Qtek – 8500 review

Windows Mobile clamshell PDA Smartphone
Photo of Qtek – 8500

Windows Mobile Smartphones are around and about in a range of different guises, both on operator contracts and SIM-free. But it has been a long time since I’ve seen the format used in a flip phone or clamshell style, and Qtek’s 8500 is the first time Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone has appeared in a flip style.

The phone is an obvious attempt to catch the wave generated by Motorola’s RAZR. The two giveaway similarities are the overall thinness of the design – the 8500 is 98mm x 51mm x 16mm, with a weight of 99g – and that when you open the flip you see a flat keyboard made in a single section rather than one composed of individual keys.

If you are a frequent texter you may not like the number pad. Certainly I found it less easy to text at speed using it than I do when using a more tactile numberpad made up from separate keys.

The Qtek 8500 comes in two colours; either black all over, or a third black and two thirds bright, bright pink…

The phone is being marketed in part as a music player, and there are controls on the front that allow you to manage tunes being played back through the Windows Media Player without opening the flip. The 128 x 128 pixel, 1.2-inch front screen provides some information about what is being played. The front screen has some other functions, such as showing photos of incoming callers if you have saved these in the handset.

But if you want to carry a lot of tunes around you will need to add to the internal memory with microSD cards. There is a slot under the SIM card for these. You may also need to consider the fact that when we ran a continuous music playback test – with Bluetooth turned off – we got just four hours out of the battery.

There is, of course, a camera and its lens is on the front of the handset. A button on the right side of the handset activates the camera with the flip closed, and the front screen turns into a viewfinder allowing you to take pictures of yourself.

With the flip opened you can shoot what you are looking at, using the main screen as a viewfinder. Image quality isn’t wonderful, but it is OK for those kinds of shots you want to send to other people from your handset or share over the Internet via your PC.

The Windows Mobile 5.0 software is pretty standard on handsets, and you can synchronise contacts, calendar, tasks and Web favourites with your PC using ActiveSync, which is supplied.

You also get the ClearVue viewers for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, as well as PDFs. The main screen’s 2.2 inches and 240 x 320 pixels are a little constraining, though.

Company: Qtek

The Qtek 8500 is an eye-catching handset and it is nice to see Windows Mobile 5.0 in a flip format. It is probably not going to suit those wanting long battery life or having the need to do a lot of fast texting, but it is small and light and does what you'd expect a Windows Mobile 5.0 handset to do.