Motorola's latest PDA-phone, the Q 9h, combines corporate tools such as Windows Mobile 6 (Standard Edition) and support for push e-mail and Microsoft Exchange Server with a smart, subtle design that should please business and consumer users alike.
The Q 9h sports a conservative matte black and charcoal finish. The front is occupied by a silver four-way directional pad winged by two context-sensitive buttons as well as home, return, e-mail, Web and green and red call buttons. Below this is a QWERTY keyboard which also doubles as the number pad when making calls. The backside is bare, other than a inconspicuous loudspeaker, camera and Vodafone logo. Up, down, select and back buttons sit on the right-hand side of the unit and a microSD slot on the left-hand side.
The Q 9h is on the thin side for a PDA-phone at 11.8mm -- the same as Samsung's BlackJack and thinner than the BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl and even the upcoming Motorola RAZR2 V9. You probably won't forget when it's in your pocket, with dimensions of 118 by 66.7 by 11.8mm.
The Q 9h is a quad-band GSM phone as well as a 3G handset with support for HSDPA (3.5G). Our review model came with a Vodafone SIM card and browsing the Internet was speedy using the bundled Opera browser.
A 320 by 240-pixel display occupies a third of the front of the unit, although it'd be nice if it took up the full width of the handset. When browsing, we found the default text size to be slightly on the small side. If you're reading a lot of text, you'll probably want to increase the font size.
While many vendors are adopting touch-based technologies (Apple's iPhone and HTC's Touch, for example), Motorola has chosen to stick with a button-interface for the Q 9h. Perhaps the next model will include a touch-screen and a QWERTY keyboard like Palm's Treo 750.
Bluetooth, microSD, and USB 2.0 are supported but sadly Wi-Fi is not. Setting up push e-mail with a Microsoft Exchange Server was painless and the phone will lead you through the required settings. Both POP3 and IMAP email are supported.
The onboard 2-megapixel camera had pretty average results, especially indoors or in low light conditions. A 3-megapixel camera would not go astray (and is fast becoming commonplace in higher-end phones), but as the Q 9h is catering to a business audience it is understandably omitted.
We didn't have any problems running applications on the Q 9h. It comes with 95MB of RAM but some users may quickly use up the 256MB of in-built storage. A microSD card up to 4GB can be added easily with the side-loading slot.
Our experience with the Q 9h wasn't completely problem-free, however. We weren't able to charge it using the supplied USB cable and when the battery was completely depleted we weren't able to use it until the battery had charged for a short time -- so don't make any important calls unless you have enough juice in the tank!
The supplied review model also crashed on us a number of times and, after referring to the manual, a hard reset of the unit was performed.
Battery life was decent and you should expect one-and-a-half to two days of use out of 1100 mAh lithium ion battery, with regular use.
A few niggly issues and shortcomings aside, if you're looking for a 3.5G PDA-phone with push e-mail, Windows Mobile 6 and a QWERTY keyboard, the Motorola Q 9h is worthy of consideration and one that you shouldn't be embarrassed to carry in either a suit pocket or jeans.