Specifications and Final Thoughts
Moving onto the internal workings, first up we have the integrated GoForce 5500 graphics accelerator, which features hardware 3D acceleration akin of a PC graphics card from yesteryear. It should also help improve video playback and it handles the digital cameras in the handset. It also adds a rather unusual feature to the Ultimate 8150, VGA out. In the box you'll find a special cable which has a proprietary connector that attaches to the handset and on the other end is a D-sub connector and a 3.5mm audio plug. This allows you to connect up the Ultimate to any suitable source and display whatever is on the screen on a large screen device or a projector screen.
It's limited to 1,024x768, but that's still good enough for your Power Point presentations, and the fact that a cursor appears on the display or projector screen when it is turned into a touch pad is also very helpful when it comes to actual navigation in this mode. It doesn't work perfectly, but it's at least a lot lighter than carrying your notebook with you for an impromptu presentation. The downside is of course that you have to carry the cable with you, as otherwise it doesn't work at all.
The rest of the hardware specifications are pretty good as well, with a 520MHz XScale PXA 270 processor there's enough raw grunt there to handle applications like Skype without breaking a sweat. We're also happy to see that i-mate went with no less than 128MB of RAM and 256MB of ROM, and there's about 67MB of RAM and 108MB of storage memory free. Despite this though, we experienced the odd slowdown of the Ultimate 8150, especially when it came to switching on the device from standby. Having tested a wide range of Windows Mobile devices, this is by far the slowest when it comes to waking up from standby.
There are plenty of connectivity options as well, with the Ultimate 8150 having a built in quad-band GSM radio as well as a tri-band UMTS/HSDPA radio. This means that it will work on the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900MHz band for GSM and 850, 1900 and 2100MHz for 3G. Add 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 and an FM radio into the mix and you've got it pretty much sewed up. The only thing missing is a built-in GPS receiver, but it doesn't seem like i-mate managed to squeeze that in.
The supplied 1,530mAh battery seemed to last about two days with average usage, although this is about on pair with other Window Mobile devices. The only other thing located in behind the battery compartment lid is the SIM card slot and this is easy to insert and remove. This might sound a little bit odd, but the supplied stylus is too long, at least for yours truly, although as it's an extendable stylus, you can adjust it to suit your hand which is a good thing in this case. It's quite comfortable to use and hold and it fits snugly in the handset, so there's no need to worry about it falling out.
The handset is supplied with a carry pouch that clips onto your belt, although we have to apologize for not taking a picture of it, as it slipped our minds. There's also a stereo headset, but sadly it uses a mini USB connector, so you'll have a hard time finding a replacement, as it's not the same type that HTC uses. A short USB cable and a spare stylus as well as a charger are also part of the package.
The Ultimate 8150 doesn't come with a whole lot of third party software, just a basic FM radio application, a custom wireless manager, and some setup utilities that make it easier to set up the handset to work with your network provider as well as a custom camera application. The camera application is quite tricky to use without the stylus, which is a major flaw, as you don't want to have to pull out the stylus just to change a few minor camera settings. However, it is quite comprehensive and has a lot of settings, and the menu for actually changing more permanent settings is easy to use. The camera does at least take acceptable pictures, which is more than we can say about some phones.
Another positive with the package is the manual, as it is presented extremely well with colour pictures and diagrams to make things much easier to grasp. It's not often you see a manual presented like this anymore, as more companies are choosing to include this in data form on a CD.
Overall, the i-mate Ultimate 8150 is not so ultimate, but it's interesting to see what can be down with Windows Mobile when a different company with new ideas gets it hands-on and starts to play. Although we did expect i-mate to be a bit more experienced than this, and to have managed to come up with a slimmer and better looking device, especially as it's well over a year ago that the Ultimate range was announced. However, the real deal breaker here isn't actually the device itself, but rather the insane price point that it's selling for, as you'd have to fork out US$804.95 or AU$909.95 for the pleasure to own one, which is way too much compared to the competition.
Sure, the Ultimate 8150 has some unique features, but not enough to validate the insanely high price tag. You can pick up the E-TEN glofiish X800 for less and although it might lack a keypad and video-out, it comes with a built-in GPS receiver. The Ultimate 8150 isn't for everyone, that's for sure, but we really wonder who it's meant for, at least as long as it carries a premium price without offering anything really superior. Better luck next time, i-mate.
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