Customer Reviews: Motorola Photon Q (Sprint)
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on August 28, 2012
I recently upgraded from the Motorola Photon 4G (which I loved and have passed on to my mother-in-law). The Photon Q is a great phone, feels solid, and the build quality is what you'd expect from Moto. Gone is the blur (thank god) and now it is a more simple almost stock android interface. The keyboard is solid and looks nice. But the best part to me are the smart actions. You can set up actions based on location. When you walk into work it will automatically send txt to any one calling you, or if your battery is low it will change your setting so that you can make it a little longer. All in all a great phone that spec wise is right up there with SIII and Htc evo 4g lte, the major difference is the screen resolution and size.....
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on September 5, 2012
This phone is fantastic. I really like having a top notch phone with a physical keyboard. I really like the user interface and the smart actions are really cool. The smart actions allow me to have different settings for the phone based on GPS location or time of day. There are also other smart action functions like battery saver mode, etc.

Even though the phone is a slider form factor, the phone feels really solid. The keyboard is laid out perfectly and allows me to type long texts and emails very quickly and without all the typos. The phone has a nice equalizer which boosts the sound quality of music on my headphones.

There isn't 4G service in my area yet, but the 3G service is still pretty fast on this phone. I can't wait for Sprint to bring 4G service to our area.

So far there have only been two negatives. (1) The call quality is not quite as good as my old phone. I can still hear people fine, but they sound a bit different than on a land line. My old phone had land line call quality. (2) My wife's iphone 4s takes better pictures. But, I didn't buy a phone to take pictures. I bought it to keep in touch with people and to listen to music.

Overall a great phone.
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on September 13, 2012
I was waiting and waiting and waiting for a qwerty phone that had flagship specs and not miniscule capability and finally one had arrived on sprint that has the same processor as the galaxy s3 and htc one x and htc evo 4g lte, plus it has a gorgeous screen in which the colors are really good. It does have lte capabilities, yet I do not have lte in my area but unlimited data is useful because I do not need to manage my data usage. If you are a heavy texter and want a phone that has NFC, bluetooth 4.0, a good display that is not HD, yet it has 256ppi on a 4.3inch for me this was a no-brainer to get as I desperately needed to move away from Verizon and their pricey plans to sprint, that is much more reasonable. I will say the call quality is not the best but just turn it down, but sound from youtube comes out very well. If you want unlimited everything, go with sprint and if you just gotta have a physical keyboard as an option, it is great because you can obviously still use the screen and it comes with android 4.0.4 and since motorola is owned by google, I know it will get jelly bean in the near future. For $99 it is at a great price point, but not for $199 so wait for it to go down more or if you saw the $99 grab it and you will not regret it.
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on November 19, 2012
I purchased this phone for my son, so my review is a repeat of all that he has stated to me about it. The reason that I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is an issue related to mobile hotspot; however, my son was not concerned with that problem and wanted to give it the 4 because of slow internet, which has now resolved on its own, and would be a Sprint problem anyway.

In relation to the slow internet, I started to think we were being throttled - it was that slow, but the problem lasted two weeks and has been over for a week now. My phone (Nexus S 4G) had the same issue for the two week period, so it had nothing to do with this particular phone.

The first few days there was some sort of problem with images in texts (MMS?). Before he even had the time to call Sprint tech support, it resolved on its own and has no issue at all with sending images in texts since (more than a month now). I figure there must have been an update.

This is the phone for the serious texter. My son suffered with a crap phone after he gave-up his Blackberry long ago until this phone was available. He was unwilling to go with a touch smartphone. Get the two-piece Otterbox case with it - works perfectly for the slider.

The sound quality is excellent. The battery is okay and really I wish Motorola had not secured the battery inside the phone so he could purchase an extra battery. In my opinion, that was a big mistake. At any rate, it lasts longer than the battery on my Nexus S 4G, so there's no real reason to complain.

The problem:

Before ordering this phone, I read everything about it everywhere (I'm weird that way). If you notice, on Amazon product comparison, the box for mobile hotspot has a red X. I thought this was an oversight of some sort because on Sprint's website and everywhere else, the claim is that this phone is mobile hotspot capable. Perhaps Amazon is the only place you'll see the truth.

