T-Mobile sold 500,000 iPhones since officially adding the Apple smartphone to its...
T-Mobile myTouch Q (Mid-2012) Review
The T-Mobile myTouch Q is decent starter smartphone with an excellent QWERTY keyboard for messaging aficionados.
(3.5 out of 5)
- Excellent keyboard
- Great battery life
- Good call quality.
- Runs an outdated version of Android
- Lots of bloatware.
T-Mobile’s myTouch brand started out on the high end, with smartphones like HTC’s myTouch 4G Slide. Since then, it has changed to represent affordable, midrange phones for first-timers. Huawei’s entry, the new $49.99 keyboarded T-Mobile myTouch Q , is not to be confused with LG’s model of the same name, released late last year. Huawei’s myTouch boasts some modest improvements over the LG myTouch Q , and remains a good buy for smartphone beginners, especially if you like to use your phone for messaging.
Design and Call Quality
The myTouch Q measures 4.9 by 2.5 by 0.6 inches (HWD), which is similar in size to the previous model, but this one weighs a ridiculously heavy 6.5 ounces (LG’s version is 5.6 ounces). On the plus side, the myTouch Q feels surprisingly well built, but it requires some seriously deep pockets. The back of the phone is made out of a graphite-colored, rubberized black plastic, while the minimal amounts of plastic surrounding the display and on the phone’s chin are shiny. It’s also available in white. There’s a myTouch logo at the top of the device, along with some T-Mobile branding and a myTouch logo on the back. The only way you’d know this phone is made by Huawei is from the battery and charging brick.
The 4-inch display features 800-by-480-pixel resolution. It looks nice and bright, but that’s the same resolution as the previous model, which has a 3.8-inch display, so you’re actually getting less pixels per inch (and thus less sharpness) here. There are four haptic feedback-enabled touch keys beneath the phone’s display, and the phone slides open to reveal a four-row physical QWERTY keyboard.
The keyboard features large, rubberized keys that are well separated and slightly raised. They’re very easy to press, and typing on the myTouch Q feels intuitive and natural. It’s a nice step up from LG’s model, and an excellent smartphone keyboard in its own right. But if you don’t need a physical keyboard, Huawei’s new T-Mobile myTouch is the same exact phone otherwise, minus all that extra bulk.
The myTouch Q is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and dual-band HSPA+ 14.4 (1700/2100 MHz) device with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It also supports T-Mobile’s UMA-based Wi-Fi calling, which is a great fallback in areas with less-than-optimal T-Mobile coverage and a good way to save some money on your phone plan. Data speeds on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 14.4 network were good, but no match for HSPA+ 42. The phone saw an average 3.8Mbps for downloads and 1.1Mbps for uploads.
Voices sound clear and rich in the phone’s earpiece. Calls made with the phone sound a little muffled, but otherwise strong, with average noise cancellation. Calls sounded good through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset. When you trigger voice dialing over Bluetooth, it activates the phone’s Genius button, which lets you issue a number of voice-based commands. The speakerphone sounds fine, and should be loud enough for most outdoor situations. Wi-Fi-based calls also sound good. Battery life was excellent, at 8 hours and 7 minutes of talk time.
Android and Apps
The myTouch Q runs Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) along with some pretty extensive customizations from Huawei. This is a big disappointment, as there are already two new versions of Android—4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and 4.1 (Jelly Bean)—available. Shipping the new myTouch with Android 4.0 would’ve put it ahead of other midrange devices, and helped to differentiate it from LG’s version, which also runs Gingerbread.
As it stands, Huawei’s customizations to Gingerbread aren’t so bad. They definitely won’t please Android purists, but this phone isn’t made for them. If you’re using an Android phone for the first time, Huawei has made it look a little more user-friendly here. The icons and menus are bigger and brighter, and thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have an impact on performance.
There are five customizable home screens you can swipe between, but unfortunately, the phone comes preloaded with a ton of undeletable bloatware. On the plus side, you get free Google Maps Navigation for voice-enabled, turn-by-turn directions, and TeleNav’s own GPS Navigator app. As mentioned earlier, the Nuance Dragon-powered Genius button is back, and better than ever. It allows you to issue voice commands to make calls, send emails and texts, launch apps, or search the Web. And it works pretty well, though it’s no Siri or S-Voice.
The phone is powered by a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 MSM8255 processor, which is a decent bump up from the previous myTouch. Benchmark scores were solid, but don’t expect anything approaching dual-core performance. You shouldn’t have trouble running most of the 500,000+ apps in the Google Play store, but this isn’t a high-end gaming machine.
Multimedia, Camera, and Conclusions
The myTouch Q comes with 1.97GB of free internal storage along with 754MB of free system storage. My 32 and 64GB SanDisk microSD cards worked fine in the slot underneath the battery cover. A standard-size 3.5mm headphone jack sits on the top edge of the phone, and music sounded good through wired earbuds as well as Altec Lansing Backbeat Bluetooth headphones. The phone was able to play AAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA test files, but not FLAC. For video, H.264 and MPEG-4 files played back at resolutions up to 720p, but AVI files didn’t work.
The myTouch Q comes equipped with a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and LED flash. Shutter speeds are quick, at 0.5 second. Photos are on par with the previous myTouch Q. Colors and details are average, though images can skew a bit soft and noisy. The video camera has improved, though, as the phone can record 720p video at a relatively smooth 21 frames per second indoors and 29 frames outside. There’s also a VGA front-facing camera for video chat.
If you’re trying to decide between spending $50 on this phone, or getting LG’s earlier model for free, I’d suggest you spend the money. The new myTouch is a little faster, records better video, and has a nicer keyboard. The Samsung Exhibit II 4G is another decent budget option, but it lacks a keyboard. Additionally, the myTouch Q has a better camera, faster processor, and voice dialing over Bluetooth. If you don’t need a keyboard and are willing to spend more money, the HTC One S gets you a larger, sharper display, dual-core processor, Android 4.0, and faster HSPA+ 42 speeds. But if you want your messages on a budget, the new T-Mobile myTouch Q is a good bet.
By Alex Colon, PCMag