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Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE review

7.1/10 AVG.
RATING



7.1/10
Informr score
The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE currently has an Informr score of 7.1 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 16 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

Motorola is in the vanguard of Android smartphone development. Proof of this can be seen in the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE, a feature-rich high-end model that looks every bit as good in real life as it does on paper. It’s one of Motorola’s best-looking handsets and it’s sold at a fairly affordable price. Should you be scrambling to get your hands on one right now?

The Photon Q will impress you with its 4.3-inch qHD resolution screen. It also has many other high-end niceties such as an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, 8GB of internal storage, over 7 hours of continuous talk time per charge, and support for 4G LTE data. Its other features include 1GB of RAM, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, HDMI-out, and microUSB connectivity. And it even has a built-in hardware QWERTY keyboard.

Unless you’re allergic to non-HD screens or you would rather nix the hardware keyboard for a slimmer profile, the Photon Q 4G LTE is an excellent choice. Just be ready to haul quite a bit of heft with you if you plan on carrying it everywhere.

Need to Know: Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

1. Comes with a large hi-res 4.3-inch screen. (The Good)

2. Uses Android 4.0 ICS as the pre-installed software. (The Good)

3. Internal storage space is limited to just 8GB. (The Bad)

4. Thick and bulky. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.5 GHz
Screen Size
4.3"
Camera
8+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


MobileBurn

The question is: does that have more to do with quality or a lack of competition? The Photon Q becomes harder to sell once taken outside of the context of being a great phone with a physical keyboard. This is the best implementation of Motorola's software yet, so there's plenty to like about the pho...

- Andrew Kameka , MobileBurn
Brighthand

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is arguably Motorola's best device for texters and emailers since the Droid 3, and has a lot of things that will make business travelers happy. Unfortunately, it also has some compromises that make it problematic for that same group.A marginal battery is one thing, but m...

- Adama D. Brown, Brighthand
Phandroid

If you just can’t stand to let the hardware QWERTY keyboard go the way of the dinosaurs, then hands-down the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE should be an option for you. Next to the Motorola Droid series, there really isn’t much competition out there. It’s got it all, from a snappy dual-core processor to 4...

- Kevin Krause, Phandroid
Android Guys

So after a week with the Photon Q, there’s very little that I don’t like. Aside from the camera bugs and the awkwardness of the rounded corners, this is one of the best devices I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in quite some time. It’s fast, has a fantastic QWERTY keyboard,...

- Justin Marden, Android Guys
Wired

Even though the Photon Q has these few niceties, they aren’t enough to save the handset from too many poor choices — the not-true-HD display, the boggy performance, the yawn-boring hardware, the anemic built-in storage and the $200 price tag. For all but the fervent QWERTY keyboard devotees who are...

- Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Wired


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Motorola released the Photon Q 4G LTE on September 30, 2012.



Motorola backs up the Photon Q 4G LTE with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Photon Q 4G LTE has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
4.3"

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE's screen size is 4.3 inches with x pixels resolution.

Processor
1.5 GHz

There is a Dual-core 1.5 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

Camera
8+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 1+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
No

Internal memory is No. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
1785mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1785 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 9 days standby time, 450 minutes.

Photon Q 4G LTE Specs

Overview
Release date September 30, 2012
Regions available USA
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1900 MHz
Data:
GPRS, HSUPA, HSPA+ 21.1, LTE
SIM card Yes
Dual SIM No
Operating System

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Dual-core 1.5 GHz
Internal Storage No
RAM 1 GB
ROM 8 GB
GPS Type S-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Head: 0.89 W/kg
Body: 0.77 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1785 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 486 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 450 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 9 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Slider
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 5.0 x 2.6 x 0.5 cm (2 x 1 x 0.2 in)
Weight 170 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 4.3 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type QWERTY, Touchscreen
Navigation Type D-pad, Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Swype
Physical keyboard Yes
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer Yes
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, BPP, DUN, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB)
PC Synchronization OTA
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
1+ megapixels
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, MP4, AAC+, AAC, Real Audio, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration No
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Google+, YouTube, Quickoffice, Google Latitude, Google Street View, Google Play, Google + Hangout)
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE Reviews
Where to buy Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE
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Critic Reviews


MobileBurn

It's biggest draw is the keyboard

from MobileBurn

The question is: does that have more to do with quality or a lack of competition? The Photon Q becomes harder to sell once taken outside of the context of being a great phone with a physical keyboard. This is the best implementation of Motorola's software yet, so there's plenty to like about the...More

The question is: does that have more to do with quality or a lack of competition? The Photon Q becomes harder to sell once taken outside of the context of being a great phone with a physical keyboard. This is the best implementation of Motorola's software yet, so there's plenty to like about the phone, but it's biggest draw is the keyboard. It excels mightily in that regard, but it fails miserably as a camera, and Sprint's hard-to-find LTE network will force most buyers of this phone to make due with 3G. The Photon Q is an obvious purchase to make if you yearn for a hardware QWERTY keyboard, but not everyone has that requirement. Anyone who feels comfortable tying on a virtual screen is probably better served with other options.

