The INQ1 from 3 – Normob feedback

I’ve now had some feedback on 3′s INQ1 handset from my tame social networking Normobs! My ‘representative’ sample included both teenagers and adults and interestingly the verdict has been fairly similar across them all.

My reservations about the handset user interface were maybe a reflection on my love of quality mobile devices because my Normob panel were fairly happy with the design and interface. We moved on to the social networking applications where I was looking for feedback on whether the INQ1 appealed to people who enjoyed using Facebook, Live Messenger and Skype on their PCs.

Facebook was universally criticised for being slow and not particularly easy to read. This mirrored my experience where the application seemed to spend most of its time ‘refreshing’ and ‘loading’. This was a disappointment as it’s one of the unique features of the handset but it seems that this key social networking application is a big miss on the INQ1. One comment I received was that updating Facebook once a day is enough so having it on a handset is not particularly important.

It’s in the less unique applications that the INQ1 seemed to score. Feedback on Live Messenger was much more positive. This worked well and everyone liked it. Being able to carry on instant messaging when out and about is clearly a popular activity. Teenagers don’t seem to be big Skype users so this application didn’t engender as much interest, although adults did show some interest in it. I think from a Normob perspective Skype is still seen as a PC based communications tool.

Another area where the INQ1 seems to fail is in the area of delivering predictability of costs to users. Feedback suggested it’s not clear when the user is generating additional data costs and the prepay balance seemed to disappear remarkably quickly even with fairly limited use. 3 needs to be much clearer about what’s included and what isn’t, to avoid ‘bill shock’.

The Messages application was popular because of the way it displays inboxes for SMS, Facebook (mail, pokes and messages), Live Messenger, Skype and email on a single screen. This is a reasonable attempt at integrating all received messages in one place which users seem to like and plays to the social networking theme.

The rebooting problem I experienced initially seems to have settled down – maybe I’m a bit hard on my handsets!

So, overall a more positive verdict than I was expecting. The INQ1 does have some rough edges and the disappointment with the Facebook application reduces its credibility as a social networking device. However the handset does appeal to users who want to be able to add instant messaging to calling and texting on the move and it achieves this at a reasonable price.

Jonathan’s also at Sevendotzero.

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  • http://farleyhilluk.tumblr.com andyhoops

    Today my wife has had one of those crazy mobile operator discussions that make you bang your head against a brick wall in the hope the pain masks the frustration of dealing with the operator.

    She signed up for the £15 contract deal for the INQ1; still today the following text is on the Three website:

    “£15 Unlimited Texter and Internet

    It's exercise for your thumbs. You get unlimited texts, unlimited internet access, unlimited 3 to 3 minutes and 75 anytime, any network minutes to use every month with our £15 Texter offer. Fair use policy applies.”

    Unambiguous right? Except that when the direct debit instruction arrives, it is for in excess of £20.

    On querying this, she has to explain herself in triplicate to three different people, and has been promised a call back from the person who sold her the phone.

    So it is still not resolved. Unbelievable. We had been very impressed with the device.

    Oh and the other joy: she is told that because she has used the phone 'she may not cancel'. Hah! What a thing to say to a new customer! The direct debit mandate arrived a full week after the phone!

  • http://farleyhilluk.tumblr.com andyhoops

    For anyone who is still reading :-) this was finally resolved on the 6th phone call.

    At last, someone who knew what they were talking about was able to refund the initial overbill and apply a permanent discount to the 'Internet Max package' for future months.

    Not one of the previous 5 people at 3 was able to look at their own website, see the discrepancy with what was advertised and what was being billed, and do something about it. Pretty poor.

  • http://farleyhilluk.tumblr.com andyhoops

    For anyone who is still reading :-) this was finally resolved on the 6th phone call.

    At last, someone who knew what they were talking about was able to refund the initial overbill and apply a permanent discount to the 'Internet Max package' for future months.

    Not one of the previous 5 people at 3 was able to look at their own website, see the discrepancy with what was advertised and what was being billed, and do something about it. Pretty poor.

  • http://farleyhilluk.tumblr.com andyhoops

    For anyone who is still reading :-) this was finally resolved on the 6th phone call.

    At last, someone who knew what they were talking about was able to refund the initial overbill and apply a permanent discount to the 'Internet Max package' for future months.

    Not one of the previous 5 people at 3 was able to look at their own website, see the discrepancy with what was advertised and what was being billed, and do something about it. Pretty poor.

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