i-mate Ultimate 8502

Comprehensive features in a compact package

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i-mate Ultimate 8502
  • i-mate Ultimate 8502
  • i-mate Ultimate 8502
  • i-mate Ultimate 8502

Pros

  • Size and build quality, keyboard, scroll wheel, HSDPA and HSUPA, Custom and Secure i-Q

Cons

  • 2.5mm headphone jack, average display

Bottom Line

The Ultimate 8502 is an excellent package wrapped up in a compact and stylish design.

Would you buy this?

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The second smartphone from i-mate to feature HSUPA, the Ultimate 8502 has a feature set similar to the Ultimate 9502 but with the convenience of a much smaller frame.

The two main differences between the Ultimate 9502 and the 8502, aside from the lack of built-in GPS receiver, are both related to size. Where the top-of-the-range model features a VGA display and full slide out QWERTY keyboard, the 8502 features a smaller QVGA display and a more compact QWERTY keyboard. The smaller display and keyboard makes the 8502 a far more comfortable device to use than its bulky big brother.

We were particularly impressed with build quality — the 8502's matte plastic frame feels sturdy and solid and the buttons are easy to press. Our only complaint is that the tiny five-way navigational stick is not raised enough and is too small to operate accurately. Perhaps the best feature of this handset is the keyboard. Featuring small keys that are raised to a point in the middle, the keyboard is surprisingly comfortable to type on. We were able to achieve excellent speeds when typing long messages and e-mails. On the left side of the handset, a three-way scroll wheel does a fine job of navigation without the user needing the included stylus.

The Ultimate 8502 is available exclusively on Telstra's Next G network in Australia and is the second handset to offer high speed data uploading via HSUPA, in addition to HSDPA. Telstra claims downlink speeds of up to 1.9Mbps, though expect to achieve considerably less. HSUPA technology will develop and improve over time so it's a nice option to have, particularly for business consumers. For the full array of BigPond services, including BigPond Music, WhereIs Maps and Yellow Pages, we found browsing speeds reasonably fast.

The 8502's display obviously doesn't compare to the Ultimate 9502's VGA one, but it does a relatively solid job regardless. Text is crisp, images are clear and video quality is fairly reasonable for a display this size. The included video-out cable means you can connect to a digital projector or television, though the resolution isn't great when connected to a large display.

The Ultimate 8502 runs Windows Mobile 6 so it naturally has the latest mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Windows Live, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger are also present. Both built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and HSDPA-connectivity make the 8502 an excellent e-mail device. Bluetooth 2.0 with support for A2DP means you can stream your music to a pair of wireless headphones, while USB 2.0 handles connection with a PC for synchronisation (using a standard mini-USB port). Unfortunately, multimedia support is let-down by a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of a standard 3.5mm jack.

The 8502 includes a fairly basic 2-megapixel camera on the rear, but there is no front-mounted VGA camera for video calling. The quality is about what you'd expect from a 2-megapixel model, with pictures suffering from poor colour reproduction and a lack of light, despite the presence of a flash.

The Ultimate 8502 also offers access to two i-mate developed services — Custom i-Q and Secure i-Q. Custom i-Q allows users to customise settings and applications for your phone via an online portal. Users log-in to access and edit e-mail settings and synchronise various aspects of their phone including calendar and contact details. Once these settings are saved, they are automatically downloaded to the device via an over-the-air connection. Conveniently, if your phone is ever lost or upgraded, your settings will be saved and you can upload them to your new device. Secure i-Q is a similar online service that allows you to lock and/or wipe your phone in the event that it is lost or stolen — you can even sound an alarm on the phone and have the phone number of the SIM card inserted into the device sent to you.

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