Read full review

Less

Brighthand

An otherwise solid messaging device hamstrung by a poor battery arrangement

from Brighthand

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is arguably Motorola's best device for texters and emailers since the Droid 3, and has a lot of things that will make business travelers happy. Unfortunately, it also has some compromises that make it problematic for that same group.

A marginal battery is one thing, but mixed with a design attitude that says "We know how you should use your smartphone better than you do," it becomes a serious flaw. Which is disappointing, since otherwise the Photon Q is nicely built, has solid ergonomics, and blazing fast performance....

More

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is arguably Motorola's best device for texters and emailers since the Droid 3, and has a lot of things that will make business travelers happy. Unfortunately, it also has some compromises that make it problematic for that same group.

A marginal battery is one thing, but mixed with a design attitude that says "We know how you should use your smartphone better than you do," it becomes a serious flaw. Which is disappointing, since otherwise the Photon Q is nicely built, has solid ergonomics, and blazing fast performance.

If you can live with never being too far from a charger, it'll serve you well. If not, you might want to look at other devices.

Read full review

Less

Phandroid

The Photon Q goes beyond just being useful as a messaging phone

from Phandroid

If you just can’t stand to let the hardware QWERTY keyboard go the way of the dinosaurs, then hands-down the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE should be an option for you. Next to the Motorola Droid series, there really isn’t much competition out there. It’s got it all, from a snappy dual-core proce...More

If you just can’t stand to let the hardware QWERTY keyboard go the way of the dinosaurs, then hands-down the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE should be an option for you. Next to the Motorola Droid series, there really isn’t much competition out there. It’s got it all, from a snappy dual-core processor to 4G LTE connectivity. The user experience is as solid as other Moto standouts such as the RAZR and RAZR MAXX, but its size and battery life don’t really compare. The decision ultimately comes down to these elements. Is a thicker phone worth the hardware keyboard to you? If so, the Photon Q is recommended with the highest confidence.

Read full review

Less

Android Guys

Build quality is very good, keyboard is fantastic, and supports LTE

from Android Guys

So after a week with the Photon Q, there’s very little that I don’t like. Aside from the camera bugs and the awkwardness of the rounded corners, this is one of the best devices I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in quite some time. It’s fast, has a fantastic QWERTY keyboar...More

So after a week with the Photon Q, there’s very little that I don’t like. Aside from the camera bugs and the awkwardness of the rounded corners, this is one of the best devices I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in quite some time. It’s fast, has a fantastic QWERTY keyboard, and carries the promise of Sprint LTE. On top of all that, Jelly Bean could be right around the corner, courtesy of Motorola. What more could you ask for in a $199 device?

Read full review

Less

Wired

Slow, unresponsive and underperforming

from Wired

Even though the Photon Q has these few niceties, they aren’t enough to save the handset from too many poor choices — the not-true-HD display, the boggy performance, the yawn-boring hardware, the anemic built-in storage and the $200 price tag. For all but the fervent QWERTY keyboard devotees w...More

Even though the Photon Q has these few niceties, they aren’t enough to save the handset from too many poor choices — the not-true-HD display, the boggy performance, the yawn-boring hardware, the anemic built-in storage and the $200 price tag. For all but the fervent QWERTY keyboard devotees who are also Sprint subscribers, the Photon Q is forgettable.

Read full review

Less

The Verge

Fast performance with good, roomy keyboard but thick and heavy

from The Verge

The Photon Q 4G LTE is a very good phone, and it has a very good keyboard. That could be a perfect combination for some people, but fusing the two together causes some real problems with the phone's build quality, and its overall look and feel. Still, there's a lot to like about this handset: from Motorola's software enhancements to its solid speed and performance, the Photon Q checks nearly all the boxes....

More

The Photon Q 4G LTE is a very good phone, and it has a very good keyboard. That could be a perfect combination for some people, but fusing the two together causes some real problems with the phone's build quality, and its overall look and feel. Still, there's a lot to like about this handset: from Motorola's software enhancements to its solid speed and performance, the Photon Q checks nearly all the boxes.

But unless you absolutely need a physical keyboard on your phone — and reviewing this phone made me realize how comfortable I've become typing on a screen — there are much better phones on Sprint. The HTC Evo 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S III are both faster, thinner, and better-looking than the Photon Q, and they're also ready for Sprint's LTE network whenever it rolls out to your neighborhood. As I've said, if you can't live without a physical keyboard, buy this phone — it's one of the best in its class. But think long and hard before you decide you can't live without one.

