Home > Android Phone Reviews > Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE
Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE
What's hot: High end specs plus a hardware QWERTY keyboard, fast with sharp display.
What's not: Not a stunning looking piece, Sprint 3G falls behind other carriers and LTE coverage is currently limited.
Reviewed September 25, 2012 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
It's hard to find a smartphone with a hardware QWERTY keyboard these days. Happily, Motorola still invests in that form factor, from the Droid line on Verizon to the new Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE on Sprint. Though the Photon Q isn't quite as sleek as the Droid, it packs top-notch features like a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 CPU (currently the top performing smartphone CPU in US Android phones), a gig of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera plus front video chat camera and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, single band WiFi, a GPS and 1785 mAh battery that's sealed inside. The Photon Q is available now for $199 with contract on Sprint. Like the Motorola Atrix HD and Droid RAZR M, it runs a very pleasing and clean version of Android with Moto's handy Smart Actions and few unnecessary UI frills.
The phone won't win any design awards. QWERTY phones aren't among the most attractive handsets, though Motorola's own Droid cut a sexy figure in its day. This a chunky gray plastic phone with a slightly (visually) bizarre back that's grippy. I'm not saying the phone looks or feels cheap, because it most certainly does not. It's just not a pretty piece.
The slider is perfect: silky but not wishy-washy. It feels like it will last through your two year contract. The Photon Q has both micro HDMI and micro USB ports side-by-side on the left. The microSD card slot is under a cover on the right, and the volume and dedicated camera buttons are on that side as well. The SIM card is unfortunately permanently embedded under the sealed back, and the battery is likewise inaccessible.
The qHD 4.3" "Color Boost" display might seem like a disappointment in terms of resolution, but 540 x 960 works well for the smaller (by recent standards) display size. Since horizontal QWERTY sliders are thicker and heavier than their slate counterparts, Motorola didn't go with a bigger display. The screen is sharp and colorful, though not hugely bright.
The QWERTY hardware keyboard is excellent. It's large enough for fellas with big hands and it's not a stretch for this female's fingers when typing (though I do have very long fingers). The keys have an ever so slightly rough texture that's just right: not slippery but not sticky. The keyboard has adjustable backlighting and 5 rows of keys with oversized enter, tab and caps lock keys. The slider is smooth but sturdy with no unwanted play, so typing is a stable affair.