Yes, I contacted Sprint support when it wouldn't work and was told that there must be a problem with the laptop. I called a second time and they removed the feature from my account and then added it again, figuring there was some glitch. It still did not work and he could not use this phone's mobile hotspot to go online with his laptop. When I called a third time, it was to make sure I would not be charged the monthly fee for 6GB on the mobile hotspot ($50) since it never worked and they claimed it was a laptop issue. They removed it and no charge - no issue with that.

However, the issue sure is not the laptop. The particular laptop (wireless card) had no problem using mobile hotspot with the Nexus S 4G. I'm going to go ahead and believe the Amazon product description on this one and assume that everywhere else they simply didn't test it.

Overall I would definitely recommend this phone to someone that wants the physical keyboard for texting. The QWERTY keyboard is wonderful and my son is ecstatic over the phone. I'm the one with the problem over the hotspot.
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on September 12, 2012
**Update** I exchanged my device (after a lot of rigmarole) and the replacement has been better in many areas:

-My slide is much better than it was on my first device.
-The call quality issue appears to have been a known issue with the local network - NOT the phone itself

Those were my two greatest complaints and both of which have been resolved or are being tended to.

The camera quality "is what it is" and it's mediocre at best. Instagram, with it's earthy, vintage-vibe can make that noisy, grainy look appear deliberate so I've just used that for most of my photos.

After receiving a replacement (and a bunch of hassle to get it) I'm revising my rating up to a 4 from a 2. For a QWERTY slider it is about as good as it gets right now. **

I'm a QWERTY guy. I've been using an Epic 4G for almost 2 years and I'm married to a keyboard for typing e-mails and long text threads. So this wasn't so much a choice for me as a necessity and the only device available. A qualifying statement *I'm an "Advantage Club" member, meaning I have a Sprint sponsor who gets me monthly service discounts. And he's also the manager of a retail location. They offered this device at a discount to employees and he purchased it for me.

When I got the device, after having read other reviews, I was impressed with the build, screen quality, and the keyboard. The phone didn't lag and it was more responsive than my Gingerbread Epic. I had it for a week and then the wheels fell off.

Call quality is virtually unbearable. I'd read this in other reviews but thought I could get by since phone calls account for about 15% of my device usage. I was wrong. There is a constant crackle on either my end, the receiver's end, or both. Constant. And with every single call (except the one placed in Sprint store - of course).

Then, after a week of use, the slide became very loose. More specifically the "top" slide or "left" if you have the phone in QWERTY mode. It has an extremely annoying travel of about 1/8" and every time you tap the screen you can feel that it's loose. I confronted a store tech about this who insisted it was a "moving part" and it was normal. Perhaps - I tested his device and the store's demo - both of which demonstrated the issue to varying degrees - mine being by far the worst. But every tap is met with a loose, cheap, reverberation.

I also (perhaps foolishly) elected to utilize the built in Google Music player. I spent 45 minutes on a flight building a comprehensive play list. Which disappeared the next time I rebooted the phone. Small, yes, trivial, perhaps. But incensing all the same.

So, the Good:

Screen Quality
Processing Speed
The keys on the keyboard (except the space bar which is actually two keys with a single cover - if you hit the most natural place, you hit the seam, and it doesn't depress cleanly)

The Bad:
Build Quality (unbearably loose slide after 1 week) **Appears to have been unique to my device**
Call Quality - useless, worthless, unacceptable **Was a local network issue - not the phone**
Camera: Grainy, distorted, blown-out images - poor sensor and exposure
Built in functionality (media player, etc:) lacking
No discernable option to enable/force LTE. It's on and when there's a signal it might find it.
When used with the charging dock, the device is extremely difficult to remove - so, when utilized as an alarm clock, and I receive an early morning call, I will surely miss it on account of being unable to undock the phone.

Perhaps I have a device that's an exception - exceptionally poor, but it is virtually unusable as a phone and I'll have to wait for a future QWERTY to satisfy my need.
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on February 1, 2013
******Update: An update to the initial review:

This phone has a couple of quirks worth mentioning. First is that the touch screen is sensitive to rapid temperature reductions of 20 degrees F or more. I have had two copies of this phone and both exhibited this trait. What happens is that as the phone cools off in an outdoor environment the screen will read random false touches all over the place. To remedy the bizarre behavior that ensues all you have to do is turn the screen off and then back on via the power button and voila! Perfect functionality is restored. Warming of the the phone from cold does not have the same effect.

