Qtek 8310 review: An elf outruns the giants
Not enough memory
During the installment process Qtek 8310 proudly reveals all its equipment strengths. This is how you get to know that it has a Texas Instruments OMAP850 processor, working at 195 MHz. The system of memory distribution took me a significant amount of time to puzzle out. The difficulty lies in the fact that memory in this smartphone is handled in a slightly different way than in Windows Mobile for PocketPC. In Qtek 8310 the memory for both programs and data is fixed in a proportion of 45 : 18 MB, i.e. a total of 64 MB. As you can see, memory assigned to data is much too little. This, of course, makes the purchase of an additional memory card inevitable. Although according to official sources the RAM memory also has 64 MB, in reality it is much less. When you close all programs, what you have left is no more than 24 MB. In other words, the OS itself uses up to 2/3 of the entire memory.
The difference between Windows Mobile 5.0 and its older version is not visible at first sight. The main display of the new version offers an active desktop with important information and options:
- the icons of the last run programs for a quicker start
- operator's name; clock and date
- missed calls
- pending events from the calendar
- active ringtone
- number of emails in each email account
All elements are active. A press on the event section gets you into the calendar. An exception to the rule is the bar, where the clock and the operator's name are displayed. It would have been handy if the alarm clock was also possible to open from here. The latter is still hidden far deep in the menu structure of the phone. Besides, the list of details on the main display quoted above is not definitive and is a subject to modifications. Windows Mobile has several preinstalled graphic themes, but it can also look in a completely different way, as its main screen is defined in a XML file.
In the bottom bar there are two soft buttons for the functions selected by the narrow keys below the display. In the very top part of the display there is a bar with the status icons.
Windows Mobile 5.0 comes with a new main menu. Once again, it is a several-page list, whose items are not possible to move (unless you want to play with the registry). Unlike the older version the list is not a text one, but a matrix of 3 × 3 icons. The keys can be for fast selection. What's more, each icon can be assigned a key shortcut (up to 99 possibilities) as well as a voice label.
The list of items in the second level menu is a text one. Letters placed at the beginning of each line are listed in an alphabetic order. Yet, I did not manage to understand the sense of it for they cannot be used as shortcuts.
The working speed of Qtek 8310 is not bad at all. In general, this smartphone reacts in a flash. Yet, each rule has its exceptions: the first one applies to the status after the device has been started. The start itself is relatively fast, but applications' loading is extremely slow. The same problem occurs when programs are first started. The messaging application is especially problematic, for it takes long 6 seconds to get under way. From user's point of view, however, all shortcomings mentioned above can be considered minor, because once programs have been loaded into the memory, they stay there. The pity is that from time to time the 5.0 version of Windows Mobile - similar to its forerunners - tends to unreasonably slow down.
I tried out various applications that were originally created for the older version of Windows Mobile in Qtek 8310 and they all worked smoothly. Yet, I cannot guarantee that all programs you decide to use in this smartphone will function without problems.
Communication and data
Qtek 8310 supports all four GSM frequencies. It offers GPRS and EDGE, both of which are Class 10. The phone lacks 3G support.
The smartphone is connected to a computer through a USB cable. Although this is the fastest connection method Qtek 8310 has to offer, the standard USB 1.1 has already been outdone. Wireless communication is backed up by the infrared port and Bluetooth. As a matter of fact, work with Bluetooth in the environment of Windows Mobile is still somewhat complicated in comparison with common mobile phones or those equipped with Symbian. After all, establishing an internet connection with Qtek 8310 through the USB cable or the infrared port is not a task for beginners either.
The Wi-Fi support of 802.11b standard is quite interesting for it is a true premiere in the world of mobile phones (left out the communicators).
So what does Wi-Fi in a mobile phone serve for? It provides access to the web and other internet functions. Every time Qtek 8310 detects a new Wi-Fi net, it asks you, whether you want to establish a connection (a feature that can be deactivated to user's will). It supports all standard security methods.
Even if Wi-Fi is known to be quite energy-intensive, in this particular case it does not seem to have any great impact on the battery life of the phone, probably due to its system demand control. After a certain preset period of time the phone switches off by itself and does not start before a new request has been sent. The period of inactivity, after which the Wi-Fi is to switch off automatically, is also possible to adjust.
Wi-Fi support is extremely important for smart mobile phones and I definitely want it present in my next mobile phone.
And what about Skype - is it functional? For the moment, there is only a version for Pocket PC with touch screen. Transferring this function into a smartphone through a minor modification is not a problem, but once you have done so, the program asks you to tap on the display. In other words there were too many obstacles to overcome, so I finally decided that Skype was not worth all the efforts.