Photon vs Evo 3D

HTC is bringing the EVO 3D soon.  Motorola just showed us the Photon 4G.  It's a great time to be a Sprint customer, isn't it?  With two awesome phones in the pipeline, there probably isn't a bad choice between them.  4G, 3D, GSM, SMR -- heck, even the acronyms sound very cool.  But most of us will have to make a choice, and that's where we come in.  We've put it all together in one easy to read place so you can compare and discuss.

Hit the break, check it out, and start filling the forums with questions and chatter.  We all have a tough choice to make now. 

Photon 4G forums | EVO 3D forums

Nothing is quite as fun as HTML tables and CSS (ha!) so we've prepared a little chart based on what we know so far about each.  Could things change?  Yes, especially with the Photon.  Once we see some FCC docs or reports from corporate ninjas who know how to use the command line, we'll know more.  Having said that, the specs on the EVO 3D should be spot on since it's been kicking around for a bit.

Have a look:

                                         HTC Evo 3D                          Motorola Photon 4G



Motorola Photon 4G



4G Wimax 2500

SMR support


4G Wimax 2500

GSM support


802.11 b/g/n

802.11 b/g/n





Network assisted AGPS

Network assisted AGPS

FM Radio




66mm x 127mm x 12.2 mm

66.9mm x 126.9mm x 12.2mm


170 g

158 g


4.3 inch TFT LCD


glasses free 3D

4.3 inch LCD



qHD 540x960

qHD 540x960

Camera (rear)

dual 5 MP for 3D

8 MP

Camera (front)

1.3 MP


Video capture

1080p HD (2D)

720p HD (3D)

720p HD

Video out

MHL A/V link


Operating System

Android 2.3, HTC Sense

Android 2.3, MotoBlur


Qualcomm MSM8660

1.2 GHz, dual-core

Nvidia Tegra 2

1 GHZ, dual-core


Adreno 220

Nvidia GeForce

ROM and Storage

4 GB

16 GB


1 GB


Battery size

1730 mAh

1700 mAh

Talk time

CDMA up to 7.5 hrs

CDMA up to 10 hrs

GSM up to 10.4 hrs

Standby time

up to 355 hrs


 A couple of my own observations:

  • SMR (Sprint's restructuring of the Nextel frequencies) should be ready to actually do something late this year.  It's possible we will see a push-to-talk solution for phones that support it, like the EVO 3D.  No word on any SMR support for the Photon, but world capabilities will trump PTT for most folks.
  • Bluetooth has been a pain for Android since, well since forever.  Having Bluetooth 3.0 support on the EVO 3D could be a deciding factor for folks who have trouble connecting Android phones to their car stereo.
  • They both look about the same size and weight.  You won't notice .5 mm in your hands.
  • Even if you don't give a hoot about 3D, there's still the question of the Photon having a PenTile matrix display or not.  Let's hope not.
  • Cameras are a wash until we see pictures and video from each.  1080p doesn't mean much if it's jittery and blurry.  If the camera is going to be your deciding factor, wait for the reviews.
  • The Adreno 220 outperforms the Nvidia GeForce on paper.  Nvidia supports developers of 3D games like no other.  I give the edge to the Photon here, just because there will be (and already are) Tegra optimized games.  And they rock.
  • 16 GB storage on the Photon, 4 on the EVO 3D.  Hello HTC, step that up will ya?
  • We don't know for sure that the EVO 3D doesn't have DDR2 RAM.  We do know that Sprint and Motorola made sure that everyone knew the Photon does. 

There you have it, you need to have a look and see if there's anything here that stands out for your needs.  To me, neither of these phones is remarkably better than the other -- in a good way.  Both look like real winners and would be an excellent choice for any Android fan.

There are 88 comments

Htc evo 3d here i come... No blurr crap for me...

josuearisty says:

Great phones!

Unlocked bootloaders is a great feature to decide!

TheBigFerret says:

I'm sticking with the EVO 3D. The Moto is plain ugly.

xorg says:

The SMR support for EVO 3D isn't just about PTT.. it will do CDMA voice over 800MHz, which means greater coverage. Sprint will start rolling out 800Mhz CDMA later this year.

