Motorola may well have Sprint's best 4G phone yet

 Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

(Ed. note: We've had Sprint's Motorola Photon 4G under embargo for about 16 hours now, which is great for some initial thoughts -- and we've got plenty -- but it's not really enough time for a proper full-scale review. So we're going to break things up into two parts. This one tackles hardware and initial impressions -- things that don't necessarily take more time to effectively judge.)

Oh, Moto. What is this little piece of sexy you've dropped off in front of us? OK, maybe little isn't the right word. We're looking at yet another 4.3-inch black slab smartphone in Sprint's Motorola Photon 4G. And a dual-core phone at that. With 4G Wimax data. And it's relatively light. (Or at least relatively not heavy.)

After the break: Some unabashed love for the Motorola Photon 4G -- with a little tough love tossed in for good measure.

Video first look


Youtube link for mobile viewing

Let's talk hardware. The Photon 4G is roughly the same size as the Verizon HTC Thunderbolt. It's actually a few millimeters taller. But it's also a tad thinner and lighter. And as we've been saying for phone after phone over the last six months or so, being thinner and lighter can make all the difference.

So we've got a 4.3-inch screen. The Photon's display is made of Gorilla Glass, which is pretty much the gold standard these days in smartphone ruggedness. You've got your usual capacitive buttons (menu, home, back and search, with an earpiece and front-facing VGA camera up top. There's been no attempt to hide the camera -- there's a thin silver ring around it.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

Don't overlook the design of the display (as well as the rest of the body of the phone). The corners have been chopped into sort of an emerald cut, almost looking like someone said "We have do something other than round -- that looks too much like HTC." The severity of the cut differs depending on the viewing angle. It's less attractive from the front and rear, but quite striking from the side.

There's also a bit of trickery going on with the display itself. There's a tiny little lip between the glass of the display and the body of the phone. But unlike the HTC Sensation, whose glass curves up gently into the lip in a concave fashion, the Photon's display takes a convex route. While the display is just barely below the body of the phone, creating the lip, the glass actually curves back "down," toward the rear of the phone, where it meets the casing. You get a really subtle 3D effect out of it, and it's a great little detail. The pinhole microphone is tucked into the lip at the bottom of the phone, under the capacitive buttons. Another great subtle piece of design.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

Sprint Motorola Photon 4GSprint Motorola Photon 4G

Sprint Motorola Photon 4GSprint Motorola Photon 4G

Left-hand bezel: MicroUSB and HDMI ports. Uneventful. The right-hand bezel has the volume rocker and a physical camera button. Again more attention to detail here. The buttons are plastic, with grooves cut in along the width for texture and grip. The sides of the phone are done in hard, glossy plastic.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

The groove motif is carried around the back of the phone to the metal kickstand. That's where things go a little awry. You've got the grooves on the left of the kickstand, making you think maybe that's where you pry it open. Not so much. There's a shallow trough at the bottom of the kickstand. It's obviously a speaker grille, but it's also where you slide in a fingernail to extend the kickstand. The kickstand has a nice click to it when extended, and again when it's retracted.

Opening the kickstand, you're asked whether you want to set up a special desktop-type mode, or just use your usual home screens.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

The battery cover's done in soft-touch plastic, with a cutout for the 8-megapixel camera and dual flashes. There's a bit more livery here then you're likely used to, with Motorola's batwing logo, Sprint's name and logo, and "8MP" carved beneath the camera, with "HD VIDEO" stenciled next to it. It's all a bit busy.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

Under the battery cover, which pries off from the bottom of the phone, is a 1650mAh battery. The Photon 4G's SIM card -- remember, this is a "world phone" that will work on GSM networks -- for a fee, natch -- outside the United States is tucked under a little protective flap. There's no microSD card in the box -- you're on your own for that. But it'll support up to 32GB.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

Under the hood, you've got an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core system on a chip (that means it's rocking both the main processor as well as the graphic processor), running at 1 GHz. The Photon's got a full 1GB of RAM on board, which certainly will keep things snappy. Of course, that full 1GB is really meant for Motorola's WebTop application -- plugging the phone into a laptop dock, or desktop dock and letting it act more like a full computer.

