Motorola Photon 4G vs. HTC EVO 3D

Introduction and Design

For as long as the modern smartphone has been around HTC has been the go-to manufacturer when Sprint wanted a top-tier device.  At first it was with Windows Mobile phones like the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro 2 and as the market shifted towards Android so too did HTC with offerings like the Hero and EVO 4G.  You could probably even say that as HTC shifted towards Android so did the market, but there was another manufacturer who had both a major influence on the proliferation of Android and was conspicuously absent from Sprint’s lineup: Motorola.

Last year HTC’s EVO 4G really only had competition from the Motorola Droid X in the Android world (Samsung’s pure Google Nexus S came pretty late in the year) but they were on competing networks so users didn’t have an easy choice between the two.  As usual, Sprint and HTC brought out the heavy artillery in June with the EVO 3D, a dual-core beast with third dimension capabilities.  But this year there is a new player; Sprint and Motorola have renewed their partnership and the first major device from the two is the Photon 4G, another dual core beast with specs that can give the EVO 3D a run for its money.  Which 4.3” qHD superphone is right for you?  Read on to find out…


Despite both being pretty even in dimensions and both being black slabs with a large display, four capacitive buttons below and a camera on the back, the two devices are both uniquely HTC and Motorola.  It is a credit to both of their design teams that the personalities of the two companies can shine through in each of these products.

For HTC it starts with the circular capacitive buttons, now a hallmark of the EVO family.  The deep black is contrasted nicely by silver milled aluminum buttons, the shiny HTC logo and of course the signature HTC-red camera trim.  The design is modern but classic, with nothing but the finest materials and top-notch craftsmanship.

Motorola’s Photon 4G, on the other hand, manages to be a bit more in your face.  It is not as bold as the DROID devices, but the aggressive angular lines remain.  The display housing and surrounding trim are a dark silver, shiny enough to stand out but dark enough to be elegant.  The bright silver kickstand jumps out against the flat black battery door but the edges are tapered so as to fit comfortably in your hand.

Both devices are large but they manage to mask their size with good design.  We like the textured back and red trim of the HTC but appreciate the overall feel of the Photon 4G.  This category really comes down to personal preference, but you’re going to get an excellent product either way.

Both displays are 4.3” qHD.  The EVO 3D of course has 3D (stereoscopic) capabilities, but they aren’t incorporated into anything but multimedia (movies, pictures and games.)  There are no 3D elements to the user interface and so far there aren’t many 3D apps out there either.  Some users appreciate it more than others, but for us when it works it is like a magic eye picture and it is impressive.   That said it’s still a novelty.

The Photon, on the other hand, eschews novelty for quality.  Its qHD panel is brilliantly bright and crisp and is the clear winner when put next to the EVO 3D.  The viewing angle is a touch better, colors are more vivid and the screen really stands out against the phone.  With the EVO 3D it is very good, but tends to blend in more with the hardware.  The added brightness make it slightly better to read in bright lighting conditions, although both will ultimately fade out in strong, direct light.  If 3D movies aren’t a top priority than the Photon 4G is the choice.

Motorola Photon 4G 360-degrees View:

HTC EVO 3D 360-degrees View:

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