UPDATE: This "first impressions" review was done based on a short period of time with this Android smartphone. A more complete version based on in-depth testing is available here:
The Motorola Photon 4G is Sprint's newest high-end device, sporting cutting-edge specs and a $200 suggested retail price. I've had my hands on a review unit of one for about 24 hours now, and I'm ready to make some preliminary observations.
The Photon is a little beefier than you might expect for a device which doesn't feature a keyboard. Compared to one of Sprint's other high-end non-keyboard phones, the Samsung Nexus S 4G, the Photon is noticeably bigger and heavier.
But it also packs a lot of other things into that space, including a whopping 1700 mAh battery, dual-core processor, worldwide GSM for international roaming, HDMI out, GeForce graphics controller, and FM radio. That's on top of 4G Internet, 16GB of memory, and a large, high-resolution screen. There are other phones which can match the Photon's spec sheet, but not many that can claim to pass it.
But as much as it has an impressive loadout, the spec sheet isn't what really sets this smartphone apart from other devices. The Photon picks up where the Motorola Atrix 4G left off, offering expanded capabilities through docking stations. Most notably the "HD Station" dock, which when connected to the phone gives you HDMI and audio out, power, and three USB Host ports. My review unit came with one, although this is normally sold separately with a $99 suggested retail price.
Overall, my first impression of the Photon is pretty good. Yes, it's a bit large and heavy, but its specs are as impressive as anything out there right now. And while the docking options are horribly expensive, they do offer a certain flexibility that you won't find in other phones. It's durable, it's fast, and it's loaded with pretty much every feature you could ask for.
We'll see whether that impression holds up as I test it out over the coming days, and I'll be back soon with my full review, including benchmarks, battery life, and feature comparisons.
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