It may be dubbed the ‘Facebook phone’ but 3’s new iNQ 1 blower serves up so much more than the odd poke. It’s a compact slider, delivering free Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3 network, IM chats with Live Windows Messenger and access to Last.FM.
The iNQ 1 is essentially 3’s Skypephone with added social butterfly wings. With Facebook at the core it’s going to attract a whole new audience of ‘Facey-B’ junkies who can’t live without its online community lifeline 24/7.
The embedded Facebook app brilliantly mirrors the functionality of its desktop daddy, letting you manage your account, send messages, write wall postings and view photos from the phone.
Of course, the biggest boon is having new messages, pokes and requests sent by your friends pushed to the phone and these handily congregate, along with SMS, chat and email, in the messages inbox.
Flourishes like threaded message conversations, Friend status and the ability to poke give this app comprehensive functionality.
Another neat touch is the ability to merge all your disparate contacts. If your mates have phone numbers, Skype, Live Messenger and Facebook IDs, it lets you file them all under one name. Tidy.
Some may scoff at the basic 3.2MP camera but it takes the perfectly sized pics for uploading straight to your Facebook photo album via the integrated menu selection. The quality is too duff to print but for capturing shenanigans at party or pub and viewing them online, it’s spot on.
The phone itself might not wow the style hounds but it definitely won’t embarrass you down the wine bar. It’s incredibly pocket and clutch-bag friendly and reasonably well built for a phone of its lower middle class prepay and affordable contract status.
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Ride the carousel
The iNQ 1 is also incredibly user-friendly, adopting the ‘Switcher’ carousel menu system first showcased on the Skypephone, so accessing your numerous apps is whip smart.
A side located key allows one-handed operation – freeing up your other hand to hold a pint – and you can easily add further apps or direct weblinks to the switcher. The keypad, although a tad plasticky, is spacious and thumb-friendly for speed writing your Facebook messages.
There’s no full fat web page browsing but whole pages are squeezed into one column to fit the screen. With the latest HSDPA download speeds on board they also load swiftly, while connect the iNQ 1 phone to your laptop via a USB connection and you can use it as a modem when out of Wi-Fi range.
Obviously, the iNQ 1 will only appeal to Facebook and Skype users abusing the free international calls but 3 has still done a good job attempting to integrate the major web 2.0 players into one seamless mobile whole and all at a very affordable price point.
That said, the rumour mill suggests 3 is readying a QWERTY model, the iNQ 2, which for social networking messaging fans would surely be a more mouth watering proposition.