Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone Review

By Vinod Yalburgi | Updated Jan 28 2011
Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone Review
DIGIT RATING
70 /100
  • design

    70

  • performance

    60

  • value for money

    70

  • features

    70

  • PROS
  • Affordable
  • Dual SIM and dual memory slots
  • QWERTY keypad
  • 2GB bundled memory card
  • CONS
  • Poor keypad ergonomics
  • Mediocre loudspeaker clarity
  • Shoddy trackpad

Verdict

The Q99 is an average performer although the mediocre keypad ergonomics ruins usability and ultimately everything. However, it is rare to find such a feature set on such a cheap phone, As there are very few dual SIM QWERTY smartphones in the sub-Rs. 3,500 category.

Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone detailed review

The Byond Q99 is a dual SIM, dual-memory QWERTY smartphone, which borrows the classic design aesthetics of a Blackberry business phone. It is one of the first QWERTY business phones released from the stables of Byond and inherits the body design from its elder sibling the BY 880. The only major difference is that the BY 880 comes with a track ball, while the Q99 ships with an optical trackpad. The glossy black finish on the front and back panels of the Q99 also gives it a bit more appeal.


Byond Q99 - 360 degree view

[RELATED_ARTICLE]The Q99 body is well built with harder than normal plastic and it still does not feel too heavy, weighing just under 90 grams. The QWERTY keypad incorporates a bevelled key structure to enhance its usability and comfort to some extent. However, the function modifier key (Fn) is faulty and fails to register the user input with 7,8 and 9 number keys while keeping the Fn-key pressed. So, one has to enter the input individually for each of these keys by pressing and releasing the Fn-key after each input. Even though the keypad build quality is quite satisfactory, this technical flaw takes a major hit on the keypad ergonomics by affecting the overall usability and comfort. The optical trackpad is quite sluggish and lacks precision while navigating the menu interface. We found it irritable at times, as it was not registering the input correctly or erred in directions while selecting the intended icons on the screen. The lack of usability and comfort with the trackpad once again takes a hit for the overall ergonomics.

We came across another tricky situation with the SIM two slot. Inserting and removing the SIM two card is a difficult task, as there is no proper latch mechanism for smooth operation. The only way to insert the SIM two card is to bend it a little at a certain angle & slide it inside. Similarly, while removing the SIM two card, we need to follow the same trick; but, slide it out instead.

The menu interface is simple and well-organised. The home screen incorporates six customisable quick launch icons, also known as the toolbar icons: phonebook, SMS, Facebook, FM radio, audio player and camera. The user has the option to enable or disable the toolbar icons on the home screen. In addition, the display properties enable the user to choose either an analog clock or the regular digital clock for the home screen.

Read on to know the performance, our take, specifications, ratings, price and test results in the next page...

 

Performance

[RELATED_ARTICLE]The signal reception remained consistent throughout the test, but the voice clarity dropped a little across zones two and three. When in close proximity to others using cellphones, the voice clarity lessens, this means other signals are interfering with the antenna of the Q99. The loudspeaker audio clarity is good only at the lowest volume level and the audio distorts at any volume higher than tj. The handsfree test delivered good voice clarity at volume levels up to 75%. The camera test yielded a mixed bag of results - the outdoor shots portrayed better image clarity and crispness than the indoor ones. The Q99 delivered average results in the music test, but the video-playback quality was mediocre with constant stuttering. The display quality and the viewing angles were satisfactory. However, the legibility of fonts and icons was poor under bright sunshine.

Camera settings - Image size: 1280 x 1024; image quality: good; anti-flicker: 50Hz; resolution: 96 dpi; bit-depth: 24-bit;

Our Take

The Q99 is an average performer and a decent QWERTY smartphone in the sub-Rs. 3,500 category. However, the flawed Fn-modifier-key & the shoddy trackpad affect the usability and ergonomics. Hence, the overall experience takes a major hit. But, as there are very few dual SIM QWERTY phones in this price category, especially given the price, if you're someone who wants a hardware QWERTY keypad on a cheap device, the Q99 should be considered.

Specifications: SIM (GSM GSM); Display: 2-inch, Screen resolution: 176 x 220; Memory: microSD expandable up to 8GB; Battery: 1000mAh, Talk-time: up to 4 hours, Standby-time: up to 500 hours; Dimensions: 112x60x13.8; Weight: 90 grams;

Ratings
Features: 6
Performance: 6
Build Quality: 7
Value for money: 7.5
Overall: 7

Brand BYOND Tech
Model Q99
Price (MRP, Rs) Rs. 3,500
Features  
Physical Specs  
Form Factor Candy Bar
2G Network Bands (MHz) Dual GSM 900/1800
3G Network Bands N/A
Screen Resolution 176 x 220
Screen Size (inches) 2-inch
Maximum Screen colours -
Touchscreen / Dual Screen (Y/N) N/A
Battery Rating 1000mAh
Dimensions (L x W x H) in mm 112x60x13.8
Weight 90 grams
Expandable Memory Type microSD
Hot Swappable (Y/N) N
Available Colours Black, Black with Red
Other Features  
Operating System Proprietary
Charging via USB (Y/N) Y
Hardware Keypad (Regular/QWERTY) QWERTY
Accelerometer (For auto rotate) (Y/N) N
Address Book Capacity 1000
No of calls in register -
Talk Time / Standby Time * 4 hours / 500 hours
No of Profiles # / Customisable (Y/N) 7/Y
Offline Operability (Y/N) Y
Inbuilt GPS / A-GPS support (Y / N) N/A
Connectivity  
Browsing (GPRS/EDGE/3G) Y/N/N
EDGE max speed N/A
3G max speed N/A
Connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth/IR/USB) N/Y/N/Y
Bluetooth Version/A2DP support (Y/N) -/Y
Accessories  
Bundled Accessories Charger, USB cable, handsfree headset, 2GB microSD
Size of memory card provided 2GB
Overall Build Quality (So 10) 7
Overall Ergonomics (So 10) 6
Keypad Design (So 10) 7
Camera Specs  
Camera Resolution (Mega Pixels) 1.3MP
Video Capture Resolution -
Dual Cameras / Auto Focus / Flash (Y/N) N/A
Mirror for self portrait (Y / N) N
Camera Settings (So 10) 6
Zoom (Optical/Digital) 4x digital
Multimedia  
Music Formats supported MP3
Video formats supported MP4, 3GP
FM Radio (Y/N) Y
Performance  
Signal Reception and Voice Clarity (So 10)  
Zone 1 7
Zone 2 6.5
Zone 3 6
Device Earpiece Volume 6.5
Device Loudspeaker clarity 5
Handsfree Clarity 6.5
Speaker Volume (on call) 7.5
Bluetooth Transfer Speed (kbps) 830kbps
WiFi signal strength (Zone 2) N/A
Captured Photo Quality (So 10)  
Captured Photo Colour 6.5
Captured Photo Crispness 6.5
Captured Video Quality 6
Loudspeaker Audio Quality 6
Bundled Earphones Quality 7
Display  
Quality of display 6
Viewing angle of display 6
Legibility in bright sunlight 4
Video Playback Quality (So 10) 5
   
* Manufacturer Rated  

Contact: Byond Tech
Phone: 020-41029663/20
E-mail: service@byondtech.com
Website: www.byondtech.com
Price: Rs. 3,500
 

Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 28 Jan 2011
Market Status: Discontinued

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    NA
  • Camera Camera
    NA
  • Memory Memory
    NA
  • Battery Battery
    NA

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Vinod Yalburgi
Vinod Yalburgi

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Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone

Byond Q99 - Blackberry-style QWERTY smartphone

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