New Razr-like Morotola Q a tidy package

Following up on the success of its stylish Razr cell phone, Motorola has brought its Motorola Q, or Moto Q, to Canada with Telus Mobility.

Beneath the stylish design, the Q is more of a smart phone than a PDA, but it is a sexy design that attempts to incorporate the best of Research in Motion’s Blackberry and Palm’s Treo. The Q is also the thinnest Qwerty smart phone on the market at 0.45 inches and weighs in at a light 4.1 ounces, fitting easily in my shirt pocket.

The 320 x 420 pixel display is large and offers a bright, clear picture, but on the downside it holds smudges and fingerprints quite well, requiring regular cleaning. The Q also doesn’t have a touch screen, which means no stylus. It takes some getting used to but a Treo-like five-way button and a RIM-like scroll wheel on the side make navigation easy, although playing Bubble Breaker was a little tougher.

The keyboard offers a little more space than the Treo but the location of the shift-key on the right side took some getting used to, as did the location of the backspace key above the keyboard, next to the navigation button.

Feature-wise, the Q has integrated Bluetooth for connecting to your accessories and has 64 MB RAM and 128 MB of flash memory with a Mini-SD slot for additional storage, but does not have WiFi capability. I found the device a bit slow at times, lagging if multiple programs were running or when loading the camera.

The 1.3 megapixel camera is of acceptable quality, but its integrated flash is a plus for indoor shooting. The camera also records reasonable quality video clips, although the location of the microphone (also the phone’s receiver) on the opposite side of the device from the camera compromises the accompanying audio.

I was pleased with the Q’s phone capability. In the calls I made the sound quality was excellent, and the speaker phone function worked well on both ends. As I mentioned, though, the Q is more a smart phone than PDA, and that becomes clearer as we delve inside the device.

The Q runs Windows Mobile 5.0 but the SmartPhone Edition rather than the Pocket PC edition. That means that while the familiar Windows interface is there, the Word and Excel applications are missing. The included Picsel Viewer allows Office and Adobe PDF attachments to be viewed, but not edited. Outlook and Internet Explorer are included for e-mail and Web surfing.

The Office applications are one of the major differentiators Windows Mobile has over other simpler, less power-hungry mobile OSs so its absence is notable, as is the absence of even a basic notepad application.

Battery use was similar to other Windows Mobile devices but if you’re not using the camera a lot you should be fine, with talk time of 200 minutes and stand-by time of 200 hours. I was, however, disappointed with the limited power management functions available. I could adjust the time before the display clicked off, but not the brightness and contrast.

The Q is exclusively available in Canada through Telus Mobility, running on the carrier’s EVDO Wireless High Speed Network, which boasts average download speeds of 400 to 700 Kbps.

For business users, additional features, including push e-mail, are also available through the optional Telus Business Inbox, which is Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes-compatible.

The Bottom-line

If being in fashion is an major consideration, or if having a phone and just keeping an eye on your e-mail is enough, than the Q is a good fit for you. However, if you spend more time on the road, need a device that comes closer to bridging the laptop/PDA gap, and need to edit documents on the go, a Palm Treo or UT Starcom’s Pocket PC may be better bets.

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