If you’re thinking about buying the HTC Evo 3D on Sprint, the first thing you should do is ignore the 3D.
The phone’s namesake features — a glasses-free 3D display and dual cameras to shoot your own 3D content — amount to little more than a cheap party trick. And with a dearth of 3D movies and games to enjoy on the smartphone, the Evo 3D’s design and performance in two dimensions is far more important.
Strip away the gimmicks, and the Evo 3D is just average among high-end Android handsets. It’s a phone that provides lots of power through a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, but falters on design.
Compared to the graceful curves and smooth materials of HTC’s newly-launched Sensation 4G, the Evo 3D’s figure is no triumph. It’s not uncomfortably large despite a 4.3-inch, 960-by-540 resolution display, but its boxy shape and considerable weight lack elegance.
In the hands, you’ll always feel the phone’s camera shutter button, which sticks out from the bottom right side and rests right underneath your palm or fingers. A ridged back panel adds a touch of class, but ultimately this isn’t a phone that feels great to hold.
And don’t let the Evo 3D’s size fool you into thinking this is a multimedia powerhouse. The phone’s single speaker is poorly placed on the back side, projecting in exactly the wrong direction, and it kicks out some of the weakest audio I’ve ever heard on a high-end handset.
Unlike Sprint’s first-generation Evo, there’s no kickstand on this model, so forget about propping up the phone to watch some 3D flicks. With 4 GB of internal storage and an 8 GB microSD card, there’s not a lot of room to store your own music and videos, anyway.
The Evo 3D includes a 1730mAh battery, which leans toward the high end for Android phones, but I wasn’t floored by the battery life. After a day of moderate Internet use, no 4G service and no phone calls, the Evo 3D was in the red zone. When I kicked on Sprint’s 4G WiMax service for part of a day, the phone was dead by dinner time.
The Evo 3D redeems itself with a dual-core processor and Android 2.3, the latest version of Google’s smartphone software.
As with the Sensation, I tested the Evo 3D’s hardware muscle by playing One Button Bob, a desktop Flash game that always gave me trouble on single-core devices. As expected, the processor allows the game to run smoothly. The Evo 3D also had no trouble with videos and games, including the 3D content that was pre-loaded on the handset.
Combined with HTC’s Sense interface, the Evo 3D provides a slick and capable Android experience, although as with the Sensation 4G, Sense isn’t silky smooth like an iPhone or Windows Phone.
A customizable lock screen lets you see important notifications and jump directly to your favorite apps. There are pre-loaded widgets for apps like Twitter and e-mail, too. And I like the carousel effect that spins between home screens. Otherwise, it’s Android as usual. Check out our Nexus S review for more on how Android 2.3 operates.
Finally, let’s talk a bit about 3D. Don’t expect great 3D pictures out of the Evo 3D. Do expect images that look like layers of cardboard cut-outs, with the effect falling apart when subjects are too close or too far from the camera. Sure, I enjoyed showing off the 3D to friends and family, but not enough to factor it into a purchase decision. The Evo 3D’s two-dimensional stills and video are better for practical use, especially because the shutter is much more responsive. (Annoying bug alert: In both modes, I had issues with the camera freezing after snapping a photo.)
As for 3D content, the Evo 3D includes a Spider-Man game demo from Gameloft and a few other 3D games for purchase. One 3D movie, The Green Hornet, is pre-loaded, but you must sign up for HTC’s Watch movie service and download software updates to view it, and from what I can tell, there are no other 3D movies available for purchase right now. Without a thriving 3D ecosystem, its hard to recommend this phone for content consumption.
I don’t think highly of gimmicks, and the Evo 3D’s tentpole feature hasn’t proven that it’s anything but. I’d much rather have a phone that excels at the basics, which is why I gave the HTC Sensation 4G such high praise. Unfortunately, smartphones tend to be tied to specific wireless carriers in the United States, and for now, the Evo 3D is Sprint’s only option with a dual-core processor. I wish that was something to get excited about.
(This post republished from Techland.)