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HTC STRTrk: Make it so-so

Hailing frequencies are now definitely open for the Star Trek phone we've travelled so many light years to find. How does it measure up against the mobile phone user's prime directive?

In a secret location somewhere in the depths of London, Crave was invited to get a closer look at the HTC STRTrk, aka the Qtek 8500, which we first got wind of only yesterday. We went along in the hope that our predictions of a futuristic doorstop would be proved wrong, and that we would be presented with a phone fit for Jean-Luc Picard.

The handset isn't a million miles away from looking like a Motorola Razr V3 -- as you can see from the pic. It's not as wide, however, and is 2mm thicker. At 16mm it's the slimmest Windows Mobile 5.0 device we've seen so far and we think it might even be the first Windows Mobile clamshell.

It feels sturdy and has a good, grippy surface. Its hinge is almost identical to that of the V3, a design that could survive a black hole. On the front of the phone are dedicated music keys as well as an external LCD screen that sits behind a round, Star Trek-inspired reflective surface. The back houses a 1.3-megapixel camera and on the inside is a completely flat keypad and a large 56mm (2.2-inch) QVGA screen.

Somewhat disappointingly for a phone with such a futuristic name, the features set is almost identical to the Motorola Razr V3i's. There's quad-band and EDGE support, Bluetooth, a microSD expandable memory slot and speakerphone. However, unlike the Razr V3i, it runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, which does give you access to Pocket Outlook and Office Mobile.

We expected a little more from the company that so far has brought us high-quality Windows Mobile phones in innovative and stylish form factors, like the Orange SPV M600 or the O2 XDA Exec. It's a good phone, but it lacks a certain something, especially since some people were predicting that it might have Wi-Fi support. Expect a full review soon. -AL