When you switch this phone on you are presented with a horizontal bar of shortcuts running along the bottom of the screen. 3 calls it the ‘switcher’. This is exactly the same as the Skypephone’s interface.
What you have access to via this horizontally scrolling menu is Windows Live Messenger, 3 Web favourites, 3 mobile email, the handset’s web browser, Google searching, Skype, messages, contacts and of course Facebook. You can add up to five items to the switcher including favourite websites.
From anywhere on the phone you can hit a side button and the switcher menu pops up, with an additional option to take you right back to the phone’s home screen. I think the switcher is superb. Simple, customisable, and yet very effective.
As for the Facebook business, well, you can get the phone to log into your account automatically or do it manually as you require. It gives access to your wall, photos, contacts and inbox. You can get updates pushed to the phone so you know when someone emails you on Facebook. You can also upload images and pull down contact’s images into the phone book.
In fact, the phone’s contact book lets you get to people via Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook, email, SMS or voicemail and it shows connection status for the first three of those so you can choose the best way to reach them at any given moment.
There is, of course, more stuff here too. Tapping the hardware ‘menu’ button takes you to a 4 x 3 grid which provides access to the rest of what is on offer including music player, RSS feed reader, alarms, calculator, notepad, stopwatch and voice recorder. Of course, this is a 3G handset (to 3.6Mbps) and it doubles up as a plug and play USB modem.
You can put three widgets onto the Home screen, choosing from a small range of options. Most of them are connected features such as RSS feeds, weather updates and a Google search bar. I’d have liked to have seen a greater choice, but it is a start.
In hardware terms the INQ1 is a small format slider. It measures 97mm tall when closed and grows to about 130mm when opened. It is 47.6mm wide and 14.4mm thick and it weighs 110g. The build quality is good and I particularly like the number pad whose keys are both large and responsive.
The screen is perhaps a little small at just 2.2 inches, but its 320 x 240 pixels are bright enough and an accelerometer helps a bit when viewing information-rich data such as web pages. The flat Call, End, menu and Clear buttons are easy to find and press, and the softmenu keys are raised and again unproblematic. The D-pad is large and easy to use too.