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INQ1 - social networking phone review

With more and more people jumping on the social networking bandwagon, relatively unknown manufacturer INQ has released - the INQ1, a handset that features everything you need for communication on the move. Almost.

Price
£80

With social networking, unlimited data plans and blogging re-inventing the way we communicate, it's not surprising that one company has taken this to heart and designed a phone which includes specialised apps for communication.

We no longer live in a world where mobile phones are simply used for making and taking phone calls on the move, and it's pleasing that relatively unheard of London-based manufacturer INQ has designed a phone that takes communication to a whole new level.

The INQ1, INQ's first mobile phone, is currently exclusively available on 3 Mobile a network that was first to support unlimited data plans and social networking on its handsets.

The INQ1 isn't much to look at, in-and-of itself, though it does feel like a well-produced handset. It's a slider finished in silver with a simple keyboard layout and generally inoffensive looking.

However, it's the interface that seems a lot more developed than it has any right to be for a company's debut handset.

As you'll find on the original Skype phone, there's a scroll bar (or as 3 calls it, the Switcher) at the bottom of the screen that enables you to access your favourite apps quickly. They include Facebook, IM, Skype and Mail on 3. If you visit a particular website often, you can add this onto the switcher too. The Switcher is something that can be accessed at any time, even if you have an application running. All you need to do is press a button on the side to make it appear.

The INQ1 can also be set up for widgets on the home screen. There's a whole selection of options to add onto the standby, including weather, world clock, Yahoo search and RSS feeds (up to three different feeds). The widgets can't however be moved as freely as you'd find on a touch screen handset, but this causes no real issues.

The INQ1's menu interface is also the epitome of simplicity. Although most applications can be accessed from the switcher, sometimes you'll need to head to another menu, such as settings. To do this, you click on the menu button, and up pop 12 different large and colourful icons, which become animated as you highlight them.

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