I needed a phone that I could also use for texting, checking email and occasional internet use. I also wanted an mp3 and video player and removable memory card. However, I did not want to pay for a "smart phone" plan because I didn't need all the functions of a Blackberry or iPhone. After much debate and research, I ordered the Motorola QA 30 (or "Hint") from Alltel. The Hint seemed like a trimmed-down smartphone without the smartphone plan.
Recommend this product?
The first thing you notice is the distinctive style. I get a lot of positive comments about the looks of the phone, actually. At first it feels a bit awkward if you're used to a flip type phone, but after a while it becomes quite comfortable. The back of the phone has a rubberized coating which makes gripping the phone and sliding the keyboard easy and comfortable.
The sliding full QWERTY keyboard is a great feature, especially for texting. I have never liked the predictive text feature of some phones (Blackberry Pearl, for instance), but some people do. There are little ridges on all of the keys, which makes finding different keys easier. The buttons are small so this phone may not work well for someone with very large hands, but I'm six feet tall with an average build and I do just fine with it. Make sure and play with the phone in the store to see if this is a problem.
Other than that, the buttons are all layed out well. There is a dedicated mp3 player button on the front of the phone, so you can start up the mp3 player and navigate it without opening the phone, which is a nice feature. The phone uses a standard 3.5 mm jack (the same as an any mp3 player) so you can use regular headphones, with no adapters, which is a big plus. The Hint is also stereo-bluetooth capable, as well. There is also an external speaker, which works much better than I expected. Options include playlists, equalizer, and shuffle, and the sound quality is great.
The video player actually blew me away, to be honest. The screen is large (2.5 inches!!!) and very clear. Movies just flat out look great on this phone. You'll need your own software to burn your movies into the proper file type (MPEG-4). The video quality is just as good as my 5th gen video iPod, if not better. You can link your phone to your PC and manage your songs and movies, as well as turn your own sounds into ringtones, instead of paying 3-4 dollars to download a ringtone (of a song you already own), which is ridiculous.
The phone itself works well. Call quality is great and I get better coverage with this phone than I did with my Samsung Hue flip phone. The speaker phone works much better than my previous phone. To answer a call you merely slide the phone open or hit the green button. To end a call you have the option of ending it by sliding the phone closed or by hitting the red button on the front. (I prefer this option so I can close the phone while I'm talking, which saves on battery life because the keyboard is not lit and the phone is more compact and easy to handle this way. You just have to change the settings).
The phone is compatible with micro SD cards, up to 8 gigabytes, which really is a good amount of data. Right now I have about 1000 songs and 4 movies on my card.
The camera boasts 2.0 megapixels, which is standard nowadays, but there is no flash. This means that any pictures you take in low light will not come out at all. This was dissapointing, but I bought a phone, not a camera. The picture quality in bright light is okay, but nothing spectacular. The one real bad thing about the camera is that there is a HUGE delay, so forget any action photos. You really can only take still photos in bright light.
The email functionality is great. I have it linked with my hotmail. It checks the emails pretty quickly and efficiently and this is again where the QWERTY keyboard comes in handy because writing emails is much better than on a standart phone. The text messaging is also fantastic. It actually runs much like instant messaging where you can see your whole conversation with the person you're texting, which I like. I haven't tried the facebook app yet.
The internet on this phone is standard for mobile phones that are not "smart phones." It only works well for sites that have a mobile version of the site. It will not support third party browsers like "opera mini" (which is GREAT on my wife's blackberry) but it the standard browser works just fine for popular websites like espn.com or cnn.com. Just don't expect to have the full functionality of every website you visit on your PC. If you need that, then buy a Blackberry or iPhone. I mostly just use the internet to check scores, weather, and news, and this phone does a great job of that. Espn.com opens in about five seconds, which is pretty good. You can watch videos on youtube but the quality isn't great (but it's not great on the Blackberry, either).
This phone also has GPS. You have to pay for it (either 9.99 per month or 3.49 for one day at a time). The second option is nice because you can use it in a pinch without being shackled to a monthly fee. It uses turn by turn navigation which works pretty well. Sometimes it takes a while to acquire a satellite signal, though. Again, my wife's Blackberry often does the same thing.
Another thing I really like about this phone is the calendar. You can schedule tasks, meetings, birthdays, etc with or without a ring reminder. There is a dedicated calendar button which you can put on your opening screen, which is great for getting to it quickly. The calendar is not as intuitive as a palm pilot, but functions just fine. You can back this up on your PC so you don't lose everthing if you wreck your phone.
Overall, I have been happy with this phone. It does everything I need it to do with much of the basic functionality of a "smart phone" without the huge monthly service fee. It's a great hybrid, if you will.
If you really need a phone for business and you're on the road a lot, get a Blackberry. If you're like me and have a laptop or PC close to you most of the day, this phone is more than enough to get you buy on the ocassional trip or while waiting in line at the DMV.
I have had this phone for four months and have had no major problems with it (aside from getting it wet), which reminds me of something else. Get the insurance. For 6 bucks a month, I got a new phone after wrecking this one and it only cost me a $50 deductible. To replace this phone without a plan or rebate is several hundred dollars, so this is really a no-brainer. I would also get a protective case and an LCD protector screen. This will prevent the phone and screen from getting scratched!!! You can find lots of accessories for the QA30 on Ebay for very little money.
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Amount Paid (US$): 59.99
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