The Motorola Photon 4G offers dual-core power and 4G speed, but still suffers from Motorola’s notoriously bad display technology.

- Jeffrey Van Camp , Digital Trends 

Reviews summary

8.1/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 20 reviews

The Motorola Photon 4G is one of US Cellular’s best mobile phone offerings to date, offering many great hardware and software features. But when compared to other phones from the competition, just how good is the Photon 4G in terms of overall usage and user experience?

Well, imagine your first time using a smartphone with a screen that’s larger than your palm. Oh, you’ve never been able to experience that before? Then that’s the perfect excuse to get your hands on this one. It features a 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen display, an 8MP camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and support for 4G wireless networks. There’s a 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM onboard, which should make navigating menus and using apps mostly trouble-free. And speaking of apps, it supports all kinds of software products that are designed to work with Android version 2.3.

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Back to the hardware side of things, this Motorola also comes with microUSB and HDMI-out ports, which makes it useful for applications that involve the use of stand-alone computers or computer peripherals. And when not connected to any such things, it lends itself to a variety of mobile Internet related uses, including mobile Web browsing thanks to its support for EV-DO Rev. A, HSDPA, and LTE.

Battery life is one of its weak points, as it only comes with a 1700 mAh capacity unit, possibly the best thing they could fit in its 12mm thin casing. It certainly has a lot of features that could be put to good use, only don’t expect more than one full day’s worth of usage without interruptions for charging.

Need to Know: Motorola Photon 4G

1. Support for a wide range of mobile networks ensures fast and reliably mobile data connections wherever there is network coverage. (The Good)

2. Inclusion of kickstand allows for comfortable usage on the go. (The Good)

3. Default operating system is seriously outdated and limiting considering the kind of specs it is packing. (The Bad)

4. Relatively low-capacity battery unit gives disappointing battery life, especially for users who constantly use 4G. (The Bad)


Specs summary

Screen
4.3"

The Motorola Photon 4G's screen is 4.3 inches with 540 x 960 pixels resolution.

Processor
1GHz

There is a Qualcomm Tegra Dual-Core 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system (OS).

Camera
8+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera useful for video chat and self portraits.
Storage
16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
1700mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 1700 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 8.5 days standby time, 600 minutes (2G), 546 minutes (3G).


Prices (Where to Buy)


Online Buying Options




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Reviews summary

8.1/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 20 reviews

The Motorola Photon 4G is one of US Cellular’s best mobile phone offerings to date, offering many great hardware and software features. But when compared to other phones from the competition, just how good is the Photon 4G in terms of overall usage and user experience?

Well, imagine your first time using a smartphone with a screen that’s larger than your palm. Oh, you’ve never been able to experience that before? Then that’s the perfect excuse to get your hands on this one. It features a 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen display, an 8MP camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and support for 4G wireless networks. There’s a 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM onboard, which should make navigating menus and using apps mostly trouble-free. And speaking of apps, it supports all kinds of software products that are designed to work with Android version 2.3.

Show more

Back to the hardware side of things, this Motorola also comes with microUSB and HDMI-out ports, which makes it useful for applications that involve the use of stand-alone computers or computer peripherals. And when not connected to any such things, it lends itself to a variety of mobile Internet related uses, including mobile Web browsing thanks to its support for EV-DO Rev. A, HSDPA, and LTE.

Battery life is one of its weak points, as it only comes with a 1700 mAh capacity unit, possibly the best thing they could fit in its 12mm thin casing. It certainly has a lot of features that could be put to good use, only don’t expect more than one full day’s worth of usage without interruptions for charging.

