During a one-on-one meeting with Sprint executives at CTIA, I was able to get some hands-on time with the HTC EVO 3D, Sprint's newest smartphone. It packs a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 4.3-inch qHD display, dual 5-megapixel cameras for HD video recording, and a 1,730 mAh battery. While it isn't as jaw-dropping as the original EVO 4G (high-end Android devices are commonplace now), it's an impressive device.
As our meeting concluded, another event started in the same room, which led to more hands-on time than I had expected. Given that I had my hands on the device for about 40 minutes, this is a first impressions article in every sense of the phrase (with another one to come when I receive the review unit). That said, here's what I discovered:
- The 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU makes the EVO 3D fast. Very fast. Fast to the point where I was expecting lag and had an awkward first few minutes with it because I wasn't expecting the speed. You see, when you've worked with a number of Android devices, you expect the occasional lag that comes from background processes and such and adapt your speed to the device. That's not the case on this device.
- The EVO 3D is noticeably taller and skinnier than the EVO 4G, making it much easier to hold in the hand. It packs a high-resolution qHD display that offers 540 x 960 pixels. As if a high-resolution screen wasn't enough of an improvement, it's also a stereoscopic display, which means you won't need glasses to view the 3D content. The overall thickness is about the same as the original EVO, but the EVO 3D is more angled thanks to the metal bezel around the cameras.
- If you're familiar with the look and feel of the EVO 4G, be prepared; while the two devices look similar in the stock pictures, the EVO 3D is noticeably different when it's in your hand. Beyond the size change, the build has changed. I don't care for the front bezel - the plastic is rough and gives off a "this is cheap" feeling, as opposed to the EVO 4G's smooth sides.
- For what it loses on the front side, it gains on the back side, as I'm digging the battery cover. The texturized surface is a nice touch and it wraps around the side of the device, as opposed to the EVO 4G's wobbly battery cover. It's far sturdier, with no creaks.
- On the side, you'll find a dedicated camera button, which I found particularly useful. The device also offers a 2D/3D toggle, so you can quickly move between dimensions. 2D picture quality was decent, but 3D picture and video quality was quite impressive. With optimal lighting (i.e. NOT what the lighting is like at a trade show event), quality would be even better. There were demos pre-loaded on the device, and I was very impressed.
- Several people have asked about the lack of a kickstand. The reasoning is two-fold; on one hand, the placement of the battery due to the stereoscopic 5-megapixel cameras makes it challenging, and on the other hand, they didn't want to make the device any larger than the EVO 4G.
- The device will hit retail stores with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), though considering that "Ice Cream Sandwich" is also rumored for a summer launch, the EVO 3D may launch behind the curve. Darn you, Android fragmentation.
- HTC Sense 3.0 (at least that's what they're calling it right now) is nice, with quite a few improvements over versions 1.5 and 2.0. The various homescreens now rotate in a carousel-like manner versus the typical "swipe" rotation. The lock screen has also changed, and through HTC Sense, you can customize the lock screen to suit your needs. The menu structure has changed slightly, and the notifications bar has been modified. I'm only touching the surface here - you'll have to see the changes for yourself. As impressive as Sense already is, they've made it even better.
- I didn't run any CPU speed tests, as I assumed the various applications aren't ready for the combination of Android 2.3 and the dual-core Snapdragon CPU. Don't worry - as soon as I receive a review unit, I'll put it through its paces.
More to come, so stay tuned!
For more HTC Evo 3D Goodness
Check out my HTC Evo 3D Hands On video