Motorola Photon 4G vs. HTC EVO 3D

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:



1. pandamaja unregistered

One very important feature of the photon I didn't see mentioned is that its global GSM

59. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Can you guys test to see which phone can phone book sync with older Bluetooth 2.x cars? All these phone makers are so quick to rush to the latest tech, Bluetooth 3.x, without really testing for backwards compatibility.

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

So Qualcomm's S3 Snapdragon processor is THE better chip compared to NVIDIA's Tegra 2. Wow & everyone says that Qualcomm's chips were the worst. I always knew the S3 was a sick chip plus the Adreno 220 GPU is completely bada$s when playing games. I can't wait to get CM7 on my HTC Evo 3D so I can really put the phone through its paces. I really want to overclock the HTC Evo 3D to 1.8 to 2.0 GHz & see that beast really fly. From what I read when the phone is at 1.5 to 1.8 GHz the battery life is not impacted too drastically, but on 2.0 GHz they do see a real battery difference. I just can't wait. I already rooted my phone, now I am waiting to get some sweet ROMS. I am so glad I got the HTC Evo 3D, I have NEVER been more satisfied with a phone. This is a CLEAR WINNER!

9. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Basically if you run Linpack on all of them it clearly shows that in terms of pure oomph, The S3 is actually better than the Exynos. The problem is that Applications must be optimized to make use of its full power, with Exynos and Tegra ll however, both cores are automatically used simultaneously. The Quadrant scores that you and I take on our HTC's rarely exceed 2400 because They are only using one 1.2GHz core. I'm really looking forward to overclocking mine too XD

10. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

FINALLY someone who understands. To get a Quadrant score of 2300 to 2400 on 1 core is insane. The Exynos & Tegra 2 chips get higher only on 2 cores. Imagine the Quadrant score if BOTH cores were running at the same time like the Exynos & Tegra 2 chips. Yes HTCiscool, I can't wait for CM7 or MIUI with an overclocked dual-core at 1.5 to 1.8 GHz. Man I am salivating! lol :-) I love HTC phones, their developer support is second to none!

11. Niners13 unregistered

You are both COMPLETELY clueless. Quadrant only supports one Core. Snapdragon is just a turd, there is nothing to "understand". A8 based cortex is ancient. @1.8ghz it's still weak and barely keeping up with Tegra 2 @1.0ghz You notice all the Tablets are still using Tegra 2 even Samsung not some crummy Snapdragon. Exynos, Omap, Tegra 2, all better

14. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Dude Quadrant doesn't just run one core, it sees the dual-cores of the Exynos, OMAP, & Tegra 2 as 1 core because it hasn't been updated to recognize both cores. Exynos, OMAP, & Tegra 2 use BOTH cores at the same time not 1 core as you said. Qualcomm's S3 Snapdragon is the only chip that uses 1 core at a time & only uses the other core when needed. That is why it's great on battery life. The S3 is an asynchronous dual-core chip, while the Exynos, OMAP, & Tegra 2 are synchronous. Here is a link so you can better understand the difference from asynchronous vs. synchronous multi-core chips.

19. IEatApples

Posts: 66; Member since: Jul 06, 2011

nah your wrong quadrant uses 1 core on all dual core phones. Why do you s3 users never speak of smartbench 2011 benchmarks, which is known to utilize both chips in all dual cores including the s3. the results are the same, lower benchmarks. Its a good chip but as usual qualcomm is trailing the rest of the pack.

20. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i can't blame you for wishful thinking based on the little bit you know but you need to think for a minute, how is one A8 Scorpion Core as fast as Dual A9 Cores with different kinds of SoC? i understand the Qualcomm MSM8660 (S3) is asynchronous but as you said Quadrant reads both cores as one because it's not calibrated for Dual-Core handsets but it's not like the MSM hides away the other core under lock & key from Quadrant when it does Benchmarks. they all behave as Quadrant wants them to whether it knows it's Dual-Core or not. the MSM8660 simply uses an inferior processor infrastructure which is ARM Cortex-A8 (or was it A7? help me out here remixfa, we just figured it out in another discussion.) whereas the Exynos & the OMAP uses ARM Cortex-A9 processors and i know for a fact the OMAP uses a power management cycle itself without it having to be asynchronous. i mean the proof is in the pudding. the battery life on an LG Optimus 3D or a Galaxy S II isn't so drastically different from an EVO 3D or a Sensation being that they're supposedly running both cores at 100%, 100% of the time the phone is being used. like Alan here from PA says take the scores with a grain of salt because they aren't 100% accurate but from what Quadrant understands phones with OMAP processors and certainly phones with Exynos are faster and that's what you're getting from normal use. the rest is up to how polished the interfaces are which in most cases it is Sense 3 but i've seen for myself evidence of lag on the Sensation.

24. thatoneguy.... unregistered

you seem to know alot about phone processors so could you tell me why the hell htc only uses Qualcomm chips???

25. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

because they're having sex? i dunno. i just know what i know from light research and discussions.

27. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Hey Thump3rDX17, you know way more about this than I do. I guess what you are saying is these Quadrant scores are NOT 100% correct. What I thought was that the S3 chip (which are underclocked to be 1.2 GHz because it really was a 1.5 GHz chip) would be faster than the newer 1.0 GHz chips from OMAP & Tegra 2. (I excluded the Exynos chip because it is 1.2 GHz & it’s the most powerful one.) I know S3 runs on the A8 technology, but at 1.2 or 1.5 GHz I thought it would be faster than a 1.0 GHz OMAP or Tegra 2 using the newer A9 technology. From what you are saying I guess it’s wrong. So my understanding of the topic was completely wrong. Hey I am a man & I can completely admit that. You can explain things in a manner that doesn’t make me feel stupid. Thank you now I know more about the topic than I did before. That is why I like having discussions with you. You can educate in a positive way, some people would argue with you EVEN if they are wrong. I know when I am right & I also know when I am wrong. My understanding was flawed but now I know better. Thanks for making me see the light! lol :-)

29. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Quadrant is not accurate for representing the full potential of the CPU that would be for Smartbench 2011 and Linpack. Ironically however, the scores on Linpack represent the number of MFLOPS per second, so in essence, its like its performance on paper without any regard to the GPU. Smartbench 2011 and Quadrant, test the GPU as well, this is the part where the S3 lags, the GPU is nothing compared to an Exynos or Hummingbird chip. My conclusion is, Overall Exynos and Tegra ll are better chips with better Graphics processing units, but the S3 excels in terms of pure power. I've seen a desire HD reach over 1900 with its S2 1GHz core. It makes Sense that the Sensation can top it with one 1.2GHz core and an upgraded Graphics unit. and thats what Quadrant reads. Most of you will just yell at me for being a wishful thinking fanboy with a phone with an underpowered processor but I stand my ground.

30. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010 i think "excels" is quite an over statement. in which case you can clearly see the Galaxy S II is a much snappier device and the benefit of it's juicy GPU is just icing on the cake. the S2 and the Hummingbird excelled with their GPU in the Single Core wars. if i did a Quadrant test on say a Droid 2 which has an OMAP3630 processor with GPU as good as what's found on an S2 then theoretically it will be in the 1800-1900 range as well. the S2 wasn't really a bad processor but it came much too late and only came in Devices that were faced with dual-core packing devices either about to be or already on the market. the single core war was dead. i can bet a single, evenly clocked Nvidia, OMAP or Exynos core can score better than an S2 core in a S3 set as they're the newer cores built with A9 processors and better GPU but we're not going to see that happen because the cores in the Nvidia, OMAP & Exynos are brand new and can't be tested as single core SoC. the possibility of Quadrant running a test any differently than an Nvidia, OMAP or an Exynos is highly unlikely because there isn't going to be THAT drastic of a difference between the newer cores in the competitors dual-core chip sets and the S2 cores in the S3 series. the means just isn't there so your theory is really just fantasy because even though we know Quadrant isn't optimized for dual-core phones you can just back track and see the scores of slightly older processors and project what the newer scores will be based on the newer manufacturing methods and GPU that they're equipped with.

