HTC EVO 3D Review

Introduction and Design

Blasting its way to the top of Sprint’s lineup, the HTC EVO 4G continues to be a renowned handset even to this day, but more importantly, it’s one of the evolutionary devices that seemingly set the bar high when it was released a year ago. Granted that it’s not a true successor, the HTC EVO 3D is in some ways closely related due to the fact that it shares the same foundations, while throwing in a couple of neat 3D functions into the mix. Essentially regarded as an upgraded model, the $199.99 on-contract HTC EVO 3D is especially nice on paper – even more when you take into account its 3D aspects combined with its high-end specs. However, in a time when top-shelf devices are ostensibly in abundance everywhere you look, the 3D nature of the HTC EVO 3D is undoubtedly going to raise some eyes. Let’s just hope that it cohesively executes, but if not, it may ultimately end up as a forgettable novel thing.

The package contains:

  • HTC EVO 3D
  • 8GB microSD card preloaded
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Get Started Guide
  • Terms & Conditions of Services


So what can we say about yet another top-shelf Android powered HTC phone? Well, it’s definitely not the best design we’ve seen put out by the Taiwanese company, but nonetheless, it makes some marked improvements over the EVO 4G. Constructed out of plastic still, the handset is thinner (0.47”) and feels less bulky in the hands, which can be attributed to its slightly longer form. Not surprisingly though, it retains some of the design elements established with the HTC EVO 4G, but goes further to concretely make it more refined. Specifically, its soft touch matte rear employs a rigid pattern that provides an adequate grip when held. All in all, it’s an undeniably distinguishable EVO device – albeit, it’s not as sexy looking compared to things like the HTC Sensation 4G and Inspire 4G.

You can compare the HTC EVO 3D with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Obviously, one of the first visible improvements with the HTC EVO 3D is the higher resolution 4.3” qHD (540 x 960) Super LCD display that it’s packing. Compared to the one gracing the EVO 4G, this one is indeed far better with its sharper details, iridescent color production, and high contract – albeit, it washes out at extreme viewing angles.

Making it unique versus the competition, its parallax barrier overlay offers a 3D viewing experience without the aid of any gimmicky glasses. If you’ve checked out the 3D display on the Nintendo 3DS, you’ll easily comprehend how to work the 3D display of the HTC EVO 3D. In order to experience that 3D effect contently, you need to view the display at a 90-degree level and wait a few seconds for your eyes to adjust. Interestingly enough, it actually works rather well! Not only are we enthralled and mesmerized by this, but it dishes up a sensible amount of depth perception with 3D content. However, you’re required to keep a steady hand, mainly because of the shimmering effect seen if you happen to tilt it lightly. In our experience, we’re able to view 3D content for an extended amount of time, but it’s worth noting that the prolonged usage can be rather irritating or nauseating for some people. In the end, it simply works!

Again, you can clearly indicate that it’s from the EVO family because of the circular rings surrounding each capacitive touch Android button. Seeing that they’re placed close to the bottom edge, we tend to accidentally hit the search and home buttons more frequently than others.

Above the display, we’re presented with the light & proximity sensors, wide looking earpiece grill, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and LED light indicator that’s placed towards the right side of the earpiece.

Peeking over on the left edge of the phone, the only thing there is the microUSB port that’s used for charging and data purposes. Even though it lacks a dedicated microHDMI port, you can still output high-def videos and get a mirrored experience if you happen to purchase an optional MHL adapter that plugs directly into the microUSB port.

Meanwhile, the clicky volume rocker, camera mode switch, and circular sized two-level shutter button are prominently positioned all on the right side of the handset.

Both the 3.5mm headset jack and dedicated power button are placed along the top edge, and even better, we’re thrilled to easily make out and feel its power button.

In the rear, we’re presented with yet another featured item with the handset – the dual 5-megapixel auto-focus 3D camera with dual-LED flash. With the tandem, it snaps stereoscopic 3D stills and videos. Although it’s hard to make out, there are tiny notches punctured into one area on the red trim surrounding the cameras, which hides away the handset’s speaker.

Yanking off the rear cover, it gives us access to its battery and microSD card slot – however, you’re required to pull the battery beforehand if you want to swap out the microSD card.

HTC EVO 3D 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Much like some of its contemporaries, the HTC EVO 3D features an equipped 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 processor with 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 220 GPU. Naturally, the higher than normal RAM amount is needed for the various 3D capabilities of the handset – thus, keeping things consistent in speed without sacrificing performance. And in all honesty, the handset executes effortlessly with little issues regarding responsiveness and speed. Even with a graphically intensive live wallpaper activated, the HTC EVO 3D is still able to casually navigate its homescreens – as nifty looking transition effects are used. Quickly running a couple of benchmark tests on the handset out of the box, it’s able to produce some admirable results – albeit, they’re not earth breaking.

In terms of platform experience, it’s identical to what we’ve seen already with the HTC Sensation 4G, which is Sense 3.0 running on top of Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. In fact, HTC Sense 3.0 isn’t anything revolutionary, instead offering multiple improvements, not least of all in the form of an entirely redrawn UI and an intelligent lock screen.

