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T-Mobile MyTouch Q (Huawei review: T-Mobile MyTouch Q (Huawei

The new T-Mobile MyTouch Q by Huawei offers a QWERTY keyboard and 4G data for a friendly price.

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Brian Bennett
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Brian Bennett

Senior writer

Brian Bennett is a senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET. He reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from cordless and robot vacuum cleaners to fire pits, grills and coffee makers. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he rides longboards downhill in his free time.

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Android phones with honest-to-goodness real physical keyboards rarely cross my desk these days. That’s why I jumped at the chance to give the new $49.99 T-Mobile MyTouch Q by Huawei a spin. This device is a follow-up to the first MyTouch Q made by LG but sports a bigger screen and faster processor. It may not be small, light, or slim, but for its low price this handset serves up basic Android, nimble 4G data, plus a usable keyboard in an attractive budget package. If you can live without a physical keyboard, T-Mobile also sells a version of the MyTouch, identical in every way but without a slider for the same price.

T-Mobile myTouch Q (Huawei, black)
6.3

T-Mobile MyTouch Q (Huawei

The Good

The <b>T-Mobile MyTouch Q</b> has quick 4G data plus a physical keyboard. Its low $50 entry price is compelling. The phone provides good performance on a budget.

The Bad

The T-Mobile MyTouch Q runs dated Android software. The MyTouch's screen is dark and has poor contrast. The phone is also big and heavy.

The Bottom Line

If you can live with its dated software and heft, the T-Mobile MyTouch Q is an alluring keyboard slider deal.

Huawei's MyTouch Q, a rare keyboard slider (pictures)

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Design
Besides its recycled name, the T-Mobile MyTouch Q (Huawei) might also confuse you with its doppelganger looks. The handset is practically a mirror image of its predecessor, the first T-Mobile MyTouch Q manufactured by LG. Both phones feature slide-out keyboards and are crafted from modest black plastic.

The two devices are similarly sculpted in gentle curves as well and have back covers with soft-touch coatings. I prefer the old MyTouch Q's rear surface, though, which has a smoother more premium feel compared with Huawei’s model. That said, each of the phones' back plates are easy to grip and soak up fingerprints admirably.

The new MyTouch Q by Huawei offers a rare QWERTY keyboard. Sarah Tew/CNET

Measuring 4.9 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick, one difference is that this MyTouch Q is slightly larger than LG’s device. Weighing a hefty 6.5 ounces, the new handset is about an ounce heavier too but features a larger screen.

You’ll find a bigger 4-inch LCD screen on Huawei’s version of the T-Mobile MyTouch Q compared with the 3.5-inch (480 x 320) display on the older LG model. In addition, the new MyTouch Q offers a higher 800x480-pixel resolution than the LG MyTouch Q. That said, when I viewed both side by side, the screen on Huawei’s device was darker and produced relatively muted colors with narrower viewing angles. Stacked up against the premium HTC One S, neither MyTouch Q came close to matching the color saturation, contrast, or brightness of this premium smartphone’s AMOLED display (4.3 inch, 960x540 pixel).

The MyTouch Q's display doesn't get very bright but it is bigger and sharper than the previous MyTouch Q. Sarah Tew/CNET

Above the screen is a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats and snapping profile shots. Below the display are four capacitive buttons, the first three being symbols for standard Android functions (Menu, Home, Back). The fourth uses the traditional "g" letter indicating it launches T-Mobile’s Genius voice command feature.

The MyTouch Q’s left side holds its Micro-USB port and tiny volume buttons while on top of the phone are a power key and 3.5mm headphone jack. Located on the right edge is a dedicated camera button, something the previous MyTouch Q lacked, but it doesn’t wake the phone if its in sleep mode.

On back is the MyTouch Q's 5-megapixel camera with LED flash along with a speaker grille. Ripping off the phone's back panel uncovers its removable battery, and slots for SIM card, and microSD Card. You can swap microSD Cards in and out without disturbing the battery but not SIM Cards.

Keyboard
To open the T-Mobile MyTouch Q's physical keyboard, just rotate the phone counterclockwise and slide the screen upward. Doing so reveals its four row keyboard that uses rounded oval-shaped keys. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the keyboard's design since its keys are small and feel stiff. They do provide a satisfying click when pressed though.

The four-row QWERTY keyboard that makes for accurate if basic typing. Sarah Tew/CNET

Also, while the old MyTouch Q’s key arrangement wasn't great, I prefer it to this new Huawei creation. LG's MyTouch was also four rows tall but measured 12 keys across (as opposed to 10 on the Huawei device) and offered more dedicated shortcut buttons. For instance there are ".com" and "SYM" symbol buttons plus a "Text" key for quickly launching the messaging app, all absent on the Huawei MyTouch Q. Huawei does equip the MyTouch Q with four arrow keys, a feature LG's device lacked.

To really experience how a physical keyboard should be built, check out the Motorola Droid 4 (Verizon), which boasts a full five rows (12 keys across), supple yet snappy gummy keys, a much longer spacebar, and brighter backlighting.

Features
Running the Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS, hard-core Android fans will no doubt be disapointed the MyTouch Q doesn't come with Google's latest version, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, let alone Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0). Of course, I can’t fault the older software in a basic, budget Android handset such as this.

