When Motorola announced that it was bringing one of its flagship phones phones to the Now Network, the tech world wondered how it would fair against the companies undying love for the Verizon network. After a short time, speculation died as the details became available and evidently, this was not a half-baked attempt at a phone, but a solid competitor. The Photon 4G is a WiMAX device running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. Find out where to buy the Motorola Photon 4G in this detailed review, as well as get access to user reviews and what makes the Photon worth your consideration.
Design and Features
Motorola has spent quite a bit of time in its R&D labs recently and the Photon 4G is a product of this time. It is one of the best looking Android phones currently available and the build quality is amazingly beautiful. We wouldn’t say it’s as rugged as the Galaxy S II line as we have dropped our unit a couple times which have given it a few minor scrapes, though nothing that is very noticeable.
At the core of the phone is a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor with a clock speed of 1GHz along with 1GB of system RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD expansion slot for cards up to 32GB. Moving along, we have a 4.3-inch screen that sports 540 x 960 pixels via a qHD display that sports Gorilla Glass technology. The rear facing camera is rated at 8 megapixels with dual-LED flash and 720p HD video recording at 30fps. The front facing camera is 0.3 megapixels.
Rounding out the specs are dual CDMA radios as well as quad-band GSM radios for roaming, triband UMTS with support for HSPA, UMTS, EDGE, EV-DO Rev.A and WiMAX data. Lastly, A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, 802.11b/g/n, microUSB 2.0, DLNA, HDMI Type D 1.3 and OTA Sync as well as a compass.
There is nothing that sets the Photon 4G apart from the crop performance wise. After using the phone for an extensive period of time (weeks), we came away feeling satisfied, but unlike what we have seen on the Samsung Epic 4G Touch, there was no magical touch here. Don’t get us wrong, the Photon 4G is excellent at multitasking and with Android 2.3.4, there was hardly anything we wish the phone could do that it did not do. That being said, it’s not a game changer.
We had no issues with the camera and overall photos were crisp with proper saturation. We are bummed with the limited 720p video recording. This is an age of full 1080p video recording and somehow we have 720p mode on the Photon 4G. Otherwise, the video quality was great with no issues in pixilation or color distortion.
We are fans of the screen as well. While not as bright as the Epic 4G Touch, it holds its own and the qHD display is a nice touch. The Photon 4G does sport Gorilla Glass technology and we tried many abrasive things against the screen without recording a single scratch.
Battery life is another area we have to praise the Photon 4G on. With moderate usage, you can easily make it through a day on a single charge. In fact, with Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G off, we were able to make it into the next day with a little more than 40% left. Thankfully, if you want to an extra battery, you’re always welcomed to bring one along.
4G performance could be better but for the most part we were able to hold a signal even in low reception areas.
Summing up the Photon 4G in a few sentences isn’t that hard. Unlike other phones we have reviewed recently, the Photon 4G does not leave us with mixed emotions. Like we said originally, there’s nothing here that we have not seen before. But that is one of the strengths of the Photon 4G. you will not be disappointed by it. Excellent battery life, fast processor, 4G WiMAX, qHD screen and an 8 megapixel camera are all strong points we know users will like.
However, compare the Photon 4G to say the Samsung Epic Touch 4G and the picture changes a bit. If you are looking for a smaller phone, pick the Photon 4G, however if you can handle 4.52-inches of screen real estate, go with the Samsung Epic Touch 4G. If you think this phone might be a good fit for you, then find out where to purchase the Motorola Photon 4G for the best price in our price comparison section of the review.