Summary: Most phone manufacturers have firmly decided the on-screen keyboard is the future. A few companies, like Pantech and Samsung, still make handsets with physical keyboards, but they typically feel like throwaway devices that were built just to use spare parts from 2006. Only Motorola remains committed to the form factor, and the company continues to churn out Droid after Droid with a full, sliding QWERTY keyboard.
Pros: Good, roomy keyboard, Fast performance, Genuinely useful software tweaks
Cons: Keyboard causes some build problems, Thick and heavy, Sprint's LTE isn't widespread yet
Conclusion: Sprint users, you're the lucky ones. These days QWERTY phones tend to be low end texters for the budget minded. With the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE you get a top notch phone with premium features like the latest and fastest CPU, a sharp and colorful display (granted not 720p), LTE and a decent 8 megapixel shooter. Motorola's handling of Android is top notch with thoughtful additions but not over the top skins or wanton mangling of the OS.
Pros: High end specs plus a hardware QWERTY keyboard, fast with sharp display.
Cons: Not a stunning looking piece, Sprint 3G falls behind other carriers and LTE coverage is currently limited.
Summary: Motorola and Sprint are companies on the outside looking in when it comes to their respective fields. Both companies trail their rivals - Apple and Samsung for Motorola, AT&T and Verizon in Sprint's case - and want to grow to be an elite competitor. The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE, available now at Sprint, is a small part of that effort.
Excerpt: Smartphones with physical keyboards are a dying breed. But if you’re a fan of these QWERTY-keyed sliders, you’ve got to applaud Motorola. Nobody is footing a larger share of the smartphone keyboard’s life support bills than Mr. Moto.
Conclusion: The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is available on Sprint’s network for $200 – a standard price for the features. If you’re on Sprint and want the best phone for work, play and texting online – the Photon Q is definitely a worthy choice.
Summary: Road warriors wary of giving up the physical keyboard on their BlackBerry will have a more than suitable replacement in the $199 Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE. Not only is this smartphone easy to type on, but its speedy processor, bright display and world roaming capabilities means that the Photon Q can get the job done in almost any corner of the globe.
Pros: Large comfortable physical keyboard, Bright sharp display with vivid color, Solid performance and graphics, Decent battery life, World roaming capability
Cons: Bulky design, Camera produces hazy photos, 4G LTE not widely available yet
Conclusion: 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.
Pros: Fantastic keyboard, Fast processor, Runs Android 4.0, Good feel and size, 4G LTE connectivity
Cons: Poor battery life while idling, Camera doesn't match up to competitors, Poor LTE availability on Sprint, Some call drops and data slowdowns
Conclusion: So, is Motorola’s Photon Q a good enough phone to keep the QWERTY alive? Probably not, considering it is probably the carrier's fourth best LTE phone. Still, for those who just can’t let the QWERTY go, the Photon Q does offer an outstanding keyboard to go along with a respectable set of features. The Photon Q may not have the highest resolution screen or best camera, but it does offer quality hardware and quick performance with some nice software tweaks.
Pros: Well designed, comfortable to use physical keyboard, Snappy OS performance, Bright, vivid display
Cons: Non-HD screen resolution, Camera performance could have been better, A fixed battery means you’ll need to manage your battery better
Conclusion: As it stands, this is a rather nice piece of hardware on a surprisingly less than acceptable network. If you've used this carrier before and you've had a lot of luck, then certainly you'll be good to go with this device. But if you're new to the smartphone universe, we're currently recommending that you stay away - or at least test your device out on a test run before you commit.