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Motorola PHOTON 4G specs review

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Motorola PHOTON 4G specs review
This wouldn't be the first time when we mention that the Motorola PHOTON 4G is pretty similar to the Motorola ATRIX 4G in terms of hardware. Both devices share the same NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core chipset clocked at 1 GHz and have a whopping 1GB of high-performance RAM at their disposal. Having all this processing horsepower means that running demanding 3D games coming straight from the Tegra Zone and playing back 1080p HD videos would be tasks that the PHOTON 4G should excel at.

Another feature that both devices share is the impressive 540 by 960 display resolution, which is slowly turning into a must-have requirement in order to acquire the title of a true high-end smartphone. However, something that keeps bothering us is that there is still no word whether the PHOTON 4G will adopt the pentile matrix pixel arrangement seen in the ATRIX 4G and expected in the Motorola DROID 3 or will use a standard RGB pattern. In a nutshell, a pentile matrix display tries to trick the eye into perceiving a high resolution image by having its subpixels arranged in a special way. Unfortunately, this does not work for everyone as some users can still spot the difference. At the end of the day, the actual display resolution of the Motorola PHOTON 4G might turn out to be noticeably lower than advertised.

Motorola PHOTON 4G specs review
The PHOTON 4G would not deserve to be called a top-tier device without decent multimedia capabilities, but it looks like the handset has all the necessary hardware in stock. Besides playing back Full HD video, the smartphone can record 1080p footage as well thanks to its 8-megapixel autofocus camera backed up by a dual-LED flash. That being said, the Motorola PHOTON 4G should be capable of replacing your main digital camera when you do not have it nearby. All those captured moments can then be stored onto the handset's built-in 16 gigabytes of storage or on a microSD card of up to 32 gigabytes in size. It is also worth mentioning that by using its micro HDMI output connector, photos and videos stored on the Motorola PHOTON 4G can be shared with friends and family on an HDTV.

Thanks to its WiMAX radio, we do not expect to see anything less of blazing-fast Internet speeds from the Motorola PHOTON 4G. However, with the chances of Sprint switching to LTE in the near future getting higher and higher, we are wondering whether the smartphone would not become outdated sooner than expected. Should that make you think twice about getting one once it launches? Well, not really because WiMAX will most probably still be around until the end of 2013.

Those of you who like to travel abroad will like the fact that the PHOTON 4G is a world phone meaning that it supports GSM connectivity along with Sprint's CDMA network. Just pop in a SIM card while you are on a vacation or on a business meeting overseas and you should be good to go.


The Motorola PHOTON 4G will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is more than expected from a smartphone of its caliber. That means that you will be getting the most up-to-date Android experience possible, or at least until Ice Cream Sandwich starts rolling out. On top of that, the user interface will be treated to a certain degree of customization, and even though we are not really crazy about custom UIs, the changes are expected to be mostly superficial without trying to reinvent any aspect of the phone's functionality from the ground up. As far as modding the software on the smartphone goes, developers might be disappointed to hear that the PHOTON 4G will come with a locked bootloader, at least upon release, yet it might help crossing your fingers and hoping to get an unlocking tool in the future.


The Motorola PHOTON 4G is expected to launch later this summer, and from what we have on paper it seems like it is going to be one very capable high-end smartphone. Having a dual-core Tegra 2 chipset mixed together with WiMAX connectivity sounds like a very promising combination indeed. On top of all, the 4.3-inch qHD display will make consuming media on the go more than a pleasure so we might be dealing with a real winner right here. If you have not done so, feel free to check our Motorola PHOTON 4G Hands-on, or if you feel like browsing through our catalog of devices, you can also check out the queue of upcoming Sprint phones.


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posted on 27 Jun 2011, 10:12 2

1. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Yes another winner for Sprint. Wow just another great 4G phone on Sprint. That is not to mention that the Samsung Galaxy S II is STILL not even out yet. Sprint has a killer line of ultra powerful Android phones. Just another notch on the belt of America's hottest carrier Sprint!

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 17:06 1

9. Allday28 (Posts: 283; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)

Get a life!

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 01:04

12. Whateverman (Posts: 3284; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Yeah, I gotta give the thumbs up to Sprint on this one. Very impressive. If they can continue to improve their coverage and customer service, they could a few consecutive quarters in the black.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 10:21 1

2. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

And so far (at least with the EVO 3D), Sprint is ordering sufficient stock of their high end handsets. At the same time after sales started last year, the EVO had sold out, and no one knew when new stock would be available.

Give Sprint credit for adequately ordering this time around. (thumb up)

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 10:51

3. jwl3429 (Posts: 36; Member since: 28 Sep 2009)

If this and other new phones will not get upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich why buy them as in less then a year they will be dated with no future upgrades.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 11:15 2

4. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

It's shipping with Gingerbread, which means it most probably WILL be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich. Most high end Android phones right now have gone through two software updates: the original DROID started out with Android 2.0 and ended up with 2.2, the DROID X started with 2.1 and now has 2.3, and the same with the Evo.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 12:04 1

5. urthatguy (Posts: 19; Member since: 22 Jun 2011)

meh. another android phone, next

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 05:22

14. guest89 (unregistered)

what else is it suppose to be...its always gonna be just another android phone.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 12:45 2

6. Su-Rio (Posts: 51; Member since: 05 May 2011)

isnt this the first dual core phone with 4g, 3g, and GSM? nice phone for sprint!

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 13:02 1

7. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)

i'd definitely take this if i was on Sprint at the moment.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 16:05 1

8. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Am I the only one who thinks it is kinda ironic that, considering how important Verizon was to Motorola's success, both AT&T (Atrix) and Sprint will most likely have a premium device from Moto before the Bionic on Big Red?

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 20:31 1

10. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)

the best takes time to deliver my friend.

posted on 27 Jun 2011, 22:50 2

11. iSlackerz (unregistered)

My biggest question about the Photon is: Why does a phone, that is significantly larger than its sibling, with essentially the same internal hardware, have a smaller capacity battery? If Motorola can stuff a 1930 mAh battery into the, relatively, svelte Atrix why can't they do the same for the more physically imposing Photon?

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 02:41

13. DedManzChest (unregistered)

I'm so glad to know that Sprint's phone line-up won't stay Samsung and HTC centric. Come on LG, Kyocera/Sanyo, HP/Palm! Show us something good w/4G! You can do it! Don't let Samsung or HTC hog up the spot light!

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 18:56

15. homineyhominey (Posts: 29; Member since: 10 Mar 2011)

Kyocera tried it's hand twice with Android devices on Sprint. The Zio and the incredibly depressing Echo. Both those phones had some major flaws in their design and delivery. LG has been making some noise on some other carriers, so hopefully they come up with a big daddy and HP/Palm might not ever come back to Sprint. (Or might not be welcome.)

posted on 06 Jul 2011, 10:12

16. damienh28 (Posts: 49; Member since: 23 Dec 2010)

Im really considering this, As a sprint fan-boy I was happy we had this speedster but i never really liked Motorola, Im a Samsung guy, My epic is awesome but The sequel will be so wack, sound like and the galaxy s2 or full touch 4g not sure i don't like to guess, but whatever it has to be dominant, But i think i want this its fast and sexy looking,

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