Qtek 9100 review: Cheaper than expected

M. Lutonský, J. Kuruc, 07 December 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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The keys are solid, precise and big enough. Although they do not rise too much above the surface, writing with the keypad is definitely more comfortable and faster than writing with the pen. Qtek's keypad is also significantly better than the one of MDA III. Naturally, it does not allow for using all fingers. You will do best if you type with your thumbs, holding the communicator in both your hands. The distribution of the keys is more or less identical to the one used in common computers. However, as the keys on the communicator are organized in a matrix and certain lines are slightly moved, it will take you some time before you get used to its keyboard.

Qtek 9100
Keypad's backlighting is uneven

The keypad lights up when a key is pressed. It goes out after five seconds of non-activity. There are no settings to choose from. The application of the blue lighting is no big success either, as it is difficult to read. Besides, the backlighting is uneven too. Both the keypad and the entire communicator can be locked with a password and thus secured against random key press or unauthorized use. BTW, Windows Mobile 5.0 invites you to set a password right after the first start of the device.

The communicator when locked • setting up a password

Standard display

The display features a standard resolution of 240 × 320 pixels and shows 65K colors. Even though this type of communicators are not equipped for work with VGA yet, the display of Qtek is fine enough, because it is relatively small (43 × 58 mm). The display is clear and has good contrast. Unfortunately, the touchpad surface is glossy. Within the settings you will find a 5-steps backlight option. In the first stage the backlighting is fully switched off. What a pity that the backlighting is not separated into two modes - for battery use on one hand, and for external power on the other.

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Display under strong direct sunlight • and under bulb light • backlighting setup

Below the display you will find a big four-way button with a confirming middle part as well as two relatively small functional keys and the two big red and green receiver keys for call control. Above the display there are two additional keys: the left one opens the message applications, the right one starts the internet browser. The button placed on the right side of the device starts both the voice control and the voice recorder applications. The second button opens the camera application. On the left side there is a key for the Comm Manager application.

Qtek 9100
Functional keys below the display

The four application keys can be assigned different applications from the setup menu. What's more, the voice recorder key recognizes the difference between a short and a long press.

There are LEDs on both sides of the microphone. The left one uses various colors to indicate ongoing wireless connection through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The second LED lights up when the GSM mode is active, when SMS is received or when the phone is being charged. It also alerts you about reminders.

Qtek 9100
And above the display

On the left side you will also find the volume button. Placed on the right side of the device are the infrared port and the hidden reset button. The top part is occupied by the switch-off button and the slot for the miniSD memory card (which is one of the differences as to MDA Compact, which uses SD/MMC card of standard size). A short press on the switch-off button shuts down the display; a press-hold on the same button closes the entire communicator.

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Left side • right side • card slot and switch-off button

The bottom side of the device is reserved for the miniUSB (2.0) connector, used for synchronizing Qtek with a computer, data transferring and charging. The jack connector is small, so be sure to get yourself an adapter if you want to use standard earphones.

Qtek 9100
Connectors mounted on the bottom side

The back cover is released through a sliding driver. Under the cover you will find a Li-Pol battery with capacity of 1250 mAh. According to the manufacturer's information, Qtek 9100 has a stand-by of 150-200 hours and 210-300 minutes of phone calls. The device gets charged after approximately 4 hours. As I have not used the communicator as a normal user would do, I do not dare say what the real battery life is. Under the battery is to be found the slot for the SIM card.

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View under the back cover • under the battery • battery state indicator

The lens of the built-in 1.3 MP camera is mounted on the back side. Next to it there is a tiny mirror and a flash LED; a little bit further you will see the connector for the external antenna. Notice also the tiny grids placed on both sides of the device - they secure the speakers. If I am not mistaken, Qtek 9100 seems to be the first communicator to feature both Windows Mobile OS and stereo speakers.

Qtek 9100
Camera lens

Quite atypically, the pen is hidden in right bottom corner. It is relatively small, even though it draws out. The pen is much too light and not really suitable for work.

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The stylus is small, but can be drown out

Is it slower?

The most discussed part of Qtek 9100 in all internet forums is its microprocessor as HTC has used Texas Instruments OMAP 850, which works at 195 MHz. Even though it is a different processor than the ones used in other PDA/communicators and frequency is not its most important feature, there are certain doubts about its reliability as far as intersection with a sophisticated OS like Windows Mobile 5.0 and a different memory manager is concerned. Some users quote everything they did not manage to run in Qtek 9100, others praise the speed of the communicator.

BTW, I find the speed dilemma quite difficult to solve. Yes, Qtek 9100 is fast enough, but not in all cases. If you play MP3 files in background, the other applications run slow. The change of the direction of the display is not the fastest, either. To sum up, work applications in Qtek 9100 are generally fast enough. Yet, if you mean to use memory-intensive multimedia programs or to browse complicated web sites, the device may not perform at high speed. There are various tweaks including registry modifications, but we do not recommend you to rely too much on them.

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