successor to the INQ1, the INQ Mini 3G. Like its predecessor, it focuses on providing the cheapest, simplest route to all your social networking favourites, so includes apps for Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Windows Live Messenger and is available either for free on a £15 per month contract of for £59.99 on pay as you go. On contract you get free Internet (including Skype calls), free calls to other 3 network users, free voicemail, and 75 minutes of regular calls, while on pay as you go Skype calls are free and you get a good portion of free Internet access as well - mileage varies depending on how much you top up at a time.

Unlike the INQ1 this is a candybar phone with a fixed keypad, which sits below the 2.2in LCD screen. Its dimensions are just 46 x 13 x 103mm and it weighs a thoroughly featherweight 90g, so those that like their mobiles small and unobtrusive will certainly be fans. That said, the somewhat garish design may put off some of you, though we're inclined towards thinking its quite cute.

Unsurprisingly, considering its price, build quality isn't outstanding with all visible parts being made of plastic and general manhandling of the device revealed a few creaks and wobbles. However, none of this leads us to be genuinely concerned that it will fall apart at the drop of a hat.

Keys are arranged in a fairly typical manner, with call answer and call end/home buttons flanking two soft keys, a menu button, and a delete/clear button, while in the centre is a circular D-pad with a central confirmation button. Below these sit the number pad, which is laid out in a fairly conventional style. All buttons are somewhat stiff and don't have the most purchase-friendly coating, but nonetheless we were able to use them all without too many complaints, despite the number pad keys being joined in horizontal rows.

Above the keys is the screen that sports a resolution of 240 x 320, which is typical for such a cheap handset. It's quite bright and vivid and was easily visible in bright sunlight, however viewing angles aren't great with colours and contrast dropping off noticeably.

More worryingly for such an Internet centric handset, though, is the sparsity of information you can fit on screen. While the web browser supports full web pages, browsing round them is a tortuous task as you can't easily zoom in and out (and there's no landscape mode to eek a little more space out) and otherwise only see a tiny portion of the page at one time. For websites with mobile viewing modes its less of a problem and you can use a 'fit to screen' viewing mode for other sites, but this still isn't ideal. All this said, for a £60 handset we wouldn't expect much more and it's good enough for emergency use.

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Premfab

September 28, 2009, 12:51 pm

If the software is the same as the INQ1, then this deserves to (and will) fail ....





The INQ1 has loads of usability issues (even with the latest firmware)- connects slowly to any web service, then disconnects you, phone shuts down frequently, poor customer support, etc





Don't take my word for it - check google for INQ1 issues.





Save your money and buy a toy phone from a toy shop - at least everything will work (a bit harsh, but not far from the truth).

Gordon394

September 28, 2009, 4:06 pm

@Prem - I'm afraid you're making the cardinal reviews error: assumptions about a product before actually seeing it and trying it yourself. The Mini 3G has new software compared to the INQ1 (which I still think is an excellent little handset) and for £59.99 on pre-pay there's simply nothing to compare to its software functionality.

Ed

September 28, 2009, 4:28 pm

I can confirm that we had no issues of the sort mentioned by Prem.

Bartolli

September 28, 2009, 6:49 pm

I beg to differ with Gordon's comments, whether a product fails or succeeds can have little to do with actually how good it is. I myself have read many horror stories from dissatisfied INQ customers, which to be honest, stopped me buying one. It only has to plant that little seed of doubt in your brain to make a huge impact.





In my opinion the INQ concept is absolutely fantastic, and as an ex-3 customer (I have nothing against 3 BTW - just switched to Vodafone for work purposes) but it was built down to a price and as such was quite badly executed. So I saved up and bought an iPhone - you do get what you pay for.

rav

September 29, 2009, 1:55 am

I bought an INQ1 pretty much just for the sake of it and mainly based on the TR coverage. It's not my main phone but I do think it's great. For the money the functionality is amazing. It even does some things better than my Hero. Maybe if it was my main phone I'd think differently but I think it's great.

Gordon394

September 29, 2009, 2:50 am

@Bartolli - I'm sorry, you cannot disagree if you haven't actually tried one. It's a shame users have run into problems, but we haven't seen any in either of our two reviews. Scepticism is fine, but judgement cannot be done blindly.

Bartolli

September 29, 2009, 12:33 pm

@Gordon - I actually spent a good 20 minutes playing with one in a shop, was pretty close to buying it based solely on your preview if I remember correctly, as the full review wasn't out. But there was a bit of a lag on the handset and it made me hesitate, and I am glad. The 'Appreciation Society' on Facebook makes for pretty grim reading. It seems the INQ1 just doesn't work in real life, and I think a judgement based on that information is just fine.

jingyeow

September 29, 2009, 5:07 pm

I've had my INQ since launch (when it was much cheaper! 79.99) and the facts are, its a well built phone, the phone has a nice weight and no creaks anywhere.





The software is again pretty good, but the phone is very sluggish. There are "second" waits everywhere when navigating. Which soon add up when browsing on the phone. Pictures have 5 second waits to load, and the camera is appalling.





Without the slow menus I would be very content considering this isn't a smartphone, I mean free skype. 600 free texts and 200mb free internet when you top up £10 is something rarely matched.





My next phone will be an iPhone, but as a bridge phone INQ offers a lot that will be missed when I leave 3, whose network isn't the best of the big names.

Stelph

November 27, 2009, 5:51 pm

The phone is now £39.99 direct from 3, plus if you use the cashback site Quidco (ggogle it) you get £18 cashback so the phone only actually costs you £21.99. Not bad for facebook, twitter, skype and more on the go!

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