HTC Evo 3D review

Is 3D on a phone a killer feature or pointless gimmick?

The definitive HTC Evo 3D review
The definitive HTC Evo 3D review

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HTC evo 3d review

The HTC Evo 3D is a stand-out phone – and we mean that literally. The graphics jump off the screen in games, and you'll notice a sleek 3D effect for movies and still photos.

Some might complain about headaches and eye-strain, while others might question whether this is a vanilla smartphone with a 3D gimmick tacked on.

Sadly - it is. While not the case in the US, it's an afterthought in the UK, with nothing in the way of 3D content on offer, and a middling experience playing with the 3D screen.

We also think the LG Optimus 3D is the better device, mostly because the screen looks a bit more convincing and life-like. And, the Evo 3D tends to hide away the 3D features while the Optimus puts them into a 3D Space interface enhancement that makes the options much easier to find. Plus, the Optimus records better 3D video.

We liked

The HTC Evo 3D is a remarkable phone if you want to explore new technology. Shooting 3D video is a blast, and the 3D games are convincing enough, considering the screen size.

The rest of the positives are the same as on the likes of the HTC Sensation et al: a high-res screen and blisteringly quick web browser are nice touches, and will entice a lot of users.

Contact integration is clever as ever, meaning we could keep up with our buddies more easily than ever before - it's nothing new, but it's still a smart evolution forward.

We disliked

The headaches start after about 30 minutes, which means you need to use the 3D features in short spurts. For those expecting continual 3D usage for movies and games, that is just not possible on the HTC Evo 3D.

The phone shoots 3D pictures in only 2MP, which is a shame because the camera could do better - why not allow users to take pictures in a better resolution?

The LG Optimus 3D also does a better job of presenting the 3D features. On the HTC Evo 3D, there isn't a dedicated interface section for 3D apps and content, so you have to search around a bit more.

The 3D screen is uninspiring, there's not a jot of 3D content ready to go out of the box and the battery gets slaughtered in a few hours when using the screen for the third dimension.

This is a heavy and bulky phone compared to new models such as the Samsung Galaxy S2. That's somewhat acceptable given the faster processing and 3D cameras, but we've entered a new age of very thin and very light phones.


It depends how you look at the HTC Evo 3G when deciding on a rating; in a vacuum it's a tremendous phone with a cool extra 3D element. It's pricey, sure, but it's only the same price as the iPhone 4, and on some contracts, a bit cheaper than that.

But then you notice the HTC Sensation, which in every way is its superior (except for maybe battery life) - thinner, lighter, more stylish, brighter screen... the list goes on.

With that in mind, and HTC's reticence to give us any indication of how to use the 3D for gaming or movies, plus the higher cost, we'll have to say we're hugely disappointed with the Evo 3D. If HTC decides to bless us with decent content via Watch or a download 3D games, we'll bump it up a star or so - but if that never happens, this phone will fall quickly into the 'cool, but not much point' category.

If you're desperate for a 3D phone, check out the LG Optimus 3D - and it's been a long time since we've recommended an LG over an HTC phone.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.