First impressions: Motorola Q smartphone

My colleague, Erik Larkin, met with Motorola earlier today and hand-carried our evaluation unit back to PC World's offices--where several of us have been eager to get our hands on the much-anticipated Motorola Q (follow the link for more details on the Q and Verizon's service offerings). I snagged it first, and have a few initial thoughts to share about its industrial design.

Like the Razr before it, the Q clearly aims to make a fashion--as well as technophile--statement. Slim and stylish, the silver-hued Q is just 11.5mm thick--less than the Razr, and significantly more compact than competing smartphones from Palm, T-Mobile, HP, and Research in Motion. It would easily slide into a shirt or jacket pocket, and at 4.1 ounces, it won't even leave a dent.

Based on its design, the Windows Mobile 5-based Q is trying to create a new hybrid that draws upon the best elements of the latest smartphones from Palm (maker of the Treo 700 series) and RIM (maker of the BlackBerry 8700 series). It has a BlackBerry-like click wheel to scroll through content, at the upper right corner of the phone. And it has five-way navigational control, plus a QWERTY keyboard and six menu navigation buttons in the center, just like the Palm Treo series has. The menu navigation buttons here are pressure-sensitive and soft, though--a design point that's reminiscent, though not identical to, the flat buttons on the Razr.

As appealing as I found the overall look of the Q--and as impressed as I am with what this phones packs inside its streamlined chassis--I was disappointed by its design in several aspects. The keyboard's lack of a backspace button among the QWERTY keys proved problematic for me. I also found the click-wheel a bit stiff, and the soft key panel surprisingly tough on my fingers to navigate--in part because of the width of the unit (as compared with the more palm-friendly Palm Treo 700), and in part because I found it annoying to move over the deep rim surrounding the five-way nav control to the two upper soft keys. Those soft keys, to the right and left of the five-way nav control are integral for navigation. And given the unit's lack of a touchscreen, how your hand responds to the feel of the buttons will determine how much you enjoy using the Q.

Another gripe: The position of the mini-USB port. I know I've often used a cell phone while it's tethered to an outlet, getting its necessary juice. However, the mini-USB port--which doubles as the power port--is awkwardly situated on the lower left of the Q. This is inconvenient if you try to use the device in your hands--either for reading content, or putting it up to your ear.

Some things I really liked: I found the keyboard, with its slanted, oblong keys, roomy as compared to the Treo, and easier to handle than the much-wider BlackBerry 8700 series. Other strengths: The Q has a bright, clear QVGA 320 by 240 resolution display, and its 1.3 megapixel digital camera has a reasonably effective 6X zoom.

Stay tuned: We'll post further reports on the Q's design, usability, and performance as we have them.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?