That might be the turning point for me to go EVO 3D unless the Photon also has SMR.

illdini says:

Is there any verification about the status of the Photon bootloader yet?

xorg says:

Apparently the boatloader will be encrypted until next year. EVO 3D supposedly will not be encrypted.

xorg says:

Apparently the boatloader will be encrypted until next year. EVO 3D supposedly will not be encrypted.

crxssi says:

Wow- what a pair of phones! Sprint certainly is a powerhouse of high-end selection lately. Thanks for the comparison

Looks like the specs are frighteningly similar on the two, despite being different manufacturers and chips/chipsets. Jerry, would be nice to know some other specs: type of chargers, what type of glass, what docking options, what camera flash type/power.

I will also point out that the 800Mhz SMR support might mean a lot more than just "push to talk", it could also lead to a phone that can natively use all the Nextel towers for voice and data, in addition to all the Sprint towers. This could do a lot for congested networks, and coverage areas... To me, that would be a lot more interesting and valuable than being a GSM "world phone", since I never leave the country.

chulito1981 says:

Also 800mhz provides easier building penetration.

i1der says:

Pervert! :p

chulito1981 says:

Also 800mhz provides easier building penetration.

briankurtz79 says:

I'm actually looking fwd to keeping my 3d stock for a while and enjoying sense 3.0. No one in their right mind could make the same comment about blur.

In my opinion, the Photon looks like a better phone. The 16 GB internal memory and the GSM compatibility are the main selling points for me. However, if the bootloaders on both are signed, then I'll just stick with my Evo 4G with CM7.

crxssi says:

It is 16 GB of "internal storage", it has 1 GB of memory. The higher internal storage and the GSM radio are really the only two advantages the Photon has over the Evo 3D. I will guess that 99%+ of people will not care about the GSM/World phone aspect. So that just leaves the increased internal storage. As long as there is a decent SD slot (which both have) and they both have a reasonable about of internal storage (which both have, unlike the Evo 4G, which was a bit too small), then it really isn't much of an issue either.

Personally, I would not call the Photon a "better" phone than the Evo 3D. Maybe the other way around, or perhaps a general tie.

jstdly says:

Sprint is coming on strong with thier phones while Big Red has been "turtling" like the Canucks. Go I mean Sprint!

xorg says:

Sprint reminds me of AMD back in 90s. AMD was more appealing to techies and overclockers. Sprint is more open to mods, etc. I suspect ATT/VZW will want all phones locked down (encrypted bootloaders) while Sprint will be ok with unlocked.

mdoyal1 says:

Uhh don't know what you mean by AT&T/VZW wanting their phones locked down. The fact that a phones bootloader is encrypted is because of the manufacturer, not the carrier.

mnfats127 says:

From HTC : As previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it. However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G.

Where operator and channel partners will allow it. seems to say it is the carriers who ultimately decide.

mdoyal1 says:

Pretty sure the only phone on AT&T that is locked down is the HTC Inspire...

That statement is from Motorola not HTC.

S_C_B says:

I'm sure you meant Motorola. HTC doesnt make the photon.

mnfats127 says:

yup Moto obviously....thx

Why is HTC commenting about the Photon? Shouldn't that be Motorola?

salvasaur says:

The carriers hold a lot of weight in that decision

VDub2174 says:

I must say that I'm torn between the two. I'm not really big on the whole 3D thing so that's not a deciding factor for me. The Proton being a world phone is definitely a plus though.

triangle8 says:

Agree completely. I prefer Sense to blur and wish they would create an HTC world phone with a 8mp camera instead of the 3D, but we'll see how much of a difference the 3D capability makes once it hits the market. Still, Sprint is doing a nice job with getting new androids.

crxssi says:

As you should know by now, the number of megapixels on a handheld camera with ultra tiny lens is a meaningless specification. 8 vs. 5 means nothing. It is the QUALITY of the pixels that matter, not the number.... and typically, the denser sensors are less light sensitive and introduce more noise, and are therefore actually WORSE.

I am not all that hot on the "3D" stuff either, but if you ignore it on the Evo 3D, you are still left with perhaps the best Android phone that has come to market, yet.

inuchan says:

THANK YOU! If only people will read that then we will get somewhere.

Dhamp2g says:

Man 8mp don't matter our evo has an 8mp camera and its not really that good T all. It's not horrible but its not great. It's all about the software.

franky_402 says:

I think the photon looks pretty nice, however alot of people had their hopes crushed when they heard it was unlocked them moto announces that it will not needs to take notes on htc's behavior if they don't want to be left behind. Also I thought the evo was going to have a s-lcd??? I actually had a dream last night about getting the evo3d and I couldn't find one anywhere, it was highly frustrating lol

You sure it was a dream? Sounds more like a premonition...

triangle8 says:

Thanks for putting the specs comparison up.

