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

Oddly, the HTC Evo 3D does not make as much fanfare about the 3D features as the LG Optimus 3D. There is no dedicated 3D interface (on the Optimus it is called 3D Space) and the Evo 3D doesn't even group 3D apps together.

This could be because HTC rushed the production a bit, and maybe there is a software update waiting in the wings. A more likely guess is that HTC wants the phone to stand on its own and made the 3D features a bit more secondary. It is not a 3D phone, it is a 2D phone that also does 3D.

That means the HTC Sense interface is intact. You can flip easily between the well-design widgets on the home screens, accessing weather and the social networking streams of friends and mild acquaintances, staring at their visage in 2D only.

HTC evo 3d review: home screen

Our test phone came equipped with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, which is a maintenance upgrade for speed and fixes a few bugs in the last release. Android is a solid OS these days. We experienced precious few force close messages in daily use of the 2D features.

With 2.3, you do get a few new interface tweaks, though. You can select words and copy/paste faster in a paragraph of text, and the soft keyboard is spaced a bit differently with rounded characters.

Unlike the Optimus 3D, when you press the power button, there is no delay at all to see the home screen. Like most HTC phones, you drag a wheel up to access the phone. None of the home screen features are in 3D – which is unfortunate.

HTC evo 3d

The screen is bright and clear – in a side-by-side comparison to the LG Optimus 3D, it is obvious that the HTC Evo 3D has better resolution, but the screen is actually a touch more washed out and not as colourful.

Comparing the Evo 3D to the Samsung Galaxy S2 is not even advised: there is such a stark difference in brightness and colour that the Evo 3D looks outdated, even if that top smartphone can't do any of the 3D tricks. As with most HTC phones, you can move widgets around and drop icons onto the home screen with slick ease.

It's a bit jarring to realise that none of the widgets run in 3D, and most of the apps for 3D games and content are actually not even on the home screens. You can download 3D games from Gameloft, but there's not a hint of such an portal in the phone anywhere. Not a flicker of it.

HTC evo 3d review

And therein lies the rub: where is the 3D content?? If you didn't know this was a 3D phone, there's nothing to smash the third dimension into your eyeballs.

In fact only YouTube will give you any 3D solace, and that's only if you know the 'secret code' (which is to type in yt3D into the search bar, FYI). It's like HTC really doesn't care about the 3D element but has hiked up the price of a Sensation anyway.

One quick note at this point about the 3D switch: it is best to leave it off when you can. The switch actually enables 3D capability on the screen, which then drains the battery more. If you're not actually using 3D, it makes sense to keep the phone in 2D mode.

And it's not cheap - it'll start from £36 a month on a two year deal if you're after a contract, and well over £500 as a SIM free device. Something like this shouldn't be rivalling the iPhone 4 in price, but that's what happened and we can't see users stumping up that much cash for what is, essentially, a novelty feature.

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.