Mention the word Q in relation to any mobile product and chances are your first thought would veer towards Motorola. The recent launch of Motorola's latest smartphone offering, the Motorola Q9h, might find itself to become a hot favorite amongst QWERTY smartphone enthusiasts. The reason is self-evident, as you shall come to see as you read on.
Specification-wise, the Q9h measures at 67 x 118 x 11.8mm, weighing in at 134g. Though not as lightweight as the Palm Treo 500v, the Q9h does feel good on the hands and fits snugly into your pockets.
The trademark flat panel navigation pad you see on most Motorola phones is present on the Q9h, with dedicated keys for Internet and Messaging on the top left and right respectively. Just below these keys are the Call and End buttons, with the five way directional pad in the central area, outlined by the Home, Back and the two pre-assigned softkeys. Situated at the right of the phone is the Up and Down button, with an Enter button in the middle, and a Back button right at the bottom. Be warned though, the Q9h's smooth screen and navigational pad area are surprisingly susceptible to oily hands and are easily smudged up with use.
And thus, we come to the true calling of the Q9h: the QWERTY keyboard, a selling point highlighted by Motorola themselves. It delivers a good tactile feel and allows for a swift typing experience, probably due to its well designed curve, with each individual key having a slight dimensionality in the middle. What truly shines is the non-slip rubber coated material used for both the QWERTY keyboard and the backing of the phone that gives one a solid grip on the phone. During our testing period, long messages or e-mails were composed with ease and efficiency, with minimal errors in messaging.
As a consumer mobile, the quad-band 3.5G Q9h should serve its purpose, though business users might find the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity a downside. Still, this would be sufficiently made up for with its 3G and HSDPA connection support.
Applications comes as a standard fare for the Q9h running on Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition. Push e-mail is supported through Exchange Servers or your personal Windows Live account. If you find yourself in dire need to work on the go, find yourselves occupied by Documents To Go, with a full suite of applications for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and a PDF reader. Surprisingly, we found ourselves browsing the web on Opera Mobile instead of Internet Explorer, not that we mind though, given Opera’s allowance for tabbed windows on a mobile device. Synchronization requires a microUSB connector, and the port is located at the bottom left, quite a departure from the standard bottom location we see for most smartphones.
Beyond its mobile office capabilities, the Q9h provides a myriad of options for entertainment purposes. Supported video formats include MPEG4, H.263, WMV and H.264 decode, presented on a comfortable 2.4" 65K colors TFT screen. Its audio presence is average, with the biggest drawback being that it requires a propriety microUSB earphone connector. Luckily, AD2P support is available on the Q9h, allowing users to pair their personal Bluetooth stereo headset. Furthermore, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Q9h running for almost 3 days straight with moderate usage of calls, SMS and an active Bluetooth connection.
In all likelihood, the Motorola Q9h would find itself well liked by both veteran and first time QWERTY keypad users, thanks to the firm grip it provides with the rubber-coated material. Motorola also went after design and style for this phone, which means that it will appeal to a wider market as well. If one were to overlook the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity, you might find this $828 (~US$571) smartphone in your pocket before you know it.