First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

Summary: Sprint unveiled two new Android-based Motorola smartphones in New York City on Thursday. While the Photon 4G might be the more powerful device spec-wise, the Triumph wins the day.

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Sprint unveiled two new Android-based Motorola smartphones in New York City on Thursday. While the Photon 4G might be the more powerful device spec-wise, the Triumph wins the day.

Starting with the Motorola Photon 4G, it's definitely a lovely and sleek device. At first glance, what makes it special is the Android 2.3 interface and a vibrant (Sprint wasn't laying it on too thick here) 4.3-inch touch screen. It also sports a handy kickstand, which is so customary these days for smartphones with displays over four inches. Everyone seems to think that these devices are perfect for watching movies, but my eyes still don't like that much beyond the amount of time it takes to wait for a bus to come by.

Otherwise, everything that is special about the Photon 4G is tucked inside, and even then, it doesn't come across as something that would truly stand out to me in a store. Sure, it has some advanced security measures, making it a prime choice for those who want a business smartphone that is more attractive but can still do all the graphic-heavy stuff that smartphones are capable of handling. And while I didn't get to try out the global and 4G features, those are all there too. There are some battery life saving presets onboard as well, but neither Sprint nor Motorola touched on actual numbers. We all know how much 4G drains a battery. (See: HTC Thunderbolt.)

But the Triumph was the real treat if there was one today. If I walked into a Sprint store and saw this handheld without a "prepaid" label stamped onto the product sheet, I would assume it's a full-fledged, regular contracted smartphone. And in a way, it really is just a regular 3G smartphone. Motorola (and Sprint via its Virgin Mobile brand) are developing a bridge between subsidized and prepaid smartphones by bringing some decent options to the bottom category.

Immediately, I liked the feel and grip of the Triumph. Coated with a softer rubber material on the back side of the device, the Triumph also hosts two cameras (front and back) along with a 4.1-inch WVGA color touch screen (also pretty, but not as vibrant as the panel seen on the Photon). The Triumph runs on Android 2.2, and while I've never been a big fan of the Froyo user interface look, it's a step up from whatever we usually see on most prepaid devices.

Now, would I buy either of these devices? That really depends on the price points, which haven't been revealed yet and likely won't be until later this summer when these Motorola handhelds hit stores. They each have quite a few impressive specs, but the Triumph comes across as the better deal considering its stuck in the prepaid category. If it were a regular subsidized smartphone with a $199.99 cost after signing a two-year contract, it would be unremarkable and just like any other Froyo smartphone available these days.

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Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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9 comments
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  • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

    Locked bootloader?
    I need a Sprint phone.. but I'm not signing a 2 year contract on an already aged Evo 4G, and don't want a phone I can't update 18 months down the road.
    Worst comes to worst, I can [still] keep waiting for that Galaxy S II to come out...
    Hurry up, Samsung/Sprint!
    geolemon
    • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

      @geolemon yea there is a new EVO coming out. Although the EVO is a great phone, it would be hard for me to recommend buying one right now. I love my EVO, but I've had it basically since launch.
      Jimster480
      • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

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  • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

    @Rachel - these look good but after some experience with the Xoom and Atrix, I am leary of Motorola's hardware engineering. I traded a wifi Xoom for a Transformer (ASUS) - glad I did, and after playing with the Atrix, went back to my Nexus - I'll wait for something else. Both of these Moto devices were over promised and under delivered.
    :(
    rhonin
  • Shine wears off quickly

    Reviewers should review Android devices six months after they are released because they don't wear well.

    It seems no matter how fast the latest/greatest/fastest Android device is, after about 2 months of real usage, the phone bogs down. What I mean by 'real usage' is installing and using more than 10 apps on the phone. There has to be something with how apps access the memory available within the OS itself because a Apple 3G (old iOS) or a WP7 (single core processor) simply smokes a 6 month old Android device.
    retnep
    • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

      @retnep
      Wondering...
      I have had my Nexus One for over a year and it still beats my i4 in almost all categories. Then again, due to the limited Ram on the Nexus, I have gone thru over 100 apps but do not have anywhere near that on the phone.
      My son has had his Captivate for almosta year. That appears to still be faring very well (he is a free game junky).

      Not sure where you are seeing this.
      Be nice to know. :)
      rhonin
  • RE: First impressions: Motorola Photon 4G, Triumph smartphones

    Some people seem to have better luck with their Androds, some not. I know people who Love their Motorola's, but also quite a few had to trade them in due to hardware problems.
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