Review: HTC Evo 3D
When two dimensions aren't enough.
Beautiful UI; Effortless multitasking; Dual-core CPU; Glassless 3D; Great build quality.
No 1080p video recording; Lacklustre video player; 3D mode can be uncomfortable.
HTC Evo 3D
MRP: Rs 36,000
Street Price: Rs 33,150 (Saholic.com); Rs 34,150 (Letsbuy.com); Rs 35,000 (Flipkart.com)
Thanks to Avatar, the 3D craze is back. Practical or not, it has made it to TV sets and laptops. It was about time this gimmick hit handhelds, and what could be a better platform for it than Android? However, HTC's Evo 3D is not just about stereoscopic tricks, but is actually a powerful device armed to the teeth to fight off the competition. Moreover, its Sense UI always helps HTC's products earn extra brownie points.
Design And Build Quality
The phone's retail package comes with earphones, an 8 GB memory card, and a detachable USB charger. The device sports a 4.3" 3D screen encased in Gorilla Glass. The gadget measures 5" (l) x 2.6" (w) x 0.5" (d), and is the thickest dual-core out there in the market. The four capacitive touch keys, namely Home, Options, Back, and Search are well spaced.
The back panel is made of matte plastic with a dotted texture pattern that provides superior grip. Two 5 MP cameras on the rear give it a futuristic look. Another thing worth mentioning here is the addition of a camera shutter key. Weighing 170 grammes, this device is rather heavy, but then its competitor Optimus 3D (168 grammes) is not light either. Overall, the build quality is as good as you can expect from HTC.
The Evo 3D is powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU with an Adreno 220 GPU. It features a gigabyte of RAM, which is an upgrade over its younger sibling, the Sensation. Other specs include an 8 MP rear and 1.3 MP front camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, a 3.5 mm jack, microSD card support up to 32 GB, and an MHL-enabled micro-USB port.
Here's the most interesting part of the Evo 3: its 4.3" glasses-free, 3D-capable LCD. The 3D effect is achieved using the parallax barrier technology, previously seen in the Nintendo 3DS. The display has pixel dimensions of 540x960 and produces rich colours and high levels of brightness. It's reflective by nature, but is still readable under sunlight. The 3D works only in landscape mode, and its viewing angles are very narrow. Despite these negatives, the 3D effect is an exciting feature, at least for the first few days of use.
UI And Applications
The phone is based on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with HTC's Sense 3.0 UI running on top of it. It features a unique lock screen, notification bar, and task manager, all of which are explained in more detail here. As expected, swiping through its seven homescreens is very smooth. The transition effects and various widgets provide for plenty of eye candy. An overview mode can be activated using the pinch-to-zoom-out gesture or by tapping the Home key.
The onboard browser sports a simple yet elegant interface that allows for maximum screen usage by webpages. Thanks to the RAM upgrade and probably some software optimisation, it played 720p as well as 1080p YouTube videos without any problems. A definite improvement over the Sensation.
The GPS receiver's performance was poor, as is the case with most droids. During testing, it didn't lock onto any satellites for about half an hour, but the situation changed as soon as the A-GPS (Assisted GPS) was turned on.
Overall, the phone handles multitasking with ease, and it better do that considering the price you pay for it. Sense UI still hasn't lost its "wow" factor, and I continue to be impressed with the interface.
The device comes pre-installed with Spiderman 3D and NFS Shift, both of them offering a 3D experience. The glassless 3D works well, and is good enough to please geeks as well as non-geeks. However, as mentioned earlier, the viewing angles for 3D are limited. Additionally, some people may find it stressful on the eyes after a while. After enjoying it for 2-3 days, I too preferred disabling the 3D mode while playing games.
With dual cores and a gigabyte of RAM, gaming wasn't expected to be a problem with this device. Needless to say, it handled all the latest games from the Android Market. However, it's not quite as powerful as the Galaxy S II (GS2).
The music player has a useful interface that's full of eye candy. It supports a swipe gesture that can take you to the previous or next track.
The sound quality via its bundled earphones is good, but it could have been louder. In this case, even the SRS enhancement doesn't help much. However, using your favourite earphones may improve the sound. An equaliser is present, as is FM radio.
Similar to the Sensation, clips can only be played through the gallery due to the lack of a dedicated video player. Like its predecessors, the phone doesn't support subtitles. It can handle short 720p clips, but movie-length videos are a no-go. 1080p videos are out of the question, as are MKV files.
You can stream content to compatible DLNA-certified TVs and music systems. Moreover, the onboard MHL port can be used to hook up HDTVs using an appropriate adapter.
The Evo 3D sports two 5 MP lenses with a dual-LED flash between them. Its interface features a zoom slider on the left side, with virtual shutter, flash toggle, and other options placed on the right. However, you'll hardly use the virtual shutter, thanks to a good old shutter button that can autofocus with a half-press. A physical toggle switch lets you select between 2D or 3D mode.
The device can capture 3D photos only up to 2 MP. In 2D mode however, you can take 5 MP shots. The image quality is as good as you would expect from a 5 MP snapper. Similar to most HTC devices, this one also suffers from a weird pink tint, as well as a heavy noise reduction filter that leads to a loss of details. Shooting images in 3D is fun, and it works pretty well too. However, trying to shoot moving objects in 3D turns out to be a big mess.
The phone can record 720p video at 30 fps. The clips are saved in the MP4 format, which is a big improvement over the Sensation's 3GP. The resulting clips are pretty smooth and contain a reasonable level of detail. Additionally, stereo sound recording is a nice feature. Strangely, despite having a dual-core CPU under the hood, the phone cannot record video in 1080p. As before, recording videos in 3D produces fun results.
Telephony And Messaging
HTC's phonebook, called People, is very social by nature. Like most recent HTC phones, it features multiple tabs for displaying All Contacts, Groups, and Call History.
The signal reception was quite good during the testing. Moreover, voices were loud and clear on both sides while conversing with friends.
The Evo 3D displays messages in threaded fashion. The portrait keypad is not that accurate, and can be annoying sometimes. However, the landscape one makes full use of the 4.3" screen with well-spaced keys.
The generic email client can handle multiple accounts. It differentiates each account with colour coding, which makes sorting emails easy.
The 1730 mAh battery managed to keep the device up for just 3 hours under heavy use, including 3D gaming with brightness set to Automatic. It didn't come as a surprise as dual cores and a 3D screen were not going to go easy on the battery. If you travel a lot, you're going to be disappointed with this one.
The Evo 3D has almost everything that you expect from today's smartphone. Its dual-core CPU and gigabyte of RAM should be enough to sell this product. Moreover, the 3D capability is a good conversation starter, and as always Sense UI is beautiful.
On the other hand, the phone's 3D feature is not worth the premium it commands. The video player is underwhelming, and in terms of raw power it still can't beat the GS2. To sum up, go for this device only if you really love 3D. Otherwise, if all you require is just a powerful droid, then the GS2 and Sensation are the phones to choose from.
Design And Build Quality: 4/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
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