x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review

Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE 7

Posted: , by

Tags:

Pages
User Interface:

The Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, clocking in at version 4.0.4. It appears to be the same interface we saw with the Atrix HD, save for the carrier apps. While a few traces of previous BLUR interfaces remain, the build is closer to vanilla Android than anything else. The lock screen keeps with the circle-unlock philosophy of ICS, but adds an extra pair of shortcuts over what you’d find on a Nexus device. Motorola has also stuck with their own icons for system apps, and certain apps like Calendar and Calculator are basically pure AOSP while others like People and Dialer have an AOSP feel to them but have been reworked.

The circle clock widget is nifty, allowing you to flip the circles to get a different style or different weather information. Also handy are the widgets Motorola has for many system apps like Phone, People, Text and Browser. Flicking on the icon brings up a pop-up with relevant information, not dissimilar to opening folders.

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review

The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich


Motorola has chosen on-screen navigation buttons, something Google encourages but has thus far really only been found on the Nexus devices. Like the rest of the system icons, these are also slightly different than you’d find on a Nexus device. Given that there is plenty of room below the display we’d prefer the Photon Q to retain physical buttons to give us some more screen real estate. We’re really not sure what is going on with the mashup of software here. We’d like to think that as a subsidiary of Google, Motorola is taking baby steps towards running an unadulterated version of Android in the future, but as it stands the mish-mash of contrasting AOSP and Motorola styling is just awkward.


Processor and Memory:

Thankfully this has no effect on the phone’s performance, which is quite good. With a dual-core 1.5GHz processor (Snapdragon S4), 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard memory we’d expect it to run with the other high-end devices on the market and it does not disappoint. Benchmark numbers were on par with what we found on Sprint’s Galaxy S III, and not too far behind the EVO 4G LTE.


Quadrant Standard AnTuTu NenaMark 2
Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE 4746 6508 56,7
Samsung Galaxy S III 5335 12016 58,6
HTC EVO 4G LTE 5459 6973 58,8
LG Viper 4G LTE 3002 5528 55,9

As always real world performance trumps benchmarks, and using the Motorola Photon Q was a very smooth experience. Transitions were natural and fluid and overall the OS performance was quite snappy.

Motorola has no partnerships that offer online storage like HTC and Samsung have with Dropbox, and the 8GB of internal memory only gives the user about 4.5GB of usable space. The Photon Q offers expandable memory, but does not come bundled with a card so out of the box storage is quite low comparatively. Still, with how cheap memory is these days it’s an easily remedied drawback.


Software:

The Photon Q features Motorola’s Smart Action software that first showed up on the DROID RAZR. The software is conceptually very cool, but requires a more knowledgeable user and some time to really get the most out of it. The Vehicle Mode app is similar to apps we’ve seen from HTC and Google and aims to make your driving experience safer with large icons and driving-friendly apps. The other included software is Quickoffice and- interestingly- Chrome. We say interesting because Motorola touted it in their promotional materials, but it is not the default browser.

The Smart Action app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Smart Action app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Smart Action app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Smart Action app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review

The Smart Action app


The Vehicle Mode app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
The Vehicle Mode app - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review

The Vehicle Mode app


One important thing to mention is that this will be the first phone Motorola offers with an unlockable bootloader. To many, this means nothing, but to the Android development community this means the gates are open for whatever custom software they can cook up. This is something that was promised nearly a year ago, but we’ll take late over never.


Connectivity and Internet:

The Photon Q 4G LTE offers just about any connection option you could want. From the obligatory awkward name you know it runs on Sprint’s LTE network, as well as their 3G EV-DO Rev. A network when LTE isn’t available. Internationally it is a quad-band GSM phone, though as mentioned earlier you’re stuck with Sprint’s SIM and international rates. The Photon also has Wi-Fi (with support for Wi-Fi direct sharing), GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.

We told you before that the Photon Q ships with two browsers; the stock browser and Google Chrome. The latter is not set as default, but that can be easily fixed and absolutely should be any user’s default browser. It offers smooth performance with standard gesture support and great page rendering. It should be noted that Flash is not officially available for the Photon Q, and Chrome doesn’t support it anyway.

Web browsing - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
Web browsing - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review
Web browsing - Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE Review

Web browsing



75 Comments
  • Options
    Close






posted on 20 Aug 2012, 09:33 4

1. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


A 7??