40. Kin unregistered

I've even seen a Desire HD running 3200 with MIUI! 1GHz single core.

31. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

i appreciate that you really took the effort to really think about my explanation and not let your pride make you stubborn and ignorant. you know how often people react as such here. thank you, i'm really only trying to help as long as anyone is open to discussion. it doesn't bother me at all when i think someone may be wrong or even when someone proves me wrong it's when people act like annoying d**ks with what they think they know. it's okay, we're all here to learn, i'm still learning a lot myself. this is a tough topic filled with variables.

34. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

I know its an old core, idc as long as it can do web browsing and the likes. I have seen lag on my phone when navigating Sense 3.0 however, I don't think they can release Sense 3.5 when 3.0 still isn't optimized. Hopefully the 2.3.4 update will fix that.

35. BH unregistered

Its funny how you all act like you developed the SoC's themselves... put away the E-p3nises guys.

3. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

The photon 4g has a pentile display which suck

23. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

it's really not bad at all when you get used to it. i don't even notice it any more but you see Phone Arena themselves say that the Photon's screen looks better than the EVO 3D's and if you won't take their word on that then their praise for the processor may also be in question.

7. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Thanks for the comparison :D Love to see two great sprint choices going head to head on a match

8. lubbalots unregistered

Comparing oranges to oranges? Why not comparisen Apples to oranges or to Mango, etc.. Makes more sense.

12. Niners13 unregistered

I almost burst out laughing at the best of the best at the "hardware" You mean the opposite? Weakest of all of the dual-cores.


Posts: 36; Member since: Apr 01, 2009

thats funny i did the same with your comment. do some research the new msm 8260, 8660 is the strongest dual core. tegra 2 doesnt even support neon. and if you new anything about snapdragon u would know its not a cortex a8 its closer to a a9. it will do some out of order. raw power when both cores are being used.

33. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010 need to read the higher comments.

13. Tmachaveli

Posts: 425; Member since: Apr 01, 2011

i have the photon and its really a dam good phone.i luv HTC but in my heart i all ways liked Moto.the photon is quicker than u think.i like the webtop feature on the phone it is awesome and the dock for it is pretty cool as well just being able to watch netflix on my tv from my phone is a plus.Both phones are the bomb it up to you on which one you want

21. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

dude..i get your point, less caps please? xD yeah, that's pretty much what set apart the EVO 3D and the Photon with me too was the processor and the Webtop capabilities which i see as a more productive feature than gimmicky 3D.

37. William13

Posts: 27; Member since: Mar 10, 2011

Agreed completely, I love HTC much better as a manufacturer and found no single-core phone to even touch my Evo (not necessarily performance wise, but the overall package HTC presented). The big differentiation in this comparison is that HTC chose to go with a gimmick and Moto chose to pack extras we will actually use into the phone, i.e. 16 GB internal storage (I know only 9 is accessible), the webtop dock functionality, and the kickstand (most don't use it but it's really slow at my store so we'll all sit and watch Netflix on our phones between customers so we like the kickstands). Either way though, I don't know why people are so angry about a comparison between 2 phones. If you don't like the 3D, get the Photon, if you don't like the Photon, get the 3D. There's no need to go on PA and post in forums how your phone is the coolest and neatest phone ever and all others totally suck... They're just freaking cell phones, productivity tools people, quick looking at them as status symbols.

16. TOdoubleD

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 28, 2011

Great to see that Sprint has 2 great options and a 3rd coming soon from Samsung. And with any luck they will have the iPhone. I'm with PhoneArena, in the end I would pick the EVO 3D.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

I had both phones, and I can tell you the Evo 3D only was better when it came to going from one home screen to the next. The app home screen on the EVO 3D sucked when it comes to scrolling....the EVO 4G app screen is way better no slowing down like the EVO 3D. Speaker wise everyone knows the EVO 3D has a terrible speaker, and the antenna signal makes you wanna it obvious that I ditched the smoke and mirrors EVO 3D for the Photon; which if 3D don't matter and you want a phone that works the Photon is the obvious choice

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