HTC has launched earlier this year the new Qtek 8500 smartphone, aka the HTC StrTrk, Star Trek, Star100, I-mate Smartflip or Dopod S300. The new Windows Mobile
5.0 smartphone was released under the Qtek brand, a brand used by HTC for naming its handsets. In fact, HTC has managed to launch the first smartphone with Windows Mobile 5.0, in a clamshell format, on the market.Design
The 8500 is a very stylish clamshell, with dimensions that beat by far any other device with Windows Mobile 5.0 available on the market at the moment. It measures only 98.5 mm x 51.4 mm x 15.8 mm and has a weight of 99 grams, including the battery. On the front of the smartphone, there are some dedicated music buttons, a must for a multimedia phone these days, and on the right side, you can find the proprietary power/synchronizing and audio connector port (this can be a drawback for the device like all proprietary connector ports). The external cover is made of plastic and has black rubber ends to protect the phone's case from scratches. Also, on the exterior, you have the camera button, with which you can start the camera with a single push.
The two volume control buttons of the phone are placed on the left upper side, along with a third button, controlling the voice recognition built-in program. It features a Motorola RAZR-like keypad, made out of smooth flat brushed metal with indentations between the buttons, giving the keypad a very sleek look.
Overall, opened or closed, the phone has a very thin stylish design, comes in three colors: black, pink and silver, and resembles the Motorola RAZR, but fails to achieve the feeling of a solid, polished handset as you would expect from a Windows Mobile enabled smartphone.Processor and memory
The phone has a Texas Instrument TI OMAP 850 195 Mhz processor, chosen by HTC probably to reduce the overall cost of the handset, on the expense of performance I would say, because the TI OMAP proves to be the wrong companion for the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system. Depending on the software used on the Qtek 8500, you can experience delays opening the programs and also, the feeling that the processor is sometimes overwhelmed.
The 64 MB RAM and 64 MB ROM that the Qtek 8500 has, aren't enough for all the software a customer would like to add on its new Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone, but you have the option of expanding the memory through microSD cards (TransFlash), which can go up to 1 GB. I recommend you get the biggest one you can find, because swapping it too often is a real hassle, considering the fact that the microSD card slot is found behind the battery cover and underneath the SIM card slot (a pretty weird place to put a microSD slot, but hey, this the first Windows Mobile clamshell smartphone, and a very slim one too, remember?), just like Motorola RAZR. So get yourself a very big microSD card, stash it under the SIM, forget about it and everyone will be happy.Multimedia
||The phone has a 1.3 megapixel camera, and can grab pictures at resolutions ranging from 160 x 120, to 1280 x 1024, with a digital zoom of maximum 8x, depending on the resolution you use. The camera has greyscale, sepia, plus other effects, and presets for daylight, night, incandescent or fluorescent conditions. It provides a good image quality, but not having a flash or an auto-focus function makes it an integer part of the mediocre lineup of mobile phone cameras.|
The handset has two displays: the internal one is a two inch 65k TFT LCD with LED back light and the external one is a 1.2 inch 65k colors TFT LCD (which displays time and date, the mp3 player interface and notifications).
Another multimedia feature is its Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, integrated with the external TFT LCD display, which shows information about the track played by the media player. As you would expect from a multimedia smartphone, you can control the media player with the buttons placed on the front of the phone's case.
The Qtek 8500 is capable of almost every type of communication available today, with a single exception: the 3G technology. It is a quadband GSM and GPRS class 10 device, working on 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 Mhz networks, featuring Bluetooth connectivity, EDGE class 10, with transfer speeds up to 236.8 kbps and capable of being online all the time with its SMS, MMS, Email and Instant messaging features. The smartphone's operating system also offers the users the choice of using any instant messaging client capable of running on Windows Mobile 5.0.The Good
The best thing about the Qtek 8500 has to be its innovative clamshell design for a Windows Mobile 5.0 enabled smartphone. No one can deny the fact that HTC has managed to put in a very stylish design, comparable with RAZR models from Motorola. This is a smartphone with enough features to make a happy user out of any customer that buys the handset, and I can't wait to see what its successors will look like.The Bad
One of the annoying things could be the microSD memory card slot, which is located under the battery cover, underneath the SIM card slot. Of course, this can be solved very easily if you buy a large enough memory so you won't be forced to change it very often.
The processor seems a little old, but for what it's worth, the clamshell has a different target and will probably not be a best buy for business men.
I have experienced minor problems regarding the reception of the signal. There might be a problem with the network operator, but I wouldn't be sure of that. Another of its drawbacks may be the lack of W-LAN connection which could've drastically increased the quality of wireless data transfers, and of IrDA connectivity.Conclusions
The Qtek 8500 is a very nice and stylish smartphone, an innovative product for its class, featuring a Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, with integrated ClearVue viewers, providing only viewing facilities for Microsoft Word and RichTextFile documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint slideshows and Pdf documents. The device is available in Romania thanks to Omnisoft Company. If you are from Romania and want to buy this device (or any other Qtek device), you can check here
. The phone's price ranges from 450 $ to 550 $.Standard kit:
110 - 220 Volt AC adapter
USB synchronization cable
Stereo wired headset with microphone
Quick Start Guide
Two software CDs including ActiveSync, Outlook 2002 and ClearVue Office applications