Price (RRP): $No outright price; available from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone
The second 3D-ready smartphone to be released in Australia comes from HTC, and on first looks it betters LG’s debut model by providing a high-resolution glasses-less 3D screen, solid build, and 3D camera with flash.
HTC’s first 3D handset presents much of the design and engineering found among its more conventional stablemates, and sweetens the deals with new technology that make visuals appear to jump out of the screen.
First up, there’s the phone itself: the latest version of Google Android (2.3, Gingerbread), cutting edge dual-core processing technology, 1GB RAM, dedicated graphics over the Adreno GPU, and 14.4Mbps downlink from your telco.
HTC provides the latest version of its HTC Sense overlay too, meaning you’ll see animated weather, 3D flip clocks, and seven homescreens on a speedy carousel that are merely a finger swipe apart.
Storage-wise, HTC plays true to its miserly form, offering only 1GB of internal capacity. This is below that offered by other brands, but compensated somewhat by the provision of an 8GB microSD card in the box. This will afford most users enough storage for music, photos, apps, and a touch of video on the go.
The screen is high-end, with HTC going for a 4.3 inch qHD touchscreen (quarter HD). Capable of 540 x 960 resolution, this is a much higher-quality screen than the 480 x 800 pixels typical of premium Android smartphones. There’s also the added bonus of autostereoscopic 3D, a technology that makes it possible to see 3D images and video without the aid of special 3D glasses… but more on that later.
HTC’s screen isn’t the only 3D part of this handset. With dual 5 megapixel cameras on the rear – each with its own flash – this smartphone can capture 3D photos. When used in tandem to capture 3D, image quality, however, is reduced to 2 megapixel resolution, with the 5 megapixel range reserved for 2D image capture only.
Video can also be captured, with 720p HD recording on offer for both 2D and 3D. There’s also a front-facing camera, its 1.3 megapixel resolution suitable for video calling over Skype and the like.
The battery is also juicier, with a 1730mAh energy supply included, a higher dosage than the normal 1400-1500mAh batteries we see in Android phones.
Then there’s the connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, DLNA, GPS, and microUSB. The latter also supports HDMI over the same connection (optional cable).
Four backlit soft buttons are located below the screen on the face of the handset, and provide access to home, menu, back, and search operations. The physical power button sits on the top right edge of the handset, while volume keys, a silver camera shutter, and the 2D-to-3D switch are all on the right edge of the phone.
As expected from HTC, the build quality of this handset is top notch. While not sporting the high-grade unibody metal design that has become something of a signature of smartphones from HTC in the past year, the Evo 3D still manages to feel sturdy in the hands. A rubberised back with linear etching makes the phone easy to grip, but with the rear camera proud of the surface by a millimeter or two, the hold isn’t as comfortable as we’d like.
The back plate comes off in a pinch if you need it to, revealing the SIM card holder, battery, and microSD slot. And good news for those who want to replace microSD cards on the go: you don’t need to remove the battery first, as the sections are in different locations.
HTC’s 2011-issue phones have all proved speedy, and the Evo 3D is no different. There’s no lag when jumping between apps here, and in terms of overall processing performance, HTC seems to have nailed it.