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.
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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.”’