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Kaiser killer? i-mate's Ultimate 9502 reviewed

Chris Ziegler

i-mate's "Sidekick for grown-ups" (our phrase, not theirs) is finally starting to ship, and Pocketnow's among the first to score an opportunity to put the beastly WinMo device through its paces. The Ultimate 9502's spec sheet is certainly enough to impress -- triband HSUPA, TV out, 3 megapixel autofocus cam, VGA display the list goes on -- but is it as good in practice as it is on paper? In a word, yeah, it looks like it is, as long as you're willing to pay the astronomical prices the first batch of 9502s are commanding on the open market. It's super quick, has a gorgeous display, and is built like a tank, although that last point could also be the phone's downfall -- with a boxy black shell and one of the chubbiest profiles of any WinMo device out there today, the 9502 isn't about to win any beauty contests. The GPS was a little finicky to operate and the keyboard's quite a bit smaller than that of its arch nemesis, the TyTN II, but otherwise, this looks like a winner for anyone who values extreme mobile productivity over making a fashion statement.

On a side note, we've learned from i-mate that the 8502 and 9502 are both affected by Qualcomm's chip ban, so availability in the US is limited strictly to gray market imports (though they'll be officially offered in Canada). In other words, if you want to play, bring cash -- lots of it -- and don't expect the price to plummet any time soon.

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