Review of the Motorola Q Smartphone

Early in 2006, Motorola began making the Motorola q set of smartphones. At first, it was just the q – running Windows mobile 5.0. Then, in 2007, the q9m appeared from Verizon, which ran Windows Mobile 6 Standard. The q9c and Q9h models followed shortly after, running Windows mobile 6.1.

Not much differences exist between these 4 phone models. The q and q9m/q9c models have a different set of keyboar keys (The q9m/c including a better quality, less scratch resistant keyboard) and in the case of a q9h, the exclusion of a scroll wheel. Motorola Q9c phones also have a built-in GPS.

I received my q9m later in 2007 from Verizon. The phone itself sports a 312 MHz processor with 64 MB of ram and 128 MB of rom. That’s not the best, compared to today’s smartphones.
In fact, you will notice that if you use a screen reader, speech might crackle from time to time.

The keyboard is perhaps the best design of the phone. It is smooth, and features a 5-way navigation pad. Each key is curved and adapting to it is very easy. Your w, e, r keys are replaced with 1, 2, 3, while s, d, f become 4, 5, 6. x, c, v are 7, 8, 9, respectively. Your 0 key on the q9m/c/h is just below the 8 key (c), while on the old Q it is to the left of the spacebar directly.

I had the chance to try all 4 of the Qs – at first I started with a wm 5.0 Q on my contract, but luckily the q9m got released right after I received my old Q – so I could get a free trade-in to it. The q9c and H were also tested – through friends who had the phones.

Media and sound:

You will find that the Motorola q series of phones has probably the loudest speakers built yet to date. They are, in fact, stereo – and are located just behind the battery door on the bottom corners. The q9H, however, does seem to have a lesser speaker sound quality. Listening to music on the phone is very enjoyable and smooth – although texting while doing music listening can be a pain sometimes.

Call and data quality:

Calls on the q are very good. Hint: if you take off your battery cover, you will find the antenna to the left of your battery pack on the phone – it is shaped like a line.
While in a call, sound is muted – this includes a screen reader. For me, this was a very big disadvantage to the phone.

Tip: To hear music or a screen reader during a call, put the person you are in call with on speaker. Use the scroll wheel (if applicable) or your screen reader’s volume settings to raise the volume all the way. You will be able to hear your music or screen reader very lightly in the background – your caller must be quiet completely.

The motorola q9m/9c/q support Ev-do (neither works with rev. a, which is a disappointment), while the q9h can go up to EDGE speeds on GSM networks. This is why at&T offers the Q9h – it is GSM based.


As stated, the processor is not the best. Performance can slow down easily – and if you text a lot, you will notice that opening text messages will delay more and more as you use the phone without restarting. IN order to clear the memory of the messaging application, use either task manager or a desired screen reader shortcut in order to exit the program. Restart it to get faster and snappier text messaging opening speeds.
The q9h is the only q-based phone to include a 320 MHZ processor VS. a 312 MHz one, and this does make a slight perofrmance difference. Very odd.

Operating systems:

The q9c/q9H run Windows mobile 6.1. You can do an unofficial Rom upgrade on the q9m in order to run 6.1 on that device ; In turn it will become a Q9C . This however is quite a complicated process – and I’m disappointed that the fact of not being given a 6.1 upgrade on the q9m.

Overall conclusions:

While the q series of Motorola phones contain a wonderful keyboard with a great design – processor speeds and call/data rate limitations degrade the phone’s quality quite a lot. Motorola is planning to release the Moto a35, otherwise known as the motorola q9N (napoleon), which hopefully will include more enhancements.

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