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HTC EVO 3D Smartphone Review
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Date: Jul 25, 2011
Section:Mobile
Author: Jennifer Johnson
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Introduction & Specifications

Touted as America's first glasses-free 3D 4G device, the HTC EVO 3D features a 4.3-inch, qHD (Quarter High Definition) 3D display as well as dual rear-facing cameras that can capture 3D images and video.

Even if you're not interested in this phone's 3D capabilities though, its specs and power under the hood may attract you. The EVO 3D runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and features a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4G connectivity capabilities, 4GB of internal memory, and 1GB of RAM. With the combination of a dual-core mobile processor and 1GB of RAM, this phone has the power and speed that is demanded of high-end smartphone users today.


In addition to Android 2.3, HTC includes the latest version of its Sense user interface. With Sense, you'll get various features including Friend Stream which is designed to consolidate various social networking updates into a single location.

With the combination of a qHD 3D display and dual 5 megapixel rear-facing cameras, you'll be able to capture and view 3D images and video—no glasses required. The phone supports video capture in HD quality up to 720p and playback up to 1080p in both 2D and 3D modes. You can also share HD content with a compatible TV using HDMI or DLNA.

The EVO 3D is available exclusively through Sprint for $199.99 after discounts and a contract. This price is right in line with other high-end smartphones which often range from $199 to $250. As with any other smartphone from a major carrier in the U.S., you'll need a compatible voice plan and data plan with this phone. You can also opt to add the Mobile Hotspot feature for an additional $30 per month.

Certainly the EVO 3D has all of the features to garner a lot of attention from users who desire a top-notch smartphone. Does the phone live up to expectations though? Find out in our hands-on review...

HTC EVO 3D
Specifications & Features

Processor and memory
1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor
4GB Internal memory
1GB RAM
8GB microSD card included; supports up to 32GB

Operating System
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and the latest version of HTC Sense
Connectivity
CDMA2000 1x/ EVDO rev. 0/ EVDO rev. A network and 4G WIMAX
Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
GPS/AGPS
micro-USB

Display
4.3 inch Super LCD 540x960 QHD resolution 3D display
Size and weight
5.0 x 2.6 x 0.48 inches
6 ounces

Cameras and multimedia
1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
Dual 5 megapixel rear-facing cameras to capture 3D video and images
3.5mm stereo headset jack

Additional Features
3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability, supporting up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
Simultaneous voice and data capability in 4G and Wi-Fi coverage areas

Battery
1730 mAh Lithium-ion battery
Up to 6.0 hours of continuous talk time

Carrier
Sprint
In-Box Content
HTC EVO 3D
Standard Li-Ion Battery
AC USB Charger
Getting Started Guides
Information Booklet
Wireless Recycling Envelope

Price
$199.99 after discounts and with a contract


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Design

The EVO 3D looks and feels a lot like its older brother, the EVO 4G. In fact, if you compare many of the hardware specifications of the two phones, you'll see some definite similarities. However, you'll also see some notable differences. Here's a closer look at some of the key specifications for both phones side-by-side:

 
HTC EVO 3D
HTC EVO 4G
Processor and memory
1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor
4GB Internal memory
1GB RAM
8GB microSD card included

1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650 processor
1GB ROM
 512MB RAM
8GB microSD card included

Operating System
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Android 2.2
Display
4.3 inch Super LCD 540x960 QHD resolution 3D display
4.3-inch WVGA resolution Capacitive Multi-touch Screen
Size and weight
5.0 x 2.6 x 0.48 inches
6 ounces

4.8 x 2.6 x 0.5 inches
6 ounces

Cameras and multimedia
1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
Dual 5 megapixel rear-facing cameras

1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
8 megapixel rear-facing

Battery
1730 mAh Lithium-ion
Up to 6.0 hours of continuous talk time

1500 mAh Lithium-ion
Up to 6.0 hours continuous talk time


As you can see from the chart above, key areas where the EVO 3D improves upon the original EVO 4G is with a faster dual-core processor, additional memory, Android 2.3, and a QHD 3D display. The EVO 3D also has dual 5 megapixel cameras on the back of the phone that enable you to capture 3D images and video, but they are a trade-off for the single, higher resolution 8 megapixel rear-facing found on the EVO 4G. The EVO 3D also does away with the kickstand found on the EVO 4G.