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 09:34 5

2. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Yeah I was expecting something more like an 8.5

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 11:00 3

6. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


yea, not get your hopes up. I Did :( and I got to play with it (I work at sprint) and its Mediocre.

7 is pretty accurate. Was very disappointed myself.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 12:06 5

12. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


PA has been butchering reviews a lot lately, particularly those of non-Samsung devices with the exception of the N7. Too much S3 hype I suppose.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 12:53 1

14. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


You kinda have to use it to know what they to see what they are talking about. If they rated the GS3 a 9.3 I think its very fair that this received 2.3 points less. Especially since they have the same price tag.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 12:58 5

15. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


But you should also take into consideration the market this phone is meant for. It's not a flagship device, it's just a high-end physical keyboard phone. I should be compared to other high-end physical keyboard phones, not superphones like the SGSIII and the One X.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 13:06 1

18. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


very true. Not everybody has the same needs. This is aimed at Business people that travel outside the US and get frustrated at touchscreen typing.

For them this is a 9.9
but for the average user still a 7

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 13:01 1

47. user312 (Posts: 68; Member since: 21 Aug 2012)


I'm an average user and would would give the phone a 9 I've used it and it's amazing!

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 21:47 1

28. crogs (Posts: 11; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


You should take into consideration that we want flagship specs and we had flagship specs in the Samsung Epic. So if you want to compare it to other sliders, compare it to that one. Samsung Epic, a Galaxy S slider that went toe to toe with EVERY SINGLE SLATE that was introduced around the same time including the tops from HTC (Evo and Incredible). So your argument is crap. We have been stuck with the Epic for TWO YEARS and we get a phone that would've been premium last year. It has a fixed anemic battery that is counterproductive to the business user especially with sprints non penetrating signal. It is not "global friendly" as Motorola points out since it will put you in the poor house should you use it when you travel. Sprint users are now stuck for two years with a phone that has last year specs and piss poor battery. Going to a fixed battery should provide more space to max out the battery like HTC did with the One. If you're going to go that route and skimp on the battery but keep the phone nice and bulky, you might as well gone with a replaceable battery and kept the kickstand.

Learn the market and the user next time.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 13:25 2

19. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Actually its very fair to compare it to those phones, since its being priced the same as them, but offers less phone for that money.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 13:49 2

22. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Not necessarily. Everybody will put a different value on something depending on their needs. Somebody that needs a QWERTY keyboard may pay $200 for this phone, but wouldn't pay a cent for a GSIII. This is why number-ranking systems for reviews are worthless.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 16:02 1

24. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


same price tag.....True! but a 9.3 for the galaxy and a 7 for the photon?? come on dude the galaxy s has a HORRIBLE design and a HORRIBLE screen with a blueish tint...........If anything the S3 should have a 8.5 and phones like this should have a 8....becuase the photon has both good design and alot of power.......nuff said

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 17:50 3

25. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


A horrible design and bluish tint? My ass it does sir. Its slim, removable large battery, and a great super amoled display at 720p. Its the hottest and most popular cell phone there is right now.

I agree, this was a bad review and should have gotten a better score but come on, don't bash Samsung, they didn't review this phone.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 18:04

26. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


Specs look good on paper but I go to a Sprint store and play with one 1st hand and you will see eXactly why it scored what it scored. At most this phone is a 7.5.

Anyone that thinks it should score over 8 has not seen it in person. For the same money I would get the EVO LTE or the GS3.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 00:25 1

37. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


i've seen it in person and i'd give it a pretty solid 8.5.

it's got a very good design (MASSIVE improvement over the Photon) and great build quality, the display is okay, i don't know why they decided to stick with qHD for this but whatevz, maybe there'll be a Photon HD to complement this? anyway i digress, it's an okay display but it has a 4.3" display and on top of that (technically below that) it has the Droid 4's fantastic keyboard. you use this keyboard long enough and decide to give it up it'll be like you just got off of crack. i to this day think about having a relapse of that keyboard...and in terms of power this matches the heavy weights and that's all that really matters, the rest is pretty much subjective to your needs. i'd give up the higher resolution display for that keyboard though let me tell you.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 21:51 1

29. crogs (Posts: 11; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


A 7 is kind especially for users coming from the Epic. anemic battery compared to the Maxxx, and it's fixed to boot. SIM is fixed so it's useless overseas unless you have FU money. Design is still bulky considering the anemic embedded battery and SIM (space saving decisions even if they screw the customer). Last year's screen resolution while losing the physical buttons means your lackluster screen res takes a hit due to the onscreen buttons using your real estate. GS3 has 2gb of RAM. Business users multitask and are power users. They are used to having a flagship slider in the Epic. They waited over two years for a replacement. And this was the best Sprint could get them. A 7 is generous considering user expectation of a replacement.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 23:29

35. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


thank you crogs. 100% agreed

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 11:13

45. crogs (Posts: 11; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


Unfortunately it probably doesn't mean I won't pick it up. Not like we have options. the LG will be even worse at WVGA. Love my Epic, but I'm in need of new tech and need a keyboard. Don't know how people work in Office with on screen typing.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 01:50 2

40. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Just to point out a few things:

1. The Razr Maxx was basically Moto's flagship at its time, hell I don't know why this phone was really expected to have that size battery given the it was gonna be a bit thicker because of the keyboard plus we didn't see it on the Atrix HD, shouldn't have expected it on this phone.

2. I'm mixed on international roaming since I wouldn't think many people who are on Sprint would be the kind to have the money to travel.

3. I hope you're not forgetting keyboards add bulk to phones.

4. "Last year's screen resolution" + "lackluster screen res" This sort of attitude makes me look down on some consumers because it shows how efficient companies are when it comes to convincing us newer means "must have". If a qHD screen isn't cutting it then you need to reevaluate your standards.

5. Comparing it to the S3 = read #4.

6. Business users would probably get a phone built for that kind of stuff but w/e.

7. "The best Sprint could give them" Sprint isn't the phone manufacturer last time I checked. It's not like they had the power to force Motorola to make a phone with a keyboard that could compete with the current top phones.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 10:12 2

3. pats4thewin (Posts: 29; Member since: 10 Jul 2012)


i work at a sprint preferred retailer and we have activated a few out of my store, and im highly surprised a 7 is what this phone gets. I personally think that even though its a smaller screen size than the other phones to pick from (evo LTE, GS3) but it has a beautiful screen with the colorboost and i love the smartactions feature and the circles that motorola has started putting on their homepage to differentiate themselves. and the keyboard is good with smart placement of keys, and the only drawback ive seen is that the microphone dosent pick up your voice on calls if your phone is held farther than an inch away from your face. but thats better than me having to have my phone in speaker or use a bluetooth to even talk to someone! I personally have one on order and cant wait to use it and get rid of this evo shift (bleh)

just giving my two cents :)

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 11:06 2

7. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


Its not so much the screen size. Yes colorboost IS nice, but the Standard now is 1280x720 for hi-end phones and the ppi density is also low @ 256.
Yes its a world phone but the SIMcard is sealed inside the phone along with the battery which defeats the whole purpose.

I too work at sprint btw (prefered retailer) and holding this phone reminds me of the Epic :/

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 11:24 1

9. pats4thewin (Posts: 29; Member since: 10 Jul 2012)


i wouldnt have known any different i just love this phone haha.

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 11:27 1

10. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


On another sidenote, it is currently the best slider phone Sprint has, also it is better than the old Photon in every category. But the EVO LTE and SG3 are still better options

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 10:13 5

4. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Pardon my naivete, but why does the review state that the Photon Q's keyboard is every bit as good as the Titan II's keyboard when the Titan II doesn't even have one?

Also, Blackberry's keyboards are over-rated. The keys are tiny and uncomfortable to press. There, I said it! Come after me, tech-world...

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 02:17

41. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)


oops :)

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 10:27 1

5. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4001; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Mr Brian K, what do you mean by "Two big disappointments with the phone is the fixed removable battery...."
Is there anything called FIXED removable battery???

posted on 20 Aug 2012, 11:08 3

8. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


lol that mustve been a typo. he probably meant Non-removable battery.

good catch xD

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 00:28

38. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


maybe the Droid 4's battery? it's removable but it voids your warranty to do so.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 09:41

43. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4001; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


What's the purpose of having a removable battery if it can't be removed??

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 11:21

46. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


they made the back cover removable to be able to access the microSIM and microSD Card slots but the battery is sealed in by plastic wrapping. take it out, warranty voided. silly i know. it might have something to do with it staying water resistant.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Display4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Dual-core, 1500 MHz
1 GB RAM
Size4.98 x 2.60 x 0.54 inches
(126.4 x 66 x 13.7 mm)
6.00 oz  (170 g)
Battery1785 mAh, 7.5 hours talk time

Latest stories