Sprint Smartphone Standoff! Nexus S vs. Motorola Atrix vs. HTC EVO 3D

April 22, 2011
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Today, i’ll be comparing the Google Nexus S 4G vs Motorola Atrix 4G¬†vs the HTC EVO 3D. This started out as a Pros and Cons for my own personal reference being that I’m now eligible for my 2 year upgrade pricing on my Sprint line. So take this Pros and Cons list knowing that its my opinion, and subjected to my taste in phones. But I thought you guys might like the spec and feature comparison.¬†Also there has to be a little feature speculation in my comparison because the HTC EVO 3D’s full specs and design haven’t been fully leaked – yet. I’m leaving the newly released Kyocera Echo out of this comparison because I’m looking for a high end device that works great out of the box. The reviews of the Kyocera Echo have really shown that while it has a great design innovation, it has bugs, and is the first of its kind. Android does not run smoothly on all test units, as well as the dual screens “Simul-task” are not supported by most applications. Once you start comparing the Echos 1GHz first generation Snapdragon processor, lack of 4G WiMAX, 3.5″ non SAMOLED / SLCD screens, lack of enabled multitouch in the stock Android browser and Google maps, as well as its 0.68″ /¬†17.2 mm thickness, made it drop out of this particular running as a premium handset for me. Also, please note that I am an Android user who carries two Smartphones around on me at all times so size does play into this comparison, and with all this said I have included the dimensions and weights of the handsets side by side for easy reference.

Dimensions:

Google Nexus S 4G – 4.88″ x 2.48″ x 0.43″ (123.9 x 63 x 10.88 mm),¬†4.55 oz (129 g)

Motorola Atrix 4G – 4.64″ x 2.50″ x 0.43″ (117.75 x 63.5 x 10.95 mm),¬†4.76 oz (135 g)

HTC EVO 3D – 5.00″ x 2.60″ x 0.47″ (127 x 66 x 12 mm),¬†6.00 oz (170 g)

Handset Specs:

Google Nexus S 4G

Screen: 4.0″ Super AMOLED WVGA 800×480 Contoured Display
Processor & GPU: 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 Single Core
RAM: 512MB
Storage: 16GB Internal, no Micro SD card slot
Dimensions & Weight:¬†4.88″ x 2.48″ x 0.43″ (123.9 x 63 x 10.88 mm),¬†4.55 oz (129 g)
Battery Size: 1500 mAh
Connectivity: EVDO, WiMAX, Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth, NFC, DLNA, VOIP
Camera: 5.0MP Single LED flash autofocus, .3 VGA front facing camera, 720×480 video recordin
Buttons: Capacitive Buttons in odd layout, physical power and volume controls
OS: Stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread no modifications

PROS

  • Pure Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Second true Google branded phone
  • Nexus S 4G most likely will get all the newest versions of Android before other handsets
  • Comes with newest Android version out of the box
  • SAMOLED screen, very vibrant and bright
  • Has new contoured display
  • 1500 mAh battery, supporting a SAMOLED which is known for its battery saving ability should make for good battery life
  • 16GB of Internal memory built in
  • Near Field Communication
  • Volume Buttons on Left Side, something I prefer but other might not care about
  • Micro USB Charger port on bottom, good for universal dash phone mounts
  • Most wireless connectivity options out of all offerings

CONS

  • Has a single core 1 GHz Hummingbird processor instead of a newer dual core
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4″ screen instead of a 4.3″
  • 800×480 WVGA instead of the new 960×540 qHD resolution
  • No Micro SD card slot
  • 720×480 video recording, not HD
  • Capacitive Android buttons in odd configuration
  • 0.3MP VGA Front Facing Camera
  • No Touch Focus on camera
  • Single LED Flash
  • No HDMI Output
  • Power button on right of phone towards the top
  • No LED notification light
  • Samsungs all plastic build quality

Motorola Atrix 4G

Screen: 4.0″ TFT qHD 960×540
Processor & GPU: 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra2
RAM: 1024MB
Storage: 16GB Internal, Micro SD card slot however there is no Micro SD Card included
Dimensions & Weight:¬†4.64″ x 2.50″ x 0.43″ (117.75 x 63.5 x 10.95 mm),¬†4.76 oz (135 g)
Battery Size: 1930mAh
Connectivity: EVDO, WiMAX, Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth, DLNA, HDMI
Camera:¬†5.0MP Dual LED flash autofocus, 0.3 VGA front facing camera, 1280×720¬†video recording
Buttons: Capacitive Buttons in common layout, physical power and volume controls
OS: Android 2.2 with Motoblur Skin

PROS

  • 960×540 qHD resolution on a 4″ screen
  • Tegra2 dual core 1 GHz processor, but not as fast as the EVO 3D’s dual 1.2GHz
  • 1024 MB of RAM
  • Dual LED Flash
  • 1280×720¬†video recording
  • 16 GB + Micro SD card slot
  • DLNA
  • Noise cancelling second mic
  • HDMI Output
  • Finger Print Recognition
  • Stock Android button layout
  • Overall the smallest physical dimensions
  • Multi colored LED notification light
  • 1930mAh battery
  • Lots of optional docks, laptop, mulitimedia, and PC dock

