Though Motorola announced today that its Z9 slider phone was going to
Fortunately, it does offer a few design changes. Its slider design is completely different from the
The navigation array is dominated by a round Razr-like toggle with a central OK button. It's raised just above the surface of the phone so it's fairly easy to use. The remaining navigation controls (two soft keys, a Web browser shortcut, the Talk and End/power controls, and a Clear key) are flush with the surface of the phone without any clear separation between them. Yet, a closer look will show that they're not touch controls; rather, they offer a tactile "push" feel and a soft "click" sound when pressed. They're also covered by tiny silver bumps that are similar to the. The keypad buttons have the same design except that they rest on a more reflective surface.
This design left us a bit divided. On the upside, the navigation controls and keypad buttons are quite spacious and the backlighting is relatively bright, But on the downside, the keys felt rather stiff and the slippery surface made dialing by feel difficult. The controls on either side are rather small, but as with the Razr2 V9, they also offer the nifty Haptics vibrating feedback.
The menu interface is standard Motorola but the bright display is easy on the eyes. We noticed that the menu performance was a bit sluggish but we liked the way the menus faded when switching between different screens.
Call quality was decent during our brief test. Voices sounded relatively natural, if a tiny bit harsh, and the volume level was loud. We'll report back with a full review of the Z9 in a few days.