Like the EVO 4G, the EVO 3D is one of the heavier phones we've reviewed. Here's how the EVO 3D stacks up:

Samsung Galaxy S 4G 4.2 ounces
Samsung Captivate
4.5 ounces
Nexus S
4.55 ounces
HTC Droid Incredible
4.6 ounces
Apple iPhone 4
4.8 ounces
Samsung Droid Charge 5.04 ounces
Motorola Droid X
5.47 ounces
Samsung Epic 4G
5.47 ounces
HTC EVO 4G
6 ounces
HTC EVO 3D 6 ounces
HTC Thunderbolt
6.23 ounces


The EVO 3D ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) installed. As the latest version of Android for handsets, this OS offers some key improvements over Froyo (Android 2.2) including speed improvements, new themes, improved copy and paste functionality, better power management, better application management, and more.  Although we're seeing many phones (including the EVO 4G) get an over-the-air update to Android 2.3, it's still nice to have it installed from the start.

As with many phones today, the majority of the front of the EVO 3D is covered by the large 4.3 inch display. This smartphone is the first in the U.S. to ship with this a 3D qHD display. qHD is a resolution standard of 540x960 (quarter HD). Below the screen, you'll find four touch-sensitive backlit buttons (Home, Menu, Back, and Search).

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The EVO 3D's 1.3 megapixel front-facing web cam is above the display to the right of the earpiece. A 3.5mm headset jack as well as the power button is located on the top edge of the phone. When you flip the phone over, you'll see the dual 5 megapixel rear-facing cameras as well as a dual flash. A speaker is located in the red ring that surrounds the cameras near the top right edge of the ring. The volume rocker, 2D/3D switch, and camera button are located on the right edge of the phone. On the left edge of the EVO 3D, you'll find the microUSB connection.

To access the EVO 3D's microSD card slot, you'll need to remove the battery cover. Although the card slot is visible after removing the cover, you'll have to remove the battery if you actually want to swap microSD cards. The back battery cover has a rippled and soft rubbery feel.

    

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User Interface

HTC wasn't content to simply ship the EVO 3D with a standard Android 2.3 experience. The company also included its own interface tweaks by means of HTC Sense. Sense adds some handy features such as the ability to launch an application directly from the lock screen by simply dragging it into a ring. We also like some of the lock screen customization options such as the ability to display the time and weather information, Friend Stream feeds, stock quotes, or other information directly from the lock screen.

As with other phones from HTC, you'll be able to double-tab the Home button or pinch the Home screen to view thumbnails of all seven of your home screens. HTC also provides a number of its own widgets for use on the EVO 3D. Some of our favorites include quick-access buttons for various communication controls such as Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, GPS and more; various Friend Stream and email message views; Power Dashboard; Stocks; and others.  

     

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HTC also ships the EVO 3D with one of our favorite keyboards, Swype. Of course, you'll still have the option of using the touch input keyboard as well. This keyboard offers Standard, Phone, and Compact layouts.

The EVO 3D comes with your standard set of Android applications as well as others. In contrast to most manufacturers and carriers who mandate that certain applications stay on the phone (unless you root the device), HTC and Sprint have given their blessing and are allowing users to uninstall some of the applications that come on the EVO 3D. For example, if you like you can remove Blockbuster, NASCAR, Sprint Radio, Sprint TV & Movies, and others. We give HTC and Sprint a lot of credit for letting us remove these applications easily through the Manage Applications screen. It's a welcome option that other manufacturers and carriers haven't offered.

To make it easier for you to find an app among the list of installed applications, HTC provides three views for applications: All, Frequent, and Downloaded.

     

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Performance: Display, Camera, Battery

Our first impression when we picked up the EVO 3D and started using the phone was, "Wow, this seems fast." Indeed, in comparison to the single-core 1GHz processor on the EVO and other single-core phones we've seen in recent months, the EVO 3D and Android 2.3 certainly do appear to perform certain tasks more quickly.

The EVO 3D's qHD display is very sharp and colorful as well. In 2D mode, pictures, web pages, and other content look crisp. As with many other smartphones today, the display can be difficult to view under direct sunlight. Viewing angles on the EVO 3D's qHD display were very good.

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When viewing 3D images, you'll need to hold the phone directly in front of you. If you view the 3D image at even a slight angle, the image will look blurry. Also, the 3D images aren't going to compare with what you might see at a movie theater. The 3D definitely adds some dimension to the photos, but they're not flying in your face.

During our testing of the camera, images were a bit hit and miss. Some of our 2D images were off a bit in color, as you can see from some of our test shots below. In addition, photos taken indoors without using the camera's flash were often blurry. Most of our 3D images turned out well, though.