The redrawn UI sits on top of Gingerbread and carries the premium feel from the construction across to the interface. From a design perspective, HTC Sense 3.0 is so considered, elegant and cohesive, that it’s on another level to any custom UI we’ve seen. Widgets are pin sharp and there are some really attractive new ones, such as the photo grid (gallery) widget, a huge improvement over the static photo-frame. The 7 homescreens are also now on a revolving carousel system, so the last leads straight back to the first, and all with some rather slick SPB like carousel visuals in the process. If you’d like a comprehensive look at other aspects of Sense 3.0, you can read more about it in our HTC Sensation 4G review.

Without a doubt, HTC Sense is by far one of the best customized Android experiences out there, but we’re actually expecting something more seeing that this is the HTC EVO 3D we’re talking about. Do you read the 3D in that name? Well, it would’ve been nice if HTC concocted some sort of Sense 3D interface to show off the handset’s prominent feature, but alas, we’re simply given the usual assortment. Even if they can’t simply convert Sense into 3D, it would’ve been nice to have some sort of app that brings up a separate 3D interface of some sort.

Camera and Multimedia:

Two 5-megapixel auto-focus cameras with dual LED flash sit pretty on the rear side of the HTC EVO 3D, which of course, provides the handset the ability to capture 3D photos and videos. The interface of the camera is HTC’s standard, with a few more special effects and tweaks under the hood.  When shooting 2D stills, it takes roughly 3 seconds to actually take the shot, save it, and jump back in to take another one. However, the time doubles to 6 seconds when snapping 3D photos. Although the 3D display is active when capturing 3D content, it’s rather to hard see the effect while attempting to capture the shot – but at least it’s prominent when previewing it later on.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed in terms of 2D image quality with the HTC EVO 3D – though, we’re given a lower 5-megapixel shooter versus the EVO 4G’s larger 8-megapixel one. Despite the drop, image quality is nonetheless the same with its average looking results. Generally producing soft toned details and cooler color production with images outdoors, things dramatically take a drop with low lighting shots since they’re grainy, filled with digital noise, and produce distorted looking colors. Luckily, it manages to do very well with macro shots. At the same time, its dual-LED flash is able to lighten up the environment, but its potency is only evident when capturing subjects that are 5 feet away at the most.

Conversely, we’re not all too concerned about image details with its 3D photos, but rather, we focus our attention more on how well it brings forth that perception of depth. Rightfully so, it hits the mark dead on with its results, but there are some mechanics behind it to profoundly produce its intense 3D effects. Specifically, you’ll get the most effect when taking subjects that are a few feet away, with additional subjects in the background littered around. However, you can kiss taking macro shots in 3D seeing that it ends up looking like a mirrored image.

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HTC EVO 3D Sample images in 3D mode

Irritating to say the least, it’s rather bewildering to find the HTC EVO 3D failing to cough up even some minutely decent looking high-definition videos. Shooting 720p videos at the smooth rate of 29 frames per second, it’s actually one of the positive things going for, seeing that the rest is just absolutely garish. Actually, we’re presented with abysmal looking details and an abundance of artifacting when panning to make the overall result far from being regarded as high-definition.

HTC EVO 3D Sample Video:

HTC EVO 3D Sample Video in 3D:

Video Thumbnail

Music playback is through HTC's music app which delivers a very standard UI, though the overall music experience is great. Much like what we saw with the Sensation 4G, audio quality with the EVO 3D’s speaker is neutral in tone – though, it doesn’t sound strained at the loudest setting. Granted that it offers SRS enhancement, it does add just a tiny bit of power to its output, but it still doesn’t come off as commanding.

Knowing that a dual-core processor is tucked inside of it, the HTC EVO 3D is more than capable of playing a test video of ours encoded in MPEG-4 1920 x 1080 resolution. Everything comes to life with its brilliant looking Super LCD display, but thanks to its screen size, it’s more than enjoyable on so many levels. However, it’s worth knowing that the handset omits a kickstand – meaning, you’ll need either to hold it or prop it on something to watch videos comfortably.

Relying on HTC’s Watch service, The Green Hornet movie in 3D is packaged along with the device, which shows how enjoyable it is to watch 3D videos on the go. Highlighting all of the best aspects of 3D video watching, the experience is actually the same when viewing 3D videos shot with the smartphone. Even though we can’t gauge its actual level of detail, it’s pretty much overlooked in favor of the level of depth presented to us with its results.

The gallery is HTC's standard gridded system, with some cool perks such as wireless network printing as well. Interaction with images is very predictable with pinch to zoom being silky smooth and images rendering instantly while looking great on the screen. Moreover, content taken in 3D are notated with the “3D” tag within the gallery app.

Lastly, using an optional MHL adapter that’s plugged into the handset’s microUSB port, we’re able to watch 1080p videos stored on the handset directly on a high-definition television set. Not only that, but you can get a mirrored experience as well, which brings the handset’s entire platform experience onto the big screen.

