Battlemodo: HTC EVO 3D Vs LG Optimus 3D

There are currently only two 3D phones in Australia: the HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D. Both were announced for the Australian market at about the same time, but our hands-on time has revealed that one trumps the other in specs and usability.

These glasses-free 3D phones are among the first to hit the global smartphone market, and it's good for us consumers that there's at least two to pick from. Not a whole lot of choice, but let's be honest — how many people really want a 3D phone?

On the whole, the 3D experience is the same on both phones, so the decision ultimately comes down to each phone's respective hardware and software features. Each device has its pros and cons, but there's no one major factor that makes one phone better than the other, at least on paper.

3D Content

Although most people seem to think 3D is really crap, including the Gizmodo team (both in the US and here in Australia), I love the novelty of it. Having said that, 3D phones have a long way to go — if they don't die off before then — to be a truly enjoyable experience. I don't usually get headaches or nausea from viewing 3D material, but many times my eyes were just not in the mood for looking at these phones in 3D mode. Glare made it impossible to see in bright sunlight, and it was often a struggle even in ideal conditions. It might not be a bad idea to get a matte screen protector on it... if you can find one.

Unlike the HTC EVO 3D, the LG Optimus 3D allows you to adjust the depth of 3D in a photo that you've taken and thereby reduce ghosting. Other annoyances like specular highlighting are unavoidable — such is the nature of 3D — but what I found most irritating was the low resolution of 3D content. Because both phones have sharp high-resolution screens in 2D, you can't help but feel disappointed once you flick the 3D switch and everything on the screen suddenly becomes a blur of pixelated vertical lines. The contrast is really noticeable. Also, the Optimus 3D is limited to 3MP 3D photos, while the EVO 3D's 3D camera is only capable of 2MP shots.

The Optimus 3D offers more preloaded 3D content than the EVO 3D, and it does it in an intuitive way. Holding down the 3D hot key on the right-hand side of the Optimus 3D pops up a 3D menu that brings you all of the phone's pre-installed 3D content, including the camera, gallery, a bunch of games, and even 3D videos on YouTube. On the EVO 3D, you have to go into the apps menu and find the preloaded 3D content, which includes NFS Shift, The Sims 3 and Spider-Man 3D (which requires a nearly 300MB download before you can play it). The first 3500 EVO 3D phones that Telstra sells will also have The Green Hornet movie, but my review unit didn't come with it. Update: HTC says that The Green Hornet will also be available for the first 3500 EVO 3Ds sold by Vodafone.


I've always been a fan of HTC's build quality, and the EVO 3D is no exception. Both phones are satisfyingly weighty in the hand, but they're also quite fat. I guess you need more space to get all those 3D guts in. Although both phones come with the awesomeness that is Gorilla Glass, I did manage to somehow scratch the EVO 3D's aluminium body. Not sure when or where that happened to be honest, but that's the silver scratch you might have noticed in the photos.

While some may prefer the smooth back of the LG Optimus 3D, I found the HTC's textured back and quirky red ring to be more appealing in look and feel. From the front, there's not all that much separating the two. Both have 4.3-inch screens, although the Optimus 3D has a slightly wider and shorter aspect than the EVO 3D. The EVO 3D's screen resolution is higher at 540x960, but the LG's 480x800 resolution resulted in bigger text size that made for less-squinty reading.

One distinctive difference between the two phones is that the the Optimus 3D provides HDMI output — although you need to BYO cable — while the EVO 3D lacks this feature altogether. Update: As commenter Chris points out, you can purchase an HDMI adaptor from HTC that connects via the microUSB port, but it's an additional purchase, while the Optimus 3D's HDMI port lets you use any generic HDMI cable. If you want to be able to connect your 3D phone to your 3D TV, or view presentations on a bigger screen, the Optimus 3D has to be the pick of the two.

While the EVO 3D lacks the Optimus 3D's hot key for quickly accessing 3D content, it does have a hard button shutter and toggle for switching between 2D and 3D mode when taking photos. This is not just a plus in terms of usability — it's also great for people who love taking self-portraits. On the Optimus 3D, you have to rely on the on-screen buttons for these things. The volume up and down buttons on the side of the phone also let you zoom in and out on both phones, but only when you're in 2D mode.

