T-Mobile’s myTouch is a decent handset, but it came in two models, standard and with a slide-out keyboard. The latter is the myTouch Q, and it shares many of the same traits and specifications, but has two major differences that set it apart: the physical keyboard and a lower-resolution display. Both make a world of difference.

Hardware

With any phone that has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the myTouch Q is about twice as thick as the myTouch and can be considered a bulky smartphone. Rounded edges make it comfortable to hold in the hand, and the extra weight makes the Q feel more solid.

Unlike other phones with physical keyboards, like the older myTouch 4G Slide, the myTouch Q is comfortable to type on and is easy to do so at higher typing speeds. The hard buttons are comfortable to type on both with fingertips and finger nails, though the buttons are harder to press than most keyboards. I find harder buttons are better than rubber keys because they keep users from accidentally pressing keys mistakenly.

Besides for the keyboard the myTouch Q looks as typical an Android phone as you can get. A slim power button rests on the top left and is easy to press and find. The display is, unlike the myTouch and most Android smartphones today, a 480×320 display, which is slightly more than half of today’s 800×480, and exactly half of the iPhone’s 960×640. This means not only is the myTouch Q a low-resolution phone, it also isn’t widescreen. It is not a video device.

Also unlike the myTouch, the display is an LCD panel instead of AMOLED, which furthers the not-for-video design. It is easier to see in bright conditions and direct sunlight than the myTouch. The screen is also smaller, 3.5″ instead of 3.8 of the myTouch.

Aside from that the two phones are identical; the same CPU, same amount of RAM, same parts, and even the same battery.

Software

The myTouch Q uses the same Android 2.3 operating system as the myTouch, to the extent that nothing is different. If you held both phones in your hands, they would seem very different externally but identical internally. The only difference between the software is how fast it is, and only because of the difference in screen resolutions. The myTouch Q is actually faster because it doesn’t have to process as much screen data as the myTouch. The benchmarks reveal exactly how much faster it is.

Battery Life

Battery life on the myTouch Q is both better and worse than the myTouch, which means it’s better than the vast majority of smartphones today. I ran two tests on both handsets, with wireless settings on and off (meaning Wi-Fi and 4G active and not active). The myTouch had no difference in time, but the myTouch Q had about an hour difference on both tests. Still, even the lower 9-hours of continuous processing is far better than most phones can handle today.

In my real world testing, the long battery life was exceptional. Like with the myTouch and LG Doubleplay before it, I was able to spend over a full day making calls, texting, using GPS navigation, push email, and simple apps without having to worry about battery life. Even under very strenuous conditions I could come home at the end of the day with 20-30% battery life. As with the myTouch however, the myTouch Q suffers from poor battery life with continuous talk time, and I only managed just over three hours.

Benchmarks

As mentioned above, the biggest boon to the myTouch Q’s performance is having less screen to fill. With a small 320×480 display, benchmark scores tended to be higher on the myTouch Q than competing devices. However, it isn’t nearly as powerful as competing devices on more stressful benchmarks like Quadrant Standard. Even then the score is inflated because of the lower resolution, which is why it scored a cool 100 points better.

Other benchmarks I ran, like GLBenchmark, would not even run. To be clear, the myTouch Q is not a powerful phone. It’s fast enough to browse the web well and can run apps better than the myTouch, but don’t expect to be playing high-end games on this device. I tested OnLive’s gaming service on the myTouch Q, and it ran but the low resolution made it very difficult to play because the service is not intended to match such a small screen.

The myTouch Q, like the myTouch, failed my Amazon video test, where I stream video from Amazon Prime.

Camera

The camera is identical to the one on the myTouch, but the myTouch Q does include built-in flash. I tested the camera, as you can see in the sample shots below, and it’s decent but not great. For low-light shots the camera has extreme difficulty focusing, and there is severe oversharpening of images, as you can see in the last one (scroll right). However, in good lighting shots come out clear and colorful, though there is a definite lack of detail when looking at images in their native size.

[nggallery id=192]

Conclusion

The myTouch Q is identical to the myTouch except for two things: a physical slide-out keyboard and a lower display resolution. Slight other differences like how fast it processes information (the Q is slightly faster) and the display panel’s build (the Q is an LCD panel, as opposed to AMOLED) posit that the Q is geared more towards typers and people who read a lot on their phones, not those who want to watch video.

Editor’s Rating:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Good

Bottom Line: Like the myTouch before it, the myTouch Q is a decent phone with great battery life. It’s very good for typing and web browsing, though suffers when running beefier applications. A solid basic smartphone.

Pros:

  • QWERTY is comfortable to type with
  • Excellent battery life
  • Minimalist hardware and software design
Cons:
  • Slow, not built to run heavy apps
  • Photography is so-so, poor night shooting
  • Low display resolution
  • Poor talk time



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.