Back to Article

  • RaLX - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    Pentile RGBW blows and it's worse than Pentile AMOLED because at least the latter has great contrast and colors...

    Are yellows in Photon as bad as in Atrix where they look like brown tinted and uncalibrated?
  • JayQ330 - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    you havent seen the photon's screen its not the same atrix or droid x2 screen you might of seen or read of, how about you read another review from engadget, *everyone knows engadget is biased & only love the iphone, but even they couldnt deny the photons great specs* the plastic feel of the photon? the photon is the most solid, high quality & very detailed android phones released. read other reviews than this one , this is the only review where they said nothing good of the photon. quadrant scores of 2900 to 3100 * those are my scores * most websites report 2900 to 3000 & thats witch a qHD screen! also its only a 1ghz dual core saving much battery & its rgbw pixels save more than 40% battery than average lcd & more than 70% compared to amoled plus. another thing about the screen it seems to be a newer version of samsungs rgbw pentile tech *yes samsung makes that screen* because its not pixelated, no ghosting effect & the colors are better than super lcd while its contrast & blacks are comparable to super amoled..i owned a galaxy s so i know. even ifag sites reviewed the phone & said that the screen is second only to the retina screen which means allot coming from them. you cant see the pixels especially in blacks thats how good the contrast is & its not a washed out black its ink darkness. besides the resolution & not having a virtual keypad that takes up half the screen space because of its higher res screen which is better for any app that you need to text in & any app period. super lcd is already up there with amoled plus do your research before becoming emotionally attached & being worst than ifan boys. besides the tegra 2 is a better more efficient soc than the exynos want proof? look at all the quadrant & antutu scores they're all overclocked to 1.5 ghz! & a droid x2 with half the ram higher resolution and android 2.2 gets higher scores in antutu in graphics & only 200 less points in quadrant. a and heres a better one the galaxy R with its 1 ghz tegra 2 soc gets 3600 in quadrant while the 1.2 ghz exynos gets a 3400 in quadrant! 200 mhz more & still gets less? i guess the lower resolution screen wasnt enough to beat the galaxy R? seriously like a phone for what it can do not what your emotions tell you to do, that a girls job. Reply
  • Alchemy69 - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    With the Samsung Galaxy S II just around the corner why choose either? Reply
  • IKeelU - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    [Im]patiently awaiting Galaxy S II review... Reply
  • anindrew - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Exactly! Samsung is supposed to have a big announcement/press release on August 29th. Considering the image they're using for the event has the Roman Numeral II on it and the fact that Samsung's CEO made a statement about the GS2 being released by the end of August, it seems that the GS2 will be released in the very near future.

    As a Sprint customer who is eligible for a new phone in October, I'm planning to get the GS2 rather than either of the two phones in this review. I'm looking forward to seeing a review of the GS2 on anandtech, especially if it compares the performance on each network. The phones should be nearly identical hardware-wise.
  • jnads - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    Because Samsung software support blows.

    The Moment never got Froyo, and got EOL'ed after less than a year. The Intercept got EOL'ed and won't get Gingerbread.

    The Galaxy S phones _STILL_ don't have Gingerbread 8 months after it was released.

    Do you really want a Galaxy S II, knowing you'll never see Android Ice Cream?
  • g1011999 - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    The two cores share a "512MB" L2 cache but have a dual-channel memory interface. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Fixed! Thank you :)

    Take care,
  • Vishnu NS - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    In the second paragraph, on the last line, you have written "the two cores share 512 MB of L2 cache...."

    A good read as always...!!
  • jjj - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    no WIFI perf or even specs ? Reply
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    With all of the new dual core phones hitting the shelves, there are a few 'budget' phones using 'yesterday's' high end tech. I would love to see a few reviews- or maybe just a 'android budget phone roundup' or something. I recently purchased a Samsung Exhibit 4G and love it! There's plenty of single core snapdragons and a hummingbird in the wild on the cheap and it would be great to put them against each other. Obviously you are limited to what you have (or are sent to review) but jus sayin. Reply
  • Reikon - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I don't really get the point of getting a budget smartphone on a postpaid carrier. You might as well go prepaid, which has much cheaper monthly plans with phones comparable to budget postpaid phones. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Yeah, saving $100 or even $200 on a phone over the course of two years when you're paying $80+ a month for service just seems silly... Unless you pay for your phone but not service (families, companies, etc.), then I could see it. Or if you switch carriers a often, but I don't see how anyone manages that with the current ETFs. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Darn Anand, had I known you kept delaying the EVO 3D review to compare it directly with the Photon I would've stopped badgering you about the review... And possibly waited before buying the EVO 3D! Reading now... Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I wasn't being sarcastic btw, I'm glad you combined the articles. Although, after all is said and done, I'm not sure I would've had an easier time deciding had i read your article before buying.