One notable oddity on the LG phone is that the home and back buttons have swapped positions. There are a few Android phones out there that have the menu-home-back-search layout, but if you're used to the home-menu-back-search layout, it will be a little fiddly at first. Also, the backlight on the Optimus 3D's touch buttons turn off after a little while, making it a nuisance in the dark, whereas the EVO 3D's touch buttons stay backlit the entire time you're using the phone, which is the way it should be done.


Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) is one of the main reasons why the HTC EVO 3D has a leg up on the LG Optimus 3D, which only comes with Android 2.2.2 (Froyo). Gingerbread is supposedly on the way for the latter, but who knows how long Optus will take to roll that out. Australian carriers are always stupidly slow at releasing Android OS updates, so I'm really sceptical that we'll get much time with Gingerbread on the Optimus 3D before the phone ends up in the junk drawer.

The EVO 3D comes with HTC's Sense 3.0 UI. I've mentioned before how much I dislike it — I think its widgets are ugly and I always end up installing a third-party launcher and widgets so that I can customise the shit out of the home screen. This time, however, for the purposes of comparison with the Optimus 3D's UI, I left it alone. LG's UI isn't bad in its simplicity, but HTC's Sense feels more polished and sophisticated.

One notable thing I did love about the LG Optimus 3D was its keyboard. Compared to the HTC's keyboard, the letters were spaced out better and predictive text automatically inserted spaces after selecting a word. HTC's annoyingly did not, which to me is a basic failure of Usability 101. Neither are as good as Swype or SwiftKey X — two great third-party keyboards for Android.

The HTC EVO 3D's battery life came out on top during my hands-on time, and it should be considering that it has the larger battery of the two at 1730mAh versus the Optimus 3D's 1500mAh. The Optimus 3D's battery life isn't bad though, and I got more juice out of these phones than I did with the non-3D HTC Sensation. Both phones comfortably lasted a full day, and moderate use of the 3D features didn't seem to have too much of an impact on battery life.


The HTC EVO 3D and the LG Optimus 3D are being marketed as a high-end phone for the masses, but if you don't care for the 3D features and content, there are non-3D phones out there that will serve you better, such as the highly rated HTC Sensation or Samsung Galaxy S II. There's nothing remarkable about either of these phones other than the 3D factor, and once you get over them, it just becomes a regular smartphone with 3D content taking up precious memory. So don't buy either of these phones unless you're really after the 3D experience.

But if you are interested in 3D content and 3D mobile gaming, the HTC EVO 3D and LG Optimus 3D are great all-round phones. If HDMI output and 1080p video recording is important to you, the LG Optimus 3D is the pick, but the HTC EVO 3D comes out on top as it offers a better smartphone experience thanks to a more polished UI, Gingerbread and faster processor.

I would strongly recommend that you get some hands-on time before handing over your money for any 3D phone. HTC recently had these demo zones at Westfield locations around the country, so if you had a go with the EVO 3D there, you can be sure that the 3D experience on LG's Optimus 3D will be the same on the whole.

Both phones are available outright or on a variety of plans from their respective carriers. Telstra is selling the HTC EVO 3D for $912 outright, while Vodafone has it for slightly less at $849. The LG Optimus 3D is available from Optus outright for $799.



    PS.. So what's the verdict?

      It depends on what's more important to you. I feel that the HTC EVO 3D is the better phone, but the LG is a worthy rival and has HDMI output. Check out the specs in the table I just added. If you're happy with the Optimus 3D, then you've made the right decision :)

        The evo 3d does have HDMI capability.

        The GPU on the LG is really good and LG said that when we get the OS upgrade, there will be software that converts OpenGL games to 3D. I cant wait to play Quake2 (and Q3) in stereoscopic! This is why I went for the LG.

    "so that I can customise the shit out of the home screen" - I identify with this article.

    Great comparison! Nice to see quality articles from Giz again :D

    "...while the EVO 3D’s 3D camera is capable of 5MP shots."

    Acutally, according to HTC the EVO 3D's camera is only capable of 5MP shots in 2D mode. In 3D mode the resolution drops to 2MP.

    You are wrong about the HDMI out on the Evo 3D, using an MHL Cable, you can get full 1080p and 7.1 sound out, not as simply as the LG, but not impossible.

