Torq P100 Review

by Reads (32,384)

The Torq P100 is another entry into the Windows Mobile Smartphone market, which could use some more quality products. The Torq P100 is an updated version of the ETEN M500, designed for the North American market. You’re not going to see this at any mainstream stores or mobile phone carriers even. At the moment it’s available through Sound Solutions, the US distributor for Torq. But just because it’s hard to find, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the search. My boss at work has an older T-Mobile PPC Phone and spent most of my review period drooling over this one.


In the Box

Torq P100

  • Device Cradle
  • Manual & Quick Guide CDs
  • Leather Case
  • Headset
  • AC Adapter
  • Battery Pack
  • Stylus


Specs

  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition Pocket PC Phone Edition Operating System
  • SDIO card slot
  • Digital Camera 1.3 mega pixel, SXGA 1280×960
  • GSM quad-band 850/900/1800/1900 MHz,GPRS Class B / Multi-slot 10
  • Bluetooth Communications
  • Interface/Data IrDA
  • USB Sync
  • Power jack
  • 2.5mm headset jack
  • Microphone
  • Speaker phone
  • Battery Li-Ion, 1440 mAH, rechargeable, replaceable
  • Display 2.8″, 240 x 320, 65,536 colors TFT LCD w/ Touch Panel
  • Memory 128 MB Flash RAM, 64 MB SDRAM
  • Processor Samsung 2440A 400 MHz, 32-bit RISC processor


Hardware

Torq did a nice job in terms of build quality. It is well constructed, and feels sturdy. From the front, it looks like most other Smartphones, with four hardware buttons, d-pad and input button. The front also has indicator lights for Bluetooth and charge/phone use. The indicator lights are something that are increasingly being removed in other designs, so it’s kind of nice to see them here. The d-pad works pretty well, but I really enjoy the jog dial, like what’s on my Sony Ericsson P900. It makes for easier one-handed operation, something that’s doable with the P100, but not quite as easy. 

The left side of the device has hardware buttons for the camera application, volume controls, voice record button, reset button and 2.5mm headphone jack. The buttons are great, but it’s really odd to see the reset pin on the side of a device like this. More commonly it’s on the back or under the battery lid, somewhere more inconspicuous. It’s not a functional problem, as in, you won’t hit it by accident, but it just feels out of place. It’s also a bit odd to run the headset jack on the side of the device, more commonly it’s found on the top or bottom.

The stylus silo runs along the right side of the device, but it actually comes out of the bottom instead of the top. I had a hard time getting used to the stylus coming from the bottom. I kept reaching for it at the top, since that’s the standard location in most PDAs and Smartphones. Being on the bottom didn’t cause any problems; it stuck in there well and never fell out on its own, it was more of a user training issue. Also along the bottom is the adaptor for the cradle.

The top houses the SD slot, IR port and power button. The placement of the SD slot on top is great, since it makes it a little easier to use peripherals, like WiFi cards.

As is common in Smartphones, the back houses a 1.3 megapixel camera with flash and self-portrait mirror. The flash is actually very bad, and really doesn’t add any value to an already pretty poor camera. The back plate slides off to reveal the user replaceable battery, something that is a staple of Windows Mobile devices. 

From a performance perspective, the P100 did very well. The 400MHz processor was very snappy and the large allotment of memory was a welcome reprieve, compared to my SE P900. Torq is supposed to be releasing a version of this phone on Windows Mobile 5, which would add non-volatile memory, something that would make this unit all that much better.

Torq P100
Tungsten T2, Torq P100, Sony Ericsson P900


Screen

The screen is a bright 2.8-inch QVGA (240×320 pixels), and is very clear and bright. Colors are crisp and there’s very little light leakage or other LCD imperfections. The screen actually performs reasonably well outdoors too, something that’s important for a Smartphone.


Battery

The P100 comes with a large 1440 mAh rechargeable and removable lithium-ion battery. The minimum battery life is a little shy of 4.5 hours; that assumes the screen at full brightness and regular use. In practical terms, most people should get two full days of use, a little bit better than other devices in this class. It’s a very strong battery, or efficient hardware, but either way a positive for the P100.


Ease of Setup

Setting up the P100 was fairly easy. I opened up the back, slid in my SIM card, popped in the battery, and charged it up. After that, it was typical WM2003 setup. Screen alignment, owner info, and the copy paste tutorial. When I got to setting up my network connection, I had a little trouble at first. It was probably more user error and struggles with Windows Mobile than a problem with the phone. I deleted my connection settings and started over, and it worked. I set up a Bluetooth connection with my Jabra BT2000, and within minutes I was ready to use the phone


Software

The P100 uses Windows Mobile 2003 SE Phone Edition. You can tell the phone functionality was added on top of the OS. It was not as well integrated as Symbian on my P900. This is a PDA first, and a phone second. That is not necessarily bad. Some may prefer it that way, so just an FYI.

The phone hard button on the bottom quickly brings up the phone interface. There is also a voice recognition app that can be configured for voice dialing. Another nice phone feature is the choice of “scenarios”, which can be configured. These profiles will set the phone to vibrate, ring, vibrate and ring, or however you set them up. I liked the meeting profile, which is set to vibrate only.

The P100 ships with a pretty robust software package. Even little things, like their speed dial application and the voice command software, add value. While most others are stripping out software licenses to save money, Torq has stepped up with a nice suite of productivity and media-oriented applications.


Docking Station

The docking cradle is a little UFO-like, it’s hard not to think of a flying saucer. It’s very functional though, with a snug fit for the phone, a slot to charge a second battery and even a slot to hold a stylus. The latter part is a nice touch, if you use the P100 in the cradle very often. It’s doubly important since the stylus silo isn’t accessible when the P100 is cradled.

Torq P100

The second battery slot also has an indicator light that shines red when charging and green when complete. It also has a UBS port on the back that isn’t usable for anything at the moment, but if they release drivers, it could be used for peripherals at some point.

While it’s great to see a nice cradle with a Smartphone, most manufacturers don’t include them any longer, the cabling system is really goofy. You actually can’t plug the AC adapter straight into the cradle, or even the device for that matter. You have to join it with the USB cord, which is really clumsy and a downright poor design. It also means that you can’t just carry the AC adaptor with you to charge if you travel, you have to bring along a bunch of other nonsense.


Conclusion

This is a well designed Smartphone in a small package. If you don’t need a unit with integrated keyboard, it’s going to be hard to beat the P100 in terms of size, execution and quality. It is missing WiFi, which is a downer, but that still doesn’t hurt it enough to not recommend it. If you need a small Smartphone that’s well done right now, there’s no reason to avoid the P100. When they add WiFi, Windows Mobile 5 and a better camera, it will be a fantastic product.

Pros

  • Well designed
  • Bluetooth
  • Large Memory

Cons

  • No Wifi
  • Old OS
  • Poor flash
  • Not widely distributed


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