HTC EVO 3D: Hands On With Sprint's Hot New 3D Phone

Take a visual tour of the hottest phone announced at the CTIA Spring 2011 mobile show.

The Many Faces of the HTC EVO 3D Smartphone

To be honest, I'm not sold on 3D for consumer devices, and I'm certainly skeptical of it on a smartphone-size screen. However, rumors of a 3D HTC phone trickled throughout the blogosphere weeks before this year's CTIA mobile event started. Sprint and HTC make a great team, so I decided to keep an open mind about the HTC EVO 3D, announced today. Did the EVO 3D change my opinion of 3D phones? Read on to find out.

Associate Editor Ginny Mies covers smartphones for PCWorld.

Solid, Beautiful Design

First and foremost, the EVO 3D is a gorgeous phone. Like the EVO 4G, the EVO 3D is black with blood-red detailing. Keeping it in the family, the EVO View Android tablet, also announced today, has the same color scheme. The EVO 3D smartphone feels solid, but not bulky in the least. It has a nice, textured rubber backing that feels really good.

3D Display

One of the most important features of this phone, of course, is the 3D display. The 4.3-inch QHD 960-by-540-pixel screen looks terrific in 2D--and pretty good in 3D, as well. You need to maintain an absolute dead-on viewing angle to properly appreciate the third dimension, though. It looked good, but I'm still not sure whether the 3D does much for me in terms of improving the viewing experience. It still feels a bit like a gimmick.

New Sense Lock Screen

The EVO 3D sports the latest version of the Sense user interface, which has a brand-new customizable lock screen. You can pick a theme for your lock screen (the phone offers quite a few to choose from) and then select four apps that you visit the most. When you turn on your phone, you'll see those four apps at the bottom of the screen. To unlock the screen, you drag the circle and move it over an app; you then jump straight to that app. That way, you don't have to go through multiple menus to reach your e-mail or any other items you access frequently.

3D-Like Home Screens

The new version of Sense also has a spruced-up Walls system. Rather than having to flick back and forth between your walls, as you do in the stock Android operating system, you can flick the EVO 3D's screen to make the walls spin. The effect is a bit reminiscent of a carousel.

You'll find a clutch of new widgets in Sense, but my favorite is the gorgeous new Weather widget. HTC has a nice tradition of creating visual weather apps, and it is cool to see the company continue to improve them. They might not always be pretty, but they sure are dramatic.

HTC EVO 3D Size Specs

The HTC EVO 3D weighs 6 ounces with the battery in place. It measures about 5 inches tall, nearly 3 inches wide, and 0.47 inch thick. Its display is a 4.3-inch 3D touchscreen.

Dual-Core and 4G Inside

The EVO 3D is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with dual-core speeds of up to 1.2GHz. The processors support advanced 3D technology, including full 1080p 30-frames-per-second HD video and stereoscopic-3D video capture and playback.

The EVO is also juiced with Sprint's 4G data speeds, and it comes with a 4G mobile hotspot for up to eight devices.

MHL Port

Despite my mixed feelings about 3D, there's something quite satisfying about capturing 3D images or videos and then being able to watch them on the same device. But you can also view them on any 3D TV with the help of the phone's HDMI-out jack. The HDMI jack uses a technology called MHL, which allows for both charging and HDMI-out via the same port.

A Powerful Phone

My opinion of 3D remains pretty much the same. The HTC EVO 3D looks good, but do I really need it? I sort of prefer having pictures of my friends in 2D rather than 3D. Still, the EVO 3D is a powerful phone--3D or not. The design is gorgeous, and the combination of dual-core Snapdragon processors with 4G can't be beat. I'm also loving the tweaks that HTC has made to Sense. Suffice to say, I can't wait to get my hands on this phone this summer.

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