We're not going to dive too deep into the software without spending some quality time with it. But for the most part, you're looking at what you've got on the Droid 3, with Motorola's "Don't call it Blur" customizations (on top of Android 2.3.4). The short version of that is we're actually pretty happy with them. Moto's done a lot of nice tweaks, and the CRT blink-off effect is back on the Photon.

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G

Any UI lag we thought we experienced on the Droid 3 appears to be gone on the Photon. This thing flies -- expect when you want to launch the camera app with the physical button. Here's a little tip for everybody who wants to make a smartphone with a physical camera button -- pay Microsoft whatever you have to to license what it's done with Windows Phone 7. Three seconds is too long to wait for the camera app to launch. Two seconds is too long. And the fact that sometimes it's a short wait and other times it's long is even more infuriating.

Apps on board that we'll be taking a deeper look at:

  • Phone portal -- a way to manage your phone's content from a computer, either while plugged in or over Wifi.
  • Rich Location -- sort of an alternative to Google Places.
  • Sprint Mobile Wallet -- same as what was announced for the Nexus S 4G.
  • Sprint Worldwide -- It's a world phone, and kudos to Sprint for giving a little global help
  • Webtop connector. Yeah, we'll check it out again.
  • Sprint ID. Yeah, it's Sprint ID. But it's also the first Blur phone with Sprint ID.

So that's a quick -- if a bit wordy -- look at the Sprint Motorola Photon 4G. The tl;dr version is pretty positive, too. It feels great in the hand, and so far it's pretty darn speedy. We'll have plenty more coming up, including a deeper look at the software, the camera, battery life and data speeds.

The Photon 4G goes on sale Sunday, July 31, for $199. And so far, we've seen nothing to make us think you should stay away.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review.

 
There are 121 comments

lldsandsll says:

the evo3d is 4g. did you forget about the evo3d?

craigf#AC says:

Exactly...the EVO 3D has arguably better functional guts (proc, RAM, etc.). The Photon's two advantages appear to be Gorilla Glass and a kickstand...oh and an 8MP camera in the back (not that 5MP vs. 8MP matters much on a pinhole camera). Everything else is either the same or inferior to the 3D (esp. Blur vs. Sense), so I'm not sure why the AC guys are so impressed. Seems like Moto is just playing catch-up to HTC with the Photon.

lldsandsll says:

actually since the evo is dual 5mp, it can create 10mp images. also, gimmick or not, i love the 3d feature. i find it awesome.

also evo has QHD display.

skitzer9 says:

It has two 5mp cameras but they dont add up to 10mp, you only use one 5mp camera for 2D, and when in 3D the camera shoots at 2mp max.

lldsandsll says:

but you can use the two images to increase the quality of the image

unclegeek says:

I'd like to read that tech spec... everything I've read says it's a 5 mp camera period. Please post where you read that. It does 5mp 2D with one camera, 5mp 3D with two cameras.. the 2nd camera does nothing for improving the 2D pics.

skitzer9 says:

Just in case:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/15/htc-evo-3d-review/

Around the 9th paragraph, 7th line
Quote:
"Strangely, while both cameras feature 5 megapixel sensors, 3D photos consist of a pair of 2 megapixel widescreen stills (that's 1920x1080 pixels each)"

Of course I don't have one to verify if that's true.

cheechmo says:

Arg! Stop spreading nonsense! This topic has been discussed ad nauseum. If you're doing a 2D image, you're only going to get the image from ONE OF THE 5MP CAMS.

jmiahman#AC says:

While it is true you can't mix the images to get 10MP, MP itself is always in Question for mobile devices. Many camera's claim to be higher in MP but don't offer the quality in imaging to back that up. Against the Evos 4G 8MP Camera not using the default modes from HTC (ie. set your own ISO, lighting) the camera on the 3D is noticeably superior even at 5MP with then same settings as the Evo 4G. Try it out those who have both. Most notably is low light conditions where the 3D blows the 4G out of the water.

meany105 says:

that remark about the cameras is the most stupid thing i have heard, i just couldn't help laughing out loud!

