updated 01:30 pm EDT, Mon April 7, 2008
Moto Q 9c Hands-On
Motorola is wasting no time launching its Moto Q 9c smartphone to carriers in North America, including its first Canadian provider, Telus. We've just received our review unit and will start putting it through its paces in the near future, but we've already spent some time using the device and have had a chance to test the QWERTY keyboard smartphone, which is virtually identical to the version for Sprint.
Holding the Q 9c in one's hands immediately leaves an almost literal impression: this phone is big. It's considerably wider than most smartphones, including the BlackBerry Curve and the Samsung ACE or its BlackJack II equivalent at AT&T, Fido, and Rogers. This phone isn't for anyone with especially narrow pockets, though with the rubberized grip it's at least stable in the hand. It's certainly thin enough, however, and compares well against the BlackBerry 8830 or Palm phones.
However, that size (which it shares with the Q 9h) also makes for a much more ergonomic phone for messaging. In early testing, the keyboard feels outstanding; there's much less effort to find the right key and far fewer missed keys. Motorola also appears to have learned from the Q 9h and changed the directional pad from a circle to a rectangle. It's now easier to thumb through menus without putting a deliberate effort into the job.
It also has to be said that Motorola's layout makes navigating Windows Mobile 6 fairly simple; it's rare to ever get lost in this device with any kind of smartphone experience, even if it doesn't have the straightforward interface of an iPhone.
We hope to deliver a verdict on the phone over the course of the next several days and will see how it stacks up soon; right now, the positive out-of-box experience suggests it may be one of the better Windows Mobile smartphones and a likely rival to the BlackBerry.