The Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE is another attempt to bring a QWERTY keyboard to the high-end smartphone market, and in most respects, it's a great option to consider on Sprint.  It's a well-designed phone that fits in with Motorola's current design scheme, and brings 4G LTE, throwing it well ahead of other QWERTY offerings such as the HTC Arrive and Motorola Admiral.

It's available now at Sprint for $199.99.  Is it worth considering over the HTC EVO 4G LTE and Samsung Galaxy S III, both of which are at the same price point?  It completely depends on what you need.  My thoughts:

  • PHOTON Q 4G LTE is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, so like the recent high-end launches on the market, it performs very well.  Despite my attempts to throw everything at it, there's little to no lag system-wide. 
  • I'm bummed to see that the 4.3-inch display isn't HD, despite offering Motorola's ColorBoost technology.  After working with the similarly equipped Motorola Atrix HD for a few weeks, the difference between HD and non-HD is noticeable.  I'd be a bit more lenient here if the phone were cheaper, but at $199.99, it's competing with two high-end smartphones that offer HD displays (and are larger, to boot).

  • The PHOTON Q's physical QWERTY closely mimics the one found on Verizon's DROID 4, and for my personal use, is the current physical keyboard to beat.  The keys are tactile and offer a near-perfect amount of play, making it easy to type out a long note.  Dedicated rows for numbers and commonly used symbols are nice touches as well. 
  • Packing an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p recording capabilities, PHOTON Q shoots stills relatively well.  I've been mostly impressed with the images, and I'm a big fan of the physical camera button on the right side of the unit - though it doesn't offer the half-press focus step that I prefer.
  • It brings to the table a 1,785 mAh battery, and so far, longevity has been decent.  I've gotten 8-10 hours out of it with moderate use.  The downside is the lack of a removable battery; road warriors will want to carry an additional charger.
  • Sprint's 4G LTE isn't available in the Charlotte metro area just yet, and unfortunately, their 3G network is still abysmal.  If the recent market rollouts are any indicator, Network Vision looks to be alleviating some of this issue, but if you're in a market that hasn't received the update, expect terrible speeds.

  • When comparing the PHOTON Q 4G LTE to older Motorola devices, some of the most impressive improvements come in the software.  Over the years, Motorola has received quite a reputation - good or bad, depending on which side of the fence you fall on - for their user interface.  Formerly called MOTOBLUR, it was perhaps the most intrusive user interface on the market.  Compare that to Motorola's new user interface (still called Motorola Applications Platform), which has been drastically improved and presents a minimalistic appearance that's shockingly close to stock Android.  Plain Ice Cream Sandwich fans will no doubt be impressed.

All things considered, I'm very impressed with the PHOTON Q 4G LTE.  It offers a great balance of features, including a dual-core processor, decent camera, and great physical QWERTY keyboard that's sure to appeal to email and text message addicts.  It goes against two of the most popular smartphones on the market, though, so it will be a tough call for prospective buyers.  If a QWERTY keyboard is a requirement for you, choose the PHOTON Q 4G LTE.  If specifications matter more to you, the lack of an HD display would lead me to suggest the EVO 4G LTE or Galaxy S III. 