    Just looking at the battery results I can see why you would have trouble picking between the two... 3G browsing time is most important to me as we're unlikely to see 4G here in Puerto Rico anytime soon (they're testing but only in very limited areas), and I don't talk a lot on the phone... Still, the Photon has a large lead in the Wifi battery test.

    It surprises me that there can be such drastic differences back and forth between the two, and even between the EVO and Sensation. Can the software stack play such a large role or is it network issues? The Photon's drop from Wifi to 3G is more than 2x but the GSM Sensation does so much better on 3G than the EVO, could that be a matter of HSPA+ speeds allowing it to finish loading and sleep sooner?

    Personally I haven't been able to get more than 3.5-4.5 hours of screen-on time out of my EVO 3D, while doing nothing but web browsing, be it 3G or Wifi... Even when sitting one rom over from a router and an Airave. I'd love to be able to squeeze 6+ as your test suggests. Maybe it's a screen brightness issue, at home I read a lot in dimly lit rooms...
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I've noticed you're wearing glasses in some of your pictures btw, myopia? I have like -3.5 and I often take off my glasses to read on my phone when I'm sitting down (or to read in general)... Anyway, it seems that even tho I don't need glasses to read at a certain distance (i shouldn't, I'm not near sighted at all) I do need them to be able to appreciate the 3D screen at all.

    Was just wondering if you noticed that and/or may have an explanation... The 3D effect is barely noticeable without my glasses, soon as I put them on things just pop out, but I'm looking at the screen at a distance where I normally don't need glasses to read, seemed weird to me.

    Also did you notice any jumpyness with the text input cursor? That and the build of Swype included on the phone both seem very buggy to me, but the text cursor thing happens even with the stock keyboard. I'll probably root it soon and try the latest Swype beta. It's kinda ridiculous that Swype can't update built-in installs themselves and have to squeeze their updates into full manufacturer OTAs.
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Err, the part about not being nearsighted there should've said farsighted. Reply
  • ilkhan - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Page 1
    "Both are awkwardly large thanks to their 4.2" screen size"
    Both are speced at 4.3" :)
    Nor would I call my 4.3" EVO 4G awkwardly large.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Fixed :)

    For sure it's a personal preference thing. I do believe on Android the sweet spot is somewhere in the 4 - 4.3" range, but for someone coming from a Nexus One for example both of these could feel awkwardly large by comparison :)

    Take care,
  • Mumrik - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    "they just haven't been all that interesting.

    Until now of course.


    Anand, did you pull a Jeremy Clarkson on purpose?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Sometimes you can't help but channel a little Clarkson :-P Reply
  • Reikon - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    One reason that Wimax gets better battery life than 3g is that push doesn't seem to be instant on Wimax. From my tests on my EVO 3d, notifications take about 15 min on Wimax while they're basically instant on 3g. Reply
  • bingunginter - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Galaxy S2 Has been out for several months and it is one of the most popular handset right now. Why is there no review for this phone ? Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Not available in the US from any of the carriers and AT doesn't import phones for review. Reply
  • sidarous - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Both phones have been rooted, although it appears from some cursory web-browsing that rooting is slightly easier on the Photon.

    When my contract is up in a few months, I'll probably go with whichever one has a more active ROM community. That is, unless something bigger and better comes out :-)

    Does anyone have thoughts on this? Do HTC or Motorola phones generally have more fun ROMs?
  • sidarous - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Also, while it isn't a big deal right now, when signing a 2 year contract, it might be better to hold out for a device with NFC support, like the Galaxy S2 (the Sprint variant will either be the "Samsung Epic Touch 4G" or the "Samsung Within"). Reply
  • Dug - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Can using a different camera app help with the overblown pictures? Reply
  • SigmundEXactos - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    1. The Photon can take 32GB microSD cards (I have one in my phone).
    2. The Photon has two GLARING issues:
    a) Sometimes the phone shuts off until you pull the battery or plug it in then turn it back on.
    b) Sometimes inbound and outbound calls have no audio, until you turn the phone off then back on.


    There is supposedly an update coming "soon" (there is already a Motorola signed update, but it's not been pushed OTA yet), see:

    I've heard the EVO 3D has some voice quality issues and/or reception issues.

    They really need to start making PHONES first.

