HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: smartphone comparison

Which 3D Android smartphone is king: HTC's EVO 3D or the LG Optimus 3D?

TV manufacturers have been keen on 3D technology in recent times and now it seems the 3D world is being transferred to smartphones, too. LG was first to market with the Optimus 3D — early enough to be crowned the world's first 3D smartphone — and HTC has closely followed with the EVO 3D.

Read our comprehensive reviews of the HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D and check out our roundup of the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

Though some might consider 3D a gimmick, there is no doubt the glasses-free technology is genuinely impressive in action. Does HTC's EVO 3D nail the concept or can the LG Optimus 3D be crowned king of the third dimension?

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Specifications

Feature HTC EVO 3D LG Optimus 3D Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Google Android 2.2 (Froyo) HTC EVO 3D
Display size 4.3in 4.3in Draw
Display technology Capacitive 3D LCD Capacitive 3D LCD Draw
Display resolution 540x960 pixels (qHD) 480x800 pixels HTC EVO 3D
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera Dual 5 megapixels (stereoscopic 3D photos), dual-LED flash, autofocus, geotagging Dual 5 megapixels (stereoscopic 3D photos), LED flash, autofocus, geotagging Draw
Video 720p HD (2D), 720p HD (3D) 1080p HD (2D), 720p HD (3D) LG Optimus 3D
FM radio Yes No HTC EVO 3D
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 1GB 8GB LG Optimus 3D
Expandable memory microSD card slot microSD card slot Draw
Dimensions 126 x 65 x 12.1 mm 128.8 x 68 x 11.9 mm HTC EVO 3D
Weight 170g 168g HTC EVO 3D
Application store Google Android Market Google Android Market Draw
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core (1.2GHz) ARM Cortex A9 dual-core (1GHz) HTC EVO 3D
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP HTC Evo 3D
HDMI-out No (Yes, via HML) Yes LG Optimus 3D
Quoted talk time Up to 7 hrs 45 min Up to 9 hrs LG Optimus 3D
Quoted standby time Up to 420 hrs Up to 450 hrs LG Optimus 3D
Adobe Flash support Yes Yes Draw

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Design

Both the HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D are large, chunky smartphones. This is due to the fact they each have dual-cameras that allows them to capture stereoscopic 3D images and videos.

Despite its bulky frame there is plenty to like about the HTC EVO 3D's design. The black edges are made from sturdy-feeling aluminium, the rear battery cover has a grippy, plastic surface that makes the phone slip-resistant, and the touch-sensitive shortcut buttons below the screen are responsive and backlit. We also like the metallic red edging that accents the two camera lenses and the machined aluminium shutter key. Annoyingly, the camera lenses protrude from the back of the EVO 3D, so the phone doesn't sit flat on a desk or table. It's also pretty heavy at 170g.

The LG Optimus 3D is even larger than the EVO 3D even though it weighs a mere 0.2g less. On the upside it feels well constructed: the back cover doesn't creak or rattle and the combination of plastic with metal highlights gives it a premium look and feel. We particularly like the brushed metal strip on the rear of the phone, though the lack of dedicated shutter key is a downside.

Optimus 3D

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Display

The HTC EVO 3D has a 4.3in 3D touchscreen but the big draw card here is its resolution: the 540x960 pixel panel makes it a quarter HD (qHD) screen. The EVO 3D's screen means you will see more of a website at once and will also benefit video playback and mobile gaming. Text is noticeably crisper than many of its rivals, including the popular Samsung Galaxy S II.

The LG Optimus 3D also has a 4.3in 3D touchscreen and it uses the same LCD technology as the EVO 3D. However, it has a less impressive resolution of 480x800. It's still bright and clear and ultimately there is nothing wrong with the screen, but it's not as crisp or sharp as the EVO 3D due to its lower pixel count.

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HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Third dimension

The HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D use identical technology to produce 3D. A series of slits on the front of the LCD screen block light, meaning your left and right eyes see different images. This creates a 3D effect that can be viewed without the need for special 3D glasses. It's the same technology that is used on the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming console.

Though the 3D technology may be the same on both of these smartphones, the software is not. LG deserves extra credit for the way it presents its 3D content. Users press and hold the 3D button to bring up the "3D space carousel" which enables you to access four key 3D functions: the 3D camera, 3D games, YouTube 3D and the 3D Gallery. The 3D guide is also very handy and includes information on creating, viewing, sharing and connecting 3D content, such as the best distance from the camera and the object when taking 3D photos (0.5-2 m), and the optimal sweet spot when viewing 3D content on the screen (30-40cm).

