“...for solid Smartphone capabilities and overall value, the Motorola Q9m is definitely worth a look.”
- identifiable keys; nice graphics; solid multimedia capabilities; music downloading
- Average camera; complex websites get jumbled; plans can get pricey
The Motorola Q9m is the latest Smartphone to use Windows Media 6.0. While the T-Mobile Wing, the first Media 6.0-based phone, took its inspiration from the Sidekick, the Motorola Q9m shares the look and the feel of the Samsung’s popular Blackjack. Of course, Blackberry creators Research In Motion (RIM) sued Samsung for making too similar of a phone, so the look of the Q9m would feel right to Blackberry fans as well.
Features and Design
The Verizon Motorola Q9m has a nice amount of heft, which makes it feel like a solid competitor to other Smartphones, not to mention Apple’s ever-present iPod and iPhone. It is jet black with a considerable screen: it reaches virtually from side to side, and takes up the top half of the front. A well-designed metallic joypad, shaped like an oblong donut, sits below the screen and its cool surface makes it easy to find compared to the almost rubber surrounding buttons.
The keypad is definitely rubber, individually set and almost sticky to the touch. They only occupy the bottom fourth of the phone, but are surprisingly effective – it only took a few moments to get the hang of typing.
Contrasting to the slick black front, the deep cranberry sides hold all the auxiliary holes: power jack and hidden microSD compartment on the left, well-defined scroll wheel and power button on the right. A headphone jack sits quietly at the top of the phone, while the now-obligatory 1.3 megapixel camera is on the back. The cool part? It comes with a flash.
Setup and Use
The Motorola Q9m was designed for multimedia use. The main screen has the featured video, song or picture enclosed in the center of a large icon wheel. The icons are pretty self explanatory – a triangle for play, notes for the music library – but it would have been helpful to list the name of the highlighted icon as the user spins around the ten different options. That said, the Q9m can access more than two million songs through VCAST and download them straight to the phone – an impressive coup.
Videos are easy to select and watch. The resolution is nice – overall, the screen is impressive. The problem is that, at least for the videos available, the movies only occupied about half of the actual screen. The videos are about the same playback size as other comparable phones, but having the Q9m’s lush, colorful screen underutilized is a tease.
It comes with Internet Explorer which, thankfully, gives wall-to-wall web pages. Browsing is relatively smooth and, as in other applications, the colors really pop. The only problem is that some of the complex websites are jumbled. When visiting one popular site, the captions and headlines were scrunched to the left like a page justification gone mad. Other websites seemed fine.
As far as usage, the Motorola Q9m gives about three and a half hours of talk and media time – pretty average for a Smartphone. However, the standby time is a nice 310 hours, which is just under two weeks.
As with many Smartphones, the weakest feature is the camera. Having 1.3 megapixels isn’t inherently bad, especially with all the other great traits in the Q9m, but the addition of a flash seems to add nothing to picture quality.
Image Courtesy of Motorola
The Motorola Q9m requires a commitment of time and money. The phone is $349.99 USD, but comes with a $50 mail-in rebate. The price also requires a soon-to-be-standard-practice two-year agreement. As a limited-time bonus, the Q9m will be boxed with a 2 GB microSD card and a stereo headset for $49.99 USD more or a 4 GB microSD card for another $149.99 USD.
The Q9m also falls under Verizon’s America’s Choice multimedia plans, which offer unlimited email, IN-calling (talking to people within your calling circle) and nights and weekends. America’s Choice plans go from $79.99 USD monthly for 450 anytime minutes, $109.99 USD for 1350 minutes and $169.99 USD for 4000 minutes. The lowest plan is on the pricey side, but the other two are on par with similar phones.
From the vibrant screen to the firm keys, there’s a lot to like here. The two-year plan may keep commitment-phoebes away, especially right now when so many interesting phones are arriving, but for solid Smartphone capabilities and overall value, the Motorola Q9m is definitely worth a look.
• Firm, identifiable keys
• Nice graphics
• Solid multimedia capabilities
• Music downloading
• Average camera
• Complex websites get jumbled
• Videos do not use the full screen
• Plans can get pricey
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