I'd like more onboard storage IF it doesn't increase the price. But if more onboard storage is going mean a higher price, I'm ok with the lower storage amount. We'll have to see where the Photon prices out and kind of SD card they put in this (if they put one in at all).

IceDree says:

Good job Jerry
you could've used a different picture for the Photon though , this one makes it look ugly , at first I didn't like the Photon because of this picture , but It grow on me when i Googled it & saw more pictures

I'll pick the Photon over the Evo 3D
Since it have a "GSM support" & 16GB storage
I've been looking for a GSM Motorola with a 4.3" screen for a while now

Quick question :
Whats the difference between BlueTooth 2.1 & BlueTooth 3.0 ?

crxssi says:

I am curious... you say the GSM radio is important to you. But why? Are you really going to use the phone out-of-country?

IceDree says:

Im out of the country , as a manner of fact Im from Saudi Arabia , thats why GSM radio (With Int. frequencies) is the most important thing to to me

crxssi says:

Then it looks like your phone choice is an easy one :)

Dark_Blu says:

I'm torn between... NO I'M NOT. PHOTON, here I come!!! LOL!!! The EVO 3D isn't a world phone. That settles it for me. Plus the PHOTON has a Tegra.

crxssi says:

So you plan on using the Sprint phone out-of-country?

deaofly says:

Wait, so Adreno 220 outperforms the Nvidia GeForce? On paper which means ??? I don't understand how one can outperform another with out doing some test I think, and its a HTC phone. I love my Evo 4g but some games and emus have slow downs here and their where other phones play it smooth. I'm just shocked to here this.

bobdude5 says:

The tegra 2 can struggles with 720p high profile video. The snapdragon blazes through 1080p video.

jonyah says:

Ya, my current EVO outperforms my Transformer with the Tegra 2. I think that chip really sucks. I'm expecting the EVO 3D to blow past it.

rexdeaz says:

I agree with you about both phones looking good, Jerry, Finally we have an argument about which bleeding edge phone is producing more blood. Kudos to Sprint for throwing a curveball in my ironclad Evo 3D plans. For as long as the plans are affordable and the phones are of this quality I don't need to give my money to anyone else!

EDIT: You forgot to mention the Photon has a kickstand and the 3D doesn't. Don't know about anyone else here, but have you tried eating a sandwich while trying to watch Netflix? You NEED a kickstand!

crxssi says:

Good point! Damn it irritated me when I heard they were taking the kickstand away on the Evo's- it was a signature feature! And no, I don't want to use a damn case with a kickstand- that is NOT a solution, because I don't use a protective case. I hate the bulk and weight of cases!

jddavis11 says:

Like Jerry said: "To me, neither of these phones is remarkably better than the other -- in a good way. Both look like real winners and would be an excellent choice..." -- I just hope my Pre holds up until the Evo3D is released, cause I am sure it won't make it any longer.

Chopper Joe says:

Just wanted to mention (since I didn't see it listed on the chart) that the EVO 3D comes with an 8 gig SD card.

Both look like great phones and this is probably a clear "personal preference" choice rather than a choice based on specs.

I could be happy keeping my EVO if it weren't for the 1 meg internal storage limit which is getting to be a pain. I suspect that I'm like a lot of EVO owners in that it would take compelling reasons to change to a different manufacturer.

crxssi says:

I think you meant 1 GB of internal storage, not 1 MB :)

That was a perplexing move on HTC's part, since of the 1GB, only something like 358 MB remained free for apps. At a time when there was no storing apps on the SD card, it really didn't make much sense.

The 4GB in the Evo 3D is probably plenty enough now for years. The included 8GB card just makes it better.

For it's the HTC Evo 3d. I appreciate what sprint has done for all of there customers law enforcement agencies as well as day to day business people. Having the best of both worlds is something pretty import to people. I support Qualcomm/htc/sprint that's the camp I reside inn and always will. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE SPRINT HAS RAMPED UP THERE GAME WITH MUCH MORE TO COME HOW'S THE TASTE OF SOME GOLD DUST. IN THE REAL WORLD THE #3 CARRIER IS TRUTHFULLY NUMBER ONE WHEN IT COMES TO ANDROID EVERYONE ELSE TAKES A BACK SEAT.

dan4patriots says:

hate to burst your bubble, but it is the number four carrier- tmobile who is number one when it comes to android, they were the first to give android a shot (G1)

didimac says:

You're missing the Point. #1 not for the having the 1st Android phone, but currently the "best" lineup!!!

