Update: Since having extensive hands-on time with both the LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D, we’ve added a few changes to the original article.
Two new phones, the same very cool features; a glasses-free 3D display and dual cameras capable of recording 3D stills and video. How does the LG Optimus 3D compare to the HTC Evo 3D? The Optimus 3D may have stolen a few months lead on the Evo 3D, but this has given HTC has had time to study the competition and potentially tweak its own offering.
Optimus 3D vs Evo 3D: Dimensions
Size-wise, there’s not much to separate the LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D; both are around 12mm thick, and, presumably due to the 3D technology inside, are quite weighty compared to other smartphones. The Optimus 3D is 168g, whilst the Evo 3D weighs in 170g. Again, not much between them.
Optimus 3D vs Evo 3D: Screen
If the sizes and weights are more or less the same, it’ll be no surprise to learn that both pack an expansive 4.3-inch screen, designed to make the most of the glasses-free 3D fun.
Though the screens of the two phones are the same size it’s the Evo 3D that packs a higher resolution; qHD 960 x 540 compared to the Optimus 3D’s WVGA 400 x 800. The Evo 3D’s screen has more dots per inch too, at 256dpi compared to the Optimus 3D’s 217dpi.
Consequently, phone menus, backgrounds, app icons and the rest look shaper and more detailed on the Evo 3D.
Take a look at these two screengrabs to get an idea of the size differences yourself. In our tests though, we found that the Optimus 3D’s screen had better viewing angles and also performed better in direct sunlight. We tested both screens with the brightness cranked to max and it was the Optimus 3D that provided greater legibility.
Optimus 3D vs Evo 3D: Hardware
Inside the two phones, we have a genuine contender for most powerful smartphone crown, the Evo 3D has both a faster processor (1.2GHz vs 1GHz) and double the amount of RAM (1GB vs 512MB).
Though both phones feature HDMI connectivity, the Evo 3D handles all that through the microUSB port, thanks to the magic of MHL. This is a plus as it means you can charge the phone over one connection. If you had your Optimus 3D plugged in to an HDTV for example, you’d need to plug in a separate cable if you wanted to keep the battery topped up.
Despite early and rumoured spec sheets saying that the Evo 3D would come with 4GB of internal memory, the truth is it’s 1GB. That’s what it says on the settings screen of our Evo 3D and that’s what HTC’s official specs say too.
So the LG Optimus 3D is the clear winner here, walking tall with a mighty 8GB of memory. More room for apps, games and 3D HD videos.
So in conclusion, the Evo 3D is the better phone for general mobile use; it’s a little faster at web browsing, loading apps and games. The extra storage of the Optimus 3D however gives it an edge. Though both phones have microSD slots, we really don’t feel this is a real substitute for built-in internal storage.
Optimus 3D vs Evo 3D: Cameras
With cameras being a core selling point, both arrive with 5-megapixel shooters on the back. This drops down to ‘up to’ 2 megapixels for 3D stills on the Evo, but the Optimus 3D drops to 3-megapixels. Both can record up to 3D 720p HD video however.
The LG Optimus 3D is undoubtedly the better of the two phones here at taking 2D stills. For exterior shots in the daytime, picture quality between the two was comparable. Interior 2D pictures taken on the Evo 3D often suffered from noise and speckling; large, plain surfaces like bare walls, desks and tables looked particularly bad.
The Optimus 3D has another edge over its 3D rival in that 2D videos look a bit crisper and neater. You can record 2D video at full HD (1920 x 1080) compared to the Evo 3D which shoots 2D video at 1280 x 720.
3D videos looked a little sharper to our eye on the Optimus, even though they were both recorded at 720p.
For 3D still images, we found that the Evo 3D won out in terms of both detail and in creating a more convincing sense of immersion.
In the front-facing camera stakes, the Evo 3D wins again; it’s got a 1.3 megapixel sensor compared the Optimus 3D’s 0.3-er. The Skype for Android app currently allows for video calling to be made over the Evo 3D as well. We suppose its only a matter of time before the Optimus 3D can make videocalls over Skype; jury’s out on exactly when this’ll happen though.
Optimus 3D vs Evo 3D: Software
The Evo 3D rolls with Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, the most up to date version of Android phones to date and crucially, the most secure. Compared to the Optimus 3D, languishing on 2.2.2 Froyo (still), the Evo 3D is sitting pretty here.
We’ve been told that the Optimus 3D will be getting Gingerbread at some point, but there’s been no official date thus far. We’ve heard rumours saying it’ll be next month, some saying October and beyond.
While the UI additions LG has added to the Optimus 3D are welcome ones – the redesigned stock browser layout in particular is much better – HTC Sense 3.0 is one slick looking interface; a flashy designer suit compared to the off-the-peg Optimus 3D’s look.
Looks aside, we prefer both the layout of the 3D camera on the Optimus 3D; it’s much easier to shift between 2D and 3D and camera and camcorder than it is on the Evo 3D.
Also, the way in which all of the 3D content is arranged on the Optimus 3D – games, the YouTube channel and the 3D gallery – is a nice touch.
HTC Watch still isn’t flush with the promised 3D movie content we were told about earlier in the year. So, for overall usability as a phone, the Evo is the winner here. But in a 3D-off the Optimus comes up with the goods.
Updated from the original article posted on 28/07/2011 with additional editing by Thomas Newton.