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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Content is king on the Evo 3D. If you have a hard time making your own movies and still shots in 3D (in terms of making them look convincing and interesting), or get bored with that creative endeavour, there are quite a few options for viewing 3D content.

One of the best ways to view content is on YouTube. The service uses a 3D emblem to indicate that the video in in 3D. You can search for the term "YT3D" and see hundreds of 3D videos. The Optimus 3D does a better job here, though, by actually trying to tell you when 3D is available.

HTC evo 3d review

In the 3D Space interface section, you can select a link to YouTube 3D, which essentially performs the search for you. Still, the end result on both phones means the same bounty of trailers, home-made videos, and some longer 3D videos – but no complete feature films.

The 3D experience is only average - when it works it looks REALLY good, but so, so often we couldn't get the correct 3D range no matter where we shifted the phone. 3D has to dazzle to be a worthwhile feature, and here it merely flickered with disinterest.

The rest of the media experience is nigh-on identical to the original HTC Sensation, so we're going to borrow a chunk of analysis from that phone - if you looking to compare, we couldn't separate the two phones in terms of performance.


Sonically, the Evo 3D is better than adequate - perfectly competent and works well within the phone, with no problems to our ears.

The same system as before is in place, namely that you can slide your finger along the bottom of the screen to search through your media to find the song you want, plus hit that little search key to find what you're after.

HTC sensation review

HTC has popped the same wireless streaming treat as in the Sensation, and looks set to continue in high end devices: find the new arrow at the top of the screen, tap it and you can instantly stream to another DLNA-enabled device with ease. It takes a little while for the song to load, but overall it's cool functionality that actually works.

The audio is acceptable without being mind-blowing on the HTC Evo 3D- you can use custom equaliser or have virtual SRS enhancement to make the songs sound bassier or less tinny, but the range of customisation doesn't actually afford too much control.

HTC sensation review

The other annoying element is that you can't control the music player from the notifications bar, only pause the music - although you can tap the album art to get straight back into the music application.

HTC sensation review

HTC sensation review

One REALLY cool bit of functionality that shows HTC has design at the heart of the Sense UI: the lock screen music control widget lets you spin the album artwork around to let you choose between the picture or additional lock screen controls... and we love playing with things like that.

Video and HTC Watch

Given HTC is putting so much effort into movies with the Watch offering, it's surprising that the video offering on the Evo 3D, like its Sensation brethren, is STILL irritatingly poor.

STILL, there's a) no dedicated video application, and b) when you open the video section in the Gallery you get a list of thumbnails and no labels for each video, so you have to either look at the details or open the file to see what it is.

HTC sensation review

We're going to keep shouting this message until the HTC engineers listen - when it changes, we'll know we've won.

One slightly better feature - 3D footage has a 3D tag on the tile, meaning it's much easier to tell what's going to leap out of the screen out at you.

The thumbnails load much faster than before thanks to the dual-core processor, but not as lightning fast as the Galaxy S2 it has to be said, or even the single core Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

Video performance is perfectly respectable, although certainly not market leading. This is an area where the Sensation is superior, with the screen shorn of a 3D layer looking brighter and less washed out.

SRS is still offered, although Dolby Mobile has sadly not made it on board - it wasn't really necessary to have two audio modes on there. We also love how NOBODY at HTC has noticed that it's not 'enchancement' after two iterations of phones since the Desire HD.

HTC sensation review

Take the HTC Evo 3D into the light (we don't mean kill it), not even direct sunlight, and you'll have to instantly turn up the brightness as high as it will go, which really washes out the picture - even more so outside with the 3D coating.

The HTC Watch service looks like a winning offer for those that are locked into a two year contract with the phone, as the DRM means you can only play the files in HTC Devices (although that includes the Flyer if you have one).

The quality is great, but £9.99 for a film seems a lot to pay for not the most up to date titles - and renting for £3.49 feels rubbish when it's not yours to keep.

HTC sensation review

The selection of four old series of TV shows is disappointing too - but we're sure the collection will grow quickly in the future, and hopefully the cost will come down.

Over Wi-Fi the download speeds were pretty good for movies, and the ability to pay directly with your credit card is good too - it feels less like you can accidentally spend loads on watching films, especially if you're renting (although remember it used to be cheaper to rent videos from Blockbuster).

More annoyingly is the total lack of 3D offering for the UK; no dedicated section, and from what we could see (and we looked for AGES) nothing to suggest any 3D films on the portal. The US has this element, why on earth does the UK not? Why is HTC even launching this phone?

HTC evo 3d review

Our test phone did have a digital radio app, and does support DLNA streaming to and from a device like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3D. The included app, called Connected Media, walks you through the setup process and, over an 802.11 router, streamed both music and movies smoothly to a large screen TV.


Games look quality on the device. Spider-Man, NOVA 3D and Asphalt 6 3D all presented compelling game environments that looked realistic - although getting them on your phone is something more of a mission.

There is a toss-up between the Evo 3D and the LG Optimus 3D. The Evo 3D is faster, so some gameplay looks smoother. However, the Optimus has a brighter and more colourful display, so a game like NOVA 3D actually looks a bit more believable because of the colour contrast.

Controlling the games isn't a big issue. Spider-Man 3D doesn't enable you to tilt the phone for control, and you have to use an on-screen joystick, but the controls worked accurately and it would have been too headache-inducing to use tilt controls with a 3D game anyway. (Our brain can't handle that much virtual movement.)

However, holding the sweet spot for game play is pointlessly hard - we found that the correct area to se the full 'pop out of the screen effect' was just impossible to keep in shot, and gave us eye strain trying to keep up.

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.