As already noted, the numberpad area is flat. This does imbue a certain design chic, but I tend to find that flat number pads aren’t as good for fast data entry as raised keys. In particular this is the case with the Qtek 8500 where SMS creation is concerned.
With 64MB each of ROM and RAM the Qtek 8500 doesn’t have a great deal of room for you to add your own software into the Windows Mobile 5.0 mix. After a hard reset the on-board system info told me I had 13MB of storage memory and 28MB of program memory free.
You can augment the available storage using microSD cards (they are also known as TransFlash). Cards are available in capacities up to 1GB. You’d be advised to buy the biggest capacity card you can afford as changing them is fiddly and you need to remove your SIM card to get to the slot.
Augmenting the Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone software is the full suite of ClearVue viewers. This provides you with viewing (not editing) facilities for Microsoft Word and .rtf format documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and PDF documents.
It is a pity that the connector which is shared by the headset and PC synch cable is a proprietary type. In these days of mini USB everywhere, having to carry a separate USB synch or power cable for this device may annoy frequent travellers. The quality of sound output from the provided stereo headset is pretty good, but again it is annoying that you can’t swap the in-ear buds for your own headphones.
Any handset that purports to play music needs to offer good battery life. My standard Windows Mobile Smartphone test forces the screen to stay on and sets the volume as high as possible, leaving GSM turned on and any wireless (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) turned off. In this case the external display time out was set to 30 seconds, the maximum available. I then looped MP3 music through the device speaker.
I got just over four hours of music, which is pretty poor for a music playing handset. It might not be enough to see me through a day out of the office on business. More worrying, the low battery warning came just six minutes before power failed, so I’d need to be very careful about monitoring battery levels while listening to music to ensure the handset retained enough juice to make an important call late in the day.
It is nice to see Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone break away from the candy bar format, and there is nothing amiss with the software itself which stacks up to its appearances in other hardware well. Indeed the inclusion of the ClearVue suite could be quite an advantage for some. The wheeze of offering a pink variant should increase the Qtek 8500’s appeal, too.
But there are plenty of alternatives to choose from in the Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone camp, and unless you are a flip phone fan not a great deal to recommend this variant over one of the others.