HTC Evo 3D: Oh My God Make It Stop Hurting

The original Evo 4G was a beautiful, throbbing monster. A huge screen, powerful guts, and features spilling out of its belt. Now what could make a giant mecha-Android better? Adding 3D powers, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Pluses The Evo 3D is more or less the same ass-kicker its 2D predecessor was, but a year later and faster. It's got a dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon CPU (and with Gingerbread, it's fast), caps so-so HD video (720p in both 2D and 3D), and gleams with a vibrant, 4.3-inch, 960x540 display. Media playback is smooth, menus are pretty responsive, and its rubberised hide makes it feel beefy in your hands (like a solid spare rib, not a bloated hanger steak). I particularly loved (and, by the handset gods, demand this of all phones) the thick hardware camera shutter - hold to focus, click to shoot. Phones are becoming better cameras than most cameras, so it's only right they should feel that way.

Specs: HTC EVO 3D

Screen Size: 4.3 inches
Resolution: 960x540
Playback: 720p
Weight: 170g
Processor: 1.2GHz Snapdragon 8660
Memory: 4GB internal - up to 32GB expandable
OS: Android 2.3
Cameras: Dual Rear 5MP, Single Front 1.3MP
Price: $US200 with two-year contract

Minuses The EVO 3D is the first phone to ever literally hurt my face. The 4.3-inch 3D screen's glasses-free, of course, which means it uses the same auto-stereoscopic method as the Nintendo 3DS. Well, not the same - the 3DS is a joy to use and view, while looking at 3D stuff on the Evo felt like I was having my eyes gouged out, Oedipus-style. It gave me a headache. I wanted to look away. And for what? A 3D effect that just isn't very good. To pull off a 3D picture of video that has any 'pop' whatsoever, you need to use framing so contrived as to render the whole thing pointless.

I love having a phone with a nice camera built-in because I can whip it out and digitally-remember. I don't want to have to spend minutes making sure the EVO 3D's dual lenses are creating an appreciable 3D effect. And I sure as hell don't want to then have my retinas bludgeoned by its horrid screen afterwards. (The 3D mode can be switched off via a hardware toggle, and HTC's Gingerbread interface skin doesn't have any 3D crap itself though.) It's a shame. The Evo 4G was fun for people who wanted a bazooka in their pockets. The 3D's only suitable for shooting yourself in the face. [HTC]

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