Need to Know: Motorola Photon 4G

1. Support for a wide range of mobile networks ensures fast and reliably mobile data connections wherever there is network coverage. (The Good)

2. Inclusion of kickstand allows for comfortable usage on the go. (The Good)

3. Default operating system is seriously outdated and limiting considering the kind of specs it is packing. (The Bad)

4. Relatively low-capacity battery unit gives disappointing battery life, especially for users who constantly use 4G. (The Bad)

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Reviews (8.1/10 Avg. rating)


The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is hefty, but packs modern Android power, an excellent keyboard, and LTE 4G if you're lucky

from Cnet (3 years ago)

Just like its Verizon relative the Droid 4, the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE provides one of the best Android smartphone typing experiences available. Other benefits are its modern Snapdragon S4 processing, bright and colorful screen, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software. Unless you're committed... More

Just like its Verizon relative the Droid 4, the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE provides one of the best Android smartphone typing experiences available. Other benefits are its modern Snapdragon S4 processing, bright and colorful screen, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software. Unless you're committed to BlackBerry, a habit I strongly urge you to kick, the Photon Q is must buy for physical keyboard addicts looking for their next Sprint purchase.

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7/10

Comfortable to hold and use, easy-to-read screen

from Good Housekeeping (4 years ago)

The Motorola Photon 4G was simple to navigate and type on, and very comfortable and easy to hold. The phone boasts great call quality, and you can sit back and enjoy movies on the brilliant 4.3-inch qHD display with a convenient kickstand built in. It has webtop capabilities, meaning you can enhance... More

The Motorola Photon 4G was simple to navigate and type on, and very comfortable and easy to hold. The phone boasts great call quality, and you can sit back and enjoy movies on the brilliant 4.3-inch qHD display with a convenient kickstand built in. It has webtop capabilities, meaning you can enhance your phone experience on a larger screen, and the Motoblur interface overlay allows you to link social media accounts. The handset's tremendous processing power would be especially helpful for multitaskers.

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The Photon 4G takes good pictures, follows your fingers on the touchscreen and quickly loads webpages

from Top Ten Reviews (4 years ago)

If you're looking for a phone with a large amount of talk time, a good camera and access to the 4G network, the Motorola Photon 4G will give you what you're looking for. It has a kickstand so you can lean back while you're watching movies or video chatting. It runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread and... More

If you're looking for a phone with a large amount of talk time, a good camera and access to the 4G network, the Motorola Photon 4G will give you what you're looking for. It has a kickstand so you can lean back while you're watching movies or video chatting. It runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has a qHD screen.

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8/10

An above-average super powerful dual-core Android handset

from Android Community (4 years ago)

This is a no-brainer for those that have some loyalty to the U.S. Cellular brand and want the nicest Android device they carry right this moment. If given the choice between this device and the PHOTON 4G, I’d take this one any day of the week. The WiMAX network the PHOTON is working with does... More

This is a no-brainer for those that have some loyalty to the U.S. Cellular brand and want the nicest Android device they carry right this moment. If given the choice between this device and the PHOTON 4G, I’d take this one any day of the week. The WiMAX network the PHOTON is working with does not stand up well where I live (Minnesota) and the battery does tend to suffer more while the device searches for a 4G signal all day long. The ELECTRIFY, on the other hand, works only on U.S. Cellular’s 3G network and has a good coasting day.

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It's a good reason to consider Sprint

from Digital Trends (4 years ago)

If you’re in the market for a new wireless carrier, the Photon 4G gives you a good reason to consider Sprint. Unlike the EVO 3D, Motorola’s new phone doesn’t rely on crafty gimmicks. It’s just a good overall phone. Unfortunately, while we like the design and craftsmanship, th... More

If you’re in the market for a new wireless carrier, the Photon 4G gives you a good reason to consider Sprint. Unlike the EVO 3D, Motorola’s new phone doesn’t rely on crafty gimmicks. It’s just a good overall phone. Unfortunately, while we like the design and craftsmanship, the Photon does suffer from the same screen issues that have plagued recent Motorola devices, and the camera is nothing to write home about. If these features are important to you, perhaps consider looking elsewhere.a good reason to consider Sprint

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10/10

Definitely the first superphone hit of the season

from Engadget (4 years ago)

With its stunning display, impressive battery life and solid performance, the Photon 4G comes very close to dethroning Samsung's mighty Galaxy S II as king of the Android hill. This is simultaneously Motorola's and Sprint's best handset ever -- it takes everything we praised about the Droid X2, adds... More

With its stunning display, impressive battery life and solid performance, the Photon 4G comes very close to dethroning Samsung's mighty Galaxy S II as king of the Android hill. This is simultaneously Motorola's and Sprint's best handset ever -- it takes everything we praised about the Droid X2, adds WiMAX support, a global GSM / HSPA radio and WebTop capability, then wraps it up in a much sleeker package. All that's missing now is a laptop dock and a better camera -- one with a proper two-stage shutter key and 1080p video recording with continuous autofocus. For those who, like us, prefer the flexibility of GSM, have a tendency to root for the underdog and are concerned with AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, it's the first phone compelling enough to justify a switch to Sprint.

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8/10

A great phone with a killer specifications list

from Phonedog (4 years ago)

The Motorola PHOTON 4G is the best smartphone available on Sprint right now.  The user interface may not be as animated as Sense 3.0 on the HTC EVO 3D, but the device more than makes up for it with astounding call quality and a great list of specifications.  The Tegra 2 processor is incred... More

The Motorola PHOTON 4G is the best smartphone available on Sprint right now.  The user interface may not be as animated as Sense 3.0 on the HTC EVO 3D, but the device more than makes up for it with astounding call quality and a great list of specifications.  The Tegra 2 processor is incredibly fast, Motorola's revamped custom UI is far better than MOTOBLUR, and the global roaming capabilities make it a great choice for those that travel internationally.

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The enhanced multimedia- and business-centric features give users a solid all-around experience

from Complex (4 years ago)

Aside from its mediocre 4G service, the Motorola Photon 4G easily stands out as Sprint’s most definitive Android phone yet. Network subscribers have been yearning for a high-powered device cut from the same cloth as Motorola’s AT&T powerhouse, and now they have just that. The dual-co... More

Aside from its mediocre 4G service, the Motorola Photon 4G easily stands out as Sprint’s most definitive Android phone yet. Network subscribers have been yearning for a high-powered device cut from the same cloth as Motorola’s AT&T powerhouse, and now they have just that. The dual-core holds its weight in performance and produces speedy results, while the enhanced multimedia- and business-centric features give users a solid all-around experience. There’s also some fun to be had with Motorola’s accessories, which are reasonably priced when compared to its laptop counterpart. Take all of that into account and you can see why the $200 price tag is practically unbeatable.

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A solid phone with very little to complain about

from MobileBurn (4 years ago)

The Motorola PHOTON 4G is the best smartphone you can get from Sprint right now. Its combination of speed, solid build quality, strong signal strength, and a dash of average battery life put it at the top of Sprint's heap. Though the PHOTON 4G is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there... More

The Motorola PHOTON 4G is the best smartphone you can get from Sprint right now. Its combination of speed, solid build quality, strong signal strength, and a dash of average battery life put it at the top of Sprint's heap. Though the PHOTON 4G is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there is a lot to like about it, so read on to find out all of its ins and outs.

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8.4/10

Hardware is excellent, the wireless performance top-notch, the voice quality fantastic, and even the battery life is good

from Phone Scoop (4 years ago)

After spending more than four days with the Photon 4G, I am confident in recommending it as Sprint's top smartphone. It hits a home run in almost every department. The hardware is excellent, the wireless performance top-notch, the voice quality fantastic, and even the battery life is good.If those b... More

After spending more than four days with the Photon 4G, I am confident in recommending it as Sprint's top smartphone. It hits a home run in almost every department. The hardware is excellent, the wireless performance top-notch, the voice quality fantastic, and even the battery life is good.

If those basics aren't enough to convince you, the messaging options are nearly unlimited, the media playback tools are outstanding, and the system performance is raging fast. The evolution of Motorola's Blur user interface is now complete. It went from an annoying performance-killer on early devices to a tasteful and helpful addition to the stock Android operating system.

The only weakness that I can complain about is the so-so quality of the still images I captured.

If you like kick-butt smartphones, the Photon 4G is one of the butt-kickingest there is. It is easily the best handset available from Sprint, if not some of Sprint's competitors, too. I'd recommend it to any Sprint customer looking for a killer upgrade.

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