There are three buttons beneath the front display, picked out in silver. These are music control keys. You can skip about between tracks, pause and restart. I found I could even start playback using these buttons after periods when the handset was powered down. But switching between internal memory and storage card needs Windows Media Player, which you can only access through the main screen.
The buttons around the handset edges aren’t marked with their functions, so you’ll have to remember what they are for. This is not too onerous as there are only three of them. On the left edge is a volume rocker. A long press on one end of this launches the Windows Mobile Voice Tag software while a long press on the other end launches the Windows Mobile voice recorder.
Oddly, the manual attributes these functions to long and short presses of the only other key on this edge, which in fact launches the Windows Mobile Comm Manager, a central control area where you can turn GSM communications on and off, toggle Bluetooth, tweak how your Outlook email works, disconnect GPRS (you can’t connect GPRS from here), switch between ringer and vibrate modes and run ActiveSync. Any options not currently available are greyed out.
On the right side is a single button, dedicated to the built in camera. Its lens sits on the front of the casing. With the flip closed you can use the front screen to frame pictures of yourself, with it opened you can shoot outwards as you would with an ordinary camera.
The camera shoots at resolutions up to 1.3-megapixels (160 x 120, 320 x 240, 640 x 480 and 1,280 x 1,024), and has a maximum 8x digital zoom depending on the resolution you are shooting at. There are greyscale, sepia and cool effects as well as white balance presets for daylight, night, incandescent and fluorescent conditions and an auto and user tweakable option. Image quality is reasonable, but the software seemed to forget instructions I gave it between instances of turning the handset on and off, so that I had to remind it to save images to a memory card, for example.
With the flip open the Qtek 8500 is a much larger handset. The 2.2in, 240 x 320 pixel main screen looks a little lost in its surroundings. The number pad benefits from the amount of space available to it, stretching almost the full width and height to be had.