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HTC EVO 3D: Hands-On Review

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Finally and happily we have got our hands on the latest from Mobilink Pakistan, the new HTC EVO 3D, one of the two popular smartphones providing 3D content under 3D stereoscopic LCD display. When we imagine watching 3D Movies and playing 3D games on mobile phone, it really feels awesome. But does it really do? Let’s talk about that.

We only could test the device for a few hours so it’s not going to be detailed review and will cover a few more prominent features.

Well seriously don’t bash at me when I’ll be talking like – I didn’t like something – Because what didn’t attract me, even when I was learning about the new 3D phones that they have arrived, that what’s the purpose of 3D display in just 4 or 5 inch screen, huh? Just a gimmick? Anyway that’s true it didn’t give me that feeling for what purpose one should watch Movies in 3D – like we do on big screens and they give what they are supposed to give. Actually I was sure about it already, I am just telling you after having a real experience. But it’s fun watching and playing 3D on EVO 3D.

Ok! let’s not talk only about 3D because it’s not just 3D in HTC EVO 3D. Other things are also interesting to talk about.

Hardware and Design

What works as the engine or this multimedia device is the combination of 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon Processor with 1 GB of RAM and a dedicated Adreno 220 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Processor is actually of 3D and high definition multimedia processing which does the job perfectly in EVO 3D with no lags in HD video playback as well as capturing HD and 3D videos all the way. Hardware wise, in short, EVO 3D is really promising for what it delivers. Did I miss something? yes I missed to mention the 1GB internal storage with extendible microSD card support up to 32GB.

Design wise EVO 3D actually is solid design with perfect fit in hand. About 5″ height of the phone with 2 and a half inch wide won’t look bulky in hand, it’s rather comfortable grip with about half inch of thickness. But it fills your hand all with it.

A common and bad thing always will be with screens bigger than 4 inch that you will need a bigger hand to reach all the four corners of the display with your thumb to operate it feasibly. I appreciate Apple in that regard for not seeing what others are heading on and they just kept it what they think is good. May be I am not liking the fact of making phones that bigger because I never wanted a “A Phone” like that big. But with calling and messaging now there is a lot other things consumer wants to do with his/her smartphone e.g. gaming, playing HD Movies etc. So that big screen is of course a key element to enjoy playing a game or watching a Movie.

Well here we are talking about 3D capable phone, so all that above I talked negative about big screen shouldn’t be applied to this EVO 3D. I’ll accept this 4.3″ display.

Back side of EVO 3D is gorgeously designed. I… Really… Loved… It… Two cameras in a red-bordered area look robotic to me :P OK! look carefully in the picture below. Doesn’t they look like the eyes of a robot? They does to me at least.

The right side of device is hosting a dedicated hardware camera shutter key along with a dimension switch to change from 3D to 2D or vice versa. A little far from the camera keys, there is volume rocker which is quite soft and comfortable to use with your thumb.

Following goes the power button/lock switch and 3.5mm audio jack showing the top side of EVO 3D while a micro USB port on the left side of the device.

Yes! the design is cool and solid just like mostly HTC devices are.

Display with 3D capability

As told above, it’s the most important part in EVO 3D. The 3D display is based on parallax barrier to avoid the need of 3D glasses to watch Movies. Idea actually looks awesome that if it will be possible to do so on mobile phones but as I have mentioned it’s not that 3D feeling you will want to watch Movies with. More importantly you have to be set at an angle to start noticing that you are watching some thing different which is three dimensional. Yes! you start noticing it but it’s not like you are in a world of 3D like you feel sitting and watching a 3D Movie in a theatre. That tells; you can have fun with 3D Movies on EVO 3D having longer runtime as you need some time to fix your focuses to have 3D feeling and identify the subjects on distances.

Rio 3D 720p is playing on EVO 3D – (You can’t see 3D effect though)

Still 3D photos, on the other hand, are also more trouble than Movies that you have to stick your eyes on the photo to fix your focus on subjects near or far on the z-index. Then you start feeling that you really are watching a dog sitting near the display panel while the ground behind that dog is spreading slowly far from your eyes. Yes! once the focus is fixed, it tells that your are watching it like you do in real. But you have to keep yourself stick and steady.

