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

In regards to connectivity, the Ultimate series definitely has all the bases covered. The phones are tri-band UTMS/HSDPA capable as well as being world-roaming quad-band GSM. During our tests we saw excellent Internet data speeds and generally browsing was a breeze. To compliment mobile data access the 6150 also connects to Wi-Fi networks supporting 802.11b/g/e/i protocols. Also, as is standard these days, the Ultimate series can make Bluetooth connections for file transfers, Internet sharing or for connecting to a compatible hands-free phone headset.

The longevity of the battery between charges was well below par during our tests. During very light testing we saw approximately three days of charge, but any greater use -- particularly of connectivity features like Wi-Fi or HSDPA -- and we found ourselves charging the 6150 at the end of each day. On the upside the battery level monitor is far more accurate that the common four-bar level display so you can follow the disappointingly fast depletion of battery level and be on standby with the charger.

While the battery life is lacklustre, we were impressed generally with the phone's operation. The i-mate Ultimate smartphones run on a 520MHz processor with 128MB RAM and is complimented with NVIDIA graphics acceleration. What this amounts to is speedy processing of menus and applications -- we found there were only a few apps which require more than a moment to register onscreen. This may sound like standard fare for a mobile phone, but from our repeated experience of laggy Windows Mobile devices, the Ultimate 6150 exceeded our modest expectations.

In our opinion, touchscreens are still a contentious feature. Many touchscreens make using the devices more difficult and require far more patience and concentration than the use of traditional hard inputs. This said, the touchscreen on the Ultimate 6150 is better than we've seen recently. We found it to be reasonably accurate and responsive, particularly when using the stylus, and even though typing with it feels like collecting baked beans with a toothpick, we managed to get faster as our tests continued, and relied on the backspace button less and less. Of course, this is as much to the credit of our exceptional hand-eye coordination as it is to the 6150's useability.

The truth is it took a little while to get used to using the Ultimate 6150. Being forced to type with the touchscreen was a drag before we mastered it, and WM6, while practical, is just a drag. The saving grace for the Ultimate 6150 was the processing power. If every menu selection had lagged while we drilled down layer by layer we would have thrown the handset in the bin, or better still, out a window. The 6150 might be a big handset by current standards and the battery life verges on dismal, but it packs a punch and definitely out-performs the other WM6 devices we are reviewing at this time, in processing and graphics rendering.

Either the 6150 or the 8150 would make a good handset for business users who want a Windows Mobile phone to compliment their current business practices. But be warned: you'll need deep pockets, not just to pay the RRP of AU$1,099, but deep, wide pockets to lug around the hefty handset.

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