Apple iPhone 3GS and HTC EVO 4G: side by side


We've pitted the iPhone 3GS with the Nexus One in the past already and we still commend on how iOS manages to intuitively present users a simple and straightforward interface that emphasizes on performance. One can visibly see the polish that Apple has applied in the most recent official build of iOS as the platform runs relatively quick with next to zero indications of lag or sluggishness. Between the HTC EVO 4G and iPhone 3GS, the latter takes the cake in terms of simplicity as there is less of a learning curve for first time users. Apple goes further to simplify the experience by only having one physical button on the phone which brings you back to the home screen – which doesn't over-complicate the entire process for users. In addition, the iPhone 3GS is home to some of the best looking mobile games out there – going further to give some traditional hand-held consoles a run for their money. However, there are still some things that tarnish its aura that prevents it from truly being acclaimed by a broad range of consumers. Specifically, the platform still lacks a decent notifications system, social networking integration, and the eye-candy which Android has brought on. Looking closely at it from the surface, the platform remains unchanged in terms of presentation from what we first witnessed from the original iPhone. Thankfully, some of these things are going to be addressed with iOS 4 and naturally be taken up a notch with the impending iPhone 4.

There is a lot of love with HTC's Sense UI running on top of Android 2.1 which makes it one of the most appealing customizations of Android thus far. HTC has perfectly integrated social networking onto the Android platform and naturally the HTC EVO 4G is probably the best  handset to showcase the manufacturer's work. Android, as a whole, easily beats out iOS when it comes to visual appeal, but it doesn't still embody the fluidity seen on the iPhone 3GS – even though the EVO 4G packs an all too seen 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The plethora of widgets and the option to use live wallpapers can excite even the most nonchalant individuals out there; as evident on some of the interactive ones created. Even though it may not do it as pretty as webOS, Android is still able to multi-task to an extent – which can be regarded highly for individuals relying on their handsets for productivity apps. In addition, the HTC EVO 4G makes the perfect medium for viewing a ton of content that ranges from videos, pictures, and even music. Even though the smartphone is the current Android handset on the market to get close to being considered as the epitome of a perfect handset, you can clearly tell that it lacks the iPhone 3GS's smooth and fluid movements when moving, running, and showing off apps. With all its might in tow, gamers will obviously be disappointed with the handset's lack of premier games, but hopefully developers will quickly act to make use of the HTC EVO 4G's mammoth display.

Data and Connectivity:

Web browsing on a mobile handset is all becoming too prevalent now as it increasingly gets closer in replicating the experience found traditionally on a desktop. However, there is a stark difference to the naked eye, which can be seen in the performance between the HTC EVO 4G and iPhone 3GS. In its current Android 2.1 Eclair form, the HTC EVO 4G was able to load up pages from start to finish faster than the iPhone 3GS when using 3G connectivity. In addition, there are some flash elements that load up on the handset to give it that desktop-like experience. Naturally, its high resolution display and real estate make viewing pages even from a zoomed out level very distinguishable, but we find that the iPhone 3GS has more accurate double tap zooming capabilities, which allow you to jump straight at the exact page element that you want to examine closely. On the other hand, the HTC EVO 4G continuously re-sizes text to accommodate the specific zoom level you choose, but sometimes it makes for awkward layouts for the site. Finally, the iPhone 3GS retains one basic element seen throughout its platform – which is the smooth and fluid scrolling witnessed when navigating. Although the HTC EVO 4G does well on its own in that regard, it still doesn't quite meet the levels that Safari has been able to achieve over and over again.


Looking down into its  music playback capabilities, even after all these years, the iPhone's visually stunning music interface is still regarded as the premier offering. Cover flow continues to be the standard that's always going to be compared to the competition as it makes moving your albums such a breeze to not only your finger, but your eyes as well.

As for HTC's Sense UI, it certainly beautifies the EVO 4G and offers a decent  presentation with the HTC music player.

When it comes to watching video, hands down, the HTC EVO 4G clearly is the handset of choice thanks to its detailed display, large real estate, and the kickstand to offer you the luxury of sitting back while watching. Both devices had no problems in playing any of our test videos as they all ran smooth with no noticeable hiccups to muddy the experience.

There is a distinguishable bridge between the iPhone 3GS's 3-megapixel shooter and the HTC EVO 4G's 8-megapixel one, but when it all comes down to it, higher numbers don't always mean better results – generally it's the optics that separate the good from the bad. However, in this case we found that the HTC EVO 4G did a commendable job overall in taking photos. With auto-focus on board both handsets, the HTC EVO 4G adds in a good dual LED flash to obviously take better shots in low light conditions. To our dismay, photos may not have looked too ideal while previewing them on the HTC EVO 4G directly, but we were nicely surprised to find some pretty good-looking stunning images after saving them onto a computer. The HTC EVO 4G was more equipped in almost every regard as it was able to capture fine detail to a tooth and presented more natural looking colors. The iPhone 3GS does a good job to say the least for something that's considered average megapixel count nowadays, but older technology substantially gives way to the newer one found on the EVO 4G.

With 720p video recording on board with the HTC EVO 4G, there is no arguing that it eclipses the iPhone 3GS's performance in capturing videos. However, the frame rate on the iPhone 3GS was a bit better as videos looked more fluid and less choppy – yet another area where we see Apple's stance on having a uniformly fluid experience. Another thing that's going for the HTC EVO 4G is its 1.3-megapixel front facing camera which adds more depth to its video capturing capability. Although it may not present the best quality, the inclusion of it provides users another fun way of taking videos. 

Apple iPhone 3GS sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.
HTC EVO 4G sample video at 1280x720 pixels resolution.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless