capsule review

Motorola Q Global PDA Phone

At a Glance
  • Motorola Q Global

    PCWorld Rating

    The Q Global offers solid features for U.S. business travelers, but GPS and broadband fall short overseas.

Hot on the heels of its multimedia-friendly Q 9m, Motorola now delivers a Q smart phone with Windows Mobile 6 intended for business travelers. The new Motorola Q 9h (more informally called the Q Global) is the first Q to support international roaming via a quad-band GSM radio.

The Q Global is not always as travel-friendly as you'd wish, though. While it supports AT&T Wireless's 3G HSDPA/UMTS network in the United States, its data speeds when roaming overseas slow to pokier EDGE rates. (Wi-Fi support would have been nice, too.) And the TeleNav GPS navigation software (which you must download to install and pay a monthly fee for as a service) doesn't work when you're abroad. Though you can still use the Q Global with GPS-enabled mapping apps such as Google Maps to see where you are and find nearby businesses, you don't get routing help or turn-by-turn directions when you presumably need them most.

The Q has a built-in 2-megapixel camera with lots of menu controls, including image resolution, brightness, white balance, flash, and up to 8X digital zoom. But I was disappointed in the images I captured: Even those that looked good on the Q's much smaller screen were grainy and fuzzy on my PC.

On the other hand, I was impressed by the multimedia playback. A video of Enya's "May It Be," which included a fair amount of Lord of the Rings film footage, looked terrific and sounded great when run in full-screen mode on the mobile version of Windows Media Player. The video was stored on a microSD Card that slipped easily into a slot on the Q's left side, a much more convenient location than the slots that sit under the battery (and therefore require opening the case) on some smart phones.

Mostly black with silver accents, the Q Global appears sleeker and more BlackBerry-like than ever. Weighing in at a mere 4.6 ounces and measuring 4.6 inches high, 2.6 inches wide, and just under half an inch thick, it sports a landscape-format 320-by-240-pixel screen that also brings the Samsung BlackJack to mind.

I found thumb-typing on its keyboard--which has undergone a complete overhaul from that of the original Q--quite comfortable and certainly easier than on older versions. The familiar navigation pad and keys (seven in all) between the screen and the keyboard are augmented by BlackBerry-like controls on the side of the device for up and down scrolling, selecting, and going back through menus.

I found the Q 9h fine as a phone. In my informal tests voice calls sounded good, and Web browsing and e-mail access were a pleasure on the speedy 3G network.

Overall, the Motorola Q Global might appeal to travelers seeking a Windows Mobile smart phone with a good keyboard, 3G data (in the United States, at least), and solid multimedia support. Perhaps its major shortcoming is also its selling point: Worldwide data support is horribly pricey, but as GSM options are limited in the United States, AT&T Wireless has something of a captive audience for this service.

--Yardena Arar

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Q Global offers solid features for U.S. business travelers, but GPS and broadband fall short overseas.

    Pros

    • Redesigned keyboard is easy to use
    • HSDPA, GPS, and quad-band

    Cons

    • No HSDPA or Telenav support outside U.S.
    • Pricey overseas data plan
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