Motorola has become almost synonymous with the wildly-popular Razr, so we weren’t surprised to discover that this business phone, the Motorola Q9, takes its design cues from it.

Like the original Razr, the Motorola Q9 is broad and flat and has a 3in screen taking up its top half. The Motorola Q9’s rubberised back feels comfortable in the hands and we were pleased to find Motorola has made the front of the Q9 sturdier than the flimsy aluminium of the original Razr phone (which we feared we’d break). The Motorola Q9 is actually quite hefty at 134g. Since there’s glass (or heavyduty plastic) covering the screen all the controls north of the keyboard, it’s no surprise that it dwarves the likes of BlackBerry's Pearl. It offers no concession to the hand - unlike the BlackBerry Curve, however - and you’ll definitely want to use the Motorola Q9 two-handed.

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What will appeal, along with the Motorola Q9’s smartly striking looks, is just how functional the Q9 is. Motorola wasn’t confident enough about its predecessor, the Motorola Q, to launch it worldwide, but the Motorola Q9 stands up very well against almost any smartphone.

You get a full Qwerty keyboard that curves neatly around the Motorola Q9’s central navigation controls. The keys reminded us of those on a scientific calculator or a ZX Spectrum, which we liked, but found too close together. Few smartphone designs past muster in this respect, though.

We’ve said before that we like the intelligent-seeming Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system and it’s particularly true on this portrait layout handset. Program icons line the top of the screen - intriguingly, Motorola has chosen the Opera web browser over Internet Explorer for its Q9 - and there’s almost no chance of your not being able to get online.

This is a 3G (HSDPA) phone with GPRS/Edge, Bluetooth, ActiveSync and just about everything else. There’s a VPN client for secure communications and McAfee's VirusScan.

Reading emails and viewing documents feels almost natural on a screen the same orientation as your PC. The bright TFT screen is noticeably superior to that of the marginally fuzzy HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger, but cramming in more pixels on a not-a-lot-larger display also means everything is smaller.

Motorola’s gone for a proprietary port for both connecting headphones and charging the Q9 over USB 2.0 or mains. Keep these handy as you’ll be hard pushed to get two days used from the battery.

Entertainment-wise, the Motorola Q9’s video player and MP3 player support a number of different formats and there’s a microSD card slot (primed with a 256MB card) that takes up to 2GB to supplement the 64MB onboard RAM. These will also drain juice promptly, of course, but the backlight isn’t as persistent as on some Motorola handsets we’ve seen, so there should be some saving with this auto-dimming.

The 2Mp camera has an 8x zoom - a far cry from the HP iPaq 514 Voice Messenger’s half-hearted onboard camera, but then these two smartphones are aimed at very different people.

Motorola Q9: Specs

  • 320x240pixel TFT colour screen
  • quad-band
  • 3G (HSDPA)
  • GPRS/Edge
  • Bluetooth
  • 2Mp camera with 8x digital zoom
  • Opera web browser
  • voice recognition
  • voice memo
  • antivirus
  • attachment viewer
  • video capture at 30fps
  • supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WAV and Midi, Mpeg4, WMV, H.263 (also decodes H.264)
  • MicroSD card (256MB supplied)
  • USB 2.0
  • 65x115x12mm
  • 134g
  • 320x240pixel TFT colour screen
  • quad-band
  • 3G (HSDPA)
  • GPRS/Edge
  • Bluetooth
  • 2Mp camera with 8x digital zoom
  • Opera web browser
  • voice recognition
  • voice memo
  • antivirus
  • attachment viewer
  • video capture at 30fps
  • supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WAV and Midi, Mpeg4, WMV, H.263 (also decodes H.264)
  • MicroSD card (256MB supplied)
  • USB 2.0
  • 65x115x12mm
  • 134g

OUR VERDICT

If you want to combine style and functionality and don’t need to worry too much about your handset sitting snugly in your pocket, we think you’ll be impressed with the Motorola Q9.

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