We compare Apple’s brand new iPhone 4S to HTC’s Evo 3D.
Form: HTC Evo 3D – 126x65x12.1mm, 170g
Apple iPhone 4S – 115.2×58.6×9.3mm, 140g
Apple’s iPhone 4S has an identical outer-shell to the iPhone 4 and it’s a design which has appealed to millions since its release.
We can’t deny it has something about it which is very slick, but even so we find ourselves a little bored of the design.
It’s a bit too ‘soft’ for our tastes with curved corners and edges all over the place.
HTC frequently produces fairly average looking handsets and it’s often difficult to tell the difference between one model and the next.
The Evo 3D does suffer from this cookie cutter syndrome a little bit, mainly thanks to its shape, but we do think it’s actually a pretty good looking handset.
It’s helped by some thoughtful styling though, with its textured back panel and some mean-looking dark red accents which lend it a sporty appearance.
We think the HTC Evo 3D comes out looking better here.
Winner – HTC Evo 3D
Display: Apple’s new baby comes with the same 3.5-inch retina display – an LED backlit IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 640×960 pixels and a razor sharp pixel density of 330 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
The iPhone 4S supports multi-touch input and features scratch-resistant glass with an oleophobic coating to reduce oily finger prints. An accelerometer and three-axis gyro sensor allow for screen rotation.
HTC’s Evo 3D has a much larger display measuring 4.3-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen with glasses-less 3D capability.
The resolution is a little lower than its opponent at 540×960 pixels giving a correspondingly lower pixel density of 256ppi, which is still really good compared to most phones on the market.
The Evo 3D has the HTC Sense user interface (UI) installed and supports multi-touch and screen rotation thanks to accelerometer and gyro sensors.
There’s little doubt the Apple iPhone 4S has a better quality display, it is one of the best on the market.
It’s smaller size leaves something to be desired but for image clarity it’s yet to be bested.
However, if you’re interested in glasses-less 3D capability we doubt the difference is going to be enough to sway you from the Evo 3D, which in reality is still an excellent display in its own right.
Winner – iPhone 4S
Storage: Onboard storage isn’t the Evo 3D’s greatest strength with only 1GB available for keeping all your apps, games and media on the phone.
It supports external storage up to 32GB via microSD and also packs in 1GB of RAM to help the processor along.
The iPhone 4S is better equipped for internal storage space. The minimum is 16GB, which is pretty good, but there are also options for 32GB and 64GB too. There is no card slot, however, so you won’t be able to keep files on external memory cards.
The amount of RAM is serviceable at 512MB but this is much less than the HTC Evo 3D carries.
We would of course prefer the double quantity of RAM found in the Evo 3D, between the fact that both devices pack such powerhouse processors and the iPhone 4’s setup is so well optimised compared to the Android powered HTC, we doubt many would notice much of performance difference on RAM alone.
We tend to favour higher internal capacities for the faster read speed but there’s no denying the usefulness of external card capability.
However, we’d never prefer this as a primary memory resource. Consequently the iPhone 4S is looking like the better option here, even if the complete absence of a card slot hamstrings it slightly.
Winner – Apple iPhone 4S
Processor: Typically for a high-end Android-powered phone the Evo 3D has a dual core processor as this brute force approach tends to work better with the relatively un-optimised Android platform.
The Evo 3D uses a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor on the MSM8660 Snapdragon chipset. It’s also fitted with an Adreno 220 graphics processing unit (GPU) to help with visuals.
Apple’s iOS system has for a long time been better optimised for single core processors and has consistently run with remarkable speed, smoothness and fluidity.
However, the company apparently saw fit to up the game somewhat and has fitted the iPhone 4S with a dual core processor to bring it right in-line with the competition.
A 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor running Apple’s A5 chipset, the very same one found in the iPad2, has been squeezed into the familiar iPhone frame. This is paired with a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU for optimum graphical performance.
Both are very handsome processing setups and you can guarantee stunning performance from either one.
Winner – Draw
Operating System: The iPhone 4S is the debut device for the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system, iOS 5.
The new iOS 5 has plenty of new changes, over 200 of them, in fact. It also offers great performance and reliability and with thousands of apps in the iTunes App Store you can make it do pretty much whatever you want. Most notably, and unique to the iPhone 4S, is the new vocie-powered Siri Assistant, which allows you to perform phone tasks simply by speaking into the phone. It will even ask questions to clarify what you want it to do.
The Evo 3D runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which while good, is looking a little lacking next to its big cousin Honeycomb 3.0, which is a tablet only build.
Fortunately, we don’t have too long to wait until 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which as well as bringing new features will carry over much of Honeycomb’s tasty goodness to Android smartphone handsets, including the Evo 3D.
Winner – Apple iPhone 4S
Camera: HTC’s Evo 3D uses a purpose-built camera setup, designed specifically to capture 3D images and video.
On the rear of the handset is a dual 5-megapixel stereoscopic camera at 2560х1920 pixels with autofocus, dual LED flash, white balance, post-capture effects and geo-tagging.
Although the cameras are rated at 5-megapixels each, because of the way they work in tandem the 3D images come out at around 2-megapixel quality.
3D video can be captured at 720p while 2D is 720p HD and the phone also supports video calling. A secondary front-facing camera is rated at 1.3-megapixels.
Apple’s iPhone 4S is a more traditional 2D-only affair but it’s rated at a lofty 8-megapixels.
Not only that but picture quality is improved thanks to an enhanced aperture and the addition of a fifth camera lens.
The resolution clocks in at 3264×2448 pixels and camera features include autofocus, LED flash and video light, touch focus, image and video stabilisation, geo-tagging, face detection.
Video capture is at 1080p HD and the iPhone 4S supports video calling over Wi-Fi. There’s also a secondary VGA camera.
From a conventional camera standpoint the iPhone 4S blows the Evo 3D out of the water.
However, as is often the case with 3D capable phones, it depends on how much you value that 3D magic.
We’re not too fussed about it and would therefore take the iPhone’s high quality 8-megapixel 2D camera over it any day of the week.
Winner – Apple iPhone 4S
Final Thoughts: It may not have been the ‘game-changing’ phone we were hoping for but the iPhone 4S is a suitable upgrade to bring Apple’s iconic smartphone in-line with the Android competition.
It does a decent job of beating the Evo 3D in many key areas. The operating system is slicker, it has more memory to play with, a sharper display and a much better camera assuming you’re not fussed about 3D.
Don’t get us wrong though, the Evo 3D is still a great phone and one of the better Android offerings, we think it could benefit tremendously from an operating system update and it shouldn’t be too long before this happens.