Go back to your and flame on articles there...Your not purchasing NO EVO 3D that is what this forum is all about. Do yourself a favor and go back where you have always been we here DON'T LIKE YOUR KIND...

squiddy20 says:

Try spelling everything right and not using all caps for once in your life. Might actually make you look less dumb.

You also is a PHANDROID TROLL...Go back to where you always are WE DON'T WANT OR NEED YOU HERE. We already know your not purchasing NO EVO 3D nor do you have any money to do so...Take your Samsung Moment and throw that JUNK IN THE TRASH CAN that is a great place for you and your phone...

DroidATX says:

I currently love my Evo 4G but I must say, the Photon is a beast of a phone. This maybe my new phone. The 3D thing on the new Evo is a big turn off.

crxssi says:

Then just ignore the 3D features on the Evo 3D and you still have perhaps the most powerful, feature-packed Android phones on the market.

The 3D features don't detract from the Evo 3G in any way, whatsoever... you are not forced to use anything 3D, it doesn't reduce the resolution, brightness, contrast, or anything else of the LCD screen when in 2D mode.

inuchan says:

They need to have a post on Androidcentral just on what you said here. Seems not many are understanding that just because it has a 3D option does not mean that everything has to be in 3D.

IceDree says:

You are absolutely right
People seems to forget that that it can be turned off

Its just that you can't ignore the ugly back of the EVO 3D
It looks like a cheap knock-off of one of The Transporters characters with those dual cameras

Shouldn't the EVO's display be listed as SLCD. I'm pretty sure it's not a standard TFT considering all of HTC's recent phones have been SLCD. Or is SLCD still considered TFT?

crxssi says:

"SLCD" is a brand of TFT. So yes, SLCD is TFT.

mklemick says:

•Bluetooth has been a pain for Android since, well since forever. Having Bluetooth 3.0 support on the EVO 3D could be a deciding factor for folks who have trouble connecting Android phones to their car stereo

What advantages does bluetooth 3.0 have over 2.1?

eric6052 says:

2 great powerful phones that are both waited down by heavy and bloated skins. Sense may look better but its still unneeded at this point.

jonyah says:

That's why an unlocked bootloader is important. My EVO running cyanogemod smokes the stock EVO.

eric6052 says:

2 great powerful phones that are both waited down by heavy and bloated skins. Sense may look better but its still unneeded at this point.

yaeger says:

I'm torn as well, but for me personally:

1. Photon will give me the laptop option to use as a personal computer next to my work computer. Too many firewalls.

2. Gorilla glass will give me more confidence to use the phone without a protective cover.

3. Custom ROMs will hopefully be available for Photon.

jonyah says:

custom roms WILL be available for the new EVO. It's only a question whether Motorola will lock the bootloaders on the Photon.

crxssi says:

1. What are you talking about???

2. The Evo 4G uses Gorilla glass. It might be safe to assume the 3D will as well, or something comparable.

3. It is likely both phones will have custom ROM's.

MarqBland says:

Does the Motorola phone also have a micro SD slot or did they do like Samsung and have 16gb on board (Nexus S 4g) and no memory card slot?

IceDree says:

Yes , it does have a Micro SD slot
but I don't know if it comes with one

I'm gonna with the EVO 3D but what everybody wants to know is... What are the Android Central guys gonna go with...?

dwt10 says:

I don't get why you all hate on Motorola. They make great phones. I mean, do you really care so much about the skin on a phones operating system, you will never buy one of their products. I mean HTC is great but I don't see what is so bad about MotoBlur. If you were too compare these UI's in the real world, you won't notice that one is making the phone slow. Unless your using your phone to race other phones it doesn't matter. You guys over prioritize things. You were all fine when you had a 550mhz Processor in your OG Droid.

Spdy says:

the reason they "hate" on motorola is because that "skin" youre refering to slows down the phone insanely to a crawl on numerous occasions. Moto Blur just slows the phone down much more so than any other ui such as sense or touchwiz which hampers the end users experience. Trust me its common to the average user as well as in the "real world".

dwt10 says:

If you are really bothered by it then you can wait till 2 weeks after its release, and wait for a rooting method. Problem solved. Or you can download a launcher. Its really not that hard to remove the homescreen skin.

aristarchus says:

can we add the latest on the bootlocker status? I feel like both HTC and Motorola has been going back and forth lately...

