Motorola Photon GHLks

The Motorola Photon 4G has been anticipated for a few months now, as it's Motorola's first 4G smartphone to hit Sprint's WiMax network. Moreover, it's sleek, stylish, fast, and an all-around good device, according to the first round of reviews that we've seen. Below is a summary of those reviews, but first, a quick look over the specs:

  • 4.3 Inch qHD PenTile display
  • 1Ghz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB on-board storage
  • 8MP rear camera, VGA front cam
  • Webtop-enabled
  • WiMax
  • Android 2.3.4

Without further ado, here are the reviews.

Boy Genius Report


After reading the review, there's no doubt that BGR's Jonathan Geller really enjoyed using the Photon 4G. Everything from battery life to display (yes, even with PenTile), Geller praised this device all the way around, even stating that it "easily trumps the HTC EVO 3D."

Having mentioned the PenTile display, I will note that, according to the review, the display isn't as "bad" on the Photon as other Motorola offerings (like the Droid 3) thanks to different coloration in this version of Motoblur versus others. It was stated that the gridlines were still visible, but only to those really looking for them.

With that in mind, the rest of the review was nothing but praise:

The Motorola PHOTON 4G is Motorola’s first real 4G handset, and it’s a winner. It easily trumps Sprint’s other flagship device for the summer, the HTC EVO 3D. From the phone’s styling and feel, to speed and functionality, the PHOTON 4G is one of my favorite Android devices in a long time, and easily my favorite smartphone that Sprint currently offers. It combines next-generation specifications into a reasonably slim and full package, and offers business customers and frequent travelers the ability to roam internationally — something not found on many 4G devices currently. If you can get over the fact that the Motorola PHOTON 4G doesn’t feature a physical keyboard, then this is going to be your favorite smartphone on Sprint, by a wide margin.

Full BGR review



Slashear's Cory Gunther ran this phone through its paces, testing the camera, running some benchmarks, and busting it out through daily use -- and he liked it. While this review was lacking a lot of the substance that we're used to seeing in reviews, it's safe to say that the Photon scored well in Slashgear's book, and is definitely a recommended handset.

For what you pay for this is an extremely powerful and versatile phone. You can do a lot more than just text and play Angry Birds with this. You can browse the web and watch movies on your 56″ HDTV, use it for an alarm clock with that fancy kickstand and more. With a slightly unique design it will stand out in the crowd and you’ll love showing it off. Once you set up the HD Dock and get everything dialed in everything works pretty great, and there is no shortage of geek appeal.

Full Slashgear review

This is my next


TiMN's Joshua Topolsky took the Photon for a test drive, and I can't help but feel like he walked away feeling a bit indifferent at best. Sure, he said some mighty-good things about the device, but nothing astounding. All-in-all, though, he gave the device a 7.5 out of 10, highlighting that while it may be a sleek and sexy WiMax device with a good display, the battery life and Motoblur take away from its allure.

The Photon 4G isn’t exactly a groundbreaking device. If you’re an Android user (and especially if you’re a Mororola device owner), you won’t be surprised by anything here. The 4G connectivity is solid when you’ve got it, the hardware is completely capable, and the software serves its purpose relatively efficiently. If you’re already a Sprint customer and are poised to upgrade, you could do a lot worse than this device. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be anything so compelling about this phone or its features that I envision it leading users away from other carriers. It’s a fine, recognizable contender on a fine, recognizable carrier — but I don’t know if it has the flair to move bodies. The Photon 4G is a great device, but if Sprint and Motorola desire to spike the needle with consumers, they’ll have to try a little harder than this.

Full This is my next review

PC World


PC World put two writers up to the task of review the Photon -- Armando Rodriguez and Ginny Mies. Collectively, the duo had good things to say about the device, praising its unique design and form factor, as well as performance. They weren't the biggest fans of some of the other features, however, like the PenTile display, stating that it "had a bluish tint;" and the camera, calling it mediocre.

Of all the Motorola phones we've seen this year, the Photon is definitely the best of the pack. The design is one-of-a-kind, and the Tegra 2 processor paired with Sprint's 4G network is hard to beat. But the Photon 4G suffers from some issues we've seen across multiple Motorola devices, such as the bluish tint to the display and the uneven camera.

Full PC World review


After reading all of the reviews, I feel confident that the Motorola Photon 4G is a winning device. If you're looking for a blazing fast device with a unique form factor on the Now Network, then this is the device for you. For what it's worth, if I were switching to Sprint today, I would walk right past the EVO 3D and go directly for this device, and that's all without ever personally laying hands on it.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Joe

    Glad to hear the Photon is a good device.

    Edit: Yeah I re-read it and figured I must have had it wrong...thanks for the quick reply ;)

    • Cameron Summerson

      Nice ninja edit! No worries.

