Cashing in on the huge success of the QWERTY keypad on a mobile handset which is designed to speed up texting, coupled with the ever growing trend of Dual SIM technology, Micromax, it seems, is moving in the right direction with their very business like Q3 mobile. But before you get all excited about the prospect of a low priced handset with a QWERTY keypad and snap your wallet out for a quick purchase, here’s a quick peek at how the handset actually functions.
The Q3 is a light weight QWERTY handset with a 2.2-inch TFT LCD sporting a 220 x 176 pixel resolution. Normally that resolution isn’t something to raise an alarm over when you take the handset’s price bracket into consideration; however the Q3’s display itself is a bit of an issue when it comes to viewing. The panel used in the construction makes viewing the display from most angles difficult. Think of it as watching 3D without the glasses but not that bad. It was quite uncomfortable for prolonged viewing. The keypad isn’t as good as you’d expect to find on a branded handset like a BlackBerry or a Nokia E71 or E72 but it’s something that I got quickly used to as hard as the keys were. The keys are well evenly spaced and that goes for the navigation panel.
A 1.3 megapixel camera is located at the rear near the speaker and a mini USB port, universal for all connectivity and charging is located at the bottom. It’s a well designed, light weight handset from a generic point of view but the poor display panel quality is hard to get past.
Features and Performance
The UI is simply and very effective. It’s easy to navigate although access to some screens requires an extra couple of button presses when it could very easily have been cut down. But this is what I’ve come to expect from the budget handsets with similar Java-based interfaces and truth be told it’ll take just a couple of minutes to get used to. It is however, very fluid with no lag at all. The Dual SIM functionality works out very well and seamlessly.
The music player is average best. The settings don’t include any EQ presets so audio quality can’t be adjusted and believe me you’d want to. Tone quality is just a couple of steps below average. There’s a rather shrill ‘sound’ that emanates from the player in the higher frequencies and virtually no bass, well not enough to make it worth mentioning. The FM radio that also supports recording (scheduled) is not too bad, but the bundled handsfree is not too comfortable and so hampers the overall audio output. It also has a voice recorder for those who would find it handy.
The video playback was not comfortable for viewing because of the screen. The handset will read 3GP and standard MPEG4 video formats, but in my experience with the handset I was given for testing, playback was not up to the mark. There was too much lag even though the audio seemed fine. The jerky motions make for very difficult to watch videos. However, I did happen to know someone who had bought a handset and although viewing was still an issue playback was a whole lot smoother. Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to get a good piece.
It was a pleasant surprise to see some basic social networking tools at hand in the form of Nimbuzz and MSN Messenger, till I found out that Nimbuzz was quite a dud and didn’t work at all, for me or my colleague with the second handset. Messenger worked just fine. The browser isn’t fast but it gets the job done and personally I prefer landscape displays when it comes to browsing so the Q3 didn’t disappoint except for the viewing angle issue again. If you don’t fancy the default browser switch to Opera Mini which is preloaded and much faster with GPRS as compared to the default. You’ll also be able to set up and download your POP or IMAP emails on the handset. The Q3 also supports Bluetooth with A2DP and PictBridge support for wireless printing, so it’s quite the versatile little handset.
From the apps to keep schedules and reminders to an eBook reader for .TXT files and a currency converter and a World Clock a puzzle game is also on board to help pass the time if you happen to find your self a little bored. Though the handset manual says it supports up to 2GB of external memory via microSD cards, I used it without any issues like reduction in speed or such with a 4GB card.
The 1.3MP camera is a redundant feature as image reproduction is really bad. All pictures taken, are bad irrespective of the lighting conditions. Pictures are always blurry and look more like oil paintings.
The battery life of the Q3 is not bad at all. With average usage you’ll very easily manage with a single recharge for over two days. Just talk time alone averaged in at about 3 hours and a few minutes.
The Bottom Line
The Q3 tries quite hard to give off an all business, BlackBerry like feel and comes up a bit shy. With a price tag of just Rs. 4,500, it would have a really good deal if it weren’t for that oddball display and the apparent dead in the water Nimbuzz application. On the whole it’s quite a good handset with really good features encased in a pretty decent shell but the kinks, although few are too major to dismiss easily. If Nimbuzz worked, I do believe the Q3 is great for the youth who like chatting from their handsets, but you might consider investing a little more and going in for the Corby of course you’ll have to forgo the QWERTY keypad for a touchscreen.
Published Date: Jan 05, 2010 04:00 pm | Updated Date: Jan 05, 2010 04:00 pm