I’ve been testing my little INQ since Christmas now, and to be honest, I have grown quite fond of it. There’s something about the ease and convenience of the applications, that I miss on my Nokia 6500s. I still don’t really use it as a ‘phone’ as such, but rather to check up on Facebook and gmail, and to use Skype. I know I’ve banged on about this many times before, but the Skype application on it is really what makes it for me. I can’t understand why the Skype on my Nokia is so cumbersome to use. With the INQ it’s always connected and the chat function (which my Nokia’s Skype app doesn’t even have!) works like a charm.
Despite me trying everything in my power to synch the INQ with my computer, I just could not get it to work. Not sure if it was the truly craptastic sofware, my Windows Vista 64-bit, or both, but after hours of tearing my hair out I just gave up. It’s a shame really as I really wanted to love all sides of the INQ, but in order to use it as a real phone I just need to have all my contacts and calendar synched. Same goes for getting pictures and music in and out of it. No matter how many times I was told I could connect it as a portable hard drive, I could not copy anything to or from the phone. Meh.
Given all the synching problems, I’m actually quite surprised how I much I do use it though. The fact that you can be connected to people without having your whole traditional phone book on your phone, goes to show how the idea of the INQ is very much on the right track. Social media is such a powerful tool for keeping in touch these days that you almost don’t miss the traditional ways of communicating.
One thing where the people behind the INQ have seriously missed a trick though, is with the design of the phone. It’s been given this generic metallic hi-end mobile device look, not far off from my Nokia 6500s for example. However, when you pick the phones up, the difference becomes obvious. The INQ just feels so much… cheaper. Despite the metallic look, it has a plastic-y, light feel to it, instead of the feeling of a quality product. With a product that you hold in your hand it’s not enough to just ‘look’ a certain way, and with the INQ the look and the feel just don’t correlate. I’ve been using it for less than two months and already the metallic coating on the navigation button is showing signs of wear – not good.
Taking into consideration the ethos of the phone – young, forward-thinking, affordable – I have no idea why they have gone for this mock hi-end design. I think the designers should have gone completely the different direction. If the INQ came in pretty colours (and maybe also in white), reminiscent of the original mini ipods, but with a Japanese-gadgets-inspired hard plastic with rounded corners as material, I think it would be an instant hit with the younger demographic who are most likely to be interested in the INQ in the first place. Also, since they went to all the trouble of commissioning artists to create original artwork, which was used on the ‘manual’ cards (how many times will anyone look at those? Once, I bet – the first time they open the box.), why not take that idea one step further and have the artwork actually on the phone? I think all of the images would work great on the handset, either as hard plastic covers or even as changeable picture under a clear plastic cover. Now there’s a unique product that would interest just the people the INQ is aimed at…
The ultimate most annoying thing about the INQ however is something a lot more practical, or not, as the case may be – battery life. Taking into consideration the fact that I’m not even making phone calls, it’s incomprehensible to me that the battery hardly lasts a day. I charge the handset every night, and even so on some days it dies on me before the day is through. That just seems completely unacceptable to me. Also, let’s not even go into the decision to have just a usb connection for the charger and the headphones… what silliness.
Kind of annoyed that I can’t offer any more in depth reviews on the camera and music side of the phone. But for what’s it worth, even in it’s half-baked state, the INQ has proven to be a useful little part of my gadget family.
And I guess it’s gotten a few other people hooked as well since it just won GSMA’s award for Best Mobile Handset at the Global Mobile Awards 2009.