2011 has been a huge year for smartphones, and a massive year for Android, one smartphone which we haven’t heard a great deal about is the Motorola PHOTON 4G, recently the guys over at SlashGear got some hands on time with the PHOTON, in our article we will raise some of the main points raised.
You can see videos and photos of the Motorola PHOTON 4G over at SlashGear, in terms of technical specifications you can’t really question this smartphone, with a dual-core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel camera and a massive 4.3-inch display which outputs at 540×960 the PHOTON has a lot to offer. Also there is HDMI-out which plays a big part in this smartphone’s unique features, we will tell you more about this later on.
SlashGear’s Cory Gunther was pretty fond of the handset’s build quality and design, despite it being quite different to Motorola’s recent offerings (excluding the Atrix) and not being as thin as some competing devices, but it has a clean look and a lightweight design, the textured volume rockers and camera button could be regarded as slight design imperfections, but we think that this is something you could used to over time.
As previously mentioned there should be no worries in terms of performance thanks to the impressive hardware within, Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread combines with UI enhancements *cough* Moto Blur *cough* to deliver a rich user experience, you will be glad to hear that the PHOTON doesn’t come bundled with too many pre-installed apps and in Quadrant benchmarks it outperformed devices such as the Droid X and LG G2x, that said in the Vellamo tests it was outdone by both the ECO 3D and HTC Sensation. But let’s face it all of these devices are pretty rapid.
As the PHOTON 4G runs on Sprint’s network SlashGear thought they would test out performance, results were surprisingly low (perhaps because of coverage in Las Vegas), either way in the same area an unnamed 4G T-Mobile device delivered speeds over 3 times faster.
SlashGear complimented the PHOTON 4G’s 8 megapixel camera and claimed that in low-light indoor conditions were great, also the shutter speed was faster than a lot of similar devices. In terms of video capture the PHOTON didn’t do quite so well, while results were good the HD Video test on the back of the device seemed a little misplaced, not physically, but the PHOTON 4G only records video at 720p, considering the PHOTON’s tech specs this is a major disappointment. Finally we will briefly mention battery life, SlashGear say that the battery life is better than some competing devices and despite heavy usage lasted a whole day, sadly no further insight was given.
Now let’s explain why we put the words “more than just a smartphone” in this article’s title, if you buy the HD Dock for $129 the PHOTON can act as a desktop PC. Once docked you can link it up to a display via HDMI and there are also 3 USB ports to connect a keyboard and mouse etc. An app which is pre-installed on the PHOTON 4G which essentially makes the smartphone a desktop PC, the dock comes with a infrared remote which allows for quick navigation, we guess that most people will use this for watching HD videos on their large HDTVs and web browsing on a large screen, could this be early signs of the next big thing in terms of smartphone functionality? We think it could well be, but remember without the HD Dock none of this functionality is possible.
Check out SlashGear’s detailed review for yourself here, are you impressed?