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.