    Don't get me wrong, those two issues aside I love my Photon, but I'll probably be swapping out before the 30day period unless the fix comes out.
  • techkraut - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I disagree with your assertion that "Sprint customers almost always get the short end of the stick" and that there have not been any interesting handsets from Sprint since the Epic 4G. Sprint has had several other firsts since then and like them or not, they were certainly interesting. Among those firsts were the Sprint Kyocera Echo, the first handset to offer a dual android screen device that doubles as a small tablet. The Sprint Replenish offers a Blackberry-like form factor Android device that is one of few "green" devices on the market. I think that over the last 12 months, Sprint has maintained a very competetive and interesting device portfolio. With these two devices, Sprint continues that trend. Reply
  • EarthsDM - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Anand, I was hoping that you would consider the Nexus S 4G. I assumed it would be one of the best phones available for Sprint's network, being a part of the Nexus program. One of my coworkers has the Nexus S non-4G and he loves his. That said, after my painful (and expensive) experience with an Epic 4G I won't consider owning another Samsung phone unless you review it. If I'd trusted your review of the Epic 4G (GPS doesn't work, other problems, not ready for prime time) instead of the Engadget review (great phone and expect regular updates, you can trust Samsung!) I wouldn't have saddled myself with such an awful device.

    There's nothing quite like being five feet away from an adult tiger, holding up your phone to start a video recording, and have that phone hard crash and being a minute-long reboot process. It got bad enough that I had to shell out for a used EVO 4G :'(
  • Someguyperson - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I personally really like CF Bench. It gives a comprehensive breakdown of many, many criteria including my favourite tests, efficiency tests. It was also made by an XDA developer, so you know it's good. Reply
  • jonyah - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I find it hard to believe the tegra2 can come anywhere close to the snapdragon in performance. My 2 tegra2 tablets (transformer and gt 10.1) are dog slow compared to my 3vo. Could that be because of honeycomb? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I am from Germany and I really don't get how the US cellphone market works. Here, I can either just buy any phone and get any contract with any carrier for that phone. Or I can buy a phone via carrier (anywhere between 1€ and ~200€ for smartphones) and get a contract to go along with that (sometimes that are locked to that carrier (SIM lock) but the carrier I have doesn't do that and it's easy to get around). However, that same contract is going to cost about 10, 15, 20, 25€ more than without a new phone, so over the course of the 24 month contract it usually comes out to mean that the phone via contract cost a bit more than the phone off contract. Sometimes people get lucky and you get a phone-contract-deal that works out to be cheaper over 24 months than if you had actually bought the phone yourself, they are referred to as "Schubladenvertrag" ~ contract for the drawer, because you just use it to get the phone cheaply).
    Most carriers however carry pretty much all phones that are on the market with the exception of a few carrier specific ones (T-Mobile hat the G1, first Android phone here I think and until last year or so, the iPhone4 was also T-Mobile only). And if they don't carry it I can always buy it on my own and get a contract with them anyway.
    Also, if you buy a data plan here you usually get a flat-rate and it runs high speed up to xxx MB (300, 500, 1GB, 2GB, 5GB are common break points) and then throttles down, but you won't have to pay any more money.

    From the reviews it seems that the US market works differently somehow. I would like to hear more about it from you guys. :-)

    P.S.: Going to read the review now, wanted to comment beforehand!
  • sprockkets - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Basically, it works like this: Our government allows the telcos to screw us over.
  • manthas - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    The GLBenchmark 2.0 - PRO is missing the Motorola Photon entirely. I suspect it sits right next to the Atrix performance wise, but very odd considering the subject of the article. Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I find it interesting that the Photon is basically a world phone. I didn't think that Sprint sold any phones that could be used anywhere. Definitely makes it interesting. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Motor XPRT is also a world phone and has been out for months (small Android phone with portrait QWERTY), they've had various Blackberry world phones in the past too. Honestly, i think Sprint has had one of the best phone lineups over the last 12-24 months, if not the best.

    They had the Hero when AT&T still didn't have any Android phones (and before the Droid came out). Around that time they also scored the Pre exclusive (which may ultimately have helped Palm's demise, but nonetheless). When Android competition really heated up last year they came out with two phones that really complement themselves in the Epic & EVO, both had front facing cameras and 4G.

    I dont think any other carrier could claim having both a slab and slider with top shelf specs and features like that. T-Mo had competing devices in ththe Vibrant and G2 but neither had front facing cameras and the Vibrant didn't have HSPA+. Similar scenario for VZW with the Droid X etc. Heck AT&T just had the Captivate for the longest time as it's only worthwhile Android phone.

