The HTC Evo 3D is the 4.3” monster with 3D camera and playback from HTC. If you’re a fan of everything 3D then you are absolutely going to love this phone! Everyone else is going to think the phone is just a bit too big and bulky to justify some 3D features you will use rarely, if at all.
- Stylish and solid design
- 3D camera with dedicated camera button and 2D/3D toggle
- Notification LED
- Big, heavy and bulky
- 3D games and effects can cause headaches
- 2D camera is 5MP and 720p, average quality photos
The styling is undeniably HTC, with a predominantly black body adding silver touches and a flash of red around the phone’s centerpiece dual cameras on the rear. On the front is the 1.3MP camera and notification LED either side of the ear piece. Under the 4.3” screen are the four soft buttons, home, menu, back and search from left to right. On the right hand side of the phone is a dedicated camera button (which unfortunately does not wake the phone from sleep), a 2D-3D camera toggle, and the volume rocker. On top is the 3.5mm headphone jack and power button, down the left hand side of the phone is only the microUSB port. On the rear of the phone the dual camera lens and LED flashes are bordered in red which does look quite good. The rear is also textured and made out of a rubbery substance which helps the phone to be easier to hold and grip in the hand. The Evo is quite thick at 12.1mm and also quite heavy at 170g (Galaxy S 2 is 116g and 8.5mm), likely due to the ‘3D’ technology such as the screen and cameras.
The 4.3” LCD qHD (960×540) screen looks quite good, although the colours do seem a bit washed out. I was concerned that the 3D effect would be in place at all times resulting in a grainy appearance or causing headaches, but when you aren’t watching a 3D movie or playing a 3D game the screen looks ‘normal’ and very similar to the 4.3” screen of the Sensation. The Evo comes with Spiderman 3D so I was able to test the 3D screen (after downloading 76mb of data) and it made me go as cross-eyed as I expected. The effect was cool for a short period but it is not something I could personally use for an extended period.
Powering the Evo is a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660, with a dual core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and a full 1GB of ram. This is the same chipset used in the HTC Puccini tablet and a step up from HTC’s current stable of top end phones such as the Sensation which uses the MSM8260.
The Evo proudly displays its dual cameras on the rear highlighted in red so I was hoping that the photos would be of higher quality than I had seen from HTC in the past; sadly I was disappointed. There is a 5MP camera for 2D photos with dual LED flash and autofocus, and the ability to take ‘Stereoscopic’ 2MP 3D photos. The 2D photos were grainy and washed out despite the autofocus, you can see some examples for yourself below. The 3D effect works quite well on the 3D screen, especially where you have a subject in the foreground with another subject or scenery a few metres behind. Unfortunately I don’t have a 3D TV to display the 3D photos on a larger screen, however I imagine the 2MP quality would be more noticeable on a larger screen so I’m not missing much.
There is a dedicated camera button which will take you directly to the camera interface once the phone is awake, and a switch right next to it to choose between 2D and 3D photos. The video camera records at 720p and 30fps in both 2D and 3D.
The battery in the Evo is only a 1520mAh and I’ve read reports from people who have used the device for some time that battery life is disappointing. I tend to agree based on the size of the screen and the relatively small battery capacity. Considering the phone is already quite bulky they could have added a larger battery.
This is the Telstra model with a HSDPA 850/2100MHz radio, meaning it is best suited to the Telstra network but will work reasonably well on the Vodafone network. It is also compatible with Telstra’s ‘HD voice’ so if you’re talking to someone else on Telstra with a compatible handset you can take advantage of this feature. The Evo will download at a maximum of 14.4Mbps and upload a maximum of 5.76Mbps.
The Evo 3D includes all the usual features of HTC Sense: shortcuts from the lockscreen, social widgets compatible with the default launcher, and the famous HTC weather visuals – now with sound effects. Due to the phone’s processing power it handles all of these effects with ease resulting in a very smooth and responsive experience. The Android version is 2.3.4 with HTC’s Sense 3.0 on top. HTC have confirmed that the Evo will receive an update to android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich ‘in early 2012’ which is fantastic to hear that HTC will be supporting this device as not all manuafacturers have chosen to commit to this.
Not everyone is a supporter of HTC’s Sense due to the toll it places on the phones processor, however the Evo 3D handles all of these animations and extras quite easily. The default launcher uses some nifty 3D transitions which look cool, but of course add zero functionality to the phone. The notification drop down has been heavily customised by HTC offering shortcuts to the 5 most recent applications and a Quick Settings tab to enable and disable settings such as wifi, GPS etc. HTC also offers additional settings on the lockscreen through the ring unlock which allows you to launch applications directly from the launch screen. I find this very handy for direct access to camera, SMS or phone.
While I stated earlier that the phone handled homescreen transitions quite easily, sadly the same cannot be said for general use after an extended period. For example, on a few occasions the lockscreen shortcut to the camera failed to launch the camera, and the wait to open applications was longer than I am accustomed to. This is likely due to the HTC Sense layer which utilises a great deal of system memory, and if it was my personal device I would be stripping back as much of that as possible via an alternative launcher.
The Evo 3D performed quite well in the benchmarks with similar scores to the Sensation but still below the Atrix which are all pushing the same number of pixels. The highest of 3 consecutive Quadrant scores was 1998 and the highest of 3 consecutive Neocore scores was 59.3. You can see how this compares to other phones in the table below.
|Neocore (Frames/sec)||Quadrant (Higher = better)|
|Galaxy S II||59.8||3428|
The ‘3D’ aspects of this phone add unnecessary bulk and weight to what could have been a pretty decent good old ‘2D’ phone, I find it too thick and too heavy to be a practical everyday phone. Personally I find 3D to be a gimmick and not really necessary on a screen this small, but obviously HTC believe this does has a market as do Telstra, Vodafone and Optus who all have the Evo 3D currently available. This phone will appeal only to the most dedicated of 3D fans who don’t mind the compromise in size and weight for the 3D features.