Verizon Wireless recently updated their very popular Q mobile phone lineup with the eagerly awaited Motorola Q9m. The wireless service provider was the exclusive carrier of the Motorola Q9 when it debuted early last year. Now Motorola has updated the line with Q9s all across the GSM and CDMA markets. The “m” Verizon’s Q9m stands for music. Even though the Q was originally aimed at the business professional market, they are trying to pitch the Q9m at the consumer market, and the music piece centers on trying to get users to pay $1.99 forVCast Music, an exclusive to Verizon Wireless. One other advantage to the Q9m is that it is rocking the latest Windows Mobile 6.
The Q9m comes at a lower price, currently $199 after a $50 rebate and a 2-year service agreement.
At First Glance:
The Q9m at first glance is a very attractive phone as it’s aesthetics are improved over those the original Moto Q. It’s primarily black with red accents on the side. You can definitely tell Verizon is pushing their own branding and color scheme in this device. The keyboard is a big improvement as well (more on the keyboard below). The screen is big and bright, taking up about 50% of the face of this device and is easily visible even in bright daylight. One new feature with the Q9m is the screen has an adaptive technology that turns the screen brightness up and down based on how much light isexistent . Even though the Q9m has a native resolution of 240×320, I believe the resolution should be increased to allow more content to be displayed on the screen.
The Q9m, like the original Q, features a very slim design that is attractive and fits into a pocket very easily. I like the directional controls and soft keys, along with the jog dial on the side to allow for easy one-handed operation. Even though there is no stylus or other pointing device, Motorola made the Q9m pretty easy to work with.
The User Experience:
I was very anxious to try Windows Mobile 6 as my experience with Windows Mobile 5 was mixed. Windows Mobile 5 on my Treo 700W was slow and needed to be restarted multiple times per week as the phone OS would constantly lockup. I wasn’t sure if this bad experience was because of the hardware or Windows Mobile itself.
Windows Mobile 6 is a mostly enjoyable mobile computing experience. However, after using an iPhone, Motorola and the Windows Mobile Platform have a LONG way to go to match theiPhone’s user experience and ease of use.
In my trials with Windows Mobile 6 I found it to be very reliable. I never experienced missed calls (that I know of), text messages or had any of the other issues that Windows Mobile 5 presented. A few times I had to restart the Q9m because mobile Internet Explorer became unresponsive and would not loadwebpages.
My main complaint about the software on the device is Internet Explorer mobile edition. This is a bare-bones browser that is clunky to use. I have tried other mobileInternet browsers including Palm’s Blazer and Opera Mini edition. I tried to end my IE misery by installing Opera Mini, but for some reason I could not download the install package.
Syncing to my employer’s Exchange email system was a pretty easy experience, except for one caveat. I had a co-worker connect to his email and while this happened successfully, when I tried to change theusername and password to my own, I couldn’t find a way to change the username without having to do a Master Reset on the Q9m. I could change the password, but the username was grayed out and could not be changed under any circumstance. Very frustrating.
Motorola included Documents to Go to allow users to create and edit Office-compatible documents. I found using Documents to Go to edit word documents attached to emails to be easy and very useful.
The Q9m feels very underpowered. There is a very noticeable lag when you hit buttons and you see an on-screen response in Windows Mobile 6. Applications load slowly and even making preference changes such as background images or themes seem like they take a long time to load. After doing some research online, I don’t feel the Q9m is the culprit, instead I think Windows Mobile 6 is a bit bloated. Hopefully a software update can give some much needed zip to this device.
My Motorola bluetooth headset synced flawlessly with the Q9m, allowing me to do hands free calling. I understand the Q9m has A2DP which allows for the use of stereoBluetooth headphones and headsets, but i wasn’t able to test this feature.
Text messaging is easy on the Q9m. I found the keyboard to be great to type on, much better than the Treo 700W and 600 I’ve tried in the past. The rubberized keyboard makes typing easy and fast.
I found call quality to be mixed. Overall I could easily hear the remote party and they could hear me just fine, but about 40% of the time I could hear an annoying buzzing hissing sound in the Q9m. People I called could never hear the sound and I never did hear it while making a call with theBluetooth headset.
Doing anything with data including downloading emails and surfing the web is a breeze on this device. Using Verizon’s fast EV-DO service, the bits fly quickly and without much lag. The connectivity piece of this phone is a major offering. I also downloaded and installed Google Maps, and using EV-DO this combination is a killer app.
Battery life is my main performance complaint. I had to charge the Q9m every day after moderate voice and data usage. This is common withsmartphones (especially 3G ones), but the complaint still needs to be registered.
The new Motorola Q9m improved on it’s predecessor in many ways. However, I don’t like Verizon’s multi-media push. The Q was just fine as asmartphone that could browse the web and integrate the user into the Windows Mobile experience. $1.99 is way too much to charge anyone for a song that can only play on one mobile device.
Aside from my objections to Verizon’s multi-media services, I feel the Motorola Q9m is a great phone, especially at it’s $199 price. It’s a solid device that feels good to use and still gets looks when I’m in public. If you’re looking for a Windows Mobile 6 device and can handle a little operational lag, the Q9m is a solid choice.