Minor quibbles aside, thanks to its use of Android 2.3.4 this is a powerful yet easy to use phone that has all the usual advantages therein – there are plenty of apps in the Market, you’ve a browser that supports Adobe Flash and a wealth of customisability. However, one thing HTC doesn’t make prominent is the phone’s 3D capabilities.
There is essentially nothing in the way of additional 3D content, apps or features. You can’t download 3D movies, there’s no equivalent of a 3D PhotoBooth to muck about with 3D images of you or your friends. All you get is the gallery for viewing pictures, the camera and compatibility with 3D YouTube videos. Admittedly the latter is arguably enough to begin with and adding much more could simply have resulted in a bunch of gimmicky detritus but it is startling how little the feature is used, which is a shame as it can work quite well.
Switch the screen to 3D mode (you shouldn’t leave it in 3D mode as this drains the battery) and open up the gallery or camera and the initial impression is… well, not wholly impressive. Concentrate too hard and you’ll have an eyestrain-induced headache in mere moments. This is because there’s a definite sweet spot of about 30cm from your face and with the screen directly in front of you – this can’t comfortably be a shared experience. Once you’ve found this spot and relaxed your eyes into it, the effect it quite impressive. Clearly you’re not going to get cinema levels of quality but nonetheless you can have some fun with it.
Firing up some 3D YouTube clips really did highlight how much you’re sacrificing in terms of sharpness, contrast, and overall visual enjoyment to have that 3rd dimension but again there is a certain level of enjoyment to be had.
One area that can really catch you out is shooting video or capturing some images. Here, when the camera is out of focus, the 3D effect is at its worst and it really is a struggle to use sometimes but in short bursts it’s okay. If you’re shooting video you’re also limited to ”only” 720p video.
Sadly, switching to 2D mode reveals a fairly lacklustre standard camera performance. While some high-end smartphones are now offering Full HD 1080p video, this one only has 720p and likewise it only packs in a 5-megapixel stills camera, compared to the eight megapixels of some models. The difference is palpable as well. The loss of detail is definitely noticeable and this is on top of HTCs continued mediocrity when it comes to colour reproduction – images look at bit washed-out, colours are inaccurate, and there’s a distinctly blotchy effect, almost as if the images were painted.