With the craze surrounding 3D and especially, glasses-free stereoscopic 3D, it was only a matter of time that a major smartphone manufacturer such as HTC would come out with a high-end smartphone touting that feature. The HTC Evo 3D has a screen that's able to display 3D content without needing to put on glasses and dual cameras that can shoot pictures and record videos in 3D. Keep in mind though that apart from 3D apps or 3D videos or photos, you will be using the phone in plain-old 2D- which amounts to probably 90% of the time.
Overall, although the 3D feature can lead to some really cool moments with the phone, it didn't seem to add too much to its value proposition.
If you forget about the 3D feature for a moment, you will notice that the HTC Evo 3D is brimming with top-end specs including a massive 4.3-in screen with a resolution of 960x540 pixels. It's also powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and an Adreno 220 GPU. Internal storage available is 1GB coupled with 1GB of RAM with support for microSD cards.
The HTC Evo 3D has dual autofocus 5MP cameras at the back and a secondary 1.3MP camera for video calls. The phone is also outfitted with a dual-LED flash and the cameras can also shoot 720p videos in both 2D and 3D.
Connectivity features include Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G (HSDPA 14.4Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps). The Evo 3D is also DLNA compliant and has a microUSB port and 3.5mm headphones port.
The HTC Evo 3D runs on Android 2.3(.4) aka Gingerbread which means that it supports Google Mobile apps and the Android Market for apps. The test Evo 3D came pre-installed with a couple of 3D games such as Sims 3 Mobile and Spiderman 3D.
3D – One Dimension too Many?
The HTC Evo 3D is the first 3D phone that I've reviewed and constant readers will know that I've gravitated between cautious and wary when it comes to 3D on gadgets. When it works, the 3D on the HTC Evo 3D looks very neat. This is especially visible when playing the test videos that the phone is packed with. There is a clear sense of depth in the videos and if you have a bunch of "properly" produced 3D videos, the phone will do justice to them.
However, when not done professionally (which most 3D videos you shoot with the phone will be), watching the videos can be physically uncomfortable. Maybe my eyes just aren't suited to 3D content but trying to shoot 3D videos left me dizzy and nauseous. Thinking that it may just be a personal issue, I asked a couple of colleagues to also give 3D shooting a try. I got the same complaints from them too.
Overall, although the 3D feature can lead to some really cool moments with the phone, it didn't seem to add too much to its value proposition. I, personally, also found it uncomfortable to view 3D content but then again, like I mentioned earlier, it could just be a physical "disability" at my end. Also, there appears to be an acute absence of 3D content so you will pretty much have to be satisfied with whatever you shoot and whatever little is available out there.
Design & Usability
Thanks to the advent of the dual core mobile processor, HTC's Sense UI is now looking and performing as intended on phones such as the Sensation and now, the Evo 3D. Thanks to the snazzy UI, not only does the Evo 3D look great but it also works very smoothly. And even though the Evo 3D's UI may look very different from the default Android UI, it works the same way. The virtual keyboard is also pretty accurate.
The large display also ensures that the phone looks very good. The Evo 3D is also built sturdily but it is also bulkier and heavier than your standard smartphone. The display itself is colorful and sharp but unfortunately its visibility does take a sharp drop under sunlight.
Call quality on the Evo 3D is very clear and loud. In fact, I had to tone down the volume level to use it. Battery life is also as expected and you can expect it to last over a day of moderate usage and about a day of moderate to heavy usage. I didn't suffer stability issues in the one and a half weeks that I used the phone apart from one case of the phone hanging and needing a reboot.
Browsing & Multimedia
The HTC Evo 3D's default browser provides a very good browsing experience. It's fast and renders full web pages well. I did notice slight slowdowns when I visited a Flash heavy page but nothing that could serve as a deal-breaker.
The Evo 3D is an excellent device for audio playback with high quality, loud audio output. Unfortunately, the same doesn't apply to its external speaker which is quite timid. Video playback is also very, very good and it helps that the HTC 3D provides out-of-the-box support for DivX/XviD videos. Both our 720p and 1080p test videos played without issues on the device too.
2D images shot with the Evo 3D are passable and would serve the needs of casual photographers. There was more than average noise levels in indoor shots but outdoor shots looked fine. The 2D 720p video recording is also good and apart from slight de-saturation, the recorded videos looked fine.
Images shot in 2D with the Evo 3D (click on images to enlarge in new window).
When it comes to shooting 3D photos, I noticed inconsistent results when subjects were closer than about 15 cms from the camera. Some pictures looked fine while some others appeared painfully blurry. Outdoor landscape shots looked good and so did the 3D 720p videos I recorded.
Even if the HTC Evo 3D didn't feature the "3D" part, it would be an excellent smartphone and on equal footing with the Sensation. However, the extra Rs. 5,000 you pay for the 3D (over the Sensation) doesn't seem quite worth it. While 3D appears to be a neat idea on paper, until its implementation is more refined and consistent, it doesn't appear to add much value.
The HTC Evo 3D is available in India for Rs. 34,999.
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