The Display

In nearly every category the EVO 3D and Photon trade blows, each offering an advantage and a disadvantage depending on how you look at it. The display is the one area where I believe the EVO 3D is the undisputed champion. A quick macro shot comparing the display of the two phones reveals why:

HTC EVO 3D Motorola Photon 4G

Both have the same 960 x 540 display resolution and the same 4.3-inch screen size, but the Photon looks much grainier. You're looking at the difference between a RGBW PenTile panel and a standard LCD with full subpixel resolution. Motorola has gone the PenTile route in a few high profile phones as of late including the Atrix and Droid 3. The Photon simply adds to the list.

In normal use the Photon's PenTile panel doesn't pose much of a problem. If you're sold on the Photon everywhere else, don't let this be the deal breaker - you can get used to it. Scrolling will sometimes highlight the unique subpixel structure but mostly things just look grainy on the Photon. Small text, for example on a zoomed out web page, is the worst culprit - it just looks like there's no font smoothing enabled. It's livable but it's hardly desirable.

Display Brightness

Display Brightness

Both phones can get very bright, but their black levels are among the worst we've tested. While viewing angles are acceptable on these phones, they clearly don't use the highest quality panels available for this form factor. Contrast is reasonable but no where near as good as other phones we've reviewed.

Display Contrast

Although the phones have comparable brightness characteristics, they differ wildly in white levels. The Photon's white point is calibrated to around 8200K, making everything much bluer than normal - a trick we often see used in TVs and consumer displays.

The EVO 3D by comparison delivers a better overall experience. Text looks sharper and the white point is at a more reasonable 6200K.

Whether or not the Photon's display is going to bother you depends mostly on how much text you read on your phone. Text messages are typically fine as the fonts themselves are large enough and they're against a white background. The issue is more pronounced, as I mentioned before, on web pages with small text. Once you zoom in the problem goes away, it's mostly an aesthetic issue when you first load up a web page since you're going to zoom in on any content you actually want to read. I'm not trying to excuse the use of an RGBW PenTile grid, I'm just trying to put its impact into perspective. It's not ideal but it's also not the end of the world.

Photon (left) vs. EVO 3D (right)

Personally, I prefer the EVO 3D's display.

Introduction The Camera
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  • RaLX - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    Pentile RGBW blows and it's worse than Pentile AMOLED because at least the latter has great contrast and colors...

    Are yellows in Photon as bad as in Atrix where they look like brown tinted and uncalibrated?
  • JayQ330 - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    you havent seen the photon's screen its not the same atrix or droid x2 screen you might of seen or read of, how about you read another review from engadget, *everyone knows engadget is biased & only love the iphone, but even they couldnt deny the photons great specs* the plastic feel of the photon? the photon is the most solid, high quality & very detailed android phones released. read other reviews than this one , this is the only review where they said nothing good of the photon. quadrant scores of 2900 to 3100 * those are my scores * most websites report 2900 to 3000 & thats witch a qHD screen! also its only a 1ghz dual core saving much battery & its rgbw pixels save more than 40% battery than average lcd & more than 70% compared to amoled plus. another thing about the screen it seems to be a newer version of samsungs rgbw pentile tech *yes samsung makes that screen* because its not pixelated, no ghosting effect & the colors are better than super lcd while its contrast & blacks are comparable to super amoled..i owned a galaxy s so i know. even ifag sites reviewed the phone & said that the screen is second only to the retina screen which means allot coming from them. you cant see the pixels especially in blacks thats how good the contrast is & its not a washed out black its ink darkness. besides the resolution & not having a virtual keypad that takes up half the screen space because of its higher res screen which is better for any app that you need to text in & any app period. super lcd is already up there with amoled plus do your research before becoming emotionally attached & being worst than ifan boys. besides the tegra 2 is a better more efficient soc than the exynos want proof? look at all the quadrant & antutu scores they're all overclocked to 1.5 ghz! & a droid x2 with half the ram higher resolution and android 2.2 gets higher scores in antutu in graphics & only 200 less points in quadrant. a and heres a better one the galaxy R with its 1 ghz tegra 2 soc gets 3600 in quadrant while the 1.2 ghz exynos gets a 3400 in quadrant! 200 mhz more & still gets less? i guess the lower resolution screen wasnt enough to beat the galaxy R? seriously like a phone for what it can do not what your emotions tell you to do, that a girls job.
  • Alchemy69 - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    With the Samsung Galaxy S II just around the corner why choose either?
  • IKeelU - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    [Im]patiently awaiting Galaxy S II review...
  • anindrew - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Exactly! Samsung is supposed to have a big announcement/press release on August 29th. Considering the image they're using for the event has the Roman Numeral II on it and the fact that Samsung's CEO made a statement about the GS2 being released by the end of August, it seems that the GS2 will be released in the very near future.

    As a Sprint customer who is eligible for a new phone in October, I'm planning to get the GS2 rather than either of the two phones in this review. I'm looking forward to seeing a review of the GS2 on anandtech, especially if it compares the performance on each network. The phones should be nearly identical hardware-wise.
  • jnads - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    Because Samsung software support blows.

    The Moment never got Froyo, and got EOL'ed after less than a year. The Intercept got EOL'ed and won't get Gingerbread.

    The Galaxy S phones _STILL_ don't have Gingerbread 8 months after it was released.

    Do you really want a Galaxy S II, knowing you'll never see Android Ice Cream?
  • g1011999 - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    The two cores share a "512MB" L2 cache but have a dual-channel memory interface.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    Fixed! Thank you :)

    Take care,
  • Vishnu NS - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    In the second paragraph, on the last line, you have written "the two cores share 512 MB of L2 cache...."

    A good read as always...!!
  • jjj - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    no WIFI perf or even specs ?

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