BUT in all seriousness, the 3d and the qhd and sense do make the evo3d a FAR superior phone

Dhamp2g says:

EVO 3D has gorilla glass.

jmiahman#AC says:

To back up what you said here's a list of HTC products with Gorilla
http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/products-with-gorilla/htc

deaofly says:

The tegra 2 in the photon rapes the snapdragon in the 3d. Play emus and u will notice a HUGE difference between the 2 phones.

eliway says:

You fail. Emulators dont use GPU at all, only CPUs. The ONLY reason youre seeing better perfoamnce on tegra 2 right now is because tegra 2's CPUs are synchronous, meaning CPU core #2 runs even when core #1 hasnt reached 100% speed. This is not how it works on snapdragon (it saves battery life).
Some emulators have already been updated for snapdragon and they run better.

yankeesusa says:

Photon's advantage of gorilla glass is really not an advantage over the evo3d. The evo 3d has gorilla glass also. I think the biggest thing this phone is going to have over the evo3d is world phone capability and more memory. Either way this phone is great. But with locked bootloader this phone is almost junk to a lot of people.

tprevett says:

Evo 3D has Gorilla Glass, as well as a bunch of other phones which were questionable..

http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/products-with-gorilla/full-products-list

terrycanfly says:

There is no way the evolution 3d has better anything unless you want 3d technology. The dual core snapdragon is crap compared to the tegra 2. The snapdragon is based off cortex a8 technology while the tegra 2 is cortex a9. And the performance is significantly higher,its like going from a core2 duo to a core i7. The only processors currently out there that can beat the tegra is the omap 44xx and the Samsung exynos. I'm waiting til next year when the cortex a15 based soc's start showing up. There is a reason all the dualcore snapdragon soc's are having issues with1080p video framerates. Its an old technology. People just need to get off htc's ball sack.

Sapient2k7 says:

Snapdragon is a hybrid Cortex A8/A9 design it has partial out of order execution and a fully functional 128 bit FPU. Cortex A9 is 2.5 dmips/mhz per core while Snapdragon is 2.1 dmips/mhz per core. EVO3D has a 1.2 Ghz chip and 2.1x1.2 = 2.52 so 1GHz Tegra 2 and MSM8660 should be on par with each other. Tegra 2 does NOT have Neon implemented (only chip to not have it among cortex a9 chips) this is also a disadvantage.

Geforce ULP is (theoretically) less powerful than Adreno 220. Nvidia has been utilizing its expertise in driver arena by making it more efficient and it shows in benchmarks.

Exynos is not as good as OMAP4 either. Samsung increased the CPU speed for tab10.1 to compete favorably against Tegra2 (since it will have tegra2 in some regions and exynos 4210 in others).

piaband says:

The EVO 3D is alright, but a lot of the things it has I won't use. They will just drain the battery.

This looks like a great phone. I can't believe how little I've seen about it up until now. This is definitely the darkhorse. It's actually what I wanted the EVO 4G successor to be.

mrmojoz says:

Name one thing the Evo 3D has that you won't use which drains the battery.

myalover says:

I hate to say it, but I think I found my new phone until HTC make's a non 3D version of the Evo.

codkill says:

As an owner of the Evo 3D, who doesn't use the 3D, why would you not get the 3VO and just not use the 3D capability? I haven't understood the hatred towards this phone because it has a feature that you don't have to ever come in contact with. It is an amazing phone.

lldsandsll says:

he probably hasn't even tried it out. he's likely one of those automatic 3D haters. if you really play with it and figure it out, the 3D feature is pretty hot. you can get popping images, and diorama like images depending on how you snap photos. also, like you said, it doesn't have to be done in 3D.

I have tried 3 EVO 3D's and i am getting the Photon. Same specs and better call quality, plus world phone, webdock and better camera minus 3D. It sounds like the EVO users are the confused ones!

EMT J says:

Call quality on the 3D is fine, plus that's something subjective, has to do with location and signal strength too. More megapixels doesn't automatically equal better camera. 3D capability is neither a plus or minus, it has no effect on performance. It's an afterthought in daily use. Its a bonus, something u can show off to ur friends. World phone capability is nice, but unless you're really a hardcore world traveler its not really a benefit. Laptop dock is cool, but its not like the phone comes with it. Its something extra you'll have to buy. I'd call it a tie, out the box both phones will have the same capabilities. Can't go wrong with either one.

bwithey11 says:

theres a reason a lot of people dont like 3d. its semi pointless and ridiculously over priced. if i want to see something in 3d i get my ass off the couch and see it. the sun is your friend, it wont hurt you!

