I thought about doing an “EVO 3D VS. Motorola Photon 4G” post, but as I thought about the 2 phones, I realized that there isn’t really much to compare. I’ve seen some pretty horrible reviews pitting the 2 phones against eachother (if you want to know about the differences in home screen scrolling, here’s one of the horrible ones I struggled to watch).
When you put the 2 phones together, there’s really not much to compare. They’re the same size pretty much, but they use different UI’s (Sense and Motoblur are COMPLETELY different), different versions of Android Gingerbread (3D runs 2.3.3, Photon runs 2.3.4 and it’s safe to assume that at some point, they’ll both run 2.3.4), the cameras are pretty obviously different (3D: 2 5mpx cameras Photon: 1 8mpx), their guts are completely different (namely their processors: 3D has Snapdragon 2, Photon has Tegra 2)… I could go on, but I’m boring myself… Full specs below for your non-comparison pleasure.
Instead of a “Versus” I’ve decided just to give you my experiences with both phones. I’ll start with the 3D:
When I first heard about the EVO 3D, I read up and decided that I was absolutely NOT going to upgrade. Partially because I felt that except for the upgraded guts, my OG 4G was still powerful enough to do what I needed it to and partially because I was broke, and couldn’t afford to (talking trash about a product even though deep down you really want it is much more fiscally responsible). The 3D aspect of it was cool, but to me, sounded gimmicky so I stuck with my 4G. There came a day a few months later that all my bills were up to date, rent was paid, the kids’ tummies were full, and a light came down from the heavens and shown upon my paycheck. I almost litterally ran to Sprint… I was told that I still had almost a year left before I was elligible for uprgrade pricing, and that I’d have to pay full MSRP to get it, which I was NOT willing to do, so once again, “the EVO 3D sucks, I really didn’t want that P.O.S. anyways…”. The next day, I received a call from my gorgeous Fiancee. She informed me that she had leaned into one of the Customer Service reps at Sprint, and somehow (she’s got mind control powers over call center employees, I swear it) was able to negotiate upgrade pricing! She ordered me to print out all my Best Buy rewards, and various coupons ’cause “after you get off work, we’re GOING to get you the 3D!” (so technically I was “FORCED” into getting one. She had to twist my arm a full quarter of a milimeter).
Enough about that: I was pretty amazed by the speed and functionality of the Evo 3D to be honest. Everything I said about it when I couldn’t afford it, I took back instantly. Sense 3.0 is amazing, and out of the box, the phone is simply navigated. I was pretty familiar with it, as I already owned the Flyer, and am a recovering Flashaholic (Custom ROMs when you’re rooted are IMPOSSIBLE to stay away from) so getting around wasn’t hard, but I feel like a first time Android/Sense user could also get into things easilly. The beast was FAST too, any tiny gesture caused a reaction from the phone (which was a tiny bit annoying at first, but I got used to it’s sensitivity). Of course, I immediately started taking 3D pictures and that too was amazing, and not as gimmicky as I had previously assumed. If you take a 3D video, and upload it to You Tube, it’s converted to glasses formated 3D! GENIOUS! Pictures, however were a different story… I became REALLY frustrated with the fact that in order to share my amazing 3D pictures, I had to physically hand my phone to someone. Not cool. There was an app created called Twinpic which allowed 3D users to upload their photos and share them with other 3D users, but I also have a couple issues with that. First, I didn’t know anyone else with a 3D phone, and second, There’s no ability to secure your own pictures. When I take a picture, I want to be able to say it’s mine, and not give anyone else the opportunity to take credit for it. Twinpic allows anyone to download any pictures you take and share publicly. Even WITH all of that, I couldn’t stop taking pictures in 3D. It’s really addictive. I even took 3/4 of the pictures of my family trip in 3D, KNOWING I wouldn’t be able to share them. The 3D experience was incredible. The Green Hornet in 3D was REALLY cool, and all of the 3D games were pretty freakin’ cool too. Still, they were only for ME, on MY phone and that gets a little lonely. I was still happy with the phone in general, and had no plans whatsoever of returning it. I knew HTML 5 was coming, and would have some 3D capabilities, so one day I could share all of the beautiful 3D pictures I was taking…
