Facebook is one of the top social networking websites with more than 140 million active users, each with an average of 100 friends and 13 million which update their status daily. Founded in 2004 and with an Alexa traffic rank of 5, this level of popularity means you’ll find some sort of Facebook application for whatever mobile phone you use. Surprisingly, no-one has created a dedicated mobile Facebook device – until now.
Prior to the INQ1, UK cellular network 3 gave us the Skypephone and this is a clear evolution. Contained inside a rather restrained slider-phone casing is a collection of widgets and shortcuts to just about every social networking and online communication tool you could want, plus a healthy supply of entertainment options too. But instead of this being a top range – therefore very expensive – handset, it’s midrange with a very reasonable price tag attached, making it accessible to the younger users whom the INQ1 is clearly aimed at.
But is the INQ1 a one-trick pony which falls down as soon as one tries to delve deeper into its range of features, only to find them sorely lacking? Thankfully the answer is no, so let’s take a closer look at what the INQ1 offers and just how much of an impact it can have on your ‘digital life’.
Stay Connected and in Touch with the INQ1.
It’s unfair to label the INQ1 as simply a ‘Facebook phone’ as it offers so much more. Cleverly, the phone takes information from your social sites and integrates it into basic features such as the phone book and thanks to the ‘push’ technology, you’ll never miss an update or be late posting yours. If you want to always be connected, the INQ1 is a brilliant device to use.
Facebook Everywhere, All the Time.
Do everything in Facebook you can do from your desktop PC on your mobile! Simply sign in to your account and the INQ1 will import your friend list, giving you total access to both yours and their profiles. You can change your status, write on walls, poke and even upload pictures with the INQ1 and its push system updates instantly without prompting from you. If you aren’t addicted to Facebook already, the INQ1 will tip you over the edge!
One Inbox For Everything.
No more switching between inboxes to check for new messages or alerts with the INQ1! One single inbox stores your emails, Facebook messages, SMS messages and chat alerts and thanks to its ability to merge together each contact’s communication channels – their Facebook, email address, Skype information etc is displayed all under one name complete with their Facebook profile picture- you can quickly see any changes or access their data.
Support for Popular Email Accounts and Instant Messenger.
The INQ1 has built-in support for Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo web-based email accounts, plus it can even integrate with business networks Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino too. Instant Messenger is a great alternative to SMS, and the INQ1 come complete with both Skype’s messenger and Windows Live.
Free Calls with Skype.
Skype is a big selling point of the INQ1, as you can call your friends for free! Providing you and they are registered with Skype and they’re online, you can voice call or instant message them at no cost with the easy to use Skype interface inside the mobile.
Easy to Access Web Favourites.
One button on the simple menu takes you to a list of website you’ll most probably frequently visit. If you also use Bebo or Myspace, then links will take you directly to your profile, get news from the BBC or search with Google or Yahoo, plus bid and track your auctions on eBay. The INQ1 also supports the web-based music site Last.fm too.
It’s Full of Features Too!
The INQ1 is made by Amoi, the same manufacturer responsible for 3′s Skypephone, and comes with many great features to keep you occupied when you’re up to date with all your friends. Obviously this isn’t a top-end phone so you won’t find GPS or Wi-Fi, but you will find the everyday basics one expects from a modern mobile phone.
Snap Pictures with the Camera.
On the rear of the slider, you’ll find the lens to the INQ1′s camera. This is a 3.2 megapixel item and is perfect for capturing those moments with your friends which look great on Facebook! The total integration offered by the phone makes it easy to upload your new photos to your profile too. It’s a shame there’s no flash unit although it does have autofocus.
Browse the Internet.
The web browser found inside the INQ1 is based around WebKit, so anyone familiar with a Symbian S60 OS or the Access NetFront browser software found on Sony Ericsson handsets will know what to expect, and it does the job very well. Users will also be able to download Yahoo widgets to customise their home screen, plus add a selection of RSS feeds as well.
Fast Internet and Data Speeds.
The INQ1 is a feature phone so don’t expect wireless connectivity, however it’s refreshing to see 3G with HSDPA support on such a competitively priced handset. The phone also has GPRS and EDGE as a backup, plus A2DP Bluetooth and the ability to plug the phone into your laptop in order to use it as a modem.
Integral Music Player.
Aside from playing your own stored music over the headphones or through the external speaker, the music player integrates easily with the music based social network Last.fm too.
Simple to Use.
To access the majority of features on the INQ1, you will be selecting an icon found in a scrolling bar along the base of the screen using the easy D-pad, around which are grouped the usual call start/end and soft keys. Text input is made with the familiar 12-key arrangement under the slider, complete with T9. Choosing this method over a QWERTY keyboard keeps the price sensible and makes the INQ1 more attractive to technophobes, but does make wordy chat or email sessions a slightly plodding process.
The INQ1 – Low Cost, but High Spec.
We love the simple integration with our favourite social networking sites, the ease of use and the clever addition of some rarely utilised websites such as Last.fm, however all of this would mean nothing if the INQ1 ran out of juice after 10 minutes or weighed so much we needed a friend to help us lift it. Good job it’s none of these!
Great Battery Life!
Making sure you stay connected for as long as possible between visits to the charger, the INQ1 offers a quoted 329 hours standby and over five hours of continuous talktime.
The INQ1 was designed to be a 24-hour a day companion and if it was too big and bulky to carry around, its primary function as a social tool would be moot. Luckily, at 110 grams it’s light enough not to be noticed in a pocket or bag, but sturdy enough to feel well-built – especially the gorgeous brushed aluminium front panel – plus the 97x47x14mm dimensions are in keeping with its competition.
Plenty of Storage.
The internal 50MB may seem a little low, but the MicroSD card slot and included 1GB card soon make up for this initial disappointment.
Enjoy a Bright and Clear Screen.
The INQ1 features a 2.2″ QVGA screen which displays 262,000 colours. The built-in accelerometer means to change the screen orientation from portrait to landscape takes nothing more than a turn of the handset, making the online experience even better.
Summary of the INQ1
Only by using the INQ1 will you see just how good it is at pulling together all your contacts and their various forms of online communication, as it has so many options which don’t at first appear to lend themselves to keeping in touch. It doesn’t just begin and end with Facebook, for example if you have a friend with a blog or Twitter feed, the RSS feeder can display their updates on your home screen, or whenever one of your friends calls, the INQ1 displays their current Facebook profile picture automatically!
Obviously, if you don’t use any social networks, the INQ1 is not going to be for you, however, if you’re just getting started or are already an avid user of these sites, the INQ1 should be considered and essential purchase if a smartphone is out of your reach.