    • divine

      Hate HATE HATE my eco 3e.g. Have had it since July and have only had problems since then. It runs slowly and gets backed up. Started out having a decent battery life but now completely drains out too quickly. I've had it completly erased many times to fix the problem. What a headache to reload apps. Now my phone can't make or receive calls. I hate the evo series.had a bad experiencewith eco.4g. I'm sorry for the typos the calibration on this phone is off so I cannot go back to. Correct. I can't wait for my new phone

  • http://www.twitter.com/huntken huntken

    Someone may be smoking a little crack...walk past the EVO 3D to get this? Ummm...lol?

    • Brandon

      exactly what you said. if anything, the photon is an evo 4g knockoff and not to be compared to the E3D.

      • http://twitter.com/kstagg kstagg

        Umm, yeah. I exchanged my EVO3D for this phone after 3 weeks with the 3D. I don't regret it one bit. This phone trumps it. EVO 3D is a nice phone, but the Photon is better.

        Seriously - what does it have that the Photon doesn't besides rooting capability right now (which I used to do before but I don't care to do with this phone)?

        • RockingmyEvo3D

          I wish you well with your Photon 4G it seems to be nice. We will find out if motorola finally got there act together in the update game because they have and always LAGGED BEHIND THE MAJOR PLAYERS and trust me this device will need support from both the manufacturer and the carrier. The best device on sprint is the EVO 3D all the Photon 4G is is a nice device nobody can say it's not. What the EVO 3D is is a BRAND something that sprint takes very seriously and will always support first way before the Photon 4G.

    • RockingmyEvo3D

      Smoking CRACK is exactly right.. I will Personally make sure that people BETTER UNDERSTAND the space they are in. I applaud motorola this is an great addition to sprints dualcore monsters no doubt. But better than the EVO 3D THAT'S EXTREMELY DOUBTFUL AT BEST. HTC has a track record something that other manufacturers WISH THEY HAD.. HTC supports there devices VERY WELL ask all evo 4g owners how many updates they recieved in 2010 for there evo's. The EVO 3D WILL BE supported even more so you can count on that because 3D is the technology of today and the future. With these 2 devices once again sprint is laying down the law letting people know exactly what true value really is. And with the upcoming Samsung Within 4g and Htc Hero 4G another pair of dualcore monsters that will be priced correctly sprint will always remain NUMBER ONE OUT OF ANY CARRIER. Oh yeah the IPHONE 5 will also be on sprint come October so In my book if your not rolling with sprint then your not rolling at all. Sprint is the UNLIMITED NETWORK WHERE USAGE DOESN'T MATTER JUST FIRE UP THAT DEVICE AND ENJOY..

  • jgalan14

    HTC you mean check on BGR review you put HTV evo 3d

    • Cameron Summerson

      Thanks. Fixed.

      • Larry Lump Lump

        Your grammar is exactly like your review -garbage! The photon is nowhere near the E3D. Get it straight Mr. Summerson.

        • Cameron Summerson

          No need to double post, Mr. Lump. You get your point across just fine with one.

          And for the record, this isn't my review. It's a collective review from popular tech sites across the 'net. The fact that I would prefer the Photon over the EVO 3D is purely my opinion and in no way a comparison of the two devices.

  • paragordius

    Totally agree with you, Cam. Bought this device yesterday and I can clearly tell you that it feels good in my hands and runs blazingly fast. I must admit though that this device has a lot of bloatware.
    Also I read a review where the reviewer says that the phone cannot be used in portrait mode with the kickstand. Actually that's not true. There is an option in settings where you can turn this off. Also I was worried about the pentile display but trust me sometimes the grid lines are not visible even when looking for them. And the camera is excellent. So the reviewer might have had a bad lemon.
    And this device is way better than the EVO 3D. The 3D on the EVO is just a big gimmick. And the battery life of Photon is better than that of any other android device I've used so far.
    P.S: Was using the Nexus S last month when I read about this thing and exchanged the Nexus S for the Photon. Trust me I am already a very satisfied customer.

    • Brandon

      way better than the E3D, how so -do tell.

      • http://twitter.com/kstagg kstagg

        - 2x the RAM at 16GB
        - built-in kickstand
        - better display (no underlying 3D film) and better viewing angles
        - Gorilla glass
        - No need to worry about camera lenses to be scratched due to them being exposed to surface (why aren't the EVO3D camera lenses slightly below the bevel?)
        - World phone Capability
        - Outlook Exhchange Server support

        How does that work for you Brandon?

        • Brandon

          Cmon really, you have to do much better than that.

    • Cameron Summerson

      Glad to hear that you like it! It really does sound like a great device.

