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Review: i-Mate 810-F

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i-mate-810f-live-images-10BARCELONA, Spain – In a bid to save its marketshare in the smartphone industry, i-Mate has done what not many manufacturers of its category have done before: building a rugged smartphone. The 810-F is designed to the MIL-STD-810F military standard (although not actually certified), but lives up to the old i-Mate legacy.

The 810-F has special offerings for corporate consumers: it can be painted in colours other than the commercial blue. A unit painted orange was available at the stand, but PhoneReport was not allowed to photograph it; however, a dark grey model was captured for this review.

The small, yet bulky phone features a 2.46″ touchscreen display with QVGA resolution (320×240 pixels), a full QWERTY keyboard, HSDPA, 2.2GB internal memory, a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an accelerometer. The phone has a 624MHz PXA CPU, 128MB of RAM, and runs on the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, to keep with the i-Mate tradition.

Specifications aren’t the main concern of the 810-F. The protective components of the phone – waterproof rubber casing, metal screws, impact resistant screen – allow it to sustain damage from pressure, heat, water, humidity, and extreme shock, and still continue operating normally.

Another highlight of this new device is the Secure i-Q service, which can control the security functions of the phone remotely from the web, allowing one to erase all data, or simply lock it, in case the phone is stolen or lost.

One surely does not buy this phone for a normal lifestyle. The materials used in the phone, and now exposed, make it an unconventional phone. The keyboard does not feel normal, and its sheer dimension-ratio is abnormal. The phone weighs 150g.

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As said previously, the looks of this device are rather unusual: it has six visible metal screws on the front section, and the entire keyboard is one piece (mainly to protect it from water damage).

The keys are raised, therefore not all comfort is lost.

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Many of the slots and ports are well protected in order to keep up with the theme, and they were left uninspected by us. One of these can be seen on the right side of the phone. The 810-F does not support memory cards, therefore the port could be used for another function.

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The left side of the phone contains the shutter – a rather unusual place, as it should be on the right side.

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The bottom and top sides of the phone have been left blank (respectively).

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The speakers, back clip, and the 2 megapixel camera are located on the back of the phone. A series of connectors are also placed in this section to be connected to a possible external battery pack.

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The i-Mate 810-F is certainly the ultimate rugged smartphone in the market, having all the features the consumer is used to have in a Windows Mobile-powered device, but still be fully safe and secure – both physically and in terms of data.

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By , Editor-in-Chief, Johannesburg office

Published on May 26th, 2009 GMT +2

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