Review: HTC EVO 3D (Sprint)

Posted by Dan H. on Aug 01, 2011

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The HTC EVO 3D. It’s the new flagship from Sprint. It’s packing a serious punch, with a dual-core processor, a qHD display with glasses-free 3D, two 5MP cameras capable of 3D capture, and Sense 3.0. We’ve been using one for a solid week or so, and we’re here with the full review!

Hardware

At first glance, you’ll notice that the EVO 3D retains a lot of the styling cues from the original EVO 4G. On the front, you’ll find the 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display that’s capable of displaying 3D content, four touch sensitive controls with the familiar EVO-style silver circles around them, and a front-facing camera for self-portrait and video chat.

On the left, there’s a microUSB port for charging and sync. On the opposite side, there’s a large volume rocker, a large camera button, and a 2D/3D switch for the camera. While we really appreciate the humongous camera button, it sticks out from the rest of the phone, making the phone slightly awkward to hold at times. The aforementioned camera button also seemed rather loose which allowed it to rattle around a bit.

On the top, you’ve got the power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the opposite side houses the slot for opening the battery door. The battery door is pretty flimsy, and bends far more than were comfortable with when being yanked off of the device. With that said, the battery door has a nice texture and design to it, which makes for a high class device.

On the back, there’s two 5MP cameras, and dual flashes, along with HTC and 3D branding.

At 5 inches tall, 2.6 inches wide, and 0.47 inches thick, the EVO 3D isn’t the thinnest phone around. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, considering it’s packing a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, but it’s something to think about.

Overall, we found the EVO 3D’s hardware to be pretty fantastic. The qHD screen is fantastic, the dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM makes this thing fly, and the build quality is solid.

Software

The HTC EVO 3D runs Android 2.3.3 “Gingerbread” with Sense 3.0, which is feat in and of itself given other phones are still launching with Android 2.2 Froyo builds.

Sense 3.0 is HTC’s custom UI that runs on top of “Gingerbread”. This new version of Sense adds a lot of eye candy (seriously, it’s everywhere), and some cool tweaks that improve usability.

The lockscreen on Sense 3.0 is gorgeous and functional. HTC lets you customize the lockscreen completely — you can add four of your favorite apps to launch directly from the lockscreen, and you can choose between a few other HTC built widgets to display: Photo album, Friend Stream, Weather, Stocks, and Clock.

While eye candy is fantastic most of the time, we’re not fans of what HTC did to the homescreen on Sense 3.0. Scrolling between the homescreens now has a 3D “cube” effect, and when you scroll quickly, it starts hyper-scrolling with a carousel UI. Again – it looks pretty, but there’s absolutely no functionality here. We found ourselves watching the homescreen scroll and scroll super fast in circles quite often, simply because we swiped across the screen too fast.

While for the most part our time with the EVO 3D was without bugs, we would be lying if we said the latest version of Sense was an entirely smooth and polished experience. Thankfully we didn’t run into any deal breaking level issues, but there were plenty of small annoyances with Sense 3.0. We randomly saw HTC’s SMS app mark messages as unread after they had been viewed, HTC widgets (and Google widgets) randomly would not load, and the app drawer loved to continue showing icons of deleted apps.

With that said, we do think Sense 3.0 is a huge improvement from previous generations of Sense. While the eye candy can definitely be over the top at times, HTC still adds enough useful features to Android that we won’t knock them for continuing to use Sense.

3D

The EVO 3D is fitted with two 5MP cameras – capable of shooting 3D pictures and 3D HD video – and a qHD display capable of displaying 3D content. We’ll admit it – we approached the EVO 3D skeptically. We’re not huge believers of 3D, but we were definitely interested in seeing how HTC implemented it.

Let’s start with the cameras – as we mentioned, they’re two 5MP units, and they’re capable of shooting 3D images, 3D videos at 720p HD, 2D images, and 2D videos at 1080p HD. Need to switch between 2D and 3D? Simple. Just flip the switch next to the camera button, and you’re ready to go!

Pictures taken in 3D were okay, but not great. While the 3D pictures and video produced were of a high enough quality so as not to create eyestrain or headaches, there was still a very noticeable grain and blur to the images/videos.

The great part of the EVO 3D? You’re able to view your 3D content directly on the phone. The display stays in 2D for the most part, until you select a 3D picture, video, or movie. There’s a two second delay in switching, but that’s not a problem. Viewing 3D was…interesting. There’s a certain angle that you need to find when viewing 3D, and finding it can be difficult at times. A big problem with 3D (in general, not EVO 3D-specific) is fatigue and strain on the eyes. We were able to watch an hour and a half of “The Green Hornet” in 3D without noticeable strain on eyes before the battery completely died on us.

After spending some time with the 3D capabilities of the EVO 3D, we’re not sure 3D is really that important yet. It still feels like a gimmick. A really nicely implemented gimmick, if we had compliment it.

Battery Life

The HTC EVO 3D ships with a massive 1750mAH battery. Using the 3D capabilities of the EVO 3D definitely drains the battery – with the EVO charged at 90%, we were able to watch one hour and thirty minutes of “The Green Hornet” in 3D before the battery died. Fortunately, without heavy usage of 3D, we were able to pull through a day of medium-heavy usage without any issues.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt – the EVO 3D is a fantastic device. The 1.2Ghz dual-core processor is blazing fast, the hardware is exceptional, and while Sense 3.0 is a little over the top, it’s definitely usable. The thing is, we’re not sure how important 3D is right now. It definitely feels like a gimmick, but if you’re into 3D, and you’re sure you’ll appreciate viewing your media in 3D, then the HTC EVO 3D is definitely worth your money. Thankfully, HTC doesn’t shove the EVO 3D’s third dimensional capabilities in your face. Combine that with the EVO 3D’s specs, and you’re looking at yet another fantastic Android device on Sprint.

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Dan H. (119 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


Dan H. is a gadget lover. The computer is his mother tongue; he started using them since before he could remember. He specializes in mobile devices, and is nuts about any kind of new technology. Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/techshoe. Contact: dan (at) mobilitysite (dot) com

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