Jul 29 AT 3:45 PM Dustin Earley 23 Comments

Motorola Photon 4G review roundup


Starting July 31st, Sprint customers will have a new choice when it comes to which powerhouse device will eat up the data on their line. I’m talking about the highly anticipated Motorola Photon 4G from Sprint. Coming in with a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2, 16GB of memory, a 4.3-inch qHD display and 8MP camera, the Photon is no slouch. But how does that translate into real world use? We’ve taken the time to gather the best of the best reviews on the Motorola Photon 4G and have assembled them here to paint a bigger picture of how the device is being received.

This Is My Next

To start the roundup off, we’ll take a look at Josh Topolsky’s review of the Photon for This Is My Next. After taking an in-depth look at the Photon’s hardware, sound quality, reception, data speeds, battery life, camera and software, the final verdict is just “alright”:

The Photon 4G isn’t exactly a groundbreaking device. If you’re an Android user (and especially if you’re a Mororola device owner), you won’t be surprised by anything here. ... It’s a fine, recognizable contender on a fine, recognizable carrier – but I don’t know if it has the flair to move bodies. The Photon 4G is a great device, but if Sprint and Motorola desire to spike the needle with consumers, they’ll have to try a little harder than this.Josh TopolskyThis Is My Next

On a scale of one to ten, Josh places the Photon at seven and a half. Not bad, but the device certainly could’ve done. better.


Next up is Jonathan Geller from BGR. Much like TIMY, Geller broke the review down into three categories (hardware/display, software and phone/speakerphone/battery) and examined each carefully. Geller seemed to be reasonably impressed on all fronts:

The Motorola PHOTON 4G has an extremely futuristic design identity, and I love it. Instead of having rounded corners, the phone has angled edges that give it a very futuristic and almost Star Trek-like vibe. ... All in all, I prefer Motorola’s custom UI to HTC’s heavy Sense UI, and in the case of the PHOTON it doesn’t seem to slow the handset down at all. ... Talking on the Motorola PHOTON 4G was a decent experience. Calls weren’t crystal clear, but weren’t garbled either ... battery life with a mix of 3G and 4G signals can easily power you into a day, though on just 4G, you’ll have to start looking for a charger after a few hours of heavy usage.Jonathan GellerBGR

After the review is said and done, Geller rates the Photon 4G a clear winner among Sprint’s smartphone lineup.


Possibly the most in-depth review put out to date for the Photon is from Cory Gunther of SlashGear. Not only did Cory take a look at the hardware and software of the device, but also took the time to perform some benchmarks and play around with the HD dock.

As far as the benchmarks went, the Photon performed great. On Quadrant, the Photon rose above similar Tegra devices with a score of 2400. In Vellamo, things were a different story. Scoring barely higher than the single-core myTouch 4G, the Photon was beat out by the newest dual-core Qualcomm devices.

The most interesting part of the review is bundled with the section on the HD dock:

Now this is important because the Webtop App and User Interface allows you to plug your phone into the dock and view your desktop, market, video’s and more all over HDMI to your TV or basically make the phone into a personal portable computer.

Bundled with the HD Dock is an infrared remote so you can control everything wireless. No keyboard or mouse needed, you have media controls and volume. It also features the menu, back, home, and search buttons just as most Android phones do so you can basically access everything without touching the device. The HD Dock is $129 but makes your phone into a desktop PC.Cory GuntherSlashGear

Conclusion? Much like our other two reviews covered so far:  pleased overall.

Wrap up

Have you noticed a pattern in the three reviews summarized above? No one could say anything too bad about the Photon. Some did have valid complaints:

...the Photon 4G suffers from some issues we've seen across multiple Motorola devices, such as the bluish tint to the display and the uneven camera.Armando RodriguezPC World

While others couldn’t find anything bad to say:

The Motorola Photon is the phone Sprint early adopters have been waiting for. It's fast, it's powerful, it connects everywhere, and its nettop functionality is pretty intriguing. ... The Photon easily beats the EVO 3D, with its 3D gimmick, poor RF reception and lack of useful features like a standard HDMI port and kickstand, and it beats the Nexus S 4G, with its poor call quality and Internet speeds. ... the Photon 4G sets the bar for Sprint's smartphones today, and it's easily a competitor for the best other carriers have to offer. Sascha SeganPCMag

If you’re looking to get your hands on a Photon 4G, you can do so on July 31st for just $199.99 on a two-year contract.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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