Unlike LG, HTC doesn't utilise something similar on the EVO 3D. Instead, the 3D functions aren't easily identifiable and are just in their regular places like any other non-3D Android phone. They still work just as well, but for first time users or those new to smartphones, LG's 3D menus are far more user friendly.

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Software

The HTC EVO 3D runs the latest 2.3 Android "Gingerbread" operating system with HTC's traditional Sense user interface over the top. Version 3.0 of Sense is the same one featured on the HTC Sensation: most of the upgrades are aesthetic ones that add polish to what already is a tidy UI. The best of these is the new lock screen, which now comes with four customisable shortcuts, a 3D rotating effect when scrolling between home screens, and an updated weather app with new animations and sounds.

The Optimus 3D runs the slightly older Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, but LG has promised that it will be upgradeable to the latest version of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) in the near future. This is expected to be available before the end of the year. LG has skinned the standard Android interface with its own UI overlay, but the changes aren't as comprehensive as HTC's Sense. The music controls integrated in the notifications slide-down bar, the revamped contact pages and the cartoonish-looking weather, clock and calendar widgets are all positives aspects of LG's UI skin. The on-screen keyboard is also excellent, but LG's pre-loaded Facebook and Twitter apps are much inferior to the standard Android versions.

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Performance

The HTC EVO 3D is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and has 1GB RAM, translating into a smooth and fast user experience. HTC's graphically intense UI has often slowed down many HTC handsets, but the EVO 3D is a notable exception. The EVO 3D has 1GB of internal memory, which is less than we would have liked. Thankfully, there is a microSD card slot for extra storage.

The LG Optimus 3D has a 1GHz dual-core processor and only 512MB of RAM but performance does not suffer as a result. The camera app is sometimes a little slow to open but the Optimus 3D is also a fast and smooth smartphone. It has 8GB of internal memory — significantly more than the EVO 3D's 1GB — and also has a microSD card slot for memory expansion.

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Camera

The HTC EVO has a 5-megapixel, dual-lens camera that allows the capture of stereoscopic 3D images videos. Disappointingly, the quality of the EVO 3D's camera is limited to 2-megapixels when capturing 3D images, compared with 5-megapixel stills in 2D. This makes 3D images and video far less detailed than regular 2D ones, though the effect is still impressive in action. The 2D to 3D switch makes it easy to effortlessly flick between camera modes and the machined aluminium camera shutter key is simply perfect.

The LG Optimus 3D has a similar dual-lens camera for 3D image and video capture. The quality of the Optimus 3D's camera is also limited: 3-megapixels when capturing 3D images, and 720p HD when recording 3D video — compared with 5-megapixel stills and 1080p full HD video in 2D. Images and video are of a comparable quality to the EVO 3D, though the latter appears to take better 2D photographs.


HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Other features

The HTC EVO 3D doesn't come with an HDMI-out port but includes a new connection technology called Mobile High-definition Link (MHL). The on-board MHL technology uses the standard micro-USB port on the device for outputting 1080p HD video and audio via HDMI. However, you'll need to purchase a separate micro-USB to HDMI MHL connector to enable this feature. If you're not included to purchase any additional accessories, the EVO 3D can also output multimedia through DLNA.

The LG Optimus 3D has a standard HDMI-out port for direct connection to a television or projector, along with DLNA for wirelessly sharing 3D content. The included Smartshare app makes it easy to set up the DLNA feature: it's a significant improvement on earlier DLNA-enabled smartphones which were often difficult to set-up and use.

HTC EVO 3D vs. LG Optimus 3D: Battery life

Battery life on the HTC EVO 3D is much better than the LG Optimus 3D, but you will still need to charge the phone every night on most occasions. Use of the 3D functions (most notably watching 3D movies, or playing 3D games) drains the battery very quickly, so battery life will ultimately depend on how often you use this feature. Overall, the EVO 3D should last you a full day even with plenty of use.

Sadly, the LG Optimus 3D's battery life is truly diabolical, and without doubt the worst feature of the phone. During our tests, the battery did not last a full day even when we didn't use any of the 3D features. Although we expected 3D to suck more battery power than usual, the end result is far worse than we imagined.

The HTC EVO 3D is available in Australia through Telstra and Vodafone, while Optus currently stocks the LG Optimus 3D.

What do you think about the HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D? Tell us in the comments below!