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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?