EMT J says:

Overpriced for movies? I guess so, but what does that have to do with 3D on mobile devices? I paid the same price for the EVO 3D as I did for the original last year.

dcfella says:

Agree 100%. When the 3D was announced, I hated the fact that it had that feature cause I thought I wouldn't like it. After playing with it for a few minutes at the store, I was pretty much hooked. I've had the phone for exactly 1 month now and have no intentions of returning it. It's runs extremely smooth and improves on my old Evo 4G in almost everyway....plus word is out that permanent root comes out TONIGHT....

http://revolutionary.io/

ZeroGPain says:

That link has me sooo excited right now ...if they announce full root by 6pm EST then i will go pick up 3D by days end !
[ Currently using EVO 4G CyanogenMOD 7.1 RC ]

EMT J says:

I believe Most people who say that have never used it. The naysayers act as though performance was sacrificed in order to give the phone 3D capability. If it was, I'd like to know where. Power and speed is what we've come to expect from smartphones and the EVO 3D doesn't disappoint. Anyone that has used this device would know that. As I'm typing this I'm on the phone with 4G, bluetooth, and gps on. I'm downloading two movies, one 702mb, the other is 557mb and I have 3 email accounts syncing every 10mins. With all that going on, the phone is still very fast and responsive, no lag or force closes or random rebooting.

I'm sure the photon and galaxy s II will be great devices in their own right, I just don't understand people who act as though they will be leaps and bounds ahead of the latest EVO. The hardware is about the same and all are running gingerbread which isn't optimized for dual cores. Each will do something a lil better or worse than the other two. There is no perfect device. Instead of nitpicking and trying find fault with other devices I appreciate the fact that Android and Sprint give me so many high end phones to choose from.

twospirits says:

nice preview teaser of the phone. Looking forward to the full part 2. Shame it doesn't come with a sd-card but can't ask for everything I guess.

Dhamp2g says:

At this point there is no reason that you shouldnt have a sd card to transfer to it any way.

twospirits says:

This is true, and if they did it would probably be a low sized card like 8, which i have already. I'll probably get a 32gb and call it a day.

Masheen says:

This is basically the bionic minus the cool name and verizon droid branding...so is the Atrix come to think of it. As far as raw specs go. Of course most of us want LTE.

This is much closer to the Atrix and Droid X2 as both are Tegra 2.

Bionic is more of a distant cousin with OMAP4 and DDR2 RAM.

Go Android! says:

Omg I've been waiting for this. Idk why the Evo 3D doesn't appeal to me at all. It just feels too much like my current Evo.

lldsandsll says:

don't knock it til you try it. it feels like the evo4g grew up is what it feels like. the 3d is improved in everything that made the evo4g great.

this moto phone is pretty much exactly like the evo4g.

mrazzino says:

Except it's, you know, nothing like the Evo 4g. I'd list all the reasons why not, but that seems pointless with a review (hint: scroll up). Don't say they are the same based on 4.3 inch screen, 4G, and a kickstand.

Go Android! says:

The 3D isn't a selling feature to me. To me it's like HDMI on my Evo...it's just there and I never use it. I've played with the Evo 3D in person. The interface isn't new to me since I have a Sense 3.0 ROM on my Evo. The hardware is nice, but looks just like my Evo. I'm just not interested...I want change.

stockkid07 says:

What r u talking about. The evo 3d comes with gorilla glass as well.

mrazzino says:

Do you have confirmation of this? I have yet to see that. Corning doesn't tell you one way or another, and HTC says they use a "proprietary formula" for their glass.

Brianadfl says:

ohhhhh snap! =)

Darkshneider says:

So according to that list, my scratched up Sprint Hero has GorillaGlass? I dont think so...

web05hitz says:

"...where it meats the casing."

I love sausage humor!

