Review: Motorola Q
The landscape QVGA screen is sharp and has good color. When reading the default black text on a white background, the screen is bright enough to be used even in direct sunlight. However in lower contrast situations - like most home screen themes or the camera viewfinder - the Q seems a bit dim under bright indoor lights and is difficult to use outdoors. After combing the settings menu several times, we still have not discovered a brightness setting to make the screen brighter.
The Q also inherited the RAZR's excellent antenna. The Q gets acceptable signal everywhere we've gone save for the worst of dead zones. It showed two bars in our bank vault test and was able to make clear calls from there. On the edge of dead zones it would show 1 bar and revert to slower 1xRTT data, but we could still make voice calls.
Calls were easy to hear, the Q is plenty loud when held to your ear. The microphone works well indoors but is susceptible to high levels of wind noise outdoors. When ringing or playing media, the speaker tends to be loud enough in most indoor settings at 4 or even 3 out of 5. However at 4 out of 5, the Q was difficult to hear ringing outdoors or in noisy environments, especially once it's trapped inside your pocket. The weak vibrating alert didn't help this situation.
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At full volume, the speaker is deafening. Ringing is so loud it will scare you and you have to hold the phone quite a bit away from your ear when using speakerphone or you'll probably damage your hearing. As a warning it is very easy to activate the speakerphone mode, even when not in a call by pressing the voice dial key for a second. This can easily happen in your pocket without you knowing and can cause a bit of shock and a great deal of discomfort if you hold the phone up to your ear in this mode.
Based on the prototype we tested earlier, we have to say the Q's battery life pleasantly surprised us. The retail unit gets about two and half days of battery life under normal conditions. We did notice that Bluetooth use affected battery life more than we expected. Even so, more than two days of battery life is decent for any smartphone and shows significant improvement over the prototype, which lasted less than a day on a charge.
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Jul 25, 2005
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