Editor's note: We have adjusted the ratings for this review to reflect changes in the market for this product.
The Samsung BlackJack and T-Mobile Dash have pretty much stolen the spotlight from the Motorola Q, but to be fair, the Q was the original slim, QWERTY keyboard device that influenced the likes of the two aforementioned smart phones. Though Verizon Wireless long had an exclusive on the Q, Sprint now has a version on its own (no official word yet on a GSM model, although there are rumblings of its imminent release). Though the core applications remain the same between the Verizon and Sprint versions, there are changes in the design as well as software enhancements and different carrier content.
We will highlight those differences in this review, but in short, there are no revolutionary upgrades here. It's a decent smart phone for Sprint customers looking for a sleek device to help them be more productive on the go. Plus, Sprint offers the best-priced data plan at around $15 a month for unlimited data, compared to Verizon's $49.99, Cingular's $39.99, and T-Mobile's $29.99. All that said, if you need more a workhorse smart phone, check out the Palm Treo 700wx or Sprint PPC-6700, or if mobile e-mail is your thing, the RIM BlackBerry 8703e is a good fit. The Motorola Q for Sprint is available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates and discounts.
Verizon offers a silver Q and a sleek black version, while Sprint combines the two colors to offer an attractive charcoal gray casing. To complement the darker hue, Motorola has switched the colors on the QWERTY keyboard--where the silver Q had the number keys highlighted in dark gray and the rest of the buttons in silver; this is reversed with the Sprint Moto Q. Disappointingly, we still found the backlighting on the keyboard to be a bit dim.
Another new feature is the rubberized texture of the phone. We much prefer it over the original Q as it makes the smart phone easier to grip and hold, and the soft finish also makes it less prone to scratches. It keeps the same compact dimensions (4.5x2.5x0.4 inches; 4.1 ounces), and as we noted in our earlier review, if you haven't used this type of convergence device before, there may be a period of adjustment to get used to the extra width, as well as holding it up to your ear as a phone. For comparison, the Samsung BlackJack measures 4.4x2.3x0.6 inches and weighs 3.5 ounces.
Aside from the color and material changes, the rest of the design elements remain the same. Please check our review of the Verizon Motorola Q for a full rundown of these features. Now, as we mentioned earlier, since the Q's launch, there have been several comparable smart phones to come out, including the Samsung BlackJack and the T-Mobile Dash, and they do have some advantages over the Q in the design department. For example, we like the curved edges and overall shape of the Dash better, while we appreciate the dedicated volume controls on the BlackJack. Yet, none of these devices are perfect, and we still favor the Q's spacious QWERTY keyboard over the other two.