Hot on the heels of its multimedia-friendly Q 9m, Motorola now delivers a Q smart phone intended for business travelers. The new Motorola Q 9h (more informally called the Q Global), which AT&T Wireless is slated to put on sale Friday, is the first Q to support international roaming via quad-band GSM.
It also throws in Bluetooth, a GPS receiver, and a slew of software extras including the Opera browser, the Documents to Go productivity suite, and one of three add-on software bundles (more about this later).
But the Q Global is not always as travel-friendly as you'd wish. While it supports AT&T Wireless's 3G HSDPA/UMTS network, 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 for as a service) doesn't work when you're abroad. While 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 might need them most.
Then there's the pricing, which
But an all-you-can-eat data plan goes for a
Looks Like a BlackBerry--Or a Blackjack
Mostly black with silver accents, the Q Global's design 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 it was
But when trying to access features or programs that weren't accessible via the hardware buttons, I found navigation surprisingly complicated. For example, there was no quick way to get to the settings, which on many Windows Mobile smart phones appear on the main Start menu.
I found the Q 9h fine as a phone. In my informal tests, voice calls sounded good, and Web browsing and e-mail access was a pleasure on the speedy 3G network.
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 high-res images I captured: They
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 Micro SD card that slipped easily into a slot on the Q's left-hand side, a big plus
One-Year Trialware Bundles
The Q Global runs Windows Mobile 6 Standard
But under a new program called My Q Paks, people who buy a Q from AT&T Wireless can download one of three application bundles that essentially pack one-year trialware versions of commercial applications (after that time, you must pay to use them). You must download the bundle you choose
These bundles target different types of users. The Road Warrior bundle, for example, includes WorldMate, an application for tracking flight status, performing currency conversions, and accessing other travel info; QuoteStream, a stock market tracker; the Zagat to Go restaurant guide; Splash ID, which helps you organize passwords and other personal info; and a handheld version of the game
The Household CEO bundle includes a recipe organizer and other home-oriented apps; and the Fun Seeker bundle consists mostly of games. Yes, QPaks is basically a marketing ploy, but a year is a long time in the life of a smart phone, and some users should find these extended trials worthwhile.
Overall, the Moto 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 the major GSM carrier in the United States, AT&T Wireless has something of a captive audience for this service.