    "...One notable oddity on the LG phone is that the home and and back buttons have swapped positions. There are a few Android phones out there that have the menu-home-back-search layout, but if you’re used to the home-menu-back-search layout, it will be a little fiddly at first..."

    [btw Elly, you put two “ands” next to each other in the above paragraph.]

    I think the presence of different button configurations on the Nexus One and Nexus S is evidence enough that Google have no interest in setting a standardised button configuration on Android devices. I wouldn't single LG out for bucking the trend.

    The Nexus One features HTC's standard "Home-menu-back-search" - where as the Nexus S adopted an entirely new "Back-menu-search-home" layout; bucking the trend Samsung usually uses with its three button configuration. The latter my I add is a pain in the ass if you're right handed, as the back button is the most commonly used.

      Also; I meant to add - nice review!

      If I were looking for a new phone, for my own reasons both phones would quickly be off the shortlist if I were looking for a new phone (and interestingly I actually played with an EVO in store just a fortnight ago) - but it's good to see a direct comparison in regard to how the two compare based off their primary selling points.

      I've fixed the typo, thanks!

      Good point regarding button configuration. I much prefer the home-menu-back-search layout over anything else... and I reckon they should standardise it this way. Having 'back' first just sounds totally wrong.

        The back button is definitely most commonly used for me, followed by the home button - so having them both toward the right for single handed use (or even the centre to keep it ambidexterous for the lefties) would be a MAJOR improvement. I think HTC have probably got layout down-pat. The current configuration on my Nexus S isn't pleasant, I'll put it that way.

        The search button I could happily live without, as I've found the majority of apps and OS menus that offer searching functionality have a search button/box provided anyway.

        I don't see Google enforcing any standard physical design - it'd go against the principal of keeping hardware design open to encourage new innovation on devices. Having said that, a bit more thought into design from OEMs would be nice sometimes.

      Not sure about yours, but MY Nexus One is "Back-Menu-Home-Search".

        ...fuck you're right - just realised the photo I was looking at for reference was a HTC Desire. They look too similar :(

        My point still remains that every OEM seems to have their own ideas about button layout though!

        Oh, and the button configuration is still different between the Nexus One and Nexus S - but just in a different way to what I originally said :P

    Optus outright $729 on day one. So price has gone up for LG?

    Got a 3600mAh battery (& fatter) with back cover off Ebay for $10 inc post. Also gives greater protection for lens. So now I have endless use of the thing all day and more. Excellent!!

    oh yeh, the LG from Optus is unlocked and theres access to the LG Market.

    Worth noting that Kogan is now selling the HTC EVO 3D at $559 outright (+ shipping), which is a pretty decent saving. Not NextG compatible though.

    LG sucks, the colour is a little brighter but depth in 3D is lost on the LG , but the EVO is by far better with 1080i camera hacks and bitrate+ for video aswell as overclocking , EVO 3d kicks ass, much faster than my mates sensation too

    If I get a 3D phone, it wont be either of these phones. Each one is lacking something thats important to me. So I'll wait for the 2nd Gen 3D phones to come out as they are usually more refined, and hopefully they'll have either ICS or Jellybean to make them better. And whichever phone is closest to the stock version of Android is the one i want. I hate all custom UI's, I dont care if its TouchWiz, Sense or anything else.

    both are good

    both are good. and if put the matta screen protector in the screen, that is better.
    please check FeYong Screen Protector

    Since the release of the "Gingerbread" update for the LG Optimus 3D (mid November for the European open handsets), many (if not all) of the handsets suffer from what the users themselves refer to as random "ghost-calls". While a caller trying to reach an Optimus 3D owner hears a normal ringing tone on his side, the Optimus 3D doesn't really ring and there is no record of a missed call either. This way, the called party has no knowledge that somebody tried to reach them until the caller complains in person. There is a dedicated thread for the "ghost calls issue" at the web site of XDA developers ( ) and several complaints have been sent to LG Mobile's support page and Facebook wall by users from different countries. Sadly, LG have made no public announcements regarding the issue...

    Conclusion: If you want a 3D phone and not just a 3D media player / game pad, I suggest you go for the Evo3D

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now