Motorola PHOTON 4G Hands-on

Motorola PHOTON 4G Hands-on
Gladly accepting their arrival in the high-end category, Sprint finally emerges with some recognizable and noteworthy Android powered smartphones from Motorola’s camp that are sure to give customers a taste of what the longtime manufacturer is capable of delivering. In a sweltering day in New York City, the two manage to come together and announce the Motorola PHOTON 4G – a device that has some similarities to AT&T’s Motorola ATRIX 4G.

Holding it for the first time, it employs a subtle design style similar to the ATRIX 4G, but thankfully enough, it feels rather larger and more sturdy. The increase in size is due to its much larger 4.3” qHD display that instantly comes to life exuding some excellent looking visuals that will attract anyone. Additionally, we like the tough nature of the handset thanks to the soft touch matte material coating its sides and rear. Not something you see that often, it’s suffice to say that some will be receptive to seeing the handset sporting a kickstand – so it’ll work perfectly for those long periods of video watching.

Obviously, this is by far the best selection we’re seeing on Sprint’s lineup in terms of Android devices from Motorola. Packing some modernized amenities, it’s undoubtedly going to be a huge competition to Sprint’s other upcoming handset this summer – the HTC EVO 3D. Some of the PHOTON 4G’s features include a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 16GB of internal storage, 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash, 1080p video recording, and tri-band GSM radio. Needless to say, it’s definitely nice to see this one being offered as a world phone for Sprint.

As for software, it’s running the latest light version of MOTOBLUR that we’re seeing being used by most high-caliber handset from Motorola’s stable. Love it or hate it, it’s running on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread – so it’ll still offer all the essentials. Furthermore, it’s enabled to work with Motorola’s nifty Webtop app, but it’s only offered if you happen to use Motorola’s HD Multimedia Dock or Laptop Dock, which of course, connects to the handset via the microHDMI port. No word on pricing or an exact availability date, but nonetheless, Sprint customers will have something to look forward to this summer either way.

Related phones

  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1700 mAh(9.10h 3G talk time)



1. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I like the inclusion of Gingerblur. It'll give a good preview of what the Bionic is like.

2. knights4life03

Posts: 131; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

Finally a Motorola device on sprint. the style and look of this phone looks very nice the texture on the back looks good and ITS GOT A KICKSTAND!!! WOOT!! ha htc isnt the only one who puts kickstands on there phone the specs totally blows away the existing sprint smartphones but i wonder what it will be like up against the htc evo 3d. im waiting to find out which one is going to be the best upgrade. its going to be interesting :)

3. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Motorola better hurry up and release the Photon. The EVO 3D and the feature-rich Galaxy S II are on their way. Photon doesn't offer anything exclusive except for the Webtop app, which is truly a waste of money. First to be released will be its only positive. If the Photon releases too late, it will get left in the moto-dust.

7. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i'd get this if i was on Sprint, i don't care about 3D because i have sensitive eyes and the Stereoscopic screens and i don't get along. this will just be a pure power house with some nice dock functionality which is good for people who travel a lot.

4. Hen unregistered

Me gusta mucho!

5. Su-Rio

Posts: 51; Member since: May 05, 2011

WORLD PHONE! yes! this looks like a very potential upgrade before the holidays for me... what size battery? unless htc pulls a move on sprint to put the evo 3d as a keyboard phone and without the 3d option...

6. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Sprint never has a huge selection of phones. What they have is a excellent selection of phones. This offering from Moto looks like an excellent offering from them, and will help the bottom line in Sprints profits look even better. Samsung, HTC and Moto will go head to head and it will be fun to look at these devices head to head to head.

8. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

even Verizon with their extensive Android line-up will have very few to throw at Sprint's best but they definitely can with phones like the Droid 3, the Bionic and even the Charge when they update it to Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich and makes it run a little smoother.

9. Su-Rio

Posts: 51; Member since: May 05, 2011

i read somewhere else that this has sprint id... why? theres already motoblur, and then i read it has a 1700 mah battery... wonder if they can make a slim, 2000 mah battery haha

11. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i don't blame any of you Sprint customers for having a bad light on Motoblur from all of the "traditional" Blur handsets you've had so far but i think everybody here needs to realize that this "Lite" version of Blur is 100% better than what you're used to from the few Motorola Android handsets you've seen. trust me, i know because i've had both kinds and get ready for some snappy updates too, Motorola does a good job keeping these kinds of handsets updated. i believe the Droid X was actually one of the first phones in the States to receive a Gingerbread update.

10. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i like how natural the corner trimmings look in John's hand when he's doing the hand's on. looks very comfortable. o:

14. bubba78

Posts: 57; Member since: May 23, 2011

That is a very Sexy looking phone!

12. PhoneCritic unregistered

Why did MO make the kickstand sit on the power cord side??? Looks like some other phone that did the same stupid thing. Guess you wont be watching w/kickstand with power cord attached...!!! Smart move MO. Also, hope that Microphone is not flush to the face of the phone....might get muffled when talking on phone smushed to the face......

13. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

well it was either that or eliminate the dock functionality. i'll do my best to keep my anger in check when i can't watch anything with the kickstand propped while it's low on power and it can only either be docked in the Laptop Dock where i can't enjoy my videos on anything but that bigger display or holding it like i'm not lazy.

16. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The looks of the phone provide a great marketing opportunity: "This phone's corners were the only ones we cut." :D

18. lexi unregistered

but how long does the battery last and wht is the plan?


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Anyone else think thid looks a lot like what the original Droid Bionic was suppose to look like? Very nice phone but I think the new Bionic will be better. THOUGH I WISH IT HAD A KICKSTAND TOO!!!! I mean come on 4.5 inch display and no kick stand?!? lol ok minor complaint but still! I heard the EVO 3D was going to have a case with a kick stand included. If so they really need to make one for the Samsung Infuse and the Bionic when it comes out.

20. Lotherius unregistered

Waiting for this to come out to jump ship from T-Mobile. I like my Galaxy S Vibrant, but TMO has really gone downhill in the last 18 months. Hello (again) Sprint!

21. Krishaun27 unregistered

...and it has a camera button, NICE JOB MOTO!

22. PAT unregistered

You did not give any information about battery life or if the battery is sealed inside like an iphone. I find it much easier to simply carry extra batteries than to carry a charger.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.