Motorola Z9 Slider Phone Slick, Cheap

The Z9 model comes loaded with a slew of features.
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Hello again, Moto!

For the record,

Motorola

(MOT)

still makes some interesting new cell phones. Case in point: the brand-new Moto Z9 handset that I've had the pleasure to play with for the past few days.

The Z9 is a slider style, quad-band phone that comes with many, many features as standard equipment. It runs on the GSM, WCDMA and 3G HSDPA (with download speeds up to 3.6 Mbps).

As for built-ins, there's a two-megapixel camera with 8x zoom,

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Navigator and GPS support, Video Share-calling capability, stereo Bluetooth® wireless capability, video record, playback and streaming, an integrated MP3 music player with AT&T Mobile Music service, cellular video, picture and video messaging, a removable microSD memory card slot, a full HTML Web browser and advanced speech recognition.

Motorola Can Make a Comeback -- Maybe

var config = new Array(); config<BRACKET>"videoId"</BRACKET> = 1513327685; config<BRACKET>"playerTag"</BRACKET> = "TSCM Embedded Video Player"; config<BRACKET>"autoStart"</BRACKET> = false; config<BRACKET>"preloadBackColor"</BRACKET> = "#FFFFFF"; config<BRACKET>"useOverlayMenu"</BRACKET> = "false"; config<BRACKET>"width"</BRACKET> = 265; config<BRACKET>"height"</BRACKET> = 255; config<BRACKET>"playerId"</BRACKET> = 1243645856; createExperience(config, 8);

When it comes to actual measurements, it's 4.6 inches by 2.1 inches by 0.6 inches and weighs in at a somewhat hefty 4.9 ounces. The rechargeable battery is said to be good for up to four hours of talking and 13 days of standby time.

Build quality appears to be first-class all the way. The handset has a great "hand feel" and the slider slides with authority. For me, there's nothing worse than a cheap-feeling slider phone that mechanically never exudes loads of confidence -- even when it's new. Button pressing is terrific -- and I especially like the way all the buttons and controls light-up, subtly backlighting the controls when you need them, then fading to black to get out of your way.

Actually, that's a very big deal because a lot of phones that I get to see are nice and maybe even innovative -- but build quality is another story. I usually don't tell you about these devices because writing/reading about them is not worth my time or yours. On the other hand, if they're really terrible I promise to go out of my way to warn you about them.

Back to the Z9. Download times are amazingly zippy. That makes for a good platform for watching videos. I'm happy to report that the Z9 excels at providing a successful mobile video platform. The quality of AT&T's streaming videos is excellent, and although the screen is smaller (and not a touch screen) the experience comes very close to that of

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excellent iPhone.

Also, having AT&T's mobile Navigator and GPS directions system makes for a very nice package.

The Z9 was also good at making and receiving phone calls. Don't laugh -- that's not always the case with feature-laden devices these days.

The only downside to note (for some) is that there's no Qwerty keyboard of any kind, so inputting of letters and numbers is to the left of the numeric keypad --somewhat OK for SMS messages but not for longer emails.

Motorola's Z9 is well priced, though. The handset's list price is $400, or $250 with a two-year service contract. You get a $50 discount for buying the phone online -- and another $50 mail-in rebate promotional card -- for a grand total of $150.

Bottom line is $150 for a well-built, fast, 3G phone with GPS directions. That's a pretty good deal.

Whether it's enough to keep Motorola afloat is another story

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.