Phones these days can all start to look a bit samey, and the first thing you’ll notice about the INQ Chat is its striking resemblance to a Blackberry; but the Qwerty keyboard and shape are where the similarities end. With striking red highlights on the fascia and a cheery red back, it’s a phone squarely aimed at the teenage market.
What we like
The price! At just £15 per month on a pay monthly deal, or £99.99 for Pay as you go, it’s a brilliant value 3G handset.
All manner of social networks are integrated into the phone’s operating system and are accessible from the homescreen without necessarily having to launch a dedicated application. The contacts from your Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger accounts can all be merged into your contact book along with your traditional phone contacts. It’s great to have all your contacts in one place – but if you have the same person on different networks you do end up with them in your contacts several times.
Open the messaging centre and you can choose to send your message as a Direct Message on Twitter, a Facebook message, an email, a Windows Live instant message, Skype chat or a simple SMS message. It’s pretty nifty and perfect for anyone juggling social networks.
The audio player is well laid out and easy to use and although the audio player doesn’t deliver outstanding quality, it is acceptable.
With a built-in HSDPA modem, you can simply plug the handset into your laptop and PC to give it wireless broadband access – a very handy feature for students.
At 2.4in, the screen is nice and big, with plenty of space for web browsing and great for taking photos. The 3.2 mega-pixel camera is complete with auto-focus to make things easier for budding young phone-photographers.
It’s a bright, friendly looking phone, with contemporary, colourful graphics – perfect for young people who want a phone with lots of recreational functionality.
What we don’t like
Unfortunately we are not a 15 year old girl and to our aged eyes these colourful menus are just a garish mess and the funny little sounds which seem to play for no real reason are simply an irritation.
Loading full applications like Twitter and browsing the internet can be pretty slow and the low resolution of the display can leave it all looking a bit cheap. Another speed issue we encountered was typing; we don’t have particularly superior typing skills but the phone was frustratingly a couple of letters behind us all the time.
The handset is slightly buggy – we had things like Twitter drop out on us repeatedly, which would result in the whole phone freezing for a good few minutes.
It could do with a dedicated camera button so users can access it quickly and easily. While you can easily shoots video full screen, play back seems to be in a small square in the centre of the screen, with a chunky black border. We couldn’t find an obvious way to change this; seems ridiculous to film fullscreen but not have the ability to play back at the same size.
With no 3.5mm headphone jack, you’re stuck with the headphones that come with the handset.
For the price, the INQ Chat 3G is a real steal and perfect for young people who want to keep up to date with all their networks from one place and access the web on the move. But you’ll need to be prepared to put up with a few bugs and speed issues, which can make it a bit of a pain to use.