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i-mate Ultimate 6150 review: i-mate Ultimate 6150

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The Good Excellent VGA display. Fast 520MHz processor. XGA TV-Out. Excellent connectivty options.

The Bad Dismal battery life. Large, heavy handset.

The Bottom Line If we didn't regard battery life so highly the 6150 would have earned itself an editor's choice award. As it stands, the Ultimate 6150 stands apart as one of the fastest Windows Mobile devices currently available.

8.3 Overall

Review Sections

It's been a while since we reviewed the i-mate JasJam; a well-featured PDA smartphone, if a tad bulky and a tad pricey to boot. The Ultimate 6150 is one of four new devices from i-mate to be released in close succession and is a keypad-less replica of the Ultimate 8150. Similar to the JasJam the 6150 is a Windows Mobile device but in keeping with the basic rules of handheld technology i-mate have shaved several millimetres off each of the 6150's dimensions, and about AU$150 off the RRP, as compared to the last generation. That being said, at 118mm wide and 60mm long the Ultimate 6150 is still a hefty feeling handset.

Design
The Ultimate series now sports a sleek black exterior giving the devices a smart business appearance rather than the "gadgety" look of the JasJam. Avoiding the glossy piano black craze we've seen so much of lately, the 6150 is encased in matte black metal, which is no doubt part of why the handset feels heavier than you might expect, but is thankfully fingerprint resistant. Sitting within the classy black frame is an exceptional 2.8-inch VGA display which is bright, sharp and colourful, perfect for reading and watching videos in Windows media player.

To navigate the keypad-less 6150 you'll be required to become well acquainted with the attached stylus, or handy with a finger, for banging away at the touchscreen. Alternatively, the Ultimate series features a tiny joystick on the front or spring-loaded jog-stick on the side to scan the menus. The physical navigation options are located in the most convenient position for left-handed use, freeing up your right hand to stab at the screen with the stylus.

One design feature we were pleased to see was the Micro SD expandable memory slot under the "jog-stick" on the left hand side of the phone, rather than under the battery which is common. This is a very handy position for a PDA, offering the opportunity to use different memory cards to store different business content, or to separate business use from personal use and "hot-swap" these cards without shutting down the handset.

Features
Love it or loath it; Windows Mobile 6 is pre-loaded on all of i-mate's latest devices. Putting aside its boring aesthetic there's no doubting the practicality of the WM6 platform, which features a decent suite of business apps; including an editable version of mobile Office -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- Internet Explorer and Enterprise for syncing your MS Outlook e-mail and contacts with those from the office. In addition, there is a plethora of WM compatible software to download online to expand the functionality of your PDA.

For the uninitiated, using WM6 is a very similar experience to using any other Windows operating systems. The upside to this is that you're probably familiar with where to find most settings and options starting by selecting the "Start" menu key. The downside is most of these options live in menus three or four selections from the standby screen. So while you might be used to changing a setting with a single click or two using a Nokia or Sony Ericsson, you will have to drill deep into the menu structure using WM6 to perform a similar task, and this can get tedious.

One feature that could definitely sell a bunch of Ultimate series handsets is the TV-Out port located inconspicuously on the right of the phone. We tested the TV-Out on a computer monitor here in our office and the results were very good. At XGA (1024x768) TV-Out resolution, the possibility of running a PowerPoint presentation off the handset and displaying it for an audience via a projector or TV is very appealing for those who want to leave their laptop at the office.

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