Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Moto Q9h review

I’ve been using the Q9h for a few weeks now, as a final attempt to use AT&T’s network.  It’s not anything extraordinary: it’s pretty much Moto’s competitor to Samsung’s Blackjack 2 (which I had previously).

Before I start this review: does anyone know where I can get pictures of phones that I can legally put on the blog?  I don’t think I can just start linking to manufacturers’ websites…


  • It’s a hefty phone!  Moto lists it at 140g, compared to the Blackjack 2 at 100g, and it’s really noticeable.
  • The keyboard is more like the Blackberry Bold than the Blackjack 2: the keys are big and domed.  The tactile feedback is very nice, and well calibrated.  The physical size of the keyboard is what places the device firmly in the “almost-too-wide” camp.  Any larger and it would be too cumbersome to hold in one hand.  The curves of the backside definitely help alleviate this somewhat.
  • It comes standard with Opera mini.  Interestingly, I actually prefer using the IE that ships on the device rather than Opera, but that’s a whole other post.  I can’t wait for IE 6 on 6 (standard).  I had to… ahem… modify the phone… to get IE back to the hardware key.


  • Reception.  As advertised, this phone is the king of RF.  Sadly, this doesn’t translate to clearer calls, just to less calls disconnected.
  • Battery life.  Well, sorta.  The phone is huge in its class, and surprisingly the standard battery is rather small as compared to other similar phones.  It ships with a 1130 mAh battery, compared to the BJ2’s 1400 mAh battery.  The phone actually seems to have great power management, and I have been getting a full 2 days’ use from the standard battery.  Additionally, the Q9h comes with a gigantic (and I mean huge) 1640 mAh extended battery, but you trade talk time for a hump on the back.
  • Lots of nice Moto tweaks.  For example, while on the Blackjack 2, the up/down controls on the side changed the volume of the ringer, on the Q9h, they scroll your selection.  I don’t mute my phone on accident when taking it out of my pocket anymore.  Also, said controls are on the right of the device, rather than the left, which is nice for right-handed people.


  • Worth mentioning again… this thing is a behemoth.
  • Micro USB charging port is too flimsy in my opinion.  I prefer mini USB or dedicated charging (a la Nokia).
  • I’m not sure how this passed QA: the backspace key is above the keyboard.  What?!
  • Holding the home key doesn’t bring you right to the task manager like other WinMo standard phones.  It brings you to the “power down” menu.
  • Most sadly: it’s tied to AT&T’s network.  I am just about convinced that no phone can fare well there.

One last chance, AT&T… Moto Q9h

So I’ve been with AT&T for about 2 years now, having switched from Sprint for the original iPhone.  I switched knowing that call quality was not going to be as good; that’s just a fact of CDMA vs. GSM.  I took it in stride at first – the choppy sentences, the robotic voices.  But enough is enough: since I’ve been using the Blackjack 2, I’ve gotten more complaints about choppy calls than I remember with any other handset.

So, I’m giving AT&T one last try, with the Motorola Q9h.  Moto is one of the ancient kings of RF, right alongside Nokia and RIM (Blackberry).  If the Q9h can’t consistently deliver quality calls, I won’t have any other options left.

The funny thing is that Sprint’s rumored 4G network will be LTE, which is a GSM-based technology.  But that won’t come for at least 2 more years, and I need to make calls now.