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Quick Look: Motorola Photon 4G

By: Mark Adkins
on December 19, 2011 6:10 pm

Motorola Photon 4GIt was finally time to upgrade my wife’s smartphone, and we had a few challenges to deal with. The biggest ones are that she is a ‘slow adopter’, the apartment she uses when at work in a different state has poor reception, and we use the Sprint network.

After some research, I had narrowed it down to a few mid-to-upper tier phones, and stumbled across the Photon 4G from Motorola – a model I had heard very little about. The Photon is one of the top offerings available from Sprint, and is absolutely loaded with specifications.

  • DISPLAY TYPE: TFT
  • DISPLAY SIZE: 4.3-in.; qHD (540 x 960)
  • SIZE (H X W X D): 66.9 x 126.9 x 12.2 mm
  • WEIGHT: 158 grams
  • MATERIALS AND FINISH: Corning® Gorilla® Glass with dual anti-reflective display
  • MEMORY: up 16 GB on board
  • REMOVABLE MEMORY: supports up to 32 GB microSD
  • SENSORS: accelerometer, proximity, ambient light, eCompass,
  • NETWORKS: Worldphone – WiMAX 2500, CDMA 800/1900, WCDMA 850/1900/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • PROCESSOR: 1GHz dual core
  • OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • WIFI: 802.11b,g,n
  • BLUETOOTH® TECHNOLOGY: Stereo Bluetooth, Version 2.1+EDR
  • TALK TIME (CONTINUOUS) :CDMA: up to 10 hrs.; WDCMA: up to 9.1 hrs.; GSM: up to 10.4 hrs.
  • STANDBY TIME: CDMA: up to 8.3 days; WDCMA: up to 13.1 days; GSM: up to 12.2 days
  • BATTERY TYPE: 1700 mAh Li Ion
  • PORTS: Mini-HDMI, Mini-USB (on left side), 3.5mm headphone (on top)

Besides all this, it has ‘worldwide capabilities’ so you can use it nearly globally.  It also has an integrated kickstand (a la HTC Evo 4G), and Near Field Communication technology. The main reason it was a top choice for us, however, was that review after review said it had one of the best, strongest, clearest radios available.

The biggest ‘dings’ against it in most reviews are that it is a bit big or chunky in some people’s opinions, has a weaker camera than expected for 8 megapixels, and is pretty insistent on keeping ‘Sprint ID’ front and center.  And then there’s some people’s opinions about the Motorola interfaces. Some of this can be managed by changing the launcher or rooting the phone.

The screen is incredible – making my Samsung Epic (Galaxy S) look small and pale. Sound quality for voice and music is great, and the unit is very responsive – great for games, etc. (Of course, she is not a big game player, but the speed helps in many other ways as well.)

It may not be the skinniest or sleekest, but if you want a powerful, reliable Sprint phone that feels rock solid, this seems like a pretty good choice – one you may not otherwise have heard much about. Ours cost $79.99 as a full upgrade with a 2 year contract, on sale at a local electronics store on Black Friday.  Contract prices seem to have increased since then.  It’s $549.99 without a contract.

Comments

  1. 1
    twospirits says:

    Wait a minute, the Photon has NFC? That I know of it doesn’t have the necessary NFC components.

  2. 2
    Mark Adkins says:

    Sorry- the NFC comment crept in from a really odd string of edits and I did not catch it on any previews.

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