It was only a matter of time until 3D found its way onto phones. And with the arrival of the LG Optimus 3D and the HTC Evo 3D, that time has come. Both pack dual cameras and the lenticular displays required to record 3D and play it back without glasses so on the move 3D fun is a true option. But are the phones any good? We've already looked at the LG and found it to be decent if a little large, so what of the HTC Evo 3D?
Well it doesn't make an overly good first impression. Its design, while largely bland in its largely black-on-black stylings, is just the wrong side of quirky where it does break from the crowd. Obviously the twin cameras on the back don't exactly help the aesthetic, and neither are we fans of the little circles round the touch buttons under the screen (responsive though they are). The mediocre design combined with the bulky dimensions (126 x 65 x 12.1mm) and hefty weight (170g) really leave you thinking straight away this is a phone that will only appeal through its power and features, if at all.
These things said, the design does incorporate some very appealing elements. The soft touch plastic back cover, with its angled grooves, provides a comfortable and secure grip, especially useful when taking photos. Even more useful is the addition of a proper shutter button with a stepped action for focusing then taking the shot. This is accompanied by a chunky metal slider switch for switching between 3D and 2D modes. We also like HTC's recent addition of LEDs nestled behind the earpiece grill. These illuminate to show when the phone's on charge, running low on charge or when you have a new message, just like a BlackBerry.
The phone feels well put together, as we've come to expect from HTC. There's a black anodised aluminium section surrounding the screen while the back and body of the phone are made from sturdy plastics that exhibit little flex. And as you'd expect of a premium phone, the screen is glass-fronted.
Slide the slightly fiddly back cover off and there's a reasonable-size replaceable 1730mAh battery alongside a microSD slot. This comes occupied by an 8GB card but can take cards up to 32GB in size, to bolster the phone's in-built 1GB of storage.
As ever, we'd prefer the power/screen lock button not to be on the top edge where it's difficult to reach when holding the phone one-handed, but at least the headphone jack is conveniently positioned. On-body connectivity is finished off by a standard microUSB socket on the left edge, for charging and connecting the phone to your PC.
Turn the phone on and another positive hardware feature is immediately highlighted; the screen. We can actually take or leave the size of it (4.3in) as, despite its obvious advantages (bigger is better for watching video and gaming), these are largely countered by drawbacks such as it being difficult to reach the whole thing with a single thumb and it making the whole device large. No, what makes us like this panel is its high resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. This is actually still a few less than the pin-sharp iPhone 4 but it's only if you peer very closely that you notice the difference.
For this one reason, the HTC Evo 3D and a few others, including the HTC Sensation and Motorola Atrix, instantly have an advantage over the much-lauded Samsung Galaxy S II, which only has 480 x 800 pixels. The HTC Evo 3D also beats its 3D counterpart, the LG Optimus 3D, on this front.
It's a reasonable quality LCD panel. It doesn't have quite the contrast and viewing angles of the iPhone 4 but it competes pretty well with most alternatives, which is impressive considering there are the extra layers required to flip it into 3D mode. The Galaxy S II gets its own back here though, its Super AMOLED 2 screen trumping all contenders for sheer colour vibrancy and viewing angles.