Qtek 9100 – The Phone with Many Friends

All The Don had on his Christmas list was a supercomputer, to take over the world once it had handled the Ebay uploading that would clear out all the unwanted presents. In fact Santa almost came up with the goods: but apparently some of the motives behind the The Don’s pleading  letter to the North Pole scared the bearded one a bit. So instead he found himself a suitable piece of kit (without the help of Sound Solutions). And it even fits in his pocket, though worldwide domination seems to have taken a back seat, making way for a bottle of rum and some pieces of eight (or pieces of After Eights, as we call them in Braintree).

Feast your eyes on the Qtek 9100. Ever seen anything like it before? That’s because all the Qtek models are made on the other side of the world by a company called HTC, which makes a good living putting different logos and different paint jobs on its smartphones and selling them to loads of different people. Inside they’re all the same. Bit like the girls down at Samantha’s disco and nite club.

A neat trick, anyhow. So the Qtek 9100 is basically the same as the i-mate K-JAM (great name, guys), O2 XDA (why bother with actual words when you have a whole alphabet handy?), T-Mobile MDA (that one probably stands for something: Mad Dog Antispray, probably), and maybe some others.

There are some small differentiations in software and looks, but apart from some being tied to particular networks you might as well shop around for the best price. And here the Qtek seems to be the wallet friendly choice.

Open the box
It comes in a sleek box with pictures of people doing important computery things. I was disappointed it wasn’t the girl from the AOL advert, but at least it keeps my mind on the job.
OK, inside the box is an abundance of goodies wrapped up in neat cellophane packets. Earphones with a strange remote device on them, a charger, a pen thing (commonly known as a stylus), USB cable, CDs, manuals and a carry case with belt holder. And of course, the Qtek 9100.

On first sight it doesn’t look any different to its predecessors, or from the other variants on the market. A large screen, a couple of buttons and the usual places for power switches and volume controls.

You could be forgiven for thinking it was a bit more cumbersome than other PDA-type gismos; it’s quite big, quite heavy, and quite awkward to use as a phone. It’s also slightly thicker than most at just under 25mm.

But there’s a good reason for that: when you turn it on its side and push the screen with both thumbs in an upwards direction, you are presented with a real QWERTY keyboard, and that is worth a few millimetres in my book.

If you are expecting a Samsung-style slick slide action for the appearing/ disappearing keyboard, though, you’ll be disappointed. I once got stuck on a water slide, and I now think it’s because Qtek made my swim-shorts. Still, you get used to it after a while. You also get cramp after a while, but hey The Don is prepared to suffer to bring you the hot poop.

Switch on, and you’ll be impressed: the screen is very nice indeed. It’s bright, big and the colours are bold. In fact, this funky Windows Mobile 5 OS is rather nice. A few new bits and pieces added makes syncing the easiest thing since pulling in Southend; and although the syncing is not super-fast, your contacts, notes, emails and even pictures can be imported on to the device for you to peruse on the move.

Swivel on this
When the keyboard is out, the display automatically turns sideways to give you landscape mode. Neat.

The keyboard itself is not designed for quick typing. It’s more for thumb work – but that’s much easier than using the stylus, which on this device is one of the worst I’ve seen. It’s more like someone’s sharpened Kojak’s lollipop stick, and it weighs less than Kate Moss on cold turkey. In fact, it’s so light that you’d be forgiven for never drawing it from its holder.

The best thing about this device is that with a few simple changes to the settings, you can do almost anything with one hand. That is very handy for something that doubles up as a phone, or if you happen to be a pirate with a hook for a hand. If you are a manually deficient pirate however, you would have trouble between dockings: the battery needs recharging after only four hours of hard use. If I were you, I’d stick to the more traditional message-in-a-bottle system.
Up and running

The Qtek can run both Bluetooth and WiFi, which are surprisingly easy to operate. They are located in a comms manager area, and the WiFi was connected to my system in seconds. I even browsed a few web pages before getting fed-up, and to be honest, it was quite a refreshing change. The pages could be displayed in a single column mode and the screen is very clear. In landscape mode, the screen looks even tidier.

The phone functions look a lot fresher than past models. You get big buttons to dial with, and the phonebook is really easy to navigate and lots of fields for all the necessary info. You can even assign ringtones and other personal bits and pieces, though in all fairness this is not really a phone for the fun user.

The messaging system is easy, and the benefit of a keyboard can’t be expressed in words … but that’s where the fun ends. The camera is poo and the speakers are only adequate, though if you stick the headphones in the sound is a bit sharper.

Get out your money
So we have an easy-to-set-up device, with new and improved Windows Mobile 5, a great phone with full syncing of contact data, MP3, video and camera capabilities, office functions, WiFi, Bluetooth and a keyboard. Memory expansion is another option with the use of an SD card.
The unit itself is great for the price, and even a scurvy knave can see the benefits of having all your contacts and organiser features about your person. The keyboard makes this a winner in my book. Even if it won’t help me take over the world, it would make me the coolest pirate on the
high seas.

The facts

  • Size    109x58x23,7mm
  • Weight    160g
  • Display    2.8in, 240×320 pixels, 64K-colour TFT, touch screen
  • Battery    Talk time 4 hours, Standby 200 hours
  • Software    Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft ActiveSync
  • Camera    1.3mp, 1280×960, video, flash
  • Memory    ROM 128MB, RAM 64M, miniSD card slot
  • Functions    Stylus input plus, full QWERTY keyboard, MP3/AAC player, video/audio album,
  • built-in handsfree,Bluetooth 1.2, WiFi 802.11b    
  • In the box    Qtek 9100 handset, user manual andquick-start guide, sync software CD, AC adapter with mini-USB plug, carry case, USB sync cable, stereo headset and microphone
  • RRP    £350 ex VAT
  • Source    You’ll have more chance getting them on Ebay than Sound Solutions.

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