The question is; How is the Proton's 1GB of RAM used? Is the full 1GB available for use all the time or only only when the Proton's on the laptop dock,like the Atrix is?

skitzer9 says:

Good question!!! I would also like to know

zacisblack says:

Android always uses half of the available RAM. The rest is open for whatever.

Jarvis73 says:

Sprint has a world phone other than a crackeberry!!!!!!!!!

What about the xpert?

mrazzino says:

So can you not charge while using the kickstand? Seems kind of pointless. On my Evo 4G I usually only used the kickstand when watching videos, which meant I was probably charging my phone at the same time.

k425 says:

You can put the Photon in portrait orientation and the kick stand works vertically allowing you to charge it via the side microUSB port.

mrazzino says:

While good to know, I would not want to watch movies in portrait orientation. The only solution is to buy a dock if you want to charge while watching movies. Additionally, it's cool that you can put it in a desktop dock mode when you open the kickstand, but again there is no charging potential. I wouldn't leave my phone on my nightstand in portrait orientation charging all night as it would be a lot easier to knock over (at least I think it would be).

Still glad to see the phone has a kickstand at all. Just seems like a weird design decision. I guess putting the volume rocker on the bottom would be bad as well since you usually want access to volume while watching movies.

E.J.Su says:

Motorola makes weird and terrible industrial design decisions all the time.

mjforte says:

The Thunderbolt is the exact same way. Stop hating.

strick1226 says:

Wow! I didn't notice that until you just pointed it out. That's a bad design.

Just saw k425's clarification on kickstand orientation and charging possibilities. That's actually pretty cool.

ccfixx says:

It may be a "bad" design but there must be a reason for it within the phone because HTC did the same thing with the Thunderbolt, kickstand with the charging port on the left-side of the phone. Even though the HTC EVO 3D doesn't have a kickstand, it's port will be in the same predicament for those users that get a case with a built-in stand. So, there has to be an internal reason as to why the manufacturers are putting the charging port on the side instead of the bottom.

Synycalwon says:

It's designed that way to be used with a dock. :)

^^Exactly! That way they Motorola can market and sell another accessory for $49.95. Pass. I need to be able to charge and/or plug in the HDMI while on the kickstand in landscape mode...period. Still haven't seen a phone come out that makes me want to trade in my Evo 4G. SGSII maybe?

Brianadfl says:

if it going to be the same as the 3vo then its only $30: http://store.androidcentral.com/mobi-products-cradle-w-spare-battery-slo...

tbizzy1985 says:

Probably because they want you to dock it.

DavidJ726 says:

I agree, that's the 1st thing I thought of as Phil was saying how cool the desktop clock was when put into landscape mode. That's actually a deal breaker for me, and purchasing a dock to overcome that shortcoming isn't going to cut it. But nonetheless, it's still a very nice handheld device.

crzycrkr says:

From what I have read, the kickstand is actually strong enough when extended that you can flip the phone upside down in landscape and it will work.

jthiemeyer says:

This is true. I currently have mine sitting on the table next to me like that.

bingeMAFIA says:

How is the screen quality? Pentile?

Pentile. Its okay. My epic has an incredible screen and I'd rather have that than the bier and higher resolution screen. I do enjoy the higher resolution. The speed and power of this phone is really nice so out will for sure replace my epic.It feels great and like a high quality phone. I still like swype more than the multi touch keyboard.

Telperion says:

Evo 3D doesn't have NFC or capability to be used as a world phone overseas. That doesn't make the Photon better, it just means it's better for some people, just like the 3D is better for others.

lldsandsll says:

i will fully agree that world functionality is a great feature that the evo3d lacks and that is an appealing feature. i only wish i personally traveled the world more.

A world phone maybe appeals to a very small percentage of people. How many times are you going to go overseas and use your phone??

VDub2174 says:

Can't wait to get mine!!

kruglovus says:

1650mAh battery??? Are you saying Sprint and Motorola lied to us about 1700mAh? http://newsroom.sprint.com/news/motorola-photon-4g-fact-sheet.htm

It is 1650

Dhamp2g says:

I wanna see what the battery life is like. I might take my #D back for this if the battery life is better than 3D.

