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CTIA Fall 2006

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Treo 750 UTStarcom i-mate Kyocera  

Looking at i-mate's new line, it's tough not to feel sorry for them. Just when HTC gets everything right and starts to make some good looking, solid smartphones, they decide they don't want to play with i-mate and other brands any longer. i-mate has been forced to turn to other ODMs for new devices.


The JAQ is a Pocket PC phone designed by Inventec. It is clearly meant to evoke the design of the Nokia E62, (it features nearly the same specs) but this is a poor copy at best. The JAQ does not have the sleek, simple form of the Nokia; instead it has bulges everywhere - on the front, on the back and on the sides. These bulges do nothing but accentuate the plastic construction, they do not enhance the way the JAQ fits in your hand or any other sort of usability.

Nor do these bulges enhance the JAQ's looks. There is no nice way to say it, they make the JAQ look - and feel - cheap. It does not feel particularly solid, creaking and flexing quite a bit.

However the JAQ is surprising decent to use. Though the keys are shaped oddly, the keyboard is rather easy to use. It is so large that we had no trouble typing quickly and accurately on it. The navigation keys weren't quite as pleasant. The joystick is rather stiff and unresponsive, and the placement of the soft keys and Windows / OK keys all in a small row led to many mistaken keypresses.


We didn't get to spend quite as much time with the SPL, the Smartphone manufactured by TechFaith. From the front, the SPL has a SLVR-meets-Chocolate quality about it. Although the keypad is plastic not metal, it looks like the SLVR's and has the same sort of feel to it. But that's where the SLVR similarities end. The phone is not super slim or angular and metallic.

In fact, the plastic keypad melds into the phone body in one smooth line like on the Chocolate. And the SPL's thickness is much closer to that of the Chocolate as well.

While the JAQ has quad-band GSM, Bluetooth and a miniSD slot, the SPL is only tri-band GSM.

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