Red Hydrogen One: here's everything we know so far

Update: Verizon and AT&T have confirmed that the Red Hydrogen One phone will debut later this year.

The Red Hydrogen One is an ambitious new Android phone from the team that consistently pushes the boundaries of cinema-quality cameras. But mostly everything about it is a big mystery.

It promises to display “4V” holographic video content without the need for 3D glasses and also capture “H4V” (the company's holographic file format) through a unique camera. What this tech actually looks like in action... is unknown to everyone outside of Red.

That’s going to change “probably in April,” according to Red, which said that it will likely have its preview event that month. We do, however, know key details about the release date window and the price.

Red Hydrogen One is shaping up to be a phone with a lot of promise and hype, yet few concrete details and specs. Here’s what we know so far about the smartphone.

Credit: MKBHD

Credit: MKBHD

What’s the new Red Hydrogen One news?

The debut phone from Red is set to debut via Verizon and AT&T in the summer.

What will the Red Hydrogen One price be?

Prices for the Hydrogen One start at $1,195 for the aluminum variant, or $1,595 for the more premium titanium version. Said to be releasing via carriers in the summer, it’s possible that we’ll see carrier contracts bring the price down considerably. There will also be an unlocked version of the phone. Lastly, Red is stating that this price is for a limited time only, meaning that it could go up even higher closer to, or after, the phone’s launch.

What’s the Red Hydrogen One release date?

The Red Hydrogen One release date will be this summer from Verizon and AT&T.

Credit: MKBHD

Credit: MKBHD

Red Hydrogen One screen

A phone’s screen is always the first thing to grab your attention, and Red’s device looks to take things a step further. Packed with a 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440 display, it has the unique ability to show what the company calls “4V” holographic content without the need for glasses.

No one outside of Red has seen the holographic work in action, but according to the company’s CEO, the internal response can be summed up in “gasps, swears or just grins.” It’s needless to say, but we’re intrigued to see it for ourselves.

There’s no word currently on what sort of display the Hydrogen One features, though for its high price tag, we’d really like to see an OLED display since it would open up the door for Google Daydream compatibility, in addition to just looking vibrant with rich colors.

Beyond that, the Hydrogen One can display regular 2D, as well as 3D images and video. The phone’s camera can also record in the above file types, which really opens the door to wider adoption of 3D on a portable device, in addition to Red’s 4V file type. We’ll dive more into the camera after the jump.

Credit: MKBHD

Credit: MKBHD

Red Hydrogen One design

In some ways, the Hydrogen One appears to look like most, if not all smartphones. Its 5.7-inch display gives it a large chassis and it sticks the camera in a familiar zone: right on the back.

But the general look of the Red phone, at least what we’ve seen of it so far, looks rather unconventional like the company’s line of high-end cameras. Part of the phone’s rear is elevated, perhaps to yield more comfort in-hand. 

Near the phone’s bottom, where you’ll find a trusty 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C charging port, there’s a pogo pin connector, which the company plans to use in supporting the Hydrogen One with optional modular accessories, much like the Moto Z and Moto Z2 Force. So far, Red has teased at some camera modules, but nothing is confirmed at the time of writing.

The phone looks generally rugged all around with grip-friendly materials that look to cater to those who are using it to record some footage. We’re not sure if it’s plastic or metal, but again, this phone’s high price has us hoping for a premium, long-lasting material. In terms of its weight, Red’s CEO has stated that it will be two ounces more than most phones of its stature.

The big mystery surrounding the Red Hydrogen One is its front. We’ve seen that it will have thick bezels around its display, affording Red more than enough room to fit in a fingerprint sensor, but that’s a feature that we haven’t heard confirmed yet.

An early look at a modular accessory Credit: MKBHD

An early look at a modular accessory Credit: MKBHD

Red Hydrogen One camera

Just as fabled as its holographic-ready screen is the Hydrogen One’s camera. Said to be able to record in 2D, 3D and H4V, this could shape up to be the most impressive sensor ever packed into a smartphone. But as with all things, we’ll need to see it to believe.

There’s a lot more that amounts to making a camera great. As we’ve seen with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel 2, among several candidates, a low aperture value and large pixel sizes usually equates to amazing results. Touting a high megapixel count just doesn’t cut it the same way anymore. 

But Red seems to be using its positioning in the camera world to its advantage with the Hydrogen One. In addition to being able to use the phone has a key component to a cinema camera rig, Red is creating the Hydrogen network, which will be filled with content from top-name providers that users will have access to.

Red Hydrogen One battery

Packed into the Red CEO’s long public statement on the Hydrogen One is a snippet about the phone’s battery size. It’s going to have a 4,500mAh battery, which is among the largest out there.

This is just shy of the Lenovo P2 and Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom, each of which clock in respectively at an industry-leading 5,000mAh capacity. Of course, neither rival phone touts the high-end display and camera specs that the Red Hydrogen One promises.

Given the phone’s modular capabilities, it seems likely that Red could release a battery-boosting pack, like the Moto Z does with success on both a level of form and function.

Red Hydrogen One OS and power

Much of what makes up the inside of the Hydrogen One is a mystery, but the veil is beginning to show it off. The phone is confirmed to feature the Snapdragon 835. Oddly, the CEO states it will contain the “835x”, but we’ve yet to hear of this as a Qualcomm variant, so we’ll chock it up to a misspelling for now and assume it’ll be the Snapdragon 835 or Snapdragon 845.

A few unknowns are its RAM count and the version of Android that users can expect when the phone launches in the summer. A surprising amount of phones seem to be launching with Android Nougat despite today’s Android Oreo-flavored world, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see that trend play out here.

Regarding its RAM, our best guess would be 4GB or 6GB, both of which fall in line with flagship phones. That being said, it’d be best to pack it with 6GB or even 8GB given its high price tag and promise of ambitious modular accessories to expand on the experience.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on any movement the Hydrogen One makes. It seems ambitious, somewhat worryingly so, but we look forward to being proved wrong when it releases later in 2018.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.