When I first saw the EVO 3D hit the market, I honestly believed it was nothing more than a gimmick to grab the attentions of enthusiasts, geeks, and braggarts. I couldn’t begin to understand the use of a 3D phone/camera/camcorder. As someone who has worked in film, I looked at the technology as another fad that would be replaced by something newer and greater in a matter of months. Then I got my hands on this phone…
The 3D? Yeah, it’s cool, though I have to admit the best features in this phone have nothing to do with its namesake.
Wheeling and Dealing
HTC EVO 3D
I didn’t get this phone because I planned to actually keep it. In fact, being the phone nerd I am, I got this phone through a few buys and trades. I have recently been buying phones on eBay, throwing on a ROM, and selling them locally. I was fortunate enough to buy a Samsung Nexus S for a crazy good price: $140. It was unlocked and ready to be activated.
A friend of mine caught wind of this and proposed an even trade for her EVO 3D. She had really wanted the Google-branded phone from the beginning and repeatedly found herself listening to the advice of less-than-educated department store salesmen. Realizing that its value was greater than the Nexus S, I jumped on it with the intention of selling it that week. I got it, cleaned it up, and started experimenting with it. I soon found myself falling in love with the phone.
What’s Special About It
The EVO 3D isn’t just a 3D phone. It’s got top-of-the-line specs across the board. Driving it is a dual-core Snapdragon 1.2 GHz processor. Beyond that, it’s got a gig of RAM, which is plenty in today’s app ecosystem. Dual 5 megapixel cameras power the 3D feature. Though some may say that 8 megapixel is today’s standard, 5 is more than enough unless you print a lot of your photos at life size.
The phone has ample real estate and has a little heft to it. Some people like a super-light device; I, however, prefer my phone to feel a little more metallic and tough. This phone fits my hand well and was comfortable after a few weeks of use.
To me, there are a few things that really make the HTC EVO 3D stand out from the crowd. Obviously, 3D functionality is one of the stand-out features. Surprisingly, though, the features I enjoy the most have nothing to do with the 3D camera.
Firstly, Sense 3.0 is absolutely amazing. It’s a stunning skin for Android. From the lock screen to the custom skins for the overall user experience to the myriad of widgets that bring your phone instant updates and social media notifications, I cannot honestly say there is a better launcher in existence. That is shocking, considering the big phone makers aren’t known for getting these skins right.
Simple and convenient, the hardware camera button is a thoughtful addition.
Secondly, the hardware camera button is a clever addition. I can’t figure out why most phone makers overlook this simple but very helpful button on the phone’s side. This is my first phone with one and it has changed the way I take pictures. Snapping photos isn’t difficult using a touchscreen, but it’s made much easier with the addition of a nice, round button on the phone’s side.
Holding the button a few seconds brings up the camera app, if it isn’t already running, and like many dedicated cameras on the market, it has two tiers of depression. Pushing the button part of the way down will focus, and if you press it all the way it snaps the photo. This functionality has easily replaced my need for a stand-alone point-and-shoot camera.
For the Power User
The typical smart-phone user won’t necessarily care about a device’s “power functions” – rooting, custom kernels, custom ROMs, and all that. However, as a writer for Android-specific devices, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the EVO 3D’s capabilities beyond what comes out of the box.
HTCdev.com - Offering up HTC support with bootloader unlocking.
I received this device a few months after its release and, because of that, I stepped into a development community that was already well underway. A quick visit to XDA and I found simple processes to root and install custom recovery. From there, I was in ROM wonderland. And with HTC’s new unlocked bootloader procedures, it wasn’t hard to get going. Unfortunately, all wasn’t as easy as I had thought.
Evidently, there are different HBOOT versions for the EVO 3D. I am not completely sure as to its purpose since I’m not a developer, but I did learn that the newest version of it (HBOOT 1.5) creates some issues with flashing custom kernels. For those of you who don’t know, a custom kernel is what allows you to really turbo charge your phone and even add in an obnoxious overclock to make your friends jealous.
The bad news? You won’t be able to flash a custom kernel from your everyday recovery method. The good news? There are a few workarounds available through the developers. I have used two of them, including a method through Android’s SDK and another custom-tailored app from an XDA developer. Both worked well enough and I started playing with benchmarks and overclocks.
With a little bit of tweaking, I found myself sitting at a very stable overclock of 1.782 GHz. This isn’t too shabby from a phone with stock settings at 1.2 GHz. I saw AnTuTu benchmarks hitting at 5169 which is around the mark of the LG Optimus 2X and edges out the Motorola Xoom. Anytime a non-Tegra chip outscores a Tegra chip, I’m impressed. A phone that can take on Honeycomb tablets is a pretty fast phone. Without the overclock, I saw scores of around 4100.
Sprint Fans, Rejoice
"Number 5 is alive!"
When you combine 4G, 3D, dual-core, and HTC’s very slick user interface with a phone that has smart design, convenience, and top-notch hardware, you have a winner. Top that off with Sprint’s unlimited data, calls, and texts at lower-than-average prices, and you have a godsend. I, personally, am a Verizon man but after a short time with this phone, I think I may be reconsidering my Droid X2.
The EVO 3D is nothing short of impressive and even if you never turn on 4G or use the 3D features, you still have one of the best devices on the market. Gimmicks aside, there is not a person out there who wouldn’t get a lot of mileage out of this phone. I’m banking on that because I plan on making a switch. And it’s not because of the carrier. This phone is just that cool.