The HTC power duo which includes the Sensation 4G and the EVO 3D barely needs an introduction. The dual-core phones are among the most powerful Android handsets available for sale in the United States and are favorites of both the consumers and the tech journalists.
We got a chance to spend some time with both handsets, and decided to give them a quick head to head comparison – a battle between siblings of sort. The HTC EVO 3D and Sensation 4G share almost identical hardware and have the same qHD screen resolution. They both run Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Sense 3.0.
The main difference between the devices can be found on their backs, where the camera units are located. The HTC Sensation 4G has an 8MP snapper, capable of capturing video in 1080p, while the EVO 3D counts on a duo of 5MP cameras for its 3D tricks. Logically, its unit can be used in 2D mode but, sadly, its video recording capability is capped at 720p.
In this head to head battle, we are going to compare the dimensions and hardware of both devices, as well as their overall performance, which we measured through a series of benchmarks. The camera units and their quality will also face some of our scrutiny. So go ahead, place your bets, and read on to see which one of this impressive duo of droids is going to come on top at the end.
So while we prepare for the rundown, checkout how the two phones differ from one another. The review starts on the next page.
HTC EVO 3D over Sensation 4G
- 3D capable screen and camera unit
- Less prone to accidental drops
- Faster overall performance
- WiMax capable
HTC Sensation 4G over EVO 3D
- Superior 2D still and video camera
- Better looks and lower weight
- Much better battery performance
- International roaming capable
Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The HTC EVO 3D and Sensation 4G are US-only phones, so they will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!
HTC EVO 3D
We will begin by introducing the HTC EVO 3D. The first 3D capable phone to come from the Taiwanese giant is yet to be launched globally in a GSM flavor. We have our hands on the U.S. only version, which is sold exclusively from Sprint Wireless. It is a CDMA device with added WiMax support – quite a promising combination.
The EVO 3D is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, and a Qualcomm MSM8660 chipset. There is a gig of RAM on board, which is as good as it gets on a mobile phone these days.
With measures of 127 x 66 x 11.9 mm, and 170 grams of weight, the HTC EVO 3D is not the most pocket friendly device you will find around. The thickness is probably mostly due to the 3D camera on the back of the device and the bigger battery.
In terms of build quality, the HTC EVO 3D is up to the usual high standards set by the company. The device is made from pleasant, soft feel plastic, which has a very nice texture, helping you avoid accidental drops. Design wise, there is barely anything to rave about in this device. Given its proportions, it can hardly look better than it already does.
HTC Sensation 4G
The HTC Sensation 4G is exclusively offered by T-Mobile in the United States. It doesn’t differ from its European cousin, which we know quite well, save for the different bands and the extra T-Mobile logo at the front of the device. It is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, and Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon chipset. There is 768MB of RAM available in the HTC Sensation. We will find out a little later if it will make a difference in the device’s performance.
The Sensation 4G is definitely more elegant than its Sprint Wireless sibling, and has the measures to prove it. At 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm, and 148 grams of weight, the GSM handset is visibly slimmer than the EVO 3D.
The build quality of the Sensation 4G is superb as well. The metal back of the phone feels very pleasant to hold in hand. You must however be careful when handling the device because its slim waistline combined with the slippery metal finish tends to form an accident-prone recipe of disaster. In terms of design, we dare to say that it is the best looking phone to come from the company to date.
Head to head
With the phones side by side, especially at the front of them, if it wasn’t for the different colors and the circled touch sensitive buttons of the EVO 3D, we would not be able to make a difference.
If size and looks is what you are looking for, then HTC Sensation 4G is probably the one you would want given the choice of both.
It is at the back of the phones where the main difference between the devices can be found. The 3D unit of the EVO 3D is encircled by a red colored ring, which adds extra attention to it. The camera unit of the Sensation 4G looks way more modest, but don’t be deceived by its appearance.
