INQ – Chat 3G review

handset for the social media fan
Photo of INQ – Chat 3G
£free (depending on contract)

INQ has made quite a name for itself by putting social networking features into good quality and affordable handsets. Its small range is available via the 3 network in the UK. Now INQ has added a new model, sporting a BlackBerry-like miniature QWERTY keyboard, to service the needs of those who want to type a lot while on the move.

The red and black colour scheme of the handset and garishly bright wallpaper and user interface are unashamedly consumer focussed, and if you aren’t into the youth scene you may want to steer clear.

The keyboard is really well made. It is small – this handset only measures 61mm wide, 12.8mm thick, 114.5mm tall and it weighs 122g – but the keys are individually domed which helps make them easy to hit accurately.

The bank of shortcut keys above the mini keyboard has a standard range of functions: Call, End, menu and clear plus two softmenu keys. There is a large D-pad which is comfortable to use.

The main feature of the INQ Chat 3G is, like other handsets in the INQ lineup, a horizontally scrolling menu of application shortcuts. This can be called up at any time by pressing a button on the side of the handset, making it fast and easy to get around the phone. You can also put three widgets onto the main screen, giving you quick access to any of Facebook, Twitter, weather details, Google search, a clock or up to three RSS feeds.

Messaging is nicely integrated so that the inbox shows email, Twitter direct messages, your Facebook inbox, requests and pokes, MSN Messenger chats and Skype chats.

There is 100MB of built in memory, which isn’t a vast amount. A microSD card slot under the battery cover lets you add more. With the headset connecting via miniUSB this isn’t the ideal music playing handset as you’ll need an adaptor to substitute your own favourite headphones for the supplied, mediocre in-ear buds.

The 2.4-inch, 320 x 240 pixel screen is a little behind the times, and there is no Wi-Fi for Web browsing off network. The camera’s 3.2-megapixels and lack of flash make it little more than average.

Plus points come in the presence of GPS and pre-installed Google Maps, and the ability to download apps to the INQ 3G over the air. When we looked there were nearly 3,500 to choose between. It’s not the iPhone app store, but it’s not a bad range.

Company: INQ

Contact: 0800 358 9341

Social media fans may be drawn to the INQ Chat 3G, and its integrated social networking applications are impressive. But the remainder of the features are middle of the road, so think carefully about what you really need and whether this handset delivers for you before taking the plunge.