AT&T Quickfire Review

Software and Features:

Navigating through the Quickfire came with ease thanks to the straight forward interface. Icons are sized to accommodate the touch screen, which is one of the main features of the device. There might be a learning curve at first when trying to scroll through the menus because you have to flick your finger in the direction you want to go. Users of the iPhone like flick gestures might have a hard time adjusting to this and might view it as not responsive. Switching from a portrait to landscape view happens swiftly with no evidence of slow down.  Something worth noting is that certain applications need to be viewed in landscape view and will not work in portrait. We would have liked to see themoptimized to run on either orientation.

Pressing the main menu icon will display a grid style view of some of the applications. We did like how there are a variety of home screens you can choose from that adds some personalization options. For example, you can pick from a digital or analog clock, world time, calendar, or large shortcut buttons. It also comes with some pretty decent looking wallpaper choices that show off some of the brilliant colors on screen. Still, there are very few items you can change as far as personalization settings. For example, there are only two choices for the color themes and you cannot change the font style. 

You can store up to 500 contacts on the phone itself with a home, office, mobile, and other phone numbers. Additionally you can assign other choices such as a fax number, two different e-mail addresses, URL page,  group, image, ringtone, address, and a memo for each contact.

Photos taken in bright lit areas were pretty clear except that colors were not accurate. While low lit indoor shots came out quite blurry with some haze noticeable when you review an image. They also looked pixilated at times. Outdoor shots came out a little bit better with overall good detail and better representation of colors. Videos can be recorded, but they are probably best for use with MMS. The frame rate was choppy even when slowly moving the camera and audio seemed to be on the low side. Overall detail was lacking despite having a 320x240 resolution.  The Quickfire provides a very basic camera and video interface to allow users to make some changes.

For listening to music, the Quickfire comes with AT&T’s Music Player which is simplistic at its core. The files are organized in a variety of ways from albums, artists, genres, and playlists. After making a selection, the application displays the album cover, song name, artist, and length. The buttons on the touch screen are used for navigation within the player so you cause pause, fast forward, and reverse a track. Unlike some recent devices for AT&T that utilizes their Music Player, the Quickfire does not allow music to play in the background if you go back to the home screen. We’re not sure why this happens, but it will only continue to play a track if you go back to the main menu. Surprisingly, we found sound quality on the speaker phone to be quite adequate when you placed it on the highest volume. It sounded crisp and audible with no noticeable crackling.
Video playback on the phone is a different story. One would think that the size of the screen would make for an enjoyable experience watching videos, but we noticed a lot of lag during play back. We ran a trailer in 220x96 pixels and H.264 format and observed the device struggle to keep up during certain intervals. We had better luck viewing a video in portrait because of the poor viewing angles in landscape. You literally need to look at the screen at a ninety degree angle in landscape to see anything. Audio output was very dull and you can hear some crackling when placed on the loudest volume setting. The Quickfire does allow you to view YouTube videos with their video player. Although they looked pixilated and grainy at times, it does the job for viewing them.

The AT&T Quickfire is a global quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM phone with tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz). Music lovers will be glad to know that the device supports stereo Bluetooth. Additionally, you will still be able to pair it up with various wireless Bluetooth headsets and transfer data wirelessly between the devices.

Mobile friendly sites loaded up really fast while more complex ones took up more time and found ourselves waiting a lot. The Quickfire uses Polaris Browser 6.0 which did a good job of rendering a web site with text and pictures. We were impressed by how crisp and clear they looked, but scrolling through a large site was slow. As we stated earlier, there might be some adjusting required for some users due to the fact that you have to scroll with your finger towards the direction you want to go to. There are some options that you can modify so the browser will optimize the way it is displayed for text viewing or load faster by not displaying photos.

Other useful applications that comes preloaded with the Quickfire are MEdia Net for web browsing, AT&T Navigator for GPS Navigation, MEdia Mall for shopping, Instant Message support (AIM, Yahoo, Windows Live), and Mobile Email. For a messaging device, the unfortunate limited email support will probably turn away some users. It only supports specified email clients listed on the application. You’re out of luck if yours is not included in the list. We like how the IM client is set up on the device. It allows you to use multiple services at the same time without signing out of another. You’ll also be able to have multiple conversations and browse them within each service. In addition, it will run in the background if you exit out of everything and go back to the home screen. This is a feature not typically seen on a non-smart phone device. Seeing that this is deemed as a messaging device, there is a Notepad application you can use to type up and save small messages. The only flaw that we found with this is that it only allows you to type up a maximum 300 characters before having to create a new one.

The device comes with 29MB of internal storage with microSD support for up to 8GB cards. We used a 4GB microSD HC card and had no trouble being read by the Quickfire. We then swapped it a different card and it read it without any problems.

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