The Photon is a thick and heavy phone. It makes no qualms about this. On the other hand, it's a fast, bright, and powerful phone. The latter's worth it—pretty rare.

Basically, the Photon is what the EVO 3D could (and should) have been, had all the stupid 3D crap been stripped away: a big-boned, meat-chewin', 4G-rainbow riding, powerful Android handset.

It's got good guts stuffed inside that big black rubberized frame: dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, 16 GB of storage, sitting behind a delightfully bright, vivid, and responsive 4.3-inch 540 x 960 display. Streaming HD music videos popped, and watching them with the less-obnoxious-than-usual kickstand was a treat. Add in Sprint's 4G connectivity, and it's a very fast treat too—like microwave kettle corn. Add in 720p capture, 8 MP stills, and HDMI-out, and you've got a very capable little Gingerbread media monster, even with Motoblur heaped atop.


Battery life, despite the Photon's girth, was disappointing—I only eked out several hours of heavy usage.

That said, this is a fantastic phone for Sprint users who want muscle. There's nothing unique about the Photon. Nothing at all. But that's really okay—it's sturdy, speedy, and a pleasure to use. And that's sort of remarkable in itself, amid a desolate landscape of identical black rectangles. If you can overlook battery crapitude, the $200 Photon is a bruiser worth lugging when it hits on the 31st.

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