I’ve always been on the lookout for the optimal phone for my needs, which I finally thought to have found in the combination of the SonyEricsson K700i and the iPAQ hx4700 by HP. I used the phone (good usability, small size) for communication and the iPAQ for emailing and the PIM applications. The combination beared the risk of not having the PIM-Data ready when I needed it, but all other smartphone offerings out there where either too heavy, too user-unfriendly, too large or just too limited in their feature-set.
However, last week, the joystick of my K700 completely stopped working (I’ve never met even one person not having a broken joystick after about a year or so), so I needed a replacement.
SonyEricsson does not have any new devices to offer (the next one being the K750i, released in Q2 – about june or july, I suppose), so I was on the lookout to something different.
Then I found the QTek S100 quite by accident. You may know the device produced by HTC where it’s called “Magician” under the name JAM by i-Mate (or as SPV if you’re a customer of Orange, or even MDA compact at T-Online – it’s always the same device).
Size-wise it’s a bit thinner than the K700, has the same height, but it’s a bit wider. It runs Windows Mobile 2003 Phone Edition, so it can naturally be natively integrated in our Exchange-Environement. All known PocketPC-Software runs on it and it’s even powerful enough for watching videos (only at 320×240 pixels – the device has no VGA-Screen). It has a SD-slot which is SDIO capable, so I could use that for WLAN which the device unfortunately does not have built-in.
It comes with Bluetooth-Support which I’ve already used both for dialing into the internet and synchronizing with the PC.
I’m told that the MS-Stack is a bit limited, but it fits my needs.
The sound quality isn’t as good as with the K700, but far better than what I feared it’d be.
Usability-wise, this is the first Smartphone that really works for me. I’m as fast with the QTek as I’m with my K700. As I’m already used to the letter-recognition of the PocketPC, I’m quite fast in writing SMS too, though the device does have a special input-panel with T9 support.
What surprises me the most (which actually led me to write this article) is the battery lifetime: It’s now 5 days since I last charged it and it’s still 45% full. This is already longer than what my K700 did when it was completely new. I did not think I’d last longer than 2 days at most….
Additionally, as it’s a real PocketPC, you will have the device connected to your PC when you are in your office. So it will automatically be charged during the day, so battery lifetime would not even be that an issue.
For me, the QTek is a great device. Nearly the optimal phone (which I still have not found). The only things I’m missing are (in no particular order):
- A standard 3mm headphone connector. The S100 has a smaller 2.5mm connector which doesn’t allow me to plug my headphones and use the phone as an MP3 player. I know that adaptors exist, but it would have been nice if it thad the right connector in the first place.
- A VGA screen. This is unrealistic for this small screen size, but whatever…
- WLAN-Support. Public WLANs are getting more and more common here. It would have been nice to connect to those.
- A real docking station. Currently they provide only a USB-cable. A real docking-station would have been a nice thing to have
- A real keypad. While the soft-keyboard is nice, an exdendable real hardware-keypad has the advantage of being usable even when not looking at the device.
That’s all. Small things. Not nearly as annoying as the problems I found in the P800.
So if you ask me what phone you should buy: For now it’s clearly one of those HTC Magician based phones as it combines the power of the smartphone and the known user interface of the PocketPC with the small size and battery power of a regular cellphone.