Motorola Q 9h smartphone
Will this smartphone eat BlackBerries for breakfast..?
Review On first viewing, the Moto Q 9h is reminiscent of a calculator; despite going for a BlackBerry-style layout, its square features haven't quite captured the improved look of those devices, and pulling it out of your pocket could see colleagues and co-workers stifling a few laughs.
Motorola Moto Q 9h: icon shortcut keys allow quick access to applications
The big question is, does what it's packing inside make up for the lack of exterior elegance? Well, under its wide but thin hood is a 325MHz processor, 256MB of Flash ROM, and 96MB of RAM. That slightly outpaces the BlackBerry 8800's 312MHz processor and keeps Windows 6.0's loading wheel off your screens for all but the most taxing tasks.
Shame that at 6.6cm wide and 11.5cm long it still really does look like a calculator. At least it uses that space to good effect. The 320 x 240 screen is big enough to make you think it should have touch screen capabilities, and if you've just been using this kind of phone it'll take you a while to stop prodding it with your finger.
But it's the keyboard that benefits the most. Icon shortcut keys allow you to quickly access music, camera, phonebook, calendar, messages, and the web browser. Those additional keys below the qwerty keyboard, and the placing of the number keys as functions off other letters, means the layout does take some getting used to. For instance, the first time you go to unlock the device with the star symbol it takes a keen eye to spot the blue '*' function sitting on top of the 'Z' key.
However, as the keyboard becomes more familiar you can start to improve the speed of your typing, especially in conjunction with the predictive text. The keypad even lights up to make it easy to use in the dark. Programs displayed on the screen also benefit from an automatic adjustment that boosts the brightness depending on the quality of light at your location. As well as the function quick keys, the last 10 programs are also displayed at the top of the 'Home' screen for easy access. A four-way wheel with a selection button at its centre, coupled with 'Home' and 'Back' keys, make for general ease of navigation.
The HP48 was probably the finest calculator ever made. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP-48. An HP48-based phone has some appeal.
With built in RPL the phone would be programmable and be able to provide interesting UI and add-on software features. RPL already has rudimentary database capabilities - enough to store address books, PIM stuff etc.
Operating the phone in RPN would have a huge coolness factor.
5551234 DIAL <ENTER>, but of course you could make this rather boring by setting up suitable soft keys.
What is this cal-cu-la-tor you mention? And why would anyone in a modern office environment laugh about how much the new Q looks like one? Do they have these cal-cu-la-tors?
Reminds me of trying to teach my programming students what a teletype machine is/was ... "It's like a network-connected typewriter" ... um ... "It's like a really noisy keyboard that spits paper out of its head" ... um ... "Y'know ... paper ... like what you use in a copy machine" ... um ...
More Q9 hands-on notes...
Brett - I've been using a Q9H for a few days - less time than the reviewer above, and far short of the month that's needed to draw decent conclusions. But this might help:
My first impressions are very positive: this is a much better phone than the original Q. The differences are minor, but they're important and they really add up.Similar to the improvements Sony Ericsson made from the P800 to the P900).
If you use the device on an HSDPA network you really don't miss Wi-Fi - it's very fast indeed. (Which is a substantial saving - my monthly 1GB plan costs me less than an hour of using Wi-Fi on a train). You only need Wi-Fi when a) you're roaming in Europe or b) really want to use SIP calling.
The keyboard is also much better, I can type a lot faster on this than any other similar 'Berry clone.
"Finally the battery life mystery needs to be verified"
Always-on push email murders the battery (as does leaving Opera open), but fetching every 10 minutes is fine. Agree with you on the scroll wheel...
My unit doesn't come with Documents To Go, but I'm told by Motorola that all UK models will.
A clean-up rather than a clean start
Well, being an owner of the previous Q version (on Sprint CDMA) this looks like a great attempt at Moto to clean up the Q and address some of the issues that plagued the first generation.
The bright point: Opera. I wonder if this is a European-only enhancement - it seems odd that MS would allow a vendor like Moto to include a competitor's product instead of the "integrated" browser. Great news if this is universal!
The bad points: WiFi (mentioned), the micro-USB connector (what was Moto THINKING?), killing apps the hard way each time (hey, an Exit selection in the app menu would be OK...), the missing GPS integration is a problem (the older Q had this, although not accessible from the phone API - it needs to go through Sprint for operation). The continued use of the cruciform cursor control and elimination of the scroll wheel (one of the best features of a Blackberry) is also a poor choice by Moto - but I guess most folks are used to iPods now...
Finally the battery life mystery needs to be verified - especially when SMPT mail (rather than Exchange push) is active with rapid (15 minute) updates. How the battery performs under poor reception conditions (more prevalent here in the rural US than Europe) would be a good indicator as to whether the high-power polling is time out when reception becomes poor - the one issue that consistently kills my Q early.
All in all it looks nice, but, really now, I for one could live with another couple of millimeters in thickness and more battery and functionality.
For now I'm keeping my gen 1 Q and waiting for a generic alternative to the iPhone...