Also impressive is the speed of the HTC Evo 3D. It packs in a 1.2GHz (yeah, that’s right, 1GHz is so yesterday) dual-core CPU and 1GB of RAM, which combined make this phone fly. There are subtle differences in performance between all the chips these dual-core smartphones use but in practice you’ll not notice. This phone and its brethren will romp through whatever task you throw at them, making general navigation instantly responsive, making games look great and play superbly and allowing you to truly multi-task without slow down (up to a point).
It’s just as well as HTC has gone to town with its homescreen jiggery pokery to make use of this power. If it’s raining the screen is covered with rain drops that are swiped away by a digital windscreen wiper, rotate the screen slowly and it appears that you’re truly rotating a 3D world of homescreens, while flicking the homescreen quickly will result in a veritable carousel of homescreens spinning before your eyes. It’s all very clever and all very pointless. We’ve been impressed with HTC’s Sense UI over the last few years as its pioneered innovations and improvements to the Android interface but with the latest version it has gone a bit far.
It’s not just because of the fancy stuff, either. We’ve always found the HTC keyboard looks a little cluttered, displaying secondary functions on the keys at all times, and we don’t like the way the main menu is split up into multiple pages rather than one long list. It’s not that it’s outright bad – there are some rather nice elements, which we’ll mention in a moment, but it does rather exemplify precisely why many of us are calling for Google to tighten its control on Android and stop third-party manufacturers tweaking the look and feel too much. We don’t want innovation stifled completely but some of the differentiating changes made by these companies do feel very much like change for changes sake.
As for those nice elements, we like the addition of Quick Settings and Connection Mode in the notifications drop down menu and have always liked the integrated dialler and contacts list that’s accessed with a tap of the Phone button – it really is the quickest and easiest way to start a call. We also like the unlock screen that lets you drag one of four customisable icons into the circle at the bottom of the screen to jump straight into that app – it saves more time than you might realise. And, the old ability to mute the phone simply by flipping it over is always welcome.
HTC has also added its Scenes, which are essentially desktop themes that change the background picture and the default selection of widgets and shortcuts. They’re a bit gimmicky but there are some nice backgrounds in there.