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My brief but torrid affair with a Q

By Flickr | June 13, 2006

What can I say – I’m a sucker for a good sexy form factor. Luckily I’m not that much of a sucker and I won’t be keeping it for long. Recently Motorola announced their “Blackberry killer”, the Q. The Q shares a lot of the Blackberries features (nicely implemented scroll wheel, similar form factors) and according to their marketing is being aimed clearly at RIM’s sagging market. Being the true technology wh0re that I am (with a particular weakness for cell phones and their ilk) I had to rush out and buy one – but I’ll be returning it shortly now that I’ve had a chance to see it’s short list pros and rather extensive collection of cons.

Motorola has managed to capture a rather attractive RAZR like form factor in a QWERTY phone device. I have to say that as far as the hardware goes I wouldn’t mind keeping this one slid discreetly into my pocket – except for the fact that it’s sexy form factor is pretty much the only selling point the Q has.

The UI is simply bad – they chose to restrict Windows Mobile 5.0 to a horribly large font (for readability?) and thus sacrifice precious screen real estate that could be used to display more information to the user. The scroll wheel makes it a bit more tolerable due to the ease at which one can scroll through a mail, but it’s still cumbersome and takes at least twice as many “screen-fulls” of information to see the same email on the Q as it would take on my HTC Wizard.

The mail client has some strange restrictions on it which make it almost completely unusable for me. It won’t support automatic syncing of IMAP folders other than the root inbox folder, and won’t let me use IMAP IDLE, or set a polling frequency of less than 15 minutes. In this modern day and age of “now now NOW!” it’s strange to see a company trying to push a phone with an artificial limit on how quickly you can check your mail in it.

Next up is the lack of recent OS updates. Verizon and Motorola decided to ship with the base Windows Mobile 5.0 OS – not the newly released AKU2 with MSFP. AKU2 is the second service pack for the Windows Mobile operating system, and made some astonishing improvements including true push mail (and the Q lacking this really will prevent it from going toe to toe with the Blackberry) and significantly better memory management.

For being pushed as a “All in Wonder” data-centric device the Q manages to completely disappoint. With it’s difficult to navigate UI, and non-poweruser centric mentality it’s most likely not going to end up in the hands of tomorrow burgeoning enterprise customers who will instead be lured away from the HTC Hermes or Palm’s Treo 700w (also made by HTC)

Lastly I was hoping to be blown away with EVDO having come from Cingular’s aging EDGE network. I think the term underwhelmed comes to mind – it’s faster than EDGE, but not by much. For my money I would rather pay half as much for data service through Cingular and get 85% of the throughput.

The moral of this story? Never betray HTC! HTC makes the best Windows Mobile devices on the market (Wizard, Apache, Hermes, and Treo 700w) and knows how to create a truly positive user experience.

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Topics: Cellphones, Daily grind, Gadgets, Reviews, Technology | Comments Off

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