Motorola Q9 First Thoughts Review

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Motorola Q q9
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Editor’s Note: In the time since this review was written, Motorola has decided to rename this device the Motorola Q9.

Motorola formally announced the Q q9 back in mid-February. At the latest CTIA show, I finally got hands on this successor to the popular Q smartphone.

The original Q was one of the few things Motorola did right over the last year. Sure, there were plenty of complaints, but the company wisely released an update that took care of a great deal of those issues, like the weak battery life.  So it’s with great anticipation that the market waits for Motorola’s second try at an ultra-slim smartphone.

New Keyboard Design

The Q q9 will bring a few design changes to the table. The most noticeable is the curved keyboard. Acer uses a similar design on its notebooks, one that’s earned that style of keyboard the name “smile.”

I actually like the smile keyboard on the Q q9, though I didn’t think I would. I typically prefer non-touching keys in a straight alignment. This iteration is well done, though; the keys are formed well and are much larger when compared to the Q. I typed a few hypothetical emails without issue. 

My only gripe with the keyboard is that Motorola added two more launcher buttons to the bottom row, shaving the space bar by at least 25%. I understand the usability logic of adding additional launcher buttons, but the core purpose of the device is data input, and I don’t think we heard a lot of complaints about not having a calendar button in the Q.

 
Keyboards of the Q and Q q9
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  Q q9 Keyboard
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The other major design changes include a round d-pad and the addition of two new launcher buttons at the top. These make the top panel a little more cluttered and take away from the ease of use of the two menu buttons.

Internal Changes

On the inside the Q q9 gets several updates. The processor will be a TI OMAP at 325 MHz, up from the 312 MHz one on the original. While not a screamer, it’s capable. The test unit had a few hundred emails loaded and the Q q9 did well to sort them quickly.

It will also include a good deal of memory: 96 MB RAM and 25MB ROM. Extra storage capacity can be added via a microSD slot, replacing the MiniSD slot in the original Q.

The other hardware highlights include a higher resolution camera. The Q q9 will get a 2.0 megapixel camera, while the original has a 1.3 megapixel one.

Left Side   Right Side
Left Side
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  Right Side
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On the wireless side this smartphone will include Bluetooth but not Wi-Fi.

From a software perspective The Q q9 is going to include Windows Mobile 6 Standard. There are a few obvious improvements associated with the newer OS, but I’ll not dive into that here.  I should point out though that it did have Opera and anti-virus programs installed.

Coming Where?

As much as I’ll want to replace my old Q, I’ll have to wait for a CDMA version. This release is a quad-band GSM model supporting EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, and HSDPA.

This model was provided by Europe’s Vodafone. A U.S. carrier hasn’t been announced yet and Motorola has not indicated whether it will sell an unlocked version directly to consumers.

Availability is expected in the second quarter of this year.

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