    • http://twitter.com/kstagg kstagg

      You can uninstall the bloatware, not sure what the big deal is here.

      And for folks that don't like Blur on the Photon, just use an alternative launcher like ADW EX or Launcher Pro and then get Beautiful Widgets.

      Problem solved.

      • Stan

        +1... the beauty of Android.

    • RockingmyEvo3D

      Another misguided soul. My Evo 3D gets 16 to 23hrs of battery life everyday. People can sleep all they want on the evo 3d crying about 3d but last I looked SONY is coming out with there 4.7 inch 3D device and SAMSUNG will have there 3D device out by October. Looks to me like 3D is here to stay and HTC has delivered in leading the way for this technology. The HTC EVO 3D is the FLAGSHIP DEVICE FOR SPRINT AND THAT WILL ALWAYS BE

  • Ashish Raj

    "better than Evo 3D"... "walk past Evo 3D" Really guys!!??? I mean just hearing the name Motoblur.. gives me the **brrrrr** (shiver)

    Photon 4G has its own merits.. maybe equivalent to Evo 3D.. but definitely not better!!

  • Wolfie

    Maybe there talking about the elusive Bionic being unlocked. :) -

    wolfs and licks all.

  • Brandon

    the photon is shaped like a big fat rock with mediocre specs at best. can't even believe that these guys are making comparisons with to E3D. one word "Ghostblur." that about sums it up.

    • Puzzled

      Photon: 5.00 x 2.63 x 0.48 (126.9 x 66.9 x 12.2 mm)

      E3D: 5.00 x 2.60 x 0.47 (127 x 66 x 12 mm)

      Photon weighs 5.57oz while the E3D weighs 6.00oz.

      And mediocre specs? The hardware numbers are relatively indistinguishable...

      • Brandon

        are you quoting weight and size dimensions. wth does that have to do with anything. ghostblur is a damn joke.

      • Brandon

        not to mention that the photon is just a knock off version to the first gen evo. the comparisons should be made between the photon and the evo. talking about lawsuit -Motorola needs to prepare themselves.

        • Stan

          They are too busy defending themselves from Apple.

  • http://www.podoco.net zach

    i played with a Evo3D at bestbuy and it was just like the Nintendo 3DS for me (which btw is $169 now). 3D stuff is awesome but after reading all the stories about people's eyes getting messed up after playing with the nintendo 3DS for a prolonged period of time, i don't want anything to do with it.

    photon looks pretty sweet. i think the specs are good.
    @brandon, if companies put in the latest hardware on every phone they made, it would make the price increase. not everyone could afford that. Same reason why big computer manufacturing companies (like HP and Dell) advertise their products with "new i5 and i7 quad core processors" when they sell top of the line 6-core beasts. those are only reserved for people who need them and or can afford them.

    Bloatware kind of sucks though. I wonder how much money motorola makes from every phone they sell with some other companies software on it (need for speed? srsly EA?).

    • Brandon

      Don't believe all of the stories that you read about people's eyes getting messed up, because my eyes work just fine. The 3D aspect of the phone is just a bonus. The hardware on the E3D is high-end and top of the line. If you don't like 3D, then you don't have to use it -It's just an added feature. That being said, Sense UI 3.0 is far superior to touchwiz, iphone's UI, ghostblur, and anything else out there.

      • Stan

        That shouldn't be too much of a factor, sense HTC just open sourced it. You'll be able to get it on any device you choose.

  • Rico

    I'm going with cnet on this one:


  • http://twitter.com/kstagg kstagg

    Basically, the Photon is what the EVO 3D could (and should) have been, had all the stupid 3D crap been stripped away: a big-boned, meat-chewin', 4G-rainbow riding, powerful Android handset. - @gizmodo


    • RockingmyEvo3D

      You sound so MISS GUIDED at best...

    • Brandon

      The photon is a knock off to the first gen evo.

      • fizil

        Just like the kickstandless evo knockoff, nexus s? I was so glad my evo came with dual processors, webtop, hdmi mirroring, etc.

  • Jim R

    I have the EVO 4G and I am very happy with it (including speed). But I am interested in the Photon because it also gives the option of a keyboard, mouse and full HDMI output to larger display for everything, unlike EVO's HDMI which can only output the gallery of my pix & videos. Considering what a good job HTC has done with their phones, I am surprised they didn't repsond to the many forums over problems with external keyboard issues.
    Basically, Motorla's Photon is an interesting option as it can take the place of my laptop most of the time. That is a big deal when I am travelling on business or pleasure.

  • http://www.crazypoliticos.com Gerald Long

    I never owned an Evo but the Motorola Photon 4G rocks! Even my Motorola 730 Bluetooth a has farther range with this device. The sound is amazing.