Savoy says:

Ya cause I dunno about you guys but I can't wait to go away overseas to use my "world phone' and get charged retarded roaming fees for the "thanks" of using my " world phone". Yup can't wait. Unless you are a regular international business traveler noone has any "real" use for GSM capabilities in a phone. If they did they would probably already be with AT&T or Tmobile.

unclegeek says:

You just ask Sprint to unlock the sim.. they will do so after a brief speech on how international roaming and billing works... then you buy a prepaid sim card in europe for REAL CHEAP and pop it in the phone.
Yes Sprint's international roaming and data is ridiculous.. but you're not tied to that.
I'm buying the Photon for this feature and the dual core tegra.. love my Xoom and now I can run those games on my phone! awesome!

VDub2174 says:

Just because you don't have a use for it doesn't mean nobody else does. Maybe you should learn more about Wrold Phones before commenting about them.

Dave4321 says:

It is a pentile display. BGR said it was a little better than the Droid 3, but you can still see the pixel grid.

josuearisty says:

Nice, great device. I hope to see something like PHOTON 4G 2 early next year!!

mpaul4 says:

Waiting for the GSII.

Better grab a snickers... because it might be a while :P

Kabump says:

You mean wait for next month? Word is its out in August. Not that much longer to wait, my upgrade isn't until then anyway.

For me there are a few reasons why I'll wait for GSII over this phone. Dont get me wrong, there is a lot to like about this phone from all I've heard, its not a bad phone by any means. But having a locked bootloader is a deal-breaker for me. Just complicates the rooting process, and I always have a device that I can toss Cyanogenmod on. Samsung themselves sent Cyanogen a GSII a month back so he could start working with it. Awesome.

While I will miss the kickstand, the placement of the usb port means I'll never use it like I do with my Evo 4G right now. Also, I have zero use for the world phone capabilities. Its also my understanding that the screen on the GSII is much nicer. However, all told, the Photon does indeed sound like a nice phone. I'll never understand the zeal with which people will argue that one phone "sucks" if its not their phone of choice, when its not a terrible phone at all.

cgardnervt says:

I am still loving my E3D!

Still good review none the less!

E3D > Moto

zmann says:

I for one am happy for sprint also. I have the evo 3D and love it. The photon looks to be another beast and after the whole palm pre debacle its good to see sprint with some great hardware out with more to come in the near future. We should not be arguing about who has the better device because they are all good. All the new ones i mean, you can't lose no matter which one you choose.

Dont waste time ordering online if you are Premier. I ordered first thing on the 28th and verified I. Won be gtting it until next Tuesday. I wonder if the Sprint marketing department has more than two brain cells to rub together. I could have not wasted my upgrade and had the Photon on Sunday instead of Tuesday, how is this early order date a benefit for Premier customers? Anyone from Sprint want to answer that?

Alex1x says:

Razor---> iPhone3gs---> EVO 4g---> EVO 3d

First of all, I don't let marketing of products convince me into buying, I let the product itself sell on me. EVO 3D is nice. Any issues (slow down) I had with my e4g in no more. I have a better camera and niche of 3D. I love taking 3D pics and videos, I can always view my 3D pics in 2D.
With that said, let me say this Photo Motor phone looks ugly. Specs matter but would you carry a 20lbs tool box with all your favorite specs and call it your phone?
I have a situation: Do I keep my 3D which I love OR go for sexy Galaxy S2? Sorry photon whatever your not invited... LOL

bwithey11 says:

to call this phone ugly is to call every large screen phone ugly bc they are all the same: large screen, small bezel, maybe a couple buttons. then again, you did own a razor and iphone so maybe you're a few apples short.

You sound like a second grader and the photon didn't pick you first in gym class

Is it just me or are the app icons really ugly, even if you put another launcher on it you are still stuck with those icons.

kstagg says:

No you're not. Just download some new icons from the Android Market to your phone that are compatible with the Launcher of your choice (I am using ADW EX with my Photon and the honeycomb theme icons which were free in the market and one pack was several hundred in size).

The only place you have to look at those icons are within the app drawer. The rest can be changed.

cujoe says:

I want to know what its like in the sun. My HTC Evo is garbage out doors in bright light. Would like a phone that can handle bright light.

youngzayiles says:

Glad sprint is getting more choices.. Personally though if I didnt have my evo 3d id wait on the GS2... I may still check out the GS2 just dont know if I can deal with touchwiz... Sense is so much better.

