While using the Photon 4G for everyday tasks such as checking email, browsing the web, placing calls, etc, we felt the phone was very responsive and fast thanks to its 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM.
The Photon 4G's 4.3-inch qHD display was vibrant and colorful. Like other screens, it was somewhat difficult to view outdoors under bright sunlight but it was no worse than other phones we've tested recently. Viewing angles on the Phonon 4G's display are excellent.
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When we first began testing the Photon 4G, we had some issues while placing calls. More specifically, we were unable to hear callers and they were unable to hear us. A reboot of the phone generally fixed the issue. Shortly after we discovered the issue, Motorola and Sprint issued a software update that resolved the issue. We haven't had any additional problems with call quality since the update was installed.
As its name suggests, the Photon 4G supports 4G speeds while connected to Sprint's WiMAX network. While you're in a 4G WiMAX coverage area, you should notice an increase in browsing and download speeds. Of course, we'll run some quantitative tests on the phone to see how fast the network responds in the coming pages.
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The Photon 4G offers an 8MP camera with dual LED flash. Overall, we were satisfied with the images captured using this phone's camera. Although the images won't compare to a standalone digital camera, we felt the Photon 4G's camera did a better than average job at taking good photos.
Motorola and Sprint claim you should get up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 8.3 days of standby time from the Photon 4G while connected to Sprint's CDMA network. In our everyday usage of the phone—checking email, surfing the web, etc—the phone was able to make it through a work day (approximately 8-10 hours) without a problem. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on how you use the phone. Should you take this phone overseas and connect to a GSM network, battery life is rated at up to 10.4 hours of talk time and up to 12.2 days of standby time.
In an attempt to put a quantitative measure on the Photon 4G's battery life, we set up our own Web-surfing test. In this test, we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshed itself every three minutes. We set the Photon 4G's display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi. When we ran this test, the Photon 4G lasted for about four hours and 15 minutes before giving up.