A review of the INQ1 “Facebook” phone

I’ve had an INQ1 phone on trial from 3 Mobile since the middle of December. My main impression is that it’s CHEAP, PIONEERING and A BIT SHODDY. It’s not an iPhone, but it’s not £35 a month. Stand out items for me (good or bad) are:

Consolidated Inbox and Phonebook: having all messages and chats, from any application, brought together in one place makes things a lot easier. You would have thought that this would apply to the phonebook, which does similar, but the fact that you have to manually merge contacts make this far too much trouble to be of positive value.

Battery Life: as my commenter noted, battery life really isn’t very long when you have all the applications turned on. I managed between one and two days on average.

3G Dongle: it’s great that the phone works like a USB 3G Dongle, with the software you need on the phone rather than on a disc somewhere. Unfortunately, the software is a bit shit and keeps crashing or failing to give decent performance. I regularly saw download speeds of a few Kbps, but this could be something to do with 3’s poor coverage than a feature of the phone.

The Facebook Application: for something sold as the core application of the phone, the built-in Facebook app is dreadful. Supposedly refreshing reguarly in the background, I found that if I didn’t manually refresh I scarcely saw a single update. The updates themselves seem incomplete, with things like friend notifications and messages failing to appear at all. I have heard before that the release of the INQ1 was rushed for Christmas and with bizarre behaviour like this (not to mention the foibles covered above), I can well believe it.

In summary, this is a cheap phone and having Skype installed is cool and keeps it cheap. However, whilst the integrated messaging and contacts, and the idea of your web connection being always-on are both forward-looking and exciting, their implementation is far from rock-solid. Save your pennies and buy an INQ2.

[Prices and specs on the 3 Store]



  1. jamesbody
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I rushed out and bought an INQ1 at the earliest opportunity. In my opinion it is a quantum leap forward on the S2 Skypephone with improved performance, build quality and above all a much better range of pre-installed applications.

    It is, however, not perfect. Whilst I applaud the automatic synchronization of Facebook/Live! Messenger/Skype contacts with the phone, this cause me huge problems – I have many many contacts – and as the phone stores these in PHONE memory, I keep on running out of memory! So far I have discovered no way of transferring my contacts to the removeable flash drive. Anyone go any ideas on how to do this?

  2. jamesbody
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh – and I would *NOT* call the build quality on the INQ1 as ‘cheap’ or ‘shoddy’ – the build quality is surprisingly good – in the same league as my faithful old Nokia E65!

    Compared with the previous Skype phones (S1 and S2) – this is a *WONDERFUL* work of engineering!

    AND – remember – you can buy around SEVEN of these INQ1s for the prce of a top end Nokia!

  3. Posted January 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @jamesbody Thanks for the viewpoint! I have to say I’ve not held a Skypephone, so I can’t compare them directly, but I think I really mean that the overall feel of the phone is that it’s not really finished.

    Appreciate the point about the low cost. This is pretty much what makes this phone worth considering. I really do think that in the next version, this will be really exciting.

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  5. George
    Posted October 24, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Picked up one of these on renewing my 3 contract.

    Upside: good build, good spec, award winner.

    Downside: poor battery life (300 mins standby? One jests methinks…), crams too many apps in.

    I’m no great texter or social networker, but even with my minimal use, the battery runs out very quickly. Typically a day and a half and that’s with the apps logged out and closed down!

    Currently looking to get another phone and will sell mine off on Ebay, but my contract is so good, the extra spend would be worth it spread out over the remaining lifetime of the contract.

    However, quite HOW this handset won a handset of the year award – and I suspect this is more to do with the flashy packaging and what it supposedly can do, as opposed to what it really does – is beyond me.