Klash6543 says:

I definitely agree with that; i feel like sense is the best UI overlay on top android. Better than Motoblur, and Touchwiz, but i beleive overall the Samsung Galaxy S2 will be the best phone when it finally does come out for Sprint, and thats what i'm waiting for. ( and to think, up until this point i've only been a HTC kinda guy)

corymcnutt says:

GREAT looking box!

Synycalwon says:

LOL. Yah, that box looks odd. It's too big. I know it's subjective, but the bigger issue is that the Photon is kind of ugly physically and in the software (what's with those icons and layout?). It may be the corners on the phone overall when looking at it from the front. But the back just looks awful! The kickstand looks crappy, too small and cheap looking, kind of like the old EVO. It should've had a newer updated look.

"Under the hood, you've got an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core system on a chip (that means it's rocking both the main processor as well as the graphic processor), running at 1 GHz."

Maybe i am reading this wrong, but tegra does not run 1ghz on the video. They don't even make desktop video cards that fast. Tegra 2 has a 300mhz geforce chip.

mrmojoz says:

You are reading it wrong, the GPU is only mentioned as they were giving a definition for SoC.

Just So you know the photon, while not hooked up to the lapdock, it will use that 1gb of ram when its plugged in it will use some of it..so you def are getting and using the 1gb of ram

Love my Evo (had it on release day and no problems since)so im not partial to HTC or MOTO

The 3D i purchased for my dad is a different story. We have had nothing but problems with it. Today it wouldnt accept a charge for some unknown reason. I had to battery pull. Then the battery drained suddenly. Other day the 3g radio wouldnt work. No data and i tried everything. battery pulls etc. Had to do a hard reset. May just be a defective phone but im not a fan so far.

The photon would be my choice

jmiahman#AC says:

defective phone take it back..

Thrasherx2k1 says:

Cracks me up how all these Evo 3D owners here are getting defensive just because the Photon is getting praised as the best current Sprint smartphone. I just played with it today at a local Sprint store and I can assure everyone it is a better overall device than the Evo 3D having owned it. Only problem I noticed is a little lag on the home screens but I am sure a future update can take care of that...

jmiahman#AC says:

Not defensive actually bummed and playing with it today (the Photon) it is much more laggy then the my 3D that was right next to it. As the Sprint rep said under his breath "I guess the Tegra Bench marks were cooked" I actually think it's the fault moto blur though. Guess I'll be sticking with the 3D till the Evo 4G+ comes.

Thrasherx2k1 says:

Like I said the only thing with a hint of lag is the home screen transitions but I am sure this can be taken care of with a future update. Otherwise the Photon I messed up with was speedy all around. I really like the feel of it in the hand too...

eteeXRM says:

Doubtful a future update will fix many things. Motorola has had a long time to fix performance issues with the Atrix on ATT.

Tried the EVO 3D and the Photon at the Sprint store. Definitely liked the in-hand feel of the moto. It's light yet sold feeling; also liked the tapered edges. Speed-wise they're similar but I felt the EVO 3D was snappier while browsing websites.

I hope Sprint leaves the GSM part unlocked. Otherwise, this really good world phone will be a phone with ridiculous foreign roaming prices. Seriously who would pay $2.49 a minute to make calls while in Ghana? I'm sure their other country rates are similarly ridiculous.

Dee Dee says:

I've had a Motorola before and it was an awful experience on CDMA. I had the Epic and Samsung took forever with updates, battery life sucked, and widgets were lacking. I went back to HTC with the 3D and I have no regrets. At this point, I only trust HTC on Sprint.

b737thurman says:

Wow! A non Evo 3d story and 70% of comments are rah,rah,rah Evo 3d. Some people are feeling a little insecure. Isn't there a 3d forum some where for you guys to post on? Photon here I come. So long Samsuck. Goodby to waiting on your mythical Epic gingerbread update!