The EVO 3D scores one with a 3D display
Both devices have the same size and resolution displays. The HTC EVO 3D scores more points than the Sensation 4G for its screen, which supports glasses-free 3D, as well as its higher brightness. It is a shame in a way, that the 3D effects are limited to only multimedia viewing. A 3D menu would have added to the overall device appeal. This doesn’t mean that you are about to be disappointed with the Sensation 4G’s screen unit.
Both devices’ screens suffer from relatively poor visibility in direct sunlight.
Battery life is not the best
All the points which the HTC EVO 3D gained over the Sensation 4G for its superior display are lost in the battery department. Despite the 1730 mAh battery on board, you must be really diligent to last through a full day of use with the EVO 3D. We would definitely recommend that you have a charger on you just in case. This is particularly important if you want to benefit from the zippy WiMax network which Sprint Wireless offers. With 4G on and all accounts in full sync, you are looking at well below a full day of standby time.
The HTC Sensation 4G did much better in this department. Its battery is rated at 1520 mAh, but the phone easily made it through a full day of heavy usage with 3 fully synched email accounts, a good amount of web browsing, about an hour of phone calls, and some video game play.
We attribute this serious difference in the performance of the phones’ batteries to their different display units, as well as the network coverage. In the New York City area T-Mobile has flawless reception. Same cannot be said about Sprint’s WiMax though.
Performance is about the same
Before we begin with the performance test, it is important to note that both devices run on Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with Sense 3.0. The only hardware difference is in the chipsets of both phones, where the EVO 3D with its gig of RAM might have an edge.
What’s important to note is that, overall, the HTC EVO 3D feels significantly faster to work with than the Sensation 4G. It handles all tasks and applications effortlessly. In the case of the Sensation 4G, we did feel some lag at times, mostly when compared to its CDMA rival. We doubt however that they are sufficient to bother its potential users.
Given the hardware and software similarities between the two phones, running some synthetic benchmarks should be more helpful than ever.
Interestingly enough, there is barely any difference in the Quadrant benchmark results between the two devices. As far as Neocore goes, the HTC EVO 3D scores extra points with its superior amount of RAM on board.
The EVO 3D slight dominance continues in the Linpack benchmark test. Once again, the only reason for its advantage, which we can think of, is its better chipset.
Things are not any different in the case of Smartbench and Pi benchmarks. The EVO 3D continues to have a tiny advantage over the Sensation 4G.
We have added Vellamo browser benchmark to the list of our current favorites.
As you can see, the two devices are always neck to neck, with the EVO 3D having a slight advantage over the Sensation 4G thanks to the extra RAM it has compared to its sibling.
Those two are nothing alike in the camera department
The biggest difference between both handsets can be found in their camera units. The HTC EVO 3D counts on two 5MP autofocus cameras, which allow it take 3D pictures, and shoot 3D videos. The Sensation 4G on the other hand, will offer you an 8MP autofocus unit. Both phones have exactly the same camera interface, save for the 2D/3D switch on the EVO 3D. We have prepared some samples, which you can see below.
Here’s a direct comparison of the level of detail produced by the two cameras in 2D mode.
By the looks of it, you must really want to take 3D pictures in order to pick the EVO 3D for its camera. It is significantly slower in both 2D and 3D mode.
The Sensation 4G camera is just the opposite. It is easily the best camera phone which HTC has produced so far, pending the fact that we are about to take the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide/HTC Doubleshot for a spin. The Sensation’s camera is extremely quick between taking shots and, as you can see above, it takes better still pictures too.
HTC Sensation camera samples:
HTC EVO 3D camera samples:
The samples above are not the full resolution the cameraphones output as we’ve mistakenly shot them in the default Widescreen mode. It produces 16:9 shots which are cropped versions of what the camera sensors can output as maximum resolution. Other than the cropped vertical side, the image quality of these shots is fully representative of what these cameraphones are capable of.
Here are some 3D samples taken by the EVO 3D. You’ll need a 3D screen or some 3D glasses to see the stereoscopic effect properly. The cheapest way to view those is to choose the anaglyph mode from the menu toolbar below the image and grab a pair of paper red/cyan anaglyph glasses to see it properly.