The Business Mate
By Seow Tein Hee
In just a few months' time, the i-mate brand will celebrate its first year in the Asia Pacific region. Right at the get go, they've introduced a slew of devices such as the i-mate Ultimate 8502 and i-mate 9502, both of which are targeted at business users. This time round, we'll be looking at its QWERTY-less sibling, the i-mate Ultimate 6150.
Up, Down, Left and Right
Perhaps the biggest difference you'll see on the 6150 is the absence of the QWERTY keyboard, unlike its siblings, the 8502 and 9502. But its performance is definitely not compromised, which we'll get to in a short while. What makes the 6150 stands out are the buttons on the front panel, which differs from the standard layout found on most mobile devices nowadays.
The 6150 has a five-directional joystick that's positioned off-center to the right, which initially had us stumped at the logic of such a design. The truth is, as we navigated through the various programs on the 6150, we realized that this design favors right-handers who would probably be navigating with the joystick with their right thumb while clicking through the icons on the screen with the left.
Flushed screens are the fad nowadays, though unfortunately, the 6150 still adopts the concave display that was popular just a few years ago. What this means is that the touch screen navigation experience on the 2.8-inch screen is hindered when using just your fingers and we found ourselves depending more on the stylus. If the 2.8-inch screen is inadequate for your needs, you can choose to utilize its integrated TV-out function that allows you to connect the 6150 to a display's VGA port with its VGA and 3.5mm audio connector, thus giving you a clearer image for presentations. A word of caution for the size-conscious crowd however: the 6150 weighs in at 152g and is 118.5mm long.
The 99% Package
The 6150's specifications, such as a XScale PXA270 520MHz processer, coupled with 256MB ROM and 128MB RAM, qualifies it amongst other high-end devices such as the HTC Touch Diamond and Samsung Omnia. This is apparent to us when we experienced minimal lag with the introduction of memory intensive programs such as music playback on Windows Media Player 10 and web browsing on Internet Explorer. When it comes to keeping itself updated, i-mate has also kindly included the latest Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system on the 6150.
On the battery performance level, we did managed to squeeze the 6150's 1530 mAH battery for all its worth until it shut down on us after two days of moderate usage of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The only thing that got us a bit bewildered is the omission of a GPS chipset on the 6150, as most similar devices recently have been well equipped for navigation purposes.
In all honesty, the i-mate 6150 presents itself as a device that comes with the right stuff: powerful processor and sufficient memory to tackle its workload, good battery stamina and basic connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and HSDPA, sans the now commonly sighted GPS. Nonetheless, there are also a few things to consider such as its bulky and heavier exterior, but the burning question from consumers is how much you'll have to shell out for the 6150's capabilities. The answer: this device looks to be comfortable on the wallet, with a very reasonable price tag of S$798 without contract for a relatively no-frills device that gets the job done.
- Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900; HSDPA 850/900/2100
- Operating system: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
- Processor: XScale PXA270 520MHz
- Memory: 128MB RAM, 256MB ROM, microSD expandability
- Display: 640 x 480 pixels, 2.8-inch XGA resolution, 65K colors
- Camera: 2.0-megapixel with autofocus and LED flash; secondary video(VGA) call camera
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, USB 1.1 (mini-USB), TV-out with HD15 VGA and 3.5mm audio connector
- Battery: 1530mAh
- Standby / Talk time: Up to 150 hours / Up to 4 hours
- Dimensions: 118.5 x 60.5 x 15.5mm
- Weight: 152g
- Price: S$798