Motorola Photon 4G Preview: It Is Big. It Is Good.

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 rubberised frame: dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, 16GB of storage, sitting behind a delightfully bright, vivid and responsive 4.3-inch 540x960 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, 8MP 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 OK — 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 $US200 Photon is a bruiser worth lugging when it hits on the 31st.

Note: No word yet on Australian availability, but it's worth knowing that the Photon 4G has an unlocked SIM card slot. It supports GSM 850/900/1900. Stay tuned for more.