So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
i-mate Ultimate 9502
- Excellent VGA display, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, HSUPA and HSDPA capable, Secure and Custom i-Q portals
- Chunky and heavy build, slider doesn't feel stable when opened, slow start-up time, no navigational software included
The Ultimate 9502 is one of the first HSUPA-capable phones to hit the market in Australia. Although it's feature packed and the Custom and Secure i-Q portals are a nice touch, you'll need to consider whether its bulky form factor is right for you.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
Australia's first commercially available HSUPA smart phone, the i-mate Ultimate 9502 offers a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 2.8in VGA touch screen and built-in GPS.
The Ultimate 9502 is available exclusively on Telstra's Next G network in Australia and is one of the first lot of handsets (along with the i-mate Ultimate 8502) to offer high speed data uploading via HSUPA, in addition to HSDPA. Telstra claims downlink speeds of up to 1.9Mbps, though expect to achieve considerably less. Regardless, HSUPA technology will develop and improve over time so it's a nice option to have, particularly for business consumers. For the full array of BigPond services, including BigPond Music, WhereIs Maps and Yellow Pages, we found browsing speeds reasonably fast.
The design of the Ultimate 9502 is a hit and miss affair. On one hand, the large size means a comfortable QWERTY keyboard and large VGA display, but the compromise is a chunky and heavy build. Although build quality feels reasonably solid, the slider doesn't, often swaying slightly from side to side when opened. The keyboard is quite comfortable and the soft backlit keys are a nice touch, but we felt the buttons themselves are a little too small.
The VGA display is excellent. It's incredibly crisp and clear and the included video-out cable means you can connect to a digital projector or television. The resolution isn't great when connected to a large display, but it does the job. Below the display is a five-way navigational pad and two selection buttons while on the left side, a handy three-way scroll wheel does a fine job of navigation without needing to use the included stylus.
The Ultimate 9502 runs Windows Mobile 6 so it naturally has the latest mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications. There is also Windows Live, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger programs. Both built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and HSDPA-connectivity make the 9502 an excellent e-mail device. Bluetooth 2.0 with support for A2DP means you can stream your music to a pair of wireless headphones, while USB 2.0 handles connection with a PC for synchronisation (using a standard mini-USB port). A built-in GPS is standard, but i-mate doesn't include any navigational software. Unfortunately, multimedia support is let-down by a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm – a shame when considering the excellent display and decent speaker offered.
A 3-megapixel camera on the rear and a VGA camera on the front for video calling over the Next G network are included. The 3-megapixel camera is decent, but not outstanding. The autofocus works well though, and the quality of video recordings is notable. In terms of general use, the Ultimate 9502 is quite speedy and we didn't experience much lag when running multiple applications. A minor sour point was the screen orientation, which is a little sluggish to adjust when the slider is opened and closed, and the start-up time of the unit – often taking up to a minute and a half.
The Ultimate 9502 also offers access to two i-mate developed services – Custom i-Q and Secure i-Q. Custom i-Q allows users to customise settings and applications for your phone via an online portal. Here, users log-in to access and edit e-mail settings and synchronise various aspects of their phone including calendar and contact details. Once these settings are saved, they are automatically downloaded to the device via an over-the-air connection. Conveniently, if your phone is ever lost or upgraded, your settings will be saved and you can upload them to your new device. Secure i-Q is a similar online service that allows you to lock and/or wipe your phone in the event that it is lost or stolen – you can even sound an alarm on the phone and have the phone number of the SIM card inserted into the device sent you.
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