TMobile myTouch and myTouch Q officially announced, we go handson

T-Mobile's myTouch series is back with a new pair of devices -- a slate and a slideout QWERTY, to be precise -- and the lucky manufacturer this time around is Huawei, following in the footsteps made by HTC and LG in years past. Of course, we can't say that this is much of a shocker, considering we've seen these midrange handsets go through endless rounds of rumors, FCC certification and even our very own hands-ons when visiting Huawei HQ (where the devices are known more officially as the Ascend G312 and G312 QWERTY). But they're finally ready for the final production line and will be available August 8th for $50 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The myTouch will come in black and dark red, while the myTouch Q will be offered in black and white.

So what kind of specs can we expect to enjoy (or strongly dislike, depending on your personal preference) on the myTouch and myTouch Q? It's running Android 2.3 on a special customized UI, for starters, which will be a huge disappointment to many potential buyers. Additionally, both devices will offer a 4-inch WVGA screen, 1,500mAh battery, 4GB of internal storage, microSD expansion, 5MP rear camera capable of taking 720p video, 0.3MP front-facing cam, HSPA+ connectivity and an unspecified 1.4GHz CPU (though we reported earlier that it should be a single-core MSM8255T accompanied by 1GB of RAM). Head below to check out our gallery and hands-on video, and then continue reading after the break to hear our first impressions.

Gallery | 52 Photos

T-Mobile myTouch and myTouch Q hands-on

First, it's important to note that the pair of myTouch devices are identical in componentry and general design, with the major difference being that the myTouch Q is a bit thicker due to its slideout keyboard. Both phones presented a rather run-of-the-mill experience: the CPU was snappy enough to handle our tasks without much lag, the WVGA display is adequate and offers good color saturation despite its lower viewing angles and the camera seems to take average pictures, though it lacks many of the features and settings we've come to expect in midrange devices. Speaking of which, we were delighted by the fact that both phones feature a dedicated camera shutter button.

The myTouch series also features the Genius Button, a capacitive key underneath the display that sits next to the menu, home and back keys. This particular button is simply the myTouch-branded version of voice dictation: tell it to make calls, dictate texts, search the web and set up your navigation. We weren't able to test it out during our brief tenure with the phones, but we can't imagine the experience will be much different than your standard voice dictation service.

No, neither of these devices will be as thin as many of the modern-day top dogs, but despite their bulkier frame the two handsets had a solid build quality and were decidedly comfortable to hold. Part of the reason can be attributed to the curvacious backs that offer a more natural feel, Another factor to the phones' overall comfort was the somewhat gritty plastic battery cover, which kept nasty fingerprints away and still made the devices feel like they'll be able to hold up well over time.

Focusing specifically on the keyboard-laden myTouch Q, we found the typing experience to be a bit rough. The board features individual keys with a slight bubble, but yet they don't offer much give or travel. Thus, trying to crank out a standard text message proved to be frustrating. The overall feel of the keyboard may change as we get used to it, but our first impressions were pretty disappointing. That aside, we loved the experience of sliding the keyboard open and closed, as it turned out to be incredibly solid: it wasn't so loose that it felt like it was going to slide off and hit a poor defenseless bystander, but it wasn't so tight that it required the jaws of life to open it.

In general, the myTouch series will likely be popular for anyone who isn't planning to spend very much money on a new phone and just prefer to have an Android device with decent specs. In other words, power users probably won't find much interest in either handset. We were disappointed by the keyboard and T-Mobile's choice to bring a pair of Gingerbread phones to its lineup in the summer of 2012 (for future updates, the companies told us they would work together, but stopped short of promising anything) certainly doesn't help endear us to the brand by any means, but it's otherwise solidly made and is a good representation of Huawei's middle-of-the-road offerings. Check out the press release below.

Show full PR text

T-Mobile's myTouch Family Grows With Next-Generation

T-Mobile myTouch and T-Mobile myTouch Q

Latest Generation Delivers an Easy-to-Learn Experience at an Attractive Price

BELLEVUE, Wash. - July 11, 2012 - T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced the Aug. 8 availability of two new additions to its exclusive lineup of T-Mobile myTouch smartphones, the new T-Mobile® myTouch® and T-Mobile® myTouch® Q. Featuring an all-new version of the Genius Button®, an easy-to-use Setup Wizard and how-to tutorials, the myTouch and myTouch Q are designed for easy out-of the-box use, making both devices ideal for customers who are looking for a straightforward, seamless smartphone experience.

The new T-Mobile myTouch devices offer hardware options that fit consumers' individual preferences. The T-Mobile myTouch offers a 4.0" WVGA touch display and virtual keyboard with Swype®, while the T-Mobile myTouch Q features the same great touch display with an accompanying full slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

"T-Mobile is committed to delivering a strong and diverse portfolio of 4G handsets that runs on our fast and dependable 4G network, including smartphones that enable people to get amazing 4G experiences at a great value," said Brad Duea, senior vice president of product management, T-Mobile USA. "The value and ease of use that the myTouch devices deliver, paired with our worry-free rate plans, means it is easier than ever for customers to get everything they want in a smartphone without the expense for features they won't use."

New T-Mobile myTouch Series Key Features

  • Voice Control Made Better: To make the process of learning and using a smartphone's best features quicker and easier, both devices are equipped with the next-generation Genius Button 4.0, powered by Dragon from Nuance, providing customers with a powerful voice-controlled service. With Genius Button 4.0 customers have access to the new Genius Web Search, featuring new voice-command capabilities such as direct search among multiple sources, direct app launch, and even the ability to make dinner reservations.
  • Simple Setup: The new myTouch devices feature an onboarding experience that allows users to set up what's important without having to deal with extra steps, including a simple login process, a tips widget and tutorials for the most-used features of Android.
  • Enhanced App Drawer: A redesigned app drawer gives customers quick access to recently used apps, a separate tab for all downloaded apps, and an easy way to search their app collections by text or even by voice.

Manufactured by Huawei, the 4G-enabled T-Mobile myTouch and myTouch Q ship with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and feature a speedy 1.4 GHz processor for fast performance. The devices are also equipped with a dedicated camera button for easy access to the 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and LED flash for quality photo capture and sharing. Both devices also sport a front-facing camera for video chat over T-Mobile's 4G network. A redesigned camera user interface allows for quick access to key features such as the flash, switching cameras and choosing the camcorder option.

Availability

The T-Mobile myTouch will be offered in black or dark red, and the T-Mobile myTouch Q will be offered in black or white. Both devices, exclusively from T-Mobile, are expected to be available Aug. 8 at T-Mobile retail stores, from select dealers and national retailers, and online at http://www.t-mobile.com for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card with a two-year agreement on a qualifying plan. For more information visit www.T-Mobile.com.


Zach Honig contributed to this post.

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T-Mobile myTouch and myTouch Q coming August 8th for $50, we go hands-on