The device is bigger than a Blackjack (review), even with the extended battery, but not to the point that I would dismiss it as my everyday phone. It is more attractive than any sliding-keyboard smartphones out there. The 9502 feels solid, especially the display sliding mechanism, which was a good surprise. The keyboard is roomy and will please users with bigger fingers, but I did notice that the keyboard touch was not as good as with the i-mate 8502 (read hands-on), which is exceptional. I did not look at all the Windows Mobile 6 features, but this has been covered extensively already. All in all, I consider the i-mate 9502 to be an extremely interesting smartphone, particularly because of the VGA display (640×480) and the external keyboard/display capabilities. It will be even better when i-mate releases its “Foleo” shell that integrates keyboard and display in a lightweight and cheap format (around $300).
Scoop: i-mate confirmed to us that it will be possible to connect a wired USB keyboard to avoid depleting the phone’s battery with Bluetooth!
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