Read full review

Less

Pocketnow

Solid build, good battery life and has a spacious, comfortable hardware keyboard

from Pocketnow

With the Photon Q 4G LTE, Motorola succeeds on a few fronts. It spruces up Sprint’s unremarkable hardware-QWERTY lineup, and gives Verizon Wireless converts looking for a Droid 4-like experience reason to consider the Now Network. More important, though, it improves on the experience provided by the original Photon 4G, and goes a little way toward restoring the prestige of the venerable “Q” brand. As in Hollywood, success in the smartphone world can’t always be found by going back to the well and rebooting an old title. But if it’s done right, a successful sequel late in the game can revitalize a retired brand while lending some old-school panache to a new product....

More

With the Photon Q 4G LTE, Motorola succeeds on a few fronts. It spruces up Sprint’s unremarkable hardware-QWERTY lineup, and gives Verizon Wireless converts looking for a Droid 4-like experience reason to consider the Now Network. More important, though, it improves on the experience provided by the original Photon 4G, and goes a little way toward restoring the prestige of the venerable “Q” brand. As in Hollywood, success in the smartphone world can’t always be found by going back to the well and rebooting an old title. But if it’s done right, a successful sequel late in the game can revitalize a retired brand while lending some old-school panache to a new product.

This device might not fully deserve its “4G LTE” designation yet, but the “Photon Q” in its name is doing a great job of living up to its proud legacy. And if you’re in the market for a hardware-QWERTY-packing smartphone on Sprint, there’s nothing else we’d recommend as readily.

Read full review

Less

Complex

Solid build, soft-touch feel, and tactile feedback

from Complex

Motorola adds another great Android smartphone to Sprint’s small arsenal and continues to demonstrate why there is still a market for QWERTY handsets, even if it’s the only manufacturer not named BlackBerry creating them. The Photon Q stands at the top of its class thanks to its solid...More

Motorola adds another great Android smartphone to Sprint’s small arsenal and continues to demonstrate why there is still a market for QWERTY handsets, even if it’s the only manufacturer not named BlackBerry creating them. The Photon Q stands at the top of its class thanks to its solid build, soft-touch feel, and tactile feedback. Fast CPU benchmarks and vital software tweaks sweeten the deal. Some of its imperfections might turn off subscribers, but if you favor messaging over voice calling (as we all do), then this is the Sprint phone you need going into the holiday season.

Read full review

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Phone Scoop

For those who prefer a physical keyboard, the Photon Q could be the 4G phone of your dreams

from Phone Scoop

The Photon Q 4G LTE is a solid effort from Motorola. Sprint customers looking for the QWERTY, 4G, Android 4.0 combo will be mostly satisfied.

The biggest weakness of the Photon Q is the voice performance. It simply doesn't match the high-quality calling powers that I expect from Motorola devices. For those who make few calls and mainly connect via email, SMS, Facebook, or other tools that make use of the keyboard, perhaps this can be overlooked. The other weakness is the camera, which took disappointingly fuzzy images....

More

The Photon Q 4G LTE is a solid effort from Motorola. Sprint customers looking for the QWERTY, 4G, Android 4.0 combo will be mostly satisfied.

The biggest weakness of the Photon Q is the voice performance. It simply doesn't match the high-quality calling powers that I expect from Motorola devices. For those who make few calls and mainly connect via email, SMS, Facebook, or other tools that make use of the keyboard, perhaps this can be overlooked. The other weakness is the camera, which took disappointingly fuzzy images.

The physical QWERTY keyboard, however, is one of the best Motorola has produced and the ColorBoost display brings content to life on the Photon's screen. Add to those the Photon's flexible menu system and Android 4.0 platform, and the Photon nearly hits the mark.

Read full review

Less

Digital Trends

A perfect phone for anyone who wants a slide-out keyboard

from Digital Trends

With the Photon Q 4G LTE, Motorola continues its upward trend in design and usability. The Q keeps up with competing phones in every important way and though the battery and camera still leave something to be desired, they are serviceable. Most importantly, the Photon Q is a perfect phone for any...More

With the Photon Q 4G LTE, Motorola continues its upward trend in design and usability. The Q keeps up with competing phones in every important way and though the battery and camera still leave something to be desired, they are serviceable. Most importantly, the Photon Q is a perfect phone for anyone who wants a slide-out keyboard. For mobile typing, it doesn’t get better than this. It’s a good, different option for users on Sprint and is one of our top picks for the carrier, much like the last Photon. The Q is now available for $200 with a two-year contract.

Read full review

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