Phantom-based initial performance assessment of a prototype three-dimensional (3-D) x-ray system and comparison of 3-D tomography with computed tomography (CT) were proposed. A 3-D image quality phantom was scanned with a prototype version of 3-D cone-beam CT imaging implemented on a twin robotic x-ray system using three trajectories (163 deg = table, 188 deg = upright, and 200 deg = side), six tube voltages (60, 70, 81, 90, 100, and 121 kV), and four detector doses (0.348, 0.696, 1.740, and 3.480 μGy / projection). CT was obtained with a clinical protocol. Spatial resolution (line pairs/cm) and soft-tissue-contrast resolution were assessed by two independent readers. Radiation dose was assessed. Descriptive and analysis of variance (ANOVA) (P < 0.05) were performed. With 3-D tomography, a maximum of 16 lp/cm was visible and best soft-tissue-contrast resolution was 2 mm at 30 Hounsfield units (HU) for 160 projections. With CT, 10 lp/cm was visible and soft-tissue-contrast resolution was 4 mm at 20 HU. The upright trajectory yielded significantly better spatial resolution and soft tissue contrast, and the side trajectory yielded significantly higher soft tissue contrast than the table trajectory (P < 0.05). Radiation dose was higher in 3-D tomography (45 to 704 mGycm) than CT (44 mGycm). Three-dimensional tomography renders overall equal or higher spatial resolution and comparable soft tissue contrast to CT for medium- and high-dose protocols in the side and upright trajectories, but with higher radiation doses.