The keyboard does have an ace up its sleeve, however: the keys are backlit, which makes the device easy to use in conditions where light is at a premium - in a bar or restaurant, say. And the navigation keys are also well spaced, sensibly laid out and extremely easy to use. The large d-pad doesn't require you to grow a couple of extra millimetres of thumbnail to click accurately and makes getting around in Windows Mobile a doddle. The soft keys are thoughtfully raised and there's a Windows Start menu key and a couple of shortcut keys for the video phone and email alongside the usual hang-up and pick-up buttons.
Around the edges of the device, the controls are more spartan. On the left edge is a scroller wheel - handy for whizzing up and down your contacts list. On the right is a MicroSD slot. The power switch is on the top, along with the nicely-made metal stylus, and on the bottom edge is the usual hands-free audio connector and mini-USB socket for charging and synchronisation.
The software setup isn't particularly exciting: you get bog-standard Windows Mobile 6 Professional, with not much extra thrown in. I did, however, think that the inclusion of WorldCard Mobile - a piece of software that takes advantage of the macro function on the two megapixel camera to enable you to shoot and edit business cards - was a genuinely thoughtful one. And battery life is good, rated at up to four hours for talk time and 250 hours on standby which translates, impressively, to anything from three four days of occasional phone, web and Wi-Fi use.
On the face of it, Ubiquio's 503G is a Blackberry copy that's as good as any of the competition. It certainly takes on, if not beats, Palm's Treo 500v in terms of sheer feature count, with it including HSDPA and Wi-Fi as well as a front-facing camera for video calls. It's also solidly built and its controls are well-thought out. However, the camera is a little underpowered and there's no GPS, but these aren't prerequisites for a business email tool. What is necessary is a keyboard that is reasonably easy to use, and on this front, alas, the 503G pulls up short.