There’s no question the EVO 3D is a lightning-fast workhorse.
The latest entry into HTC’s flagship line of Android phones has a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon chip, and the rest of the specs are equally as impressive on paper as they are in practice. It makes crystal-clear phone calls, too.
The phone is only available on Sprint, the last of the major carriers to offer an all-you-can eat data plan. And you’ll want unlimited data, as this is a zippy 4G phone that will handle any media thrown at it with ease.
But more about that later. The real question is: What’s this 3-D thing all about?
For starters, it’s a novelty with limited utility. It’s easy to make 3-D videos or stills — just point and shoot.
But the primary venue for viewing any 3-D shots or movies is going to be the EVO’s 4.3-inch screen. The screen is the sort that lets you see 3-D images without glasses, but the camera’s applications are limited. If you think you’re going to send your folks 3-D footage of Little Johnny’s first steps, think again. Unless your parents have an Evo 3D or a 3-D television, the video they’ll see will be of two Johnnies side-by-side, both taking those historic first steps. The 3-D stuff won’t be visible to them, and it has nothing to do with their cataracts.
The EVO 3D also shoots standard 2-D images and video. You flick a physical switch to go from 3-D to 2-D, and I’d recommend you leave it there unless you want to show off at parties.
The glasses-free 3-D screen is cool. It basically has veins, or grooves, on top of it (a thin layer called “the parallax barrier”) and when aligned properly before your eyes, each eye sees the video or photo image through different slits. Positioning is an issue. In my tests, it wasn’t always easy to find the sweet spot for 3-D viewing.
A feature I found amusing was the ability to use the EVO 3D to view the world in 3-D. To do this: Hold the phone up in landscape mode — and just watch the screen while in still picture mode. Viola! The world is in 3-D. Just remember to feed the kids and dog before you step into the Third Dimension. (Caution: Objects appear closer than they are.)
That said, whether the 3-D features are just a novelty or a new way to view reality, the Evo 3D isn’t all about the 3-D.
“At the end of the day, we don’t look at it as a 3-D phone,” HTC spokesman Keith Nowak said in a telephone interview. “It’s a top-notch super phone that happens to support 3-D.”
He’s right, it fits the “super” category. It’s a big, big phone weighing 6 ounces. It’s 5 inches long, about 2.5 inches wide and nearly a half-inch thick in some places. The volume rocker is on top left side, and the power button’s on top.
And unlike the EVO 4G, the EVO 3D has a dedicated camera shutter button. The shutter button is a major upgrade from both the other EVOs, which don’t sport one, but it feels cheap to the touch. It’s sharp enough to scratch your hand.
Four capacitive buttons line the device’s bottom, the common Android stack of Search, Back, Settings and Home. The phone fits into my front jeans pocket just fine, but skinny jeans aren’t going to cut it, for neither their fashion sense nor for their ability to house the EVO 3D.
Slide off the plastic back, and you’ll see the 8GB microSD card and the 1730 mAh battery, which you’ll need to constantly recharge. In my tests of this battery, which is slightly larger than the EVO 4G battery, I got about six hours of straight use. That was with high-speed 4G WiMax turned on, as well as with several videos being played throughout the day. A few phone calls were made, too, as were countless texts using Google Voice, which is where my mobile number has been ported.
When I ran Quadrant Standard, the benchmark app for measuring a device’s CPU power, 3-D graphics processing and input-output speed, the phone scored an excellent 2,005. Compare that to 1,000-1,500 on my rooted EVO 4G, which was set on the “performance” governor using the CyanogenMod ROM.
To get videos onto TVs or other devices, you can use a USB cable or an MHL cable (which is not included). Unlike the original HTC EVO 4G, there’s no HDMI output. Also gone is the kickstand, meaning you’ll have to get creative when propping up the device for viewing.