We think it's appropriate to warn you: don't take the MOTO U9 to the beach. Not only is water and sand dangerous components to mix with any mobile phone, but if you were to drop the U9 amongst a pile of well-washed seaside stones you might have a remarkably hard time trying to relocate it.
As is the case with many phones in the sub AU$300 price category, the MOTO U9 is trading on its look and not on its rather short list of included features. By this logic alone the U9 should do quite a busy trade. The smooth edges of the U9, and its sleek, glossy black finish make it a fitting handset to slip out of your evening tote bag at a classy inner city bar.
Yes, that's right, we just went and made this review gender specific. The truth is that while the U9 comes in chic black, the rounded edges make the U9 look decidedly feminine to us; like a woman's press-powder compact. The men in our office seemed to find the U9 attractive but unanimously agreed they probably wouldn't buy one for themselves.
Our favourite feature of the U9's design, as it will be for most people, is the OLED secondary display under the top cover of the phone. In standby mode this display shows the time, reception and remaining battery, but it can also double as a music player controller and a secondary viewfinder for taking self-portraits with the camera.
At the other end of the spectrum, the keypad is below par. The pad is entirely flat with small ridges defining the separation of the different keys, and when you add the fact that the keys are also quite small, you end up with a keypad which is harder to use than it should be.
On paper, the U9 has most of the major boxes checked: phone, music player, camera. The U9 is a quad-band GSM handset, which means no 3G network support, which in turn amounts to dial-up internet data speeds. With higher end phones no 3G would almost certainly be a deal-breaker, but in this price range we suspect the Web is considered overkill by most people.