First Moto Q9m Unbox and Grope (Mini-Review)

Q9m_Handson.jpgI just got my hands on the first Moto Q9m, and after a couple of hours, I'm ready to send it right back. Seriously, if you buy this phone, you are dumb.

For starters, Windows Mobile 6 is a piece of crap. Case in point: I plug in my freakin' Hotmail account to set up email, and it tells me it can't do it, and refers me to a web link that I can't open. I am sure there's a product manager who will quickly explain to me what I did wrong, and the 17 steps I should memorize in order to do it correctly. But could this possibly be my fault?Other examples of this: • When typing, I couldn't find the symbol options until I pressed a few buttons at random, but when I tried the same combo a second time, it didn't work. • I launched Solitaire, yet couldn't figure out how to play with the d-pad or jog dial, and gave up in anger. Again, my fault, right? • Lag lag lag lag lag. (No way that's my fault.)

The next party to blame is Verizon Wireless: While I admire the effort to modernize the antiquated and unhelpful Windows Mobile screen, the thing VZW put in its place is pretty scary. I could let that go—you know, different strokes, different folks—were it not for the fact that you can't customize it at all. You either get the V Cast Music, camera, media player and volume controls, or you get nothing. Why shouldn't you be able to program the screen as a launcher for your most appropriate apps? Yeah, that's probably just some crazy idea. You can switch to the assorted useless Windows Mobile screens, but they are, as I indicated, no improvement.

It does have V Cast Music—$1.99 for over-the-air songs you could get elsewhere cheaper—but no one has figured out how to provide the V Cast video service on a Windows Mobile device yet. If you ever wanted to demonstrate the value of Verizon's streaming video, it would be great to do it on the Q9m's attractive 2.5" screen.

I could lay into the pricing plans for this thing pretty hard, but I won't even bother. If you buy this for $200 (online, limited time), you deserve two years of paying $80 per month for service. In case you are curious, the starter plan includes 450 minutes of talk plus unlimited email and on-phone browsing. If you want to use it as a modem for your computer, you'll pay $15 extra per month.

Regarding the GPS question that some of you had, Verizon says that GPS is enabled for navigational use, but I have to tell you that I see no evidence of it when digging through various Windows menus. This could easily be the fault of the oblique operating system, however. As far as Verizon's own VZNavigator goes, there is no Windows Mobile version at this time. So GPS-wise, you're either SOL, or just totally on your own.

Last and least, Motorola is at fault for this trainwreck. It's not a bad looking phone, but the red-and-black motif and Verizon branding says it all, that Moto is willing to set aside all of its own quality priorities in order to sell a phone through a carrier. Spineless decisions out of Schaumburg, IL made the RAZR both ubiquitous and worthless, and it's apparently still happening.

Trending Stories Right Now