Preloaded with an 8GB microSD card, it’s definitely something nice that complements the handset’s built-in 1GB of memory. Likewise, if the 8GB card isn’t sufficient enough, you can always swap it with cards up to 32GB in capacity.

Internet, Connectivity and Software:

While testing the handset out in the greater Philadelphia region, the HTC EVO 3D is able to load complex web pages like ours in no time thanks to its 4G WiMAX connection. Not only are we impressed with its data speeds, we’re equally satisfied with its overall performance since it’s responsive with kinetic scrolling and pinch gestures. However, we’re  even more grateful to see it offering us that desktop like experience thanks to its support of Adobe Flash.

Being the CDMA device it is, you’ll be able to place voice phone calls domestically through Sprint’s network, but it’ not surprising to find it offering  4G WiMAX connectivity since it’s one of Sprint’s major driving forces. On the average, it’s able to get up to 10.28Mbps download and 1.48Mbps upload speeds in the Philadelphia area. Besides 4G WiMAX support, the handset features all the common connectivity options you’d expect on any high caliber smartphone – like Bluetooth 3.0, aGPS, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. In addition, the Sprint Hotspot app allows you to share the EVO 3D’s data connection with other Wi-Fi devices.

Preloaded with the usual crew of standard Google apps, Sprint includes their mix of apps with the handset – these include Nascar, Sprint Hotspot, Spring Mobile, Sprint Radio, Sprint TV & Movies, and Sprint Zone. On top of that, there is an abundance of third part apps preinstalled as well – like Amazon MP3, Blockbuster, Media Share, Qik Video, and Polaris Office.

Of all the apps on board, the handset’s 3D functionality is presented on two specific ones that some will surely enjoy using. First and foremost, 3D gaming is showcased with the Spider-Man 3D game that places you in the shoes of the web crawler. To our amazement, this is unquestionably the tip of the iceberg seeing that the 3D gaming experience is very agreeable to our taste. Despite it being only a tiny demo, its position as a gaming device is already solidified.

YouTube fanatics will especially take to heart the 3D display of the HTC EVO 3D because you can now watch 3D videos on the popular video sharing service. In fact, corresponding search results are branded with the “3D” tag to indicate they are 3D videos enabled to play perfectly with the handset.

The latest noteworthy addition to the HTC Sense app arsenal is Watch. This is a streaming video service that enables buying and renting of movies and episodes of your favorite TV shows. In general, movies cost $3.99 to rent or $14.99 to buy, while episodes are bought at $1.99 each.


Happily, calling quality is remarkably improved namely because clear and distinctive voices are evident on both ends of the line – with the earpiece outputting a reasonable amount of volume. Switching to the speakerphone, it has a neutral tone with its output, but voices sound rather crackly when it’s placed on the highest volume setting.

Using the handset in high coverage areas in the greater Philadelphia region, the smartphone is able to retain a decent amount of signal strength. However, 4G WiMAX signal strength seems to have problems penetrating building walls since we notice a dramatic drop indoors.

Boasting a higher capacity 1,730 mAh battery over the HTC EVO 4G, we’re able to get a continuous talk time of 7 hours on a full charge. On a day-to-day base, we’re able to get approximately 10 hours of normal usage, which is still less than ideal for power users. Yet, it’s probably a good idea to either invest in a second battery or have a spare charger on hand to juice it up whenever you can.


Alright, there are a ton of things that we absolutely adore about the HTC EVO 3D. For starters, it’s again yet another evolutionary device that sees many improvements with its hardware to keep it going toe-to-toe with some of the elites out on the market right now. Even more, its 3D display isn’t simply a novel thing that some people might get bored with over time – namely due to its flexibility in the gaming department and easy content sharing on the go. From our experience, it works extremely well and goes beyond to give you that perception of depth that’s needed to capture the attention of curious onlookers. Furthermore, we’re certain that people are going to have a lot of fun using this thing to shoot 3D photos and videos on the go.

Indeed memorable, the biggest thing that we love about it is none other than its pricing of course! As we’ve seen Verizon’s line of 4G LTE devices pushing into new boundaries with pricing, the HTC EVO 3D is undeniably considered to be a bargain at $200 – but even more when it’s boasting a dual-core CPU, 4G WiMAX connectivity, and 3D capabilities. When it comes to value, the HTC EVO 3D is unmistakably one device that catapults all the way to the top of our list with its rich set of terrific and extraordinary features that are sure to keep people buzzing.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android version: 2.3.3
HTC Sense version: 3.0
Software number: 1.11.651.3
Kernel version:
Build number: 1.11.651.3 CL69941 release-keys

HTC EVO 3D Video Review:


  • 3D capable display
  • Ability to shoot photos & videos in 3D
  • Great calling quality
  • Fast download speeds
  • Responsive performance with its dual-core CPU


  • Muddy looking 720p video capture
  • Viewing angles could be better
  • Less than ideal battery life
  • No Sense 3D UI

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