The phone does offer all the staple Android capabilities, including Gmail, Google Maps, and access to the more than 700,000 apps, plus movies and books, available for download from the Android Market. The handset can tackle personal and corporate e-mail accounts too, along with the usual text-messaging tasks and GPS navigation. Multimedia is handled through the onboard Google Play Music and Play Movies apps.

A shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen displays the usual icons for phone, text messaging, browser, e-mail, and applications. Unlike its LG predecessor, you can swap out all except for apps and phone for other shortcuts. You can’t however create folders on the any of the phone’s five home screens.

The MyTouch Q uses the usual T-mobile MyTouch theme over Android. Brian Bennett/CNET

Other noteworthy preloaded titles are Slacker Radio for streaming Internet radio, Google navigation for free turn-by-turn GPS guidance, and a basic version of TeleNav (the premium version costs $2.99 per month).

The phone also can make calls over Wi-Fi, if accessing a wireless router is more convenient than grabbing a T-Mobile signal. Keep in mind that the feature still counts against your voice plan minutes. Another service, T-Mobile TV, streams a collection of live channels such as Disney and Fox News, to name a few, but costs an extra $9.99 per month.

Genius button
A longtime feature found on MyTouch handsets is T-Mobile's Genius voice command function. Powered by voice recognition company Nuance, Genius enables the MyTouch Q to perform Siri-like tricks such as looking up the weather forecast, and searching for nearby restaurants and other attractions. Simply hold down the green Genius button then speak your query when prompted.

T-Mobile touts the MyTouch Q's Genius voice recognition feature. Brian Bennett/CNET

In my experience, Genius worked fairly well, correctly transcribing my questions about current weather conditions and local sushi joints. I was also able to command the MyTouch Q to begin a text to contacts without much trouble. Those expecting Siri-level performance will be disappointed since it lacks more advanced features. For example, I couldn't complete a text message with my voice alone. I had to look at the screen to activate Android's built-in voice dictation mode.

Camera
Despite its rock-bottom price, the T-Mobile MyTouch Q has a decent camera and LED flash. Serious smartphone photographers won’t be impressed with its 5-megapixel sensor but average users will appreciate the handset's quick shot-to-shot time of just over a second.

Indoor still life pictures were dark with soft details and washed-out colors. When I activated the flash, subjects in the foreground were often blown out and details in the back were lost. Images taken indoors and under low lighting suffered from the same problems.

Still life shots were dark and details soft. Brian Bennett/CNET

Moving outside and under strong sunshine improved camera performance with the MyTouch Q snapping shots with bright colors and sharper details. Resolution settings range from 1 megapixels and top out at 5 megapixels. You can also choose from among six color filters including Sepia, Negative, Solarize, and Posterize. There aren’t fancier modes here, though, such as panorama or burst that grace other smartphone cameras.

Colors were more vibrant in sunshine. Brian Bennett/CNET
Blue skies and green leaves perk up in sunlight. Brian Bennett/CNET

Performance
Don't expect jaw-dropping speed from the T-Mobile MyTouch Q. Driven by a modest 1.4GH single-core processor backed up by 1GB internal memory, this phone isn't a mobile hot rod by any means. That said, the device felt responsive enough whether flipping through its home screens, opening apps, or firing up its app tray.

The handset's Linpack benchmark score of 54 MFLOPs (single thread) completed in 1.55 seconds also confirmed it has some nimbleness. That result is much higher than what the original LG MyTouch Q achieved on the same test (32.6 MFLOPs in 2.57 seconds).

With a fast connection to T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network, the MyTouch Q turned in quick data speeds. I measured respectable downloads at an average of 4.1Mbps, though there were peaks of more than 6Mbps. I also clocked average download throughput at 1.7Mbps.

4G speeds were acceptably quick. Brian Bennett/CNET

I tested the T-Mobile MyTouch Q on T-Mobile’s GSM network in New York and I’m pleased to say call quality was excellent. Callers described my voice as sounding crystal clear. I didn't hear any hiss or other distortions, though the earpiece doesn't have a huge amount of volume. Similarly, the speaker phone was relatively quiet but didn't buzz when turned all the way up either.

T-Mobile myTouch Q (Huawei) call quality sample Listen now:

As for longevity, the MyTouch Q's 1,500 mAh battery lasted a full work day but definitely needed a recharge overnight. Stay tuned however, for more in-depth battery results soon.

Conclusion
T-Mobile's MyTouch line of smartphones with their mediocre components and dated Android software have never made the hearts of Android experts skip a beat. The $49.99 MyTouch Q by Huawei doesn’t break the MyTouch mold. It continues the tradition of offering all the smartphone basics plus a quick 4G connection at a very low price. While I'm not thrilled by its physical keyboard, it's comfortable enough to get the typing job done. If an affordable keyboard slider, solid Android performance, and 4G is what you crave, right now there's no better deal on T-Mobile. Those who'd like to ditch QWERTY, a keyboardless $49.99 MyTouch (also made by Huawei) has all the same features.


T-Mobile myTouch Q (Huawei, black)
6.3

T-Mobile MyTouch Q (Huawei

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 7