Prizefight (week of November 09)
Apple iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo 4G
Apple iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo 4GHTC Droid Incredible, the HTC Evo 4G is more than ready to take on its latest competitor: the Apple iPhone 4.
Of course, the iPhone itself is no stranger to the ring. Apple's shining star has knocked out many contenders, and now, with new features like a Retina Display, more entertainment features, and a revamped operating system, can it knock out the Evo 4G? Well, let's find out.
Editors' note: The Prizefight scoring system is as follows: Each judge rates on a zero-to-five-point scale. At the end of each round, we will take an average of the three judges' scores. The final score for each phone will be an average of all five rounds.
Round 1: Sexiness and durabilityDesign and looks count for a lot when you're shopping for a cell phone, so here's where we examine the look, size, feel, and sex appeal of the devices.
|Apple iPhone 4||5I'll admit, I wasn't too excited when I first saw pictures of the iPhone 4. The boxier design didn't appeal to me, but it's definitely much more fetching in person. I still miss the rounder edges of the 3GS, but I like the iPhone 4's compact design, and the screen is gorgeous. That said, I do worry about the phone's durability.||5I've always thought the iPhone was attractive, but the fourth-generation model is the prettiest one yet. Sure, the edges are a bit sharp without a bumper, but it's a sleek device with a clean profile and a shiny skin. The handset has a solid feel, though, admittedly, I'm still a tad worried about its long-term durability with all that glass.||4The iPhone 4's edges are a little sharper and it's not as pleasant to hold as it once was. The screen is clearer than crystal clear. Its glass finish is supposedly more durable to scratches and drops. Its design is sexy but I don't consider this the sexiest phone out there anymore.||4.7|
|HTC Evo 4G||4As much as I love the Evo 4G's 4.3-inch touch screen, the size of the phone is still a bit of a turn-off to me. Though more durable, when it comes to sexiness, the iPhone wins, hands down.||4Though some may balk at the Evo 4G's heft, I don't mind it at all. You get an expansive screen and it has a pleasantly thin profile. I also prefer the Evo 4G's soft-touch material on its rear cover. As a minor point, I'm not crazy about the protruding camera lens, but I love that kickstand.||4This screen really wows. It's not as high resolution as the iPhone's, but in this case, size matters. The design is solid and clean, but it's still a little awkward to hold because of its larger size.||4|
Round 2: User interface and controlsSexiness is one thing, but are the phones easy to use? In Round 2, we examine the design and usability of their user interfaces, keyboards, and navigation controls.
|Apple iPhone 4||5We've said it a hundred times before, but I'll say it again: when it comes to usability, it doesn't get much easier than the iPhone. Also, the addition of folders (finally) definitely makes it easier to organize apps.||5Apple has always excelled at offering an accessible and intuitive user interface, and the iPhone 4 is no exception. It remains exceedingly user-friendly and the addition of home screen folders makes it even more so. And, wow, how lovely is that Retina Display?||5After playing with so many different phones, I'm still waiting to see someone top Apple's iOS 4 interface. It's the easiest and most elegant to use.||5|
|HTC Evo 4G||4HTC Sense has done wonders for making Android easier to use, and I think it provides the best user experience out of all the different Android skins. However, when you compare it with the iPhone, it's not quite as clean or straightforward.||5HTC Sense is the best Android interface available. With seven home screens, the Friend Stream, the combined mail widget, and the Leap screen, it has everything that I want. And it doesn't hurt that the phone also offers full multitouch. Its display is also crisp, clear, and colorful.||4This really isn't a pick-up-and-play phone because its navigation and UI still have a learning curve. It's one of the few all-touch Android phones, and I like it. It's just not as easy. But there is more control.||4.3|
Round 3: FeaturesWhat do these phones offer under the hood? Here we examine the features in each device and rate which phone offers more.
