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


View All Comments

  • Palmer 3 - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    How certain are you that the parallax barrier is always in place?

    When I look at a 3D picture there is a graininess to the image. If I close one eye I can see the "black" vertical lines that were intended for the other eye. When looking at a non 3D image and I close one eye I do not see these black lines. I would assume if the barrier was present the lines would still appear since you cannot see though the barrier.
  • Dan-Spradling - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    Ok, I'm a long time Sprint customer and I been holding out for the I-Phone to come to Sprint but I hear that's just rumor for now so I decided to try an Android phone to upgrade from a Blackberry Tour. After days of reading customer reviews everywhere on the internet (including Amazon) I decided to take a chance and all I can say is WOW, this phone is light years better than my Blackberry. It's very fast, the touch screen is very responsive, screen resolution is excellent in my opinion, camera and video recorder is nice, phone sound quality and reception is great, I could go on and on!

    Cons: I noticed the battery is not as long lasting as my old Blackberry but its not bad. Also I still can not find a way to stop the a song when its played on the music player. Only thing you can do to stop it is hit the pause button, perhaps something I am doing wrong. One final thing they should include a full manual with the purchase not just a starter guide. I had to go online to download the 155 page manual.

    Overall this is an excellent phone!!! I am very pleased with the purchase. I was a loyal Blackberry user but RIM refuses to come out with better phones so... bye bye Blackberry. There is no going back now.

    See Motorola Photon 4G Best Deal at:
  • guitarpete987 - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I've tried both, and the decision maker for me was believe it or not the music app. I love the way the Photon music app is designed, how it works well with my home upnp setup and the functionality it has to make "Genius" style random playlists from your collection, which seems to do an even better job than apples method. Reply

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