By Sascha Segan  |  Posted 2006-05-25 Print this article Print

Its the Q, the Motorola Q. The RAZR-thin Motorola Q is the coolest smartphone in America. Its a terrific voice phone, a dandy music player, and a swell e-mail machine. Just be warned: Expensive service plans mean it isnt as cheap as it appears.

The Q is an unusually wide (2.5 inches), very flat (0.5 inches thick) 4-ounce slab with a bright 320-by-240 screen and a raised, angled QWERTY keyboard. Theres a scroll wheel and button on the side, just like those on BlackBerry devices, and a five-way cursor pad above the keyboard, like the ones on Palm Treo handhelds. You can use both sets of keys for navigation, making the Q unusually convenient to use with one hand. A miniSD card slot sits on the edge opposite from the scroll wheel.

For voice quality, the Q is the best Verizon smartphone Ive tested. Its reception comes close to the excellent RAZR V3c and Motorola E815. Sound through the earpiece, speakerphone, and Bluetooth headsets is unusually loud and clear; transmission is nearly flawless. VoiceSignals voice-dialing application, which works over Bluetooth headsets, is terrific. This is an excellent phone, plain and simple. Battery life, at 5 hours 25 minutes of continuous talk time, is good, on a par with that of the Palm Treo 700p.

The Q is also a great music player, thanks to its support for Bluetooth stereo. As a Windows Mobile Smartphone, the Q plays MP3, WMA, and protected WMA files downloaded from Microsoft-compatible music stores such as Yahoo! Music and Rhapsody. I hooked up three stereo Bluetooth headsets—Motorolas own BT820, the Wi-Gear iMuffs, and the Plantronics Pulsar 590A—and listened to music while surfing the Web on Pocket Internet Explorer without trouble, though the multitasking did make scrolling slightly jerky. Downloading e-mail in the background while listening to music was too much for the Q—it caused the music to skip. When I got a call, the music paused, then resumed from where I left off when the call was over. The fast-forward and rewind buttons on the headset also worked.

Video is another story. I couldnt get videos transferred through Windows Media Player 10 or downloaded directly onto an SD card to play without the device stuttering. Thats odd because the Q actually was faster on our video benchmark tests than the T-Mobile SDA and MDA, both of which can play video smoothly in a small window. When I discussed this with a Motorola rep, we both suspected that my unit might have had a video-related software bug.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Motorola Q

Sascha Segan is PC Magazine's Lead Analyst for mobile phones and PDAs. He is responsible for testing, benchmarking and evaluating mobile phones and other handheld devices. Sascha joined the magazine in 2004 after covering consumer electronics for technology, travel and lifestyle publications, and editing the now hard-to-find book, 'I Just Got a Cell Phone, Now What?' He once helped cover an election in Africa using only a PalmPilot Professional with a modem and attachable keyboard as his traveling gear.

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