Review: Motorola Photon 4G
The Photon 4G is distinctive. In the sea of me-too monoblock Android smartphones, the Photon 4G manages to look at least a little bit different from the pack thanks to its angled corners. Sure, it's another all-black affair, but Motorola deserves some credit for making this phone stand apart from even its own Android designs.
It's a heavy, and huge handset, though. As with all devices that include 4.3-inch displays, the Photon 4G is ginormous. Thankfully, Motorola angled the side edges steeply, so that the back surface is smaller than the front. This means the Photon 4G sits comfortably in your palm. The edges and back are covered in a soft-touch paint job, which lends the Photon 4G a bit of grip. The materials, fit and finish of the Photon 4G are top-notch. It's the highest-quality handset I've seen from Motorola in some time.
The front face of the Photon 4G is huge, and almost all donated to the touch display. The usual four Android controls are present along the very bottom edge as capacitive buttons. I found them to be responsive.
Motorola built the microUSB port and microHDMI port into the left side of the Photon 4G. They are positioned such that the Photon 4G works well with a series of accessories, such as a Motorola media dock. The volume toggle and dedicated camera button are both found on the right side of the Photon 4G. These buttons are metallic, and have a ribbed texture to them. They are easy to find, feel good to use, and have good travel and feedback.
The power/lock key is on the top edge of the Photon 4G. I wish this button had the same ribbed texture that the others did, but it was still easy to find. Travel and feedback were a bit mushy, though. The 3.5mm headset jack is also on top.
Sprint sure does love kickstands on its phones. The Photon 4G is yet another to include a chromed-out kickstand so that it can be placed on a table or desk and used as a mini video display. The kickstand is close to the bottom edge of the Photon 4G, and requires a bit of digging with your thumbnail. The kickstand and its hinge are made of metal and feel strong.
The battery cover - which is very thin - must be peeled off if you want to swap microSD cards. It is not necessary to remove the battery to get at the microSD card slot.
Though it is a bit big and heavy, everything about the Photon 4G has a solid, quality feel to it.
Phone Scoop spent some time with Motorola's two new Android handsets for the Sprint network. Here are our first impressions of these two beauts!
Jun 9, 2011
At an event in NYC today, Sprint and Motorola announced the Photon 4G. Much like the Atrix, the Photon supports a laptop dock or HD multimedia dock - and Webtop app - that lets it run a Firefox browser like a desktop PC.
Oct 20, 2012
Motorola has updated the list of devices that will receive updated versions of Android and is revealing for the first time those slated to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Droid RAZR M, RAZR HD, and MAXX HD are all schedule to receive the Jelly Bean update before the end of the year.
Sep 23, 2012
Motorola has indicated that the Android 4.0 update for the Droid Bionic that was scheduled to occur in during the third quarter of this year has been delayed until the fourth quarter. No details were provided as to why, but Motorola VP of product Punit Soni promised that the update will be delivered before the end of the year.
Jul 11, 2012
Sprint today detailed changes headed to the Motorola Photon 4G by way of a maintenance update for its system software. The update makes it easier to import contacts from an SD card, improves music playback via streaming music services, boosts the performance of the mobile hotspot feature, and makes it easier to create and accept calendar meeting requests on the phone.