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62 Reactions to this post

"Would you buy the PHOTON Q over the EVO 4G LTE or Galaxy S III?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Zach Cline
Zach Cline The galaxy S3 doesn't feel cheap at all
Anthony Matthews
Anthony Matthews I can't get over how Samsung releases such a amazing phone but decides to cover it in cheap o plastic . I would rather have a photon 4g lte than a cheap galaxy s3.
Kevin McQuade
Kevin McQuade galaxy 4
Robert Skeen
Robert Skeen Ahhh! Noooo!
Matthew Dooley
Matthew Dooley I had the Og Photon, & switched to the SIII at the beginning of this month. So glad I did, was not impressed with the Photon at all!
Kacper Warmuz
Kacper Warmuz s3
Ed Seitzinger
Ed Seitzinger Until i have LTE in my area why would i upgrade from my gsII with wimax, which is in my area.
Tyler Kirchman
Tyler Kirchman Evo late is the best one
Duncan Wynn Jr.
Duncan Wynn Jr. If the choice were limited to those 3 , yes .
Tiana Wells
Tiana Wells I came from a droid x and the droid 4 to a Samsung galaxy s3 I love my phone and I would never go back to a Motorola
Gabriel Martinez
Gabriel Martinez Hell no!
Josh Billingsley
Josh Billingsley I traded from A razor maxx to a gs3 if that tells you anything.
Cesario Brito Jr.
Cesario Brito Jr. Is this a serious question?
Ben Pierce
Ben Pierce Nope. Hate Motorola products
Jacen Lewis
Jacen Lewis Hale No! Galaxy S 3 is hands down the best phone on the market!
Joanna Enrique Ramos
Joanna Enrique Ramos Love my galaxy 3 got it in pebble blue!
George Isenhart
George Isenhart Of the 3 all of which are awesome I would say the Galaxy S III, best specs and I must confess that Samsung has always done me a fantastic job.
CalvEen Yaam
CalvEen Yaam Motorola Startac and Nokia 8160
Fred Haynes
Fred Haynes Do we really need to answer that?
Oscar Alvarado
Oscar Alvarado Of course
Jose Angel Santiago
Jose Angel Santiago oops razr and razr maxx
Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan No way, I love my GSIII.
Jose Angel Santiago
Jose Angel Santiago @vicente...ive had the razr and razr and they were highly overrated. Motorolas ui sucks!! I compare their ui to LGs. I have the gs2 and it blows them away by far. Motorolas ui is Mickey mousish. Htc phones have horrible battery life and the speaker quality(speakerphone) sucks big time.
Leobardo Ruiz
Leobardo Ruiz I hate HTC I have an evo 3d and hate it, better now thanks to the update but I had the epic 4g slide then evo 3d I'm either gs2 or 3 maybe Motorola never had one
Austin Benson
Austin Benson I like the s3 better no offence and apple is laggy BC the widgets on there nope
Nikola Karovic
Nikola Karovic all three
Ryan Whitmore
Ryan Whitmore no. because its a moto. their devices are great have a xoom with JB and had a razr which was great. but their customer service with updates and issues is horrendous! their product is good but the other end of it deters almost every person i know who has had one of the mobile devices. i am now a very proud and happy owner of a galaxy nexus!
Anthony Bailey
Anthony Bailey NOPE! I'd buy the Galaxy Note II over all of them, however!
Tyler Shoulders
Tyler Shoulders I'm getting the evo lte soon.
Kristopher Davis
Kristopher Davis EVO LTE!!
Matt Burgess
Matt Burgess I currently have the original photon, its not a bad phone but no ics yet.. my upgrade is September 1st so im going with the samsung gs3.. cant wait!
Fabian Toti
Fabian Toti not bad
Juwon Donte
Juwon Donte Lmao this is a joke question right
Swisha Sweet
Swisha Sweet Evo lte wins this debate
Guillermo De León
Guillermo De León I think motorola devices are getting better. My next device may be a Motorola device.
Jordan Hunnedspoke Smith
Jordan Hunnedspoke Smith S3 for the win !!!!!!
Lewis Hall
Lewis Hall The galaxy s 3 all day the best phone no way jose no other phone can beat it
Raul Ramirez
Raul Ramirez NEVER!!!
Hector E Craig
Hector E Craig Is there going to be a phone better then the GS3 ah no.
Tyler Saddington
Tyler Saddington if we are talking about the Photon Q 4G LTE then I choose the sgs3 because of the shorter name
Calvin JW
Calvin JW @vincente they do, the international version is quad core
Ayman Wehbi
Ayman Wehbi nooooooo , galaxy s III the best phone i ever had
Daniel Quintero
Daniel Quintero battery life? il wait for a photon q maxx lol
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes Samsung promised its fans a quad core phone.
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes HTC and samsungs UI sucks. Lol everyone has their own opinions on each manufacturers. Motorola makes the best radios for their cellphones. The only issue with them is the carriers attached to them. Motorola should make a phone that is like the nexus with its GSM. But through it all. Have any of you tried any of Motorola's new phones? If not, then you have no room to say anything bad about them. I've tried the galaxy s3 and a few others. Their nothing special.
Joanna Enrique Ramos
Joanna Enrique Ramos Galaxy 3 is the best love it!
Anthony Evans Jr
Anthony Evans Jr nope sorry
Steve Bachman
Steve Bachman Sprint and Motorola; Two strikes! No Thank You!
Jorge Lopez
Jorge Lopez Probably not. Motorola has yet to release ICS for the original Photon, at least HTC is reasonably quicker with updates. This may change now that Motorola's under Google control but for the time being I wouldn't confide in Moto.
RockinRose Wolf Donnell
RockinRose Wolf Donnell HTC I own the EVO LTE my third EVO and the best so far.
Brandon Holley
Brandon Holley Probably. I love the keyboard and I played with it for a while at a nearby sprint store. If it didn't have the keyboard I probably would never go for it.
Silver Diaz
Silver Diaz galaxy s3 for sure. motorola sucks. i hate them as much if not more than a person hating apple...thats should tell you how much i dislike moto lol
Ian Baylon
Ian Baylon I heard the g1 is gonna get Gingerbread :D I'm totally getting it
BigFrank Galletti
BigFrank Galletti SIII for sure motorola sucks!!!!
Péter Kiss
Péter Kiss It's a nice phone, but I want a RAZR MAXX! :)
Calvin JW
Calvin JW Galaxy S3 over everythang
Robert Day
Robert Day NO! Moto is a garbage phone. IMO
Jason Ramos
Jason Ramos Over GSIII? No
MinnieMouse Lovingu Waddell
MinnieMouse Lovingu Waddell I have my sexy white Samsung galaxy S3 and I love my phone.
Jeff Hammond
Jeff Hammond Ha ha no.
Alex Castillo
Alex Castillo GSIII
Janson Murphy
Janson Murphy Droid sucks. HTC's are way better.

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