Second is if you use Bluetooth A2DP and 3g to stream internet radio streams, the phone will get quite warm. To the point that the qualcomm smart charge feature will disallow any current from the usb port to be used by the phone and it will after 3 hours in a 70 degree room force the battery to discharge. I think a firmware update to allow the phone to use USB power to run the phone despite the heat conditions would be easy to implement but it is something to consider.

These two nits considered, still the finest phone for my usage made.


The keyboard on this was a significant upgrade from the HTC Evo Shift, HTC G2 (Tmobile), and HTC G1(tmobile). This phone has the fastest GPS acquisition I have ever seen in a hand holdable device. It will obtain GPS lock where no other phone and a couple of Gamrins could not (inside of a Boeing factory). Often the total time to acquisition is less than 3 seconds and in the factory it took under ten with accuracy of 5m (astonishing!) The KML logging of my commutes are both accurate and precise enough for me to determine acceleration characteristics relative to my app's consistent sluggishness to update "sampling frequency" and also perfectly nails lane position and lane changes. I conducted a test with the same app and the above four phones and only the Tmobile G2 was near the Photon Q's level of performance.

The phone also has much better reception than any of the aforementioned Androids. I can stream audio my entire 50 mile one way commute where the Evo shift would have trouble playing just starting an audio stream. I thought it was Sprint's network but it was all three Evo Shifts I had.

One nit I have is the screen and that it is brutally honest and not configured to have pop-y colors like most other phone offerings. It is easy to distinguish its palette limitations on familiar photographs but its reproduction is the most true to my calibrated home screens that i have seen on a mobile.

Another nit is bluetooth A2dp functionality. I am frequently streaming local radio stations because FM analog reception inside of my shop is iffy at best and a co worker uses a set of wireless headphones taht jam my favorite radio station. I own several bluetooth capable devices among others and after about a week of switching the connection to the bluetooth stereo in the link and/or my Motorola DC800 at home a half dozen or so times a day, the phone will fail to play audio at all. Be it the confirmation tone for volume set, local music files, whatever. The only way to rectify the problem is to turn the phone fully off (sleep does not affect the issue one way of the other) and power it back on and then it is fine for another week.

The keyboard is awesome in the sense tactility and configuration. Five rows or nothing IMO

Motorola's touch screen sophistication has never been on HTC's level but it works well enough.

The onboard speaker is by far the loudest I have heard and it doesn't crackle and distort like most.

I wish it had a removable battery but considering the overall package, it is worth the trade off.
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on January 9, 2013
First, buy this phone through Amazon! I have been so happy with my transaction. I was due for an upgrade through Sprint, and I had planned on paying their discounted price of $200 for the Motorola Photon Q. I figured I'd look around before I went through with it, and I paid $39.99 to Amazon instead of $200! Even better, activation was simple and I've already received a couple emails from Sprint confirming that I will be able to keep my student discount! I was really worried I'd lose my discount, but I only had to re-verify it (which I would have had to do anyway if I purchased this phone through Sprint). Woot!

On to the device: Like all smartphones, this phone has its pros and cons. I finally went with this phone because of the physical keyboard, which is very roomy. My only issue with the keyboard is that it can be a buggy, due to the software needing to select the Motorola keyboard (for physical keyboard) or Swype (my preferred on-screen keyboard). I try to keep the setting on Swype, since I do use it occasionally for quick messages and don't want to change my input every time, but sometimes this makes some important functions, such as capitalization, not work on the physical keyboard. :/ I did not have this issue on my Samsung Epic 4G.

