Home / Mobile / Mobile Phone / INQ Mini 3G / INQ Mini 3G

INQ Mini 3G - INQ Mini 3G

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


On the back is a two megapixel camera that lacks both autofocus and a flash so is of limited use. It's fine for a quick snap of your mates doing something silly, but you'll have to be sure it's in good lighting as anything else will be blurry and noisy beyond belief. Video is also available, but again is very low quality so will only really be of use in daylight and when your subjects aren't moving around too much. Unfortunately the handset was collected before I had a chance to transfer the shots I'd taken with it to a computer, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

One of the features we most appreciated on the INQ1 was its MicroSD slot, and we're glad to see INQ has managed to retain this on an even cheaper phone. This makes it easy to take your photos and videos from and add music to the phone. Then again, considering you're limited to using the bundled headset for music listening (for which it's pretty rubbish) the idea of using this as a regular mp3 player is one we would discourage.

We were surprised to find a fairly sizeable 1,150mAh battery in this phone as that's larger than some we find in much larger and feature rich smartphones. We were thus a bit saddened to find quoted talk time was only 3.5 hours, despite standby time being an impressive 11 days. In our tests, where we were regularly using the phone for web browsing, Facebook checking, music listening, and photo taking over the course of a few days, we managed to get four days out of it and a full week should be possible with light usage.

The INQ Mini 3G's interface is much the same as that of the INQ1, with a single desktop upon which you can have three widgets selected from a fairly limited range including things like a large clock display, RSS feeds, and weather. Below this is a horizontal carousel of shortcuts to some of the phones main messaging features that 3 refers to as the 'switcher'. Shortcuts include Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Messenger, Mail, Search, and the 3 content portal, and you can add five more shortcuts including links to websites. This carousel is particularly useful as it can be brought forth while in other applications by pressing a button on the side of the phone. This enables you to, for instance, check something on Facebook while in the middle of writing a text message. Once done you can just press the back button and go back to the message you were writing.

The main menu, activated by the front button with the grid of squares, brings access to the phones settings, the general message folder, the camera, music and video players, and web browser. It's a fairly garish menu but is ultimately practical, though a little slow. Other apps include an RSS feed reader, alarms, calculator, notepad, stopwatch and voice recorder.

Of course, the main feature of the INQ Mini 3G is the Facebook and contacts integration. How does this hang together? In a word: perfectly. When adding Facebook contacts you're prompted to select which Facebook contacts to import to the phone, then by what means (phone, Facebook, Skype, etc) you'd like to contact them. It's as simple as that. Unfortunately, due to the pre-launch nature of the software we were testing, we weren't able to sign-in properly to Windows Live Messenger, so couldn't test this feature. However, Skype works just as well as on the INQ1 - no surprise given the software is the same.


The INQ Mini 3G isn't for everyone; it's far too low on features for those that want a true mobile web experience and it's a bit complicated for those that just want a simple cheap phone. However, if you can't afford the former and just want to make sure you're never out of the social loop, then you should definitely consider this phone. Especially if buying for teenage sons and daughters.

Update: We mistakenly thought this phone didn't have a MicroSD slot but have since been informed that it does. We have thus rewritten the paragraph that pertains to this issue and have raised the features score from 6/10 to 7/10.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


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).


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.


September 28, 2009, 4:28 pm

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

comments powered by Disqus