HTC EVO 3D Review

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.

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:

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.

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