Thrasherx2k1 says:

Totally agree... Evo 3D fanboys get so defensive about everything. I bought the Evo 3D based on all the praise it received in the forums. It was on Ebay the next day after buying it! Can't decide if I wanna go the Photon or SGS2 route. The Photon looks appealing to me because of its ridiculous reception and feel in the hand. SGS2 just looks gorgeous and has some nice specs to back it up. I dunno its a toss up for me...

ibejack96 says:

i'm still waiting for the nexus prime

I > Got To Have It :)

Dark_Blu says:

The EVO 3D isn't a world phone so it doesn't have the one feature I need more than 4G or even 3D. WORLD PHONE. This phone is my next phone.

I have tested call quality on the Photon, 3D and Nexus. Photon is the winner by far and the Nexus.is second with 3D bringing up the rear. If call quality and speaker volume is important get the Photon. Of you want media and 3D and don't make many calls go with the 3D.

Thomas RK says:

I think Motorola has to stop making their phones look so rugged

andoman says:

Why? I think it's a bit different, and I like it. There really isn't all that much you can do with a slab with 4 captive keys on the bottom, volume rocker on the side, and camera button. Really as far as I'm concerned they all pretty much look the same.

Mike77 says:

Seems like I'm the only one, but I like the cut corners look.

CarrieK says:

To each his own. There are a many different types of people, hence many different types of phones. Having said that, I am a very satisfied EVO 3D owner and am posting here to say that my EVO 3D kicks butt, haven't had a single problem with it (call quality, photos, video, service, etc) and would not even consider switching phones. Why? Because all we have been seeing for weeks on the 3D forums were posts from people who called it "gimmicky" and based their opinion of the phone solely on the 3D aspect and not the rest of its performance, stating that it s*cked and were waiting for the Photon. Now that the Photon is released and reviewers have proclaimed it the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread, hopefully people will go over to the Photon section of the forum and post about how great their phones are and leave the 3D forum for those of us who actually enjoy our phones, want to get them rooted, ask questions, etc.

JeffCue says:

How is the camera close up. My EVO sucked at text closer than 2 inches, it would focus then go blurry. Does this do the same thing or can it focus on the close up shots?

CarrieK says:

Mine has no problem focusing on close-up shots, fwiw. I also like having the dedicated camera button. With the EVO 4G, I would take crappy pictures not necessarily because of the quality of the camera but because I couldn't hold it still and tap the camera button.

eteeXRM says:

Couple questions hoping you can answer for the second review.

1. What is the call clarity like?
2. Is the GSM part unlocked? If not, will Sprint support unlocking for for use with any sim?
3. What display technology is used for the screen?

Thanks!

Dark_Blu says:

What of that "Pentile Display" that some owners are complaining about in the Photon forum? Seeing a bunch of little dots?

breitmike says:

Yep, Moto has a WINNER here ! I took the leap from over 1 Yr on my EVO 4g, which I loved.....to a new Photon. It seems faster, smoother, better display, better quality photos....overall far better ! I am impressed !! Great Job Moto and Sprint !

kdjd28 says:

Hi all,

This is the first time I have ever joined a forum. I have owned iPhones for years (3g, 3gs, 4) and have always loved the iPhone. However...I have seen the Photon and it seems incredible! I have been searching reviews, reading forums, etc. I am 99% sure I am going to buy the Photon. But I am really nervous.

I also have a Macbook, and if I synced my Photon, it would be on my Macbook.

Have any of you owned an iPhone and switched to the Photon? How is it compared? Has anyone tried syncing the Photon on a Macbook?

Thanks so much for any help or suggestions you might have. I really appreciate it.

Was a diehard WebOS Pre- user who finally gave up when HP pulled the rug out from under us. After reading Part 1 of this review I bought new Photons from Sprint. Actually picked them up at Best Buy for $100 less than the Sprint store would give them to us for. I think there are some extra charges we'll face for doing it this way but still less than the $199 at Sprint.

It's taken some getting used to but slowly getting there. Still definitely love WebOS way better than Android. But I digress.......

It's been six weeks since Part 1 of this review ran.... when are we going to see Part 2?? I'm trying to learn as much about how to make the most of my Photon and these articles help point me to things I never knew I could do. Part 1 helped me make the decision to buy it.. Would love to see what Part 2 has to offer that I don't know about yet.