    VZW probably has the biggest lineup but it's not always the most varied, too many mid-to-high end slabs and not enough sliders and low end models. T-Mobile's G-line with plain Android builds has it's own appeal, but Sprint has had a nice balance and plenty of mid range models to complement it's high end.

    Heck, VZW and AT&T still have only one dual core phone each no? To Sprint & T-Mobile's two apiece...
  • MilwaukeeMike - Friday, August 19, 2011 - link

    As a Sprint user of an Evo '3G' (my Evo won't be 4G until Sprint turns it on in Milwaukee.) I'm done with sprint when my contract is up. We own these phones to be connected, and my 3G speeds are almost always below 200kbps and often under 100. i want to use my phone to browse the web while on the bus to/from work, and I have to click a page, and stare out the window for a minute while it loads. Forget Netflix or youtube.

    I've spent time in Chicago, but haven't been able to hold on to a 4G signal long enough to do a speed test more than once or twice. It always drops.

    it's not just my phone either... my wife has an Evo shift and has the same slow connection and can't hold a 4G signal in Chicago either.

    It was a funny phone call when the sprint rep called me to suggest I subscribe to their 4G hotspot service so I could drop my home internet connection. I had to explain to her that her company doesn't offer 4G where I live... and it sounds like you can't stay connected to it anyway.

    Unless you KNOW Sprint is connected in your city, I'd go with someone else if you have the choice.
  • judasmachine - Saturday, August 20, 2011 - link

    Motorola's dock has gotten far more useful than HTCs. This is coming from a guy who likes Sense far more than *Blur. Reply
  • bo3bber - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    First off, a BIG thanks for posting some actual photos from the Evo 3D camera. No other reviewer has done this.

    I use the NVidia 3D Vision glasses, with an Acer H5360 projector, which gives absolutely phenomenal results. Anybody dismissing 3D needs to run this setup first.

    As part of that, I typically use 3D about 4 to 5 hours a day. Most people will say that's a recipe for headaches, but the short answer is that you need to set the system up so that you do not get eyestrain.

    In this review, you noted that eyestrain was an issue, and that you couldn't see using it for a long time. Based on looking at your photos with my setup, and extensive experience with all things 3D, I can say that the problem is that the photos are taken with convergence set to high. The photos as taken cause me eyestrain on my PC setup. If I turn down the convergence a bit, it goes back to being comfortable.

    (The convergence is what gives a pop out of the screen effect. If this is turned up high you get a lot of pop at the expense of eyestrain.)

    Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it is adjustable on the Evo 3D.

    One other issue with the photos is that the left and right images are at different brightness or glare. It is also possible that one lens was smudged. This gives a pulling effect as your brain tries to focus upon the best eye. This is the same effect you can get in game, if an object only shows in one eye.

    When done well 3D can be really great. Unfortunately in today's world there are a lot of terrible setups, and this might be one. If they are taking the photos with deliberately high, unadjustable convergence, that would be a huge error- leading people to think 3D itself is flawed.
  • Palmer 3 - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    How certain are you that the parallax barrier is always in place?

    When I look at a 3D picture there is a graininess to the image. If I close one eye I can see the "black" vertical lines that were intended for the other eye. When looking at a non 3D image and I close one eye I do not see these black lines. I would assume if the barrier was present the lines would still appear since you cannot see though the barrier.
  • Dan-Spradling - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Ok, I'm a long time Sprint customer and I been holding out for the I-Phone to come to Sprint but I hear that's just rumor for now so I decided to try an Android phone to upgrade from a Blackberry Tour. After days of reading customer reviews everywhere on the internet (including Amazon) I decided to take a chance and all I can say is WOW, this phone is light years better than my Blackberry. It's very fast, the touch screen is very responsive, screen resolution is excellent in my opinion, camera and video recorder is nice, phone sound quality and reception is great, I could go on and on!

    Cons: I noticed the battery is not as long lasting as my old Blackberry but its not bad. Also I still can not find a way to stop the a song when its played on the music player. Only thing you can do to stop it is hit the pause button, perhaps something I am doing wrong. One final thing they should include a full manual with the purchase not just a starter guide. I had to go online to download the 155 page manual.

    Overall this is an excellent phone!!! I am very pleased with the purchase. I was a loyal Blackberry user but RIM refuses to come out with better phones so... bye bye Blackberry. There is no going back now.

    See Motorola Photon 4G Best Deal at:
  • guitarpete987 - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I've tried both, and the decision maker for me was believe it or not the music app. I love the way the Photon music app is designed, how it works well with my home upnp setup and the functionality it has to make "Genius" style random playlists from your collection, which seems to do an even better job than apples method. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now