It was quite a week for me for the last 7 days, just after my birthday.
After a hectic week of night teleconference,s I was greeted by a rude theft shock. One of the lost item was my favourite Palm Treo 500v, which I have sung praises on it despite the mediocre product specifications.
As a matter of fact, for the last 3 weeks, I have been thinking the new Motorola Q9H. There was however no really strong reason for me to change given my wonderful Treo 500v. But now there is, though not something I would have expected or wanted.
So while I was looking around for a new replacement, Q9H certainly topped in my radar list. The sight of iPAQ 900/600 is still fictional, so really my choices were rather limited, based on my personal buying critieras; ASUS 530W, Motorola Q9H, Samsung I600 or simply go back to Palm Treo 500v.
Not that the Treo is a lousy one, just that getting back another Treo 500v may not excite me like a new toy would. I can’t bring myself to fork out another few hundred dollars on exactly the same gadget that I have been using for the last 4 months. If I have to spend, I must let myself know explicitly that I got a new toy right?
I finally managed to get my hand on the Q9H. The buying experience was a saga though, but I shall not digress any further since what it matters now most is the toy itself.
The first impression of Q9h is that it’s as wide as my old iPAQ 6965 (as a matter of fact, I have DIY my old iPAQ phone holder to hold Q9h!). The finishing is excellent, though the glossy glass finishing means I have to be extra careful in handling the toy. The back cover and the key buttons are made of some rubbery form material you would typically find in certain teutonic automotives interior, so overall the phone does not have any slightest tint of plasticky feeling. Built quality is solid, so that’s the first positive impression.
Next, the keyboard is definitely one up above all the previous QWERTY phones I have been using in the last 2 years. Yes, much much better than Dopod c730, Palm Treo 500v, and even iPAQ 6965/6515. To be fair to the Treo though, its compact size means it has to give up something, and thus the keyboard is still ergonomic considering its size. But for the rest, it’s like you use a $5 made-in-China keyboard, and then you upgraded to the latest Logitec or Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. That’s how I would articulate the difference.
In terms of software, Q9H has replaced some of the default windows applications with something more usable. Voice recognition, Bluetooth manager, File Manager, Opera Browser, are just few of those. Despite that, I still miss the user interface found in the Palm Treo 500v. Chinese input software is still missing, and so is threading messaging. What’s worst is the usual media streaming player found in my previous WM6 smartphones, is not in its standard software listing. Apparently Q9H has an asian version that provides both english and chinese input methods, and gods know why Singapore gets a non-asian version 😦
Bluetooth connection is reliable. Discovery and pairing of devices are straight forward, the only gripe I have is that the handsfree icon does not show up when Q9H connects to a handsfree device. Otherwise, the handsfree button actually activates voice recognition software (by VoiceSignal), which works very well (much better than the Cyberon one) except for some local dialect names.
With a 3.5G connectivity, I am back to the 3.6Mbps HSDPA bandwagon (the Palm Treo 500v only sports a 3G connectivity). Actually, it makes little difference for pushmail usage, and I seldom browse the net so the “home-again” experience is not greatly felt unless I watch Starhub MobileTV Xtra (a live TV content streaming). So I thought I would be happier now with a better quality stream, only to realise that Starhub does not support Q9H for such live stream, and I reckon it is due to the lack of media streaming player in the device, which is pre-installed in 500v and C730. So this is a big thumb down for Q9H (and to some extent, Starhub!)
In terms of battery life, contrary to the positive reports I had come across earlier, my personal experience shows that the battery life is only on the average side. With a fully charge phone, the power is used up 75% within 3/4 of the day. Charging is also not as easy as my previous phones. Using a micro-USB connectivity, I found out that there are some compatibility issues with the USB car and notebook charger that I have, presumeably due to the power output differences. (I stand corrected for this)
Overall, the gadget is a great product for business users who need a good messaging input method. While not exactly positioned as a multimedia player, I think it still does a job well done in this aspect, just that I think if you are looking beyond QWERTY feature, you could have better option elsewhere. Then again, for QWERTY phone like Q9H, only the QWERTY-fan needs to apply, because the rest are probably not appealed by this Q feature.