|Apple iPhone 4||4 iOS 4 definitely brought a lot of needed features to the iPhone, such as "multitasking," folders, and e-mail enhancements. Also, even though FaceTime is limited to Wi-Fi, it feels a little more polished and stable than some of the other video chat apps out there. However, looking at the bigger picture, the iPhone 4 features are on par with a lot of other smartphones out there, and the Evo certainly beats it in several ways.||4Thanks to iOS 4, the iPhone 4 now has many long-overdue features like multitasking, the home screen folders, and a combined e-mail box. Granted, it's not "full" multitasking, but it's multitasking how Apple intends it. Apple gets some credit for FaceTime, but I consider that feature to be more fun than practical. And in any case, the Evo offers video chat without forcing you to use Wi-Fi.||4The iPhone 4 is a 3G phone and does many things well, but it's still a step behind. The Retina Display is stellar, and iOS 4 brings multitasking and folders, but Android phones have already had that. FaceTime is the killer feature because of how it's integrated into phone calls, but the Evo 4G can do video calls as well.||4|
|HTC Evo 4G||5In what ways you ask? Well, there's the 4G support, mobile hot spot capabilities, and the HDMI port, just to name a few. Some might groan about the Android Market, and how the quality or quantity of apps can't compare with the iTunes App Store, but I've been able to find all the apps I need and am satisfied with them.||5It's a shame that like other Android phones, the HTC Evo doesn't offer Bluetooth-activated voice dialing. Yet, it does offer Flash support, 4G, and that nifty ability to act as mobile hot spot. It takes this round.||5The HTC Evo 4G is the most feature-packed phone on the market. There's no argument. There's 4G/3G connectivity, you can use the phone as a wireless hot spot, there's a kickstand, built-in turn-by-turn GPS, and an unmatched voice search.||5|
Round 4: Multimedia and Web browsingThese handsets do a lot more than just make calls--they also have Web browsers and multimedia players. We tell you which phone offers a better media and Web-browsing experience.
|Apple iPhone 4||5The iPhone 4 certainly makes it easy to get multimedia content on your phone, and the addition of iBooks and iMovie is pretty awesome. The camera improvements are also welcome. The Safari browser continues to be one of the best, but it doesn't support Flash.||4Though it lags a bit in Web browsing, the iPhone 4 has a slight edge in media. Its camera quality is better and video playback is superior.||5Still the best mobile browser experience on a phone, even without Flash. It also has the cleanest media player for a mobile phone. iTunes integration and all its content feed this phone. Videos and images look stellar, and if you want to edit movies directly from the phone, Apple's $5 iMovie will satisfy. Its 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash takes great pictures with proper lighting, as well.||4.7|
|HTC Evo 4G||5I wish there was a video store for Android, but the Evo's multimedia capabilities are nothing to scoff at. The media player is very competent; the camera takes excellent photos and HD video, and the large screen makes it great for viewing videos and Web pages. The Evo's browser offers Flash Lite and 4G speeds, where available. This round is a draw for me.||4The iPhone 4's data speeds are better than on previous iPhones, but Sprint's 3G network delivers better performance. I'd give this round to the Evo because of its even faster 4G speeds, but I have to call a tie since that network is only available in a few cities. And really, Sprint, we shouldn't have to pay for that extra $10-per-month 4G if we don't have it.||5Android's Web browser runs smoothly with multitouch and is finally on par with Safari. It supports Flash Lite content with full Flash on its way. The Amazon MP3 store and DoubleTwist take care of media and syncing. Plus an 8-megapixel dual flash LED with HD video capture and HDMI out. And that large screen makes a big difference for viewing content.||4.7|
Round 5: Call quality and general performanceCell phones aren't worth much if they don't make good calls and can't keep up with your demands. In the final round, we check out just how well devices work as a phone and everything in between.
|Apple iPhone 4||3The call quality of the iPhone 4 has definitely improved over previous versions, not to mention the longer battery life. I personally didn't encounter the antenna problem, but obviously it's a real issue and a big one, and buying a $30 bumper to correct it isn't a satisfying answer to the problem, in my book.||4The iPhone 4 also makes better calls than its predecessors, but we still suffer from those same AT&T issues. And we're still investigating what's going on with the antenna. In my tests, Sprint calls were louder with better signal clarity and voice quality. Both phones are zippy inside, so the Evo wins this round.||3Call quality was just a hair behind the Evo 4G. It was by far the cleanest-sounding iPhone I've used when calls connected. But you've heard of the antenna issues, and in our tests call audio completely disappeared or became garbled when we touched the "magic spot." I know this doesn't affect everyone, but it's a big deal. It's a good thing the phone's improved battery life makes up for it. We squeezed out almost 8 hours of talk time over 3G.||3.3|
|HTC Evo 4G||4Call quality on the Evo was great. Audio was clear, and I didn't experience any dropped calls. General performance was also pretty good. I certainly wish the battery life was better, but at least I can replace the battery on the Evo.||5See comment above.||4The Evo 4G was superb, with some of the best call quality I've heard. It was clean, crisp, and clear on both sides of the call. That's right, I used the three Cs. Running on 4G is a blessing and a curse. You'll get awesome data speeds, but you'll be lucky to make it through a day. Plus, if you're running it on 3G, that large screen still drains the battery. Over 3G we were able to squeeze out 5.5 hours of talk time. One negative: if you're only on 3G, you'll still pay a $10 premium for the Evo 4G.||4.3|
The winner is...
HTC Evo 4G (4.5 pts)
Apple iPhone 4 (4.3 pts)
Next up: Motorola Droid X vs. HTC Droid Incredible
70 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment