Qtek 9100 review: Cheaper than expected

M. Lutonský, J. Kuruc, 07 December 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Windows Mobile version 5.0 uses a different system to manage memory. It is very similar to the one used in PC. On one hand, Qtek 9100 offers ROM that can be considered a separate drive. Despite the fact that its abbreviation stands for "Read Only Memory", you can save data into it. The built in memory in Qtek 9100 has a capacity of 128 MB. The user however gets no more than 47 MB, as the RAM is also used by the OS, the standard programs and the database. As the device allows you to use both the RAM and the memory card (which works in a way identical to the one of the RAM), the risk you may run out of memory is minor. The good news is that everything - from data and programs to settings - is kept saved, even if the battery gets flat. This is basically one of the main advantages of the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS in comparison to its older versions.


Built-in file manager

The communicator is also equipped with RAM to support running programs as well as temporary data savings. Yet, users are not permitted to use this RAM as storage. It offers 64 MB, some of which get used up immediately after the communicator is started. Hence, the user gets approximately 50 MB, which is sufficient for the support of several sophisticated applications running simultaneously.

New memory management has one negative impact: applications and user data are kept in the memory section, where data are saved even after the battery has run down. As this memory section is slower in comparison to RAM, all applications installed in it get started with certain delay. Fortunately, this drawback does not influence the common use of the communicator too much. What's more, I expect the majority of users to install their applications on the memory card, which will basically eliminate delay problems.

Single-hand control? It depends...

This is the first time I use a communicator with the 5.0 version of Windows Mobile. I was most curious about the single-hand control, which was said to had been significantly improved. Unfortunately, I got disappointed. If closed and based on the original settings, Qtek 9100 is practically unmanageable without a stylus.

Nevertheless, a minor modification was enough so that things got in a perfect order: I changed the functions that were assigned to the keys above the display. I set the left one to open the Start menu and the right one to confirm settings or close the application. This change was enough to make the single-hand control option in Qtek comparable to the one of Palm Treo. What a pity that Qtek 9100 does not permit customization for the software keys below the display too. If it did, I would not have had to grope above the display every time I wanted to use the Start menu or the OK/Close function. Stylus is not necessary, unless you need to write something.


Key functions setup

To my surprise, at certain moments managing Qtek 9100 with opened keypad seemed to be even harder. The OK button at the corner of the application is only possible to reach with the pen, not to mention the fact that the communicator does not offer any key shortcuts for clipboard operations.

Qtek 9100 Qtek 9100 Qtek 9100 Qtek 9100
I did not manage to make screenshots in landscape mode

The graphic environment has undergone insignificant changes. You will see an OK button or a cross symbol in the right corner of the majority of the applications. The cross does not close running applications, just minimizes them. The state bar consists of two application options or functions, manageable through the buttons placed below the display.


Main display • Start menu • program overview o settings

If you need to write longer texts, you'd better use the hardware keypad. No matter where you are the display always switches to landscape mode.


A click on the icon opens a bubble with details or setup options

The new Windows Mobile OS implements a new version of the Active Sync program, which needs to be installed on a PC. Outwardly, synchronizing seems unchanged. The inside is full of surprises though. I found the synchronizing process somewhat slow, even though the official sources state it is faster than the forerunners. Nevertheless, unlike former OS, inserting my 500 contact names and a few hundreds of additional fields into PDA through Windows Mobile took me significantly longer. Consequent synchronizing of modifications was fast though. Here is a list of the synchronizing applications: phonebook, calendar, task organizer, notes, emails, files in folders, mobile contents strips and multimedia data.


ActiveSync

Data communication: Wi-Fi!

Qtek 9100 does not support 3G networks, in spite of the fact that the HTC manufacturer has already implemented this technology. Data communication in mobile networks is supported by GPRS and EDGE - both of Class 10, but once a connection is established, Qtek 9100 does not show which one of the two options is being used. The setup is very simple. You need to only enter the address of the access point.


Data connection settings

Qtek 9100 is delivered together with two CDs. The second one contains one program only: Spb GPRS Monitor. Windows Mobile OS does not offer this function by default. The latter monitors transferred data as well as connection expenses. Once it ha been installed the button that closes the GPRS/EDGE connection disappears. Press and hold the red button instead.

The Wi-Fi support seems to be much more interesting. According to manufacturer's official specifications it features IEEE 802.11b/g compatibility standards. According to rating and opinions from all over the world, however, there is only one communicator that supports the fastest "g" and this is i-mate. All other models work at the slower "b" standard.

Establishing a connection through home access point was effortless, indeed. I had to only enter the WEP key and I appeared online almost immediately. What surprised me, though, was the low sensitivity level of the receiver (according to the indicator of the built-in program). In spite of the fact that I was staying no further than two meters from the transmitter, where the notebook was indicating a full signal, the communicator was displaying a signal between 1/3 and ˝ of its full capacity.


Wi-Fi connection settings

Qtek 9100 can establish connection with a PC or other accessories through Bluetooth as well. All wireless functions are controlled through the Comm Manager application.


Comm Manager

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