You may feel dizzy in your head like telling yourself “what I am watching, is it that 3D, people talk about?”

It is worth to mention that viewing angles on HTC EVO 3D while watching 3D content are better and easily fixable with your focus which is not the case with LG Optimus 3D. Optimus 3D is said to have more sharper display than EVO 3D as well as more depth of field for 3D feel. However I personally felt more comfortable with EVO 3D because it was really hard (for me at least) fixing the focus on LG Optimus 3D. But that’s true the picture quality on Optimus 3D is really impressive for being more sharper.

I am not starting again with this and that with every blame I have because I appreciate at the same time seeing technology keeps moving on and on. It’s just a starting of 3D visuals in a mobile device, may be we’ll see more finished 3D visuals as they are supposed to be in near future, sooner or later.

The display of EVO 3D with normal viewing (leaving 3D visuals aside) is just not appreciable when outside. The stereoscopic LCD of EVO 3D completely fades out if you go out in direct sunlight. Can you tell me, is the EVO 3D in following picture (right-outdoor) is turned on with 100% brightness? Well it was turned on and is at 100% brightness.

Following are the pictures showing HTC EVO 3D with Nokia N9 (left – indoor) and with Nokia N8 and N9 (right – outdoor)

HTC EVO 3D (LCD), Nokia N8 (Regular AMOLED), Nokia N9 (Deep Black AMOLED)

As mostly and practically you will be using EVO 3D indoors so yes it works pretty good indoors, why bother taking it outside for any reason. But yes sometimes you may be having a need of calling or messaging when outside, you will need a good struggle with that under direct sunlight.

Camera

As EVO 3D also captures videos and stills in 3D, hence for that purpose it’s equipped with two 5 mega pixels cameras side by side on the back with dual-LED flash in between. It serves maximum resolution of 5 mega pixels (2560х1920 resolution) for 2D (normal/regular) still photos and maximum of 2 mega pixels for 3D still photos.

The hardware switch button along with camera shutter key is nice for quick toggling camera mode between 2D and 3D captures.

3D photos, when you will capture with these double forced cameras, will actually be preferred for the fact being 3D in actual if comparing to the any casual 2D photo. Because it looks impressive and attractive like “wow! it’s 3D” but technically “HTC really lacks the power of making camera phones”. That’s what I want to say. More over you will have only 2 mega pixels of resolution of the 3D still pictures which will be probably around 1632 x 1224 for 4:3 photos.

Not only with 3D but even 2D images were also not as impressive as they should have been. It’s a 3D camera phone after all? You might face a lot of sharpening (say it over sharpening), lot of noise reduction etc. Even outdoor pictures couldn’t get actual and correct amount of colours.

Here are the bits from indoor and outdoor taken with EVO 3D (2D mode only)

HTC EVO 3D - Sample Camera Shot HTC EVO 3D - Sample Camera Shot

(Left – Indoor – Auto settings, Flash Fired) – (Right – Outdoor – Auto settings Flash didn’t fire)

Conclusion

I must tell you that if you are going or planning to buy any (I said “any”, not only HTC EVO 3D) for the 3D display thinking that – “I’ll now watch 3D Movies on my mobile phone and will enjoy like we do in theatres :)” – No! you will not. As I have literally explained what it actually looks like on a hand-held device. But for fun it’s not that bad. You will have good experience watching in a different way.

Also not only 3D but other aspects of EVO 3D are also remarkable for it being a solid smartphone. But there should be consideration to check the price of other device because if not looking around its 3D features, you’ll have other devices to consider for buying. So it all depends on you. If you want to experience 3D Movies and Games on your mobile phone then you won’t have more options to go for but LG Optimus 3D and HTC EVO 3D. Other wise you really should consider a non-3D smartphone because you will have some lower cost to pay for it.

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