CONS

  • Skinned Motoblur Android 2.2 without planned upgrade path, skin also makes for slower software
  • 4″ screen instead of a 4.3″
  • Standard TFT screen, not SAMOLED, or SLCD, but still very vibrant for a TFT
  • No Touch Focus on camera
  • 0.3MP VGA Front Facing Camera
  • Micro USB Charger port on left side, interferes with some universal phone mounts
  • Oddly placed power button, angled in top center toward the rear of phone
  • Volume Buttons on the right side

HTC EVO 3D

Screen: 4.3″ Super LCD Parallax¬†3D¬†qHD 960×540
Processor & GPU: 1200Mhz Dual Core Snapdragon, Adreno 220
RAM: 1024MB
Storage: 4GB, MicroSD card slot, unknown capacity of included MicroSD card
Dimensions & Weight:¬†5.00″ x 2.60″ x 0.47″ (127 x 66 x 12 mm),¬†6.00 oz (170 g)
Battery Size: 1730mAh
Connectivity: EVDO, WiMAX, Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth, DLNA, HDMI
Camera:¬†5.0MP Dual LED flash Autofocus, 1.2MP front facing camera,¬†1920×1080 Full HD 2D Video Recording, 1280×720¬†3D Video Recording
Buttons: Capacitive Buttons in HTC layout, physical power, volume, camera buttons, and 2D Р3D camera switch
OS: Android 2.3 with HTC’s Sense UI v 3.0 skin

PROS

  • 4.3″ SLCD qHD 960×540 display, 3D with no glasses
  • Dual Core Snapdragon 1.2GHz
  • 1024MB RAM
  • New Adreno 220 GPU
  • Android 2.3 out of the box
  • Dual LED Flash
  • 1920×1080¬†Full HD Video Recording, 1280×720¬†3D Video Recording
  • Most likely to have Touch Focus
  • 5.0MP 3D Still Pictures
  • 1.3 MP Front Facing Camera
  • HDMI Output
  • Physical Camera Button
  • HTCs button layout, I prefer HTCs Android button layout
  • Power button in predictable top right
  • Most likely will have¬†LED notification light
  • HTCs awesome build quality

CONS

  • Only 4GB Built in internal memory
  • Largest physical dimensions
  • Volume Buttons on the right side
  • Relatively small¬†1730 mAh compared to the Atrix 4G’s 1930mAh battery, plus 1730mAh is supporting a 4.3″ SLCD, possibly bad battery life
  • Unknown location of charging port
  • Skinned HTC Sense UI¬†Android 2.3¬†makes for slower software

My thoughts

Once you look over all the Pros and Cons of these three future handsets that are soon to be released by Sprint in the next couple months, you start to notice that my amount of Pros and lack of Cons start to lean in the HTC EVO 3D’s favor with the Motorola Atrix 4G¬†coming in second place. What is funny though is once you put all of this in relative context as being weighed for purchase by a phone reviewer, the amount of Cons and the lack of Pros in the situation of the Google Nexus S 4G¬†starts to take a different shape. The fact that the Nexus S is a true Google branded phone with the potential of being the first one with all the newest versions of Android, makes it, in my books, the best one to get. I can see that the HTC EVO 3D and the Motorola Atrix both have their positives and are VERY tempting.

However, for me, I believe I’ll be picking up a Google Nexus S once it is released and will have to pass on the other offerings. I’d like to be able to experience the newest versions of Android and not have to wait till the companies finally get around to adding their skin on top of the newest release. ¬†The fact that I also have owned a Samsung Galaxy S phone in the past (T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant) and loved it, this also plays into my decision. The only things I¬†didn’t¬†like about the Vibrant were a lack of certain features, namely the lack of a front facing camera, and the old version of Android, at the time it had only Android 2.1.

Note to all buyers there is one annoying issue with Sprint’s 4G service, unlike T-Mobile’s HSPA+ or Verizon’s LTE network you have to toggle the 4G WiMAX¬†antennae¬†on to get 4G speeds. You don’t have to do this on T-Mobile’s network as their HSPA+¬†antennae¬†is the antennae that is on all the time, yet it does not kill the battery quickly. Verizon’s LTE network has been known to kill the HTC Thunderbolt 4G’s battery¬†excessively¬†fast leading the modding community to find a way to toggle its LTE radio on and off to conserve battery power. So in some ways the Sprint WiMAX based 4G toggle system does have its benefits. But if you were considering the T-Mobile Nexus S vs Sprints Nexus S 4G, just know that is a feature you would not have to deal with on T-Mobile’s unit.

What would you pick if it were you? Did I overlook anything in my analysis of the specs and potential Pros and Cons? Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks everybody.

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