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A comeback for 3D?
The biggest selling point of the ROKiT IO Pro 3D is, as you might guess from the name, its 3D screen and camera. It’s far from the first phone to have 3D, as the HTC Evo 3D and LG Optimus 3D in 2011 both included the feature, as did the Red Hydrogen One with its ‘4V’ display, but we’ve yet to use a 3D phone that really blows us away.
And, disappointingly, it’s the same story with the IO Pro 3D – its 3D camera and own-brand Netflix-style 3D media app didn’t only leave us unimpressed, but left us with eye-strain and headaches too.
In the IO Pro 3D, the third-dimension effect is created through stereoscopy, which means two videos or images are shown side-by-side to create the illusion of depth – this has an effect like holographic paper, and if you move the device from side to side you see the two images separately.
During use this 3D caused a strange hazing effect for backgrounds which felt very disconcerting almost immediately. Watching videos on ROKFLiX 3D, the 3D media app, we found our eyes would strain to pick out images both in the foreground and background, and after longer viewing periods we’d come away with headaches – and that was when the app worked in the first place, as various bugs and errors often stopped the app launching or deleted the entire library of content.
It should go without saying that if multiple members of the TechRadar team felt physical discomfort from watching 3D content on a device that’s probably not a good sign.
The 3D camera was a little jarring too – we’ll get more into this in the camera section of this review, but it was at least possible to take reasonable-looking 3D photos if we put the time in.
Even if the 3D technology looked fantastic – which, we can’t stress enough, it does not – we’re not convinced 3D is popular enough as a film viewing format to make anyone seriously consider buying a 3D handset.
The other main selling point of the ROKiT IO Pro 3D is Rok Life Services, consisting of ROK Talk and ROK Life.
ROK Talk provides unlimited Wi-Fi calling to a collection of different countries and the UK, which is quite useful for people on limited contracts who want to save their minutes, or those who regularly call another country, but it isn’t intuitive to access, hidden within the Life Services app.
ROK Life is the more appealing service, as it provides insurance cover for car breakdowns and a variety of accidents (including death) from the comfort of a smartphone app, letting you call a 24-hour control center and solve your problems easily. Thankfully we didn’t need to test this app out, but if it works as advertised (and we see no reason why it wouldn’t) it’s a tool that may be useful for a range of people.
While few people will have issues with calling their insurance company if they get in a spot of trouble, the ROK Life app streamlines the process significantly, which would be great for the elderly or people in emergency situations.
The phone is sold with a chunky silicon carry case, which can protect the phone from a range of traumas and easily fitted a lot more than just the phone and its charger – its inclusion shows more attention to protecting the phone than many other manufacturers show, although in practice we didn’t use this case much, and we’re not really sure who would.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.