The hardware is very good on this phone; I don't feel like it's going to break at any moment like I did with my Samsung. However, I am still trying to get used to Motorola's oversimplification of Android ICS...I'm honestly not sure if this blame should be placed on Motorola or Android developers (I know this is supposed to be a 'cleaner' version of ICS), but when comparing the software on my phone to my dad's HTC One and my friend's Samsung Galaxy III, their versions make a lot more sense to me and allow more customization. I hate scrolling through my homescreens and the last one is solely devoted to homescreen options...which I haven't found a way to change. I also cannot set which screen I want to be my default homescreen; I've never been limited in this way before. I'm considering trying a different launcher. Another thing that really bothers me about this phone: the excess space beneath the screen that could easily fit capacitive keys for the "back", "home", and, "recent" keys. Instead, these buttons are crammed in at the bottom of the screen, which was really just a stupid decision. Why take up more screen real-estate when there's plenty of room beneath the screen? I'm also a bit disappointed in the washed-out pictures the 8mp camera takes, but I was well aware of that before I purchased this phone, so that doesn't affect my rating.

Otherwise, this phone is fast and so far reliable...unlike my Samsung Epic (which I had replaced by another Epic when I first got it because of all its issues, turned out it was just a terrible phone). It's so nice to actually be able to use GPS and all the other features on my phone for once. I can talk on my phone now for longer than 5 minutes! The signal strength in general seems to be way better with this phone. The battery life is decent(once again, at least better than my Epic), but I still keep a charger on me at all times. While the device alone probably deserves closer to 3 stars, I'm giving it 4 because of the lack of options when it comes to smartphones with physical keyboards, Amazon's awesome deal (can't beat $40! for a phone like this), and because so far, it is worlds better than my last phone!
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on September 24, 2012
I got this phone since I am a fan of the slide out keyboard. And if you are you have very few options available on Sprint. Here's a few things you should know: Sprint lists this as a 4G lte phone. You will not get 4G service unless you live in the few cities where sprint has a 4G network & New York is not one of them! I feel this was deceptive advertising. The 3G service from sprint is not that good either, it's very slow in many places, I think verizon probably has a better network. Also there is a known glitch with this phone that sprint has done nothing with yet, you can not get picture mail unless you are connected via wifi! This means that unless you are home and connected to your router or on wifi elsewhere you can not get picture mail at all until you get home on wifi. Sprint has no fix yet. Also driving is really difficult with this phone, it intermittently does weird things like won't connect correctly to my bluetooth or turns off the ringer when it feels like it. (Like 10% of the time). Also it's not intuitive, when you are trying to change a setting it can be very hard to find. Overall I like the phone but you should know about these issues. If it weren't for my need for a slide out keyboard I would buy something else.
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on November 26, 2012
I recently purchased this phone from Sprint online for FREE with FREE setup. This phone has so many great items and it's from a great manufacturer Motorola. It's one of the few phones that you can change muliple settings, including the factory setting if your a techy and know how to do it. They have great internet forums that help you with any questions too. I recently saw today that Amazon has this phone for free now. The Sprint plan has unlimited data and texting which I really love. Unfortunately we don't have 4G LTE yet in my area, but will be getting it soon. In a lot of reviews people were having issues with this phone, well Motorola has an update that fixes all those problems. I would strongly recommend this phone to anyone who is looking for a great powerful phone that has the ability to add extra memory easily. The only downside that I have with this phone is that the camera doesn't take the BEST pictures out there, but it takes GOOD pictures for an 8 MP camera. I have had no problems with this phone, it's very tough and water resistant. I need a tough phone that can take a few drops and splashes of water. Plus I like the keyboard for texting, but it does come at extra weight which some people don't like. I have had good call quality at least in my area, Sprint is working hard at getting more 4G LTE towers up and I think this will really put this phone at the top once that occurs. If your looking for the best phone for texting, and one of the toughest phones out there with the latest and most powerful processor for basically free get this phone.
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on August 18, 2013
Having been crazy about my LG Lotus, I was very sad when it finally became unreliable after using it from the day it debuted. I have very bad rheumatoid arthritis in my hands & wrists so trying to find a phone that I could actually use w/minimal pain was my goal. As well, I am NOT a touch screen typist & I text a lot, so I HAD to have a good QWERTY keyboard.

I tried a couple of phone & had no luck, so I was truly considering going to a BASIC phone but then I found this phone on Amazon. And although it took a day or two to figure it out, I have learned to like this phone.

Its MAJOR drawback is the battery. It is unbelievably bad - I have to keep a charger with me at all times. I keep one at my office, in the car & in the house. I can use it for texting, reading, etc., for about 1.5 hrs and then it is shot.

Considering I had so few options, it really is the best one for me & I am learning to like it more & more every day.
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