I read about the Motorola Photon 4G on Android Central, and sent the link to my coworker, and fellow Android enthusiast. The day it was released, he had one and couldn’t stop talking about it. I was curious, but had pretty much lost all faith in Motorola, and had heard nothing but horrible reviews of MotoBlur. Then the bomb dropped… The morning I read that Google was acquiring Motorola I was both blind sided (as were Apple, Microsoft and anyone else taking shots at Google and the devices that ran Android over patents) and excited. That morning, the Motorola Photon 4G technically became a Google phone, and my first thought was “Ice Cream Sammich time!”. That same morning, I saw my coworker for the first time since he bought the Photon, and got to touch it. I was blown away. It was seriously incredible. I still wasn’t a fan of Motoblur, and am not a huge fan of the “Vanilla” lock screen, but the Photon was faster, clearer, and GORGEOUS. I started reading more, and realizing my frustration with 3D content, and some annoying freezing occurring on my 3D while I was on vacation (which had since disappeared, but I was already leaning and couldn’t help but remember) and was a little perplexed by the decision I didn’t expect to be making. I mentioned that I might want to return my 3D for the Photon to my coworker, and he got all used car salesman on me… He said “You want me to sell it to you? I’ll sell it to you RIGHT now…” and started shuffling the contents of his backpack. a few minutes later, he called me over, and directed my attention to the phone on it’s docking station. He then pointed out that it was attached to the 55″ TV on the office wall that we use for testing. The rest was obvious. Displayed on the left hand side of the TV was his phone… FULLY FUNCTIONAL. He could make calls, text and access the phone’s general apps. On the right was a browser he opened to show us the clip of his brother on America’s Got Talent. Below was a task bar where he could open file browsers, documents for editing, e-mail and just about anything else you could think of doing on a PC, BUT FROM THE PHONE. THEN, he told me that he bought the car dock as well, and could play all of his music, get real time navigation from (including his current speed from GPS), and make calls, and dictate text messages. His goal was achieved, I was sold. That night, I returned my EVO 3D in exchange for the Photon.
Since I didn’t get home from the store until about 8pm, and still needed to take care of family needs around the house, I only got to play with general functionality, and install some of my favorite apps. To be honest, I was kind of frustrated, and had second thoughts on my decision. MotoBlur really DOES suck, and a lot of the apps I’ve ALWAYS used didn’t work properly. For example, I’ve always used Clockr Evolution in place of any default clock on any Android device I’ve used (pretty much ’cause I paid for it, and don’t want my money to go to waste using something else). For some reason, the Photon wouldn’t allow me to make the changes in settings that I usually do. I played a bit, complained on Google+ some, but knew it would take more than a few hours to get the hang of things. I plugged her in and let her get a good night’s rest. The next morning, I woke up to my phone’s vibration (I had fallen asleep on the couch, and it was on the arm) and not the alarm notification I set. I was a little frustrated that the default alarm volume wasn’t set to “wake my lazy ass up” loud, and that I had fallen asleep on the couch again… I was leaning more and more towards returning the Photon, and getting my old friend the 3D back. A few days a week, I have a ridiculously long commute to work. 2 1/2+ hours each way. That morning was one of those days. Forcing myself to understand the Photon, and get to know it inside and out, I started to play. About an hour later, I realized that my frustration was completely based on MotoBlur. I set Launcher Pro as the default UI (paid for that one too), and instantly my woes disappeared. I further realized that the mistake I was making was forcing myself to learn the phone, instead of forcing the phone to learn me. I am now a full on Photon “Fan Boy”. I even call it my little “Mo-Pho”. It does absolutely everything. I’m still a little annoyed by the Gallery and the Calendar’s views, but have learned how to get what I want. Regarding the Gallery, I decided I hated it until I realized last night that after you set up your various accounts (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) pictures and videos from those accounts scroll above your gallery options, which is actually pretty cool… Aside from tiny app frustrations, there’s absolutely nothing bad I can say about my Mo-Pho, and I won’t be going back to the 3D. I’ve actually noticed an increase in the strengths of signals I’m receiving too. In one of the Hospitals I work in, the office has very low cell reception and no WiFi at all, but with the Photon I get better cell reception, and 1 bar of WiFi! I also noticed I have 4G further into my commute than usual, but that could be due to Sprint sporadically flipping switches. I’m sure my love for it will grow the day I run into trouble in China, or Africa, or Peru and need to slap a Sim card in my WORLD Mo-Pho for an emergency call (that will never happen, I’m just sayin’… it’s there if I DID need it… which I won’t…).
All in all, both phones are great but I CAN say this. In MY opinion the EVO 3D is awesome and fun, but the Motorola Photon 4G is awesome and funCTIONAL. I think the biggest difference in the 2 phones is that the EVO 3D is a powerhouse for a younger crowd, and the Photon is the same for a slightly older demographic. For the person that likes to constantly show off what their phone can do, the EVO is the way to go and for those that just like their phone to do what they need and do it well the Photon is the better choice.
By the way, I’ve also become a Mo-Pho salesman, and I don’t even have the docks yet… Just the name: Photon… So Kirk and Picard…