   

   

   

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Sprint claims you should get up to 6.0 hours of continuous talk time from the EVO 3D's user-replaceable battery. In our everyday usage tests, the EVO 3D's battery easily lasted for a few days under light usage. During heavy-use days, we generally made it through the workday (8+ hours) on a single charge.

In an attempt to put a quantitative measure on the EVO 3D's battery life, we set up our own Web-surfing test. In this test, we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshed itself every three minutes.

We set the EVO 3D's display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi. When we ran this, the EVO 3D did well, lasting for 5 hours and 35 minutes before it died.

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Performance: General and Gaming
In addition to using the HTC EVO 3D in a variety of everyday usage scenarios, we also conducted some formal performance testing to see how well the EVO 3D compares to other smartphones.

CPU testing
Android CPU testing

Graphics testing
Android graphics testing

 

JavaScript testing
JavaScript Android and iPhone testing

 

In the Linpack test, the EVO 3D outperformed all other smartphones in our reference bank. You'll also notice since the EVO 3D sports a dual-core processor, we were able to run the multi-threaded version of this test.

The EVO 3D once again showed its strength in the An3DBench test, outperforming other smartphones we've looked at recently. This test shows that the EVO 3D really can handle graphics better than other smartphones we've seen. The An3DBench XL test didn't treat the EVO 3D quite as nice, but the smartphone still offered decent scores, particularly in the Magic Island test where it earned the top spot. Also, keep in mind that many of the comparisons on this chart are with tablets.

The EVO 3D earned a respectable score in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark.

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Performance Testing - Web Browsing

Since browsing the Web is a key feature of any smartphone, we also conducted some formal speed tests to see how well the HTC EVO 3D compares to some of today's hottest smartphones.

 

The HTC EVO 3D scored well in the Xtremelabs speed test, though it wasn't a chart-topper. Interestingly enough, the EVO 3D reached the highest 4G speeds we've seen from Sprint, although our test comparisons are still limited.

In the BA.net speed test, the EVO 3D scored very well over 3G, coming in behind the Nexus S. 4G performance on this phone was still respectable, though three other phones outperformed it in speed. Here again, we see that the EVO 3D outperformed other Sprint devices on 4G.

The Speedtest.net tests weren't quite as nice to the EVO 3D. The phone fell in the bottom half of the rankings in both 3G and 4G test modes. Keeping in mind that these speed tests can be influenced by many factors, we won't hold this against the EVO 3D.

Overall, we were satisfied with the browsing speeds on the EVO 3D.

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Conclusion

The EVO 3D's name obviously calls attention to the phone's 3D capabilities. We felt the implementation of 3D on this phone was good. Although images never jumped off the screen the way they might in a movie theater, they still had depth. You'll have to hold the phone dead-on in order to enjoy the 3D capabilities, however. In other words, don't expect to crowd a few friends around the screen to share 3D images or movies, but we imagine this shouldn't be too big of an issue for most users.

The storage capacity of the EVO 3D is a bit on the lean side in comparison to some phones we've seen recently, but thanks to the phone's microSD card slot, you can easily add additional storage if you need it. Keep in mind that the phone comes with an 8GB card preinstalled.

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Certainly 4G is a term we hear quite a bit these days. Although Sprint is continuing to roll out 4G coverage, the coverage is still limited to large metropolitan areas for the most part. As a result, keep in mind that you may or may not live in a Sprint 4G coverage area. If you're not in a 4G coverage area, you won't be able to take full advantage of the browsing speeds offered by the EVO 3D.

Generally speaking, we're not big fans of bloatware. While we will admit some of the applications that come preinstalled on phones can be handy, we like it when carriers and manufacturers give users the chance to decide what they want or don't want installed on their phones. Sprint and HTC have done just that with the EVO 3D; you can uninstall many of the apps that come preloaded on the phone. We appreciate this greatly.

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Although Sprint and HTC may tout the 3D capabilities of the HTC EVO 3D, we feel this phone has much more to offer than simply 3D. Most notably, the EVO 3D's 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM give it some serious power. In addition to offering a glasses-free 3D experience, the qHD display on the EVO 3D touts a resolution of 540x960. This display is crisp and sharp. This combination of hardware creates a fast and very capable smartphone. Putting everything together, we feel that HTC and Sprint have a real winner in the form of the EVO 3D.

 

 

     
  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4.3 inch Super LCD 540x960 QHD resolution 3D display
  • Glasses-free 3D experience
  • Must view 3D content straight-on or it's blurry
  • 4G coverage is still limited
  • Included 8GB microSD card may seem small for some users
  • Weighs 6 ounces

 



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