Motorola Here I Come .... :) No 3D For Me -P

foozwald says:

What I really wish . . . is that HTC had made the Photon and dumped the 3D nonsense. That would be the dream phone.

crxssi says:

Your post doesn't make any sense. Just ignore the 3D features on the Evo 3D and you still have perhaps the most powerful, feature-packed Android phone on the market.

The 3D features don't detract from the Evo 3G in any way, whatsoever... you are not forced to use anything 3D, it doesn't reduce the resolution, brightness, contrast, or anything else of the LCD screen when in 2D mode.

The Moto is pretty fugly. The GSM would be handy for me if I didn't already have a GSM work phone to take out of the country.

I assume both have micro SD slots?

What's Moto's rep for cameras and screen quality? Those will affect my decision more than many other specs. I'm really curious to see the Galaxy S II Sprint variant as the Focus I have is a million times easier to see in the California sun than my Evo which can be very difficult.

Spdy says:

well as much i would like to have a world phone and as enticing as the 16 gigs of internal storage I still have to go with the Evo 3d..The easier to overclock sense 3.0..the OPTION to have 3d recording/picture taking well as watching movies and gaming in 3d...the better RAW GPU (although nvidia does have more optimised games) as well as having a FREE bootloader...*shudders..ill never go to motoblur...or locked bootloaders..

rawvega says:

It's interesting that Moto can claim a whopping ~2.5 hours more of CDMA talk time than the Evo 3D despite having a smaller battery.

Some more specs from Motorola including the standby battery time for the Photon:

These are both very good phones, but I'm gonna stick with the EVO 3D because:

*Sense 3.0 isn't just a pretty UI. is actually quite useful and adds to the overall experience of a powerful Android phone.

*THE OG EVo was one of the most supported Android phones by the DEV community and HTC themselves. Timely updates and next to no compatibility issues with major Android apps. I expect that support to continue with the Evo 3D.

*Call me crazy, but I'm looking forward to taking its 3D capabilities for a spin or two. Though its comforting to know that I have an option of never to have to use it, while still having a powerful Android phone.

*FM Radio. Yes, I use this when I'm working out.

freddyc says:

I'm going with the Evo 3D. Why? Because it comes out in a week and I don't want to wait for the Moto =).

Really, they're both awesome phones. I've been an HTC fan since my HTC Touch Diamond. I'm sticking with them for now, but that extra memory in the Moto is a nice bonus. The SD card is welcomed, but I can't install all of my programs on the SD card. My Evo 4G is already giving me the low memory icon ...

I'm ready for the next step in tech HW, but until I know it can be rooted and has developer support, I'm not jumping to either option. I'm gonna sit back and enjoy GB 2.3.4 ROM on my EVO while the masses are standing in line, waiting to buy up what limited quantities exist. Then I'll read through all the reviews and find out what's working and what's not. Right now I'm undecided. Here is my score card: Photon: dock option, Gorilla glass, GSM. EVO: 1.2GHz dual core CPU, 3D capabilities, new/improved UI. That 3 to 3. So it;s going to boil down to hands on reviews and all the early reports in the forums.

Nate Rules says:

Man, I wish I had your patience.

i still understand why phone makers are stingy with the internal memory they know these devices need it.. motois a wait and see thing need free bootloaders thank you

dwt10 says:

I think the Photon has an FM Radio considering basically all high end motorola phones do since the OG Droid

Nate Rules says:

I think I like the Photon more. I don't like how the Evo is losing the kickstand, changing the hdmi port, and skimping on internal memory. But to me, an unlocked bootloader is way to important to even consider the Photon. And the 3d comes out in 2 weeks. So I will definitely be getting the Evo 3D. But good job Moto for making me think twice, it actually surprised me.

crxssi says:

It has the same memory. Although it has less internal storage. However, it is still plenty enough for most anyone, and it will also come with an upgradable card.

Most people have no interest in the HDMI port, so having it combined into the USB port is probably no big deal.

But I totally agree with you about the kickstand.

Flonkas says:

I remember last year when verizon was getting all the new cool phones and sprint was stuck with the epic/evo. Now with a top of the line lineup, sprint is back baby!

stusmygsgbrd says:

Still don't know how much rom on evo 3D, but Nvidia do good graphics, love to see some gddr 6 ram on one of these. Seen a tab with 4 Gb rom. Quad core, 12 gpu's comming soon, 5 times as fast as a dual core.