Torq P120 review: Torq P120
The Torq P120 has the makings of a solid smart phone--but can it deliver? Read our review to find out.
On paper, the Torq P120 has the makings of a powerful convergence device for mobile professionals. The Windows Mobile-based smart phone comes with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, ample memory, and a fairly compact form factor. Unfortunately, the P120 suffers the same fate as the E-Ten G500 in that it never reaches stardom due to mediocre performance and poor design elements. Plus, without the support of a U.S. carrier, you'll have to fork over a lot of cash ($620) for an unlocked version of the P120, and we just don't think it's worth it, especially when you can get better-performing and full-featured smart phones, such as the Cingular 8125 and the T-Mobile MDA, for less.
Upon first glance, the Torq P120 looks to be a sturdy device, but a closer inspection of the handheld tells a different story. The P120 is fairly compact at 4.4 by 2.4 by 0.9 inches but on the heavier side, weighing in at 6 ounces. The extra heft makes it feel solid in the hands, but we noticed the plastic casing seemed a bit cheap, especially the battery cover on the back. Even worse, the navigation buttons are loose, and the five-way toggle doesn't work very well. For one, the entire keypad is tiny, so we had a lot of mishaps; plus, it was hard to press the center Select key. Fortunately, you can also use the responsive 2.8-inch touch screen to navigate the menus and apps. Text and images are easy to read, as the P120's screen shows off 65,536 colors at a 240x320-pixel resolution.
On the left side, there's a camera-activation key, a volume rocker, a voice-record button, a reset button, and a 2.5mm headset jack that's protected by a rubber cover. There's an SDIO/MMC expansion slot on top of the device, while the camera lens is located on the back, along with a small self-portrait mirror and a flash. One design quirk is that the stylus holder is located on the bottom of the handset; it's not a deal breaker, but since we're so accustomed to having it at the top, we kept reaching for it there just out of habit. On a brighter note, Torq packages the smart phone with a healthy supply of accessories, including a desktop cradle, an AC adapter, a wired headset, and a belt holster.
Under the hood, the Torq P120 runs Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile 5 operating system, and it comes with 128MB of ROM and 64MB of RAM. Mobile professionals will be happy to see that the P120 has the full suite of Mobile Office apps, including Word, Excel, and the new PowerPoint presentation viewer, so you can work on the go. Outlook Mobile is onboard to handle your e-mail needs, and the P120 comes with the same M-Desk utility found on the E-Ten G500 that groups all of the device's apps by function: Phone, PDA, Fun, and System. It's a feature we came to love, thanks to its simple organization and sheer usefulness--no more digging through the Programs menu to find the app you need.
The Torq P120 has some helpful phone features as well. First, it's a quad-band GSM phone, so you can use it overseas. Also, it's equipped with a voice-command feature that lets you operate your phone by spoken word. We appreciated the Frequent Dial feature that monitors your calling habits and, for easy access, automatically lists the numbers you punch in most often. Other phone delights include speed dial, photo caller ID, conference calling, text and multimedia messaging, and a speakerphone. Aside from cellular wireless, connectivity options include integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b) and Bluetooth 1.2. Unfortunately, there's no support for EDGE, so you won't get the benefit of faster download times.
For some visual and audio entertainment, the Torq P120 comes with a 1.3-megapixel camera that has video-recording capabilities and a 4X zoom. It can take photos ranging in size, from 176x144 up to 1,290x960, and you have options for white balance, special effects, fun frames, and a self-timer. The P120 can record video with sound in three sizes (320x240, 176x144, and 128x96) and three quality settings (high, medium, and low). Windows Media Player 10 Mobile is at your disposal for more ear and eye candy.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Torq P120 in the San Francisco Bay Area using Cingular service, and call quality was a mixed bag. Although we could hear our callers loud and clear, they said we sounded garbled or there was too much of an echo to carry on a conversation. All in all, it was quite disappointing. The only upside: pairing the P120 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset was a breeze.
As a PDA, the Torq P120's performance was a little poky. There was a noticeable lag when opening up different apps, but the battery life was on a par with that of other PDAs. In CNET Labs tests, where we looped a video clip with the backlight set to high and all wireless radios turned off, the P120 lasted for five hours. The P120 is rated for up to four hours of talk time and 8.3 days of standby time.