Watch our hands-on with the EVO 3D!

HTC EVO 3D

If there ever was a phone that could supplant the venerable HTC EVO 4G as Sprint's best-selling Android device, the new EVO 3D could well be it. Spend just a few minutes with the device, and that much is clear. You're going to want this smartphone.

"But Phil," you say. "It's got all that 3D stuff, and I don't care about 3D stuff."

Know what? That's fine. You don't have to use it. We're well into our review of the EVO 3D, and it's time for some initial thoughts. Find 'em after the break.

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Hardware

It's an HTC phone, and it's an EVO, so you pretty much know what you're getting, right? Like with almost every other HTC device, it's plenty solid. On paper it's as wide as the EVO 4G. But it's also 2 mm thinner, and that makes it feel a little smaller. It's also a tad taller -- 2 mm, the specs say -- than the EVO 4G.

All in all, it feels really good in the hand, in no small part due to the soft-touch-coated battery cover. It's done up mostly in a textured finished, though there's a small part that's smooth leading into the camera buttons.

Let's talk about those camera features. You've got a two-step shutter button, meaning you press it partially to focus, and completely to snap the picture. It's got a good feel to it, so you shouldn't be left wondering if you've pressed it enough. Next to that is the 2D/3D toggle switch, which, as the name implies toggles the camera from 2D/3D mode. It's clearly labeled, and the switch has a good feel to it.

We're less impressed with the dual 5MP cameras. They protrude from the back by a millimeter or so. That in and of itself isn't a big deal, but the only protection for the lens is the plastic that's on top of it, and it's not a part of the batter cover. In other words, once you scratch it, you're screwed. And we managed to scratch the hell out of our EVO 4G without really trying.

As for the screen: We're pretty blind and our eyes are pretty tired. But in 2D mode, things look just fine. The qHD resolution looks darn nice.

Couple other aesthetic features: There's a nice, bright notification light in the earpiece. And the capacitive buttons are throwbacks from the original EVO 4G.

Software

The EVO 3D's got Android 2.3.3 and the new Sense 3.0, which we're very much madly in love with. A big reason for that is the lock screen. And while we thought we really loved Sense 3.0 on the HTC Sensation, we're even more over the moon about it on the EVO 3D. It's fast. Really fast. No lag at all. In fact, switching back to the Sensation, it's almost painful. And that makes us sad.

Sense is still Sense. Not a lot to say there. You've got all the usual apps, plus Spider-Man 3D. HTC's Watch video store is on board, and you'll get to watch The Green Hornet 3D for free once you're signed in. No word yet on whether the 3D makes the movie any better.

The 3D implementation

Yeahhhhh. We'll be taking a few more Tylenol after trying that out, even for a minute. The larger issue: HTC's missing a one-stop hub for all 3D content. Games, apps, pictures, video, whatever. LG did that right on the Optimus 3D.

We'll have to shoot our own content and see. But right not, we're not impressed. (And might well be going to the eye doctor.)

More's coming

That's it for now, folks. We'll have a full review when we're done testing the phone. TTFN!

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Reader comments

Sprint HTC EVO 3D initial review

103 Comments

Looks good, I wish they would have slapped a kickstand on it but they said it would be too bulky.

Spoken like someone who doesn't own an Evo! I'm sitting here at work now with the US Open playing (ESPN on Sprint TV). My phone is on the kickstand so when something big happens I can glance over and watch it. If you ever have a kickstand you won't want to give it up.

Wow, EVO owners are so sensitive.

Actually, the smiley implied my comment was a joke, not a bash on the EVO, which I do think is a nice phone. Since you brought it up though, I also watch ESPN on my Droid X (the WatchESPN app) at work & don't need a kickstand to prop it up. I can lean it up against a coffee cup.

I had the Evo, kickstand is ok. I'd rather have a media dock personally that way it charges with no cord coming off the bottom and is nice and stable. I had times when I would try and put it somewhere and the cord would pull and turn it since each end were in un-ideal places.

Looks like there will be a case option that has a kickstand built in and also a media dock that allows the handset to sit landscape while charging. So, there will be options but it's also nice to have the option not to have one if you find no use for it. Sounds like a win/win to me.

Many of us do not want some bulky case on our phones. I carry the phone in a protective pocket-type case and do not want any additional bulk or weight on the actual phone itself.

Although a kickstand case might work for some people, I call it "not a suitable substitute for one of the Evo's signature features- the built-in kickstand."

You sound like a spoiled, elitist brat... Seriously, you're getting all worked up over a friggin KICKSTAND?? If you don't like it, DON'T BUY IT! If it's "not suitable" for you (which makes you sound like a prick, btw), stick with your OG Evo. One of the main complaints I always heard about the OG Evo was that people would pull it out of it's case or their pocket, the kickstand would snag on something, and they'd drop their phone, cracking their screen. I think HTC was smart in making something like that an option. And frankly, if one of your main complaint against a phone is that it doesn't have a damn kickstand, you need to rethink your priorities.

Looks like a nice phone, but sounds like the 3D feature is a huge fail.

It seemed kind of gimmicky to me anyway though

That's the trouble with these "initial reviews" - it's just the first-blush opinion. Most of the other reviewers on the net indicate that they warmed up to the 3D camera over time - for example, while PCMag gives the Evo3D a 3 out of 5 and said the device was full of brilliant but half-baked ideas, the reviewer specifically mentioned that having a 3D image of his daughter was nothing short of magical.

That's the phone I'm going for. It has something the EVO 3D doesn't have- CDMA + GSM. That trumps 3D for my needs. Until someone starts making 3D Porn movies, I won't need 3D.

I couldn't care less about 3D. Really all I'm looking for (as an upgrade to my current Evo) is qHD, more RAM, and dual-core. Everything else is whatever; Sense 3.0 might be nice for a bit, but I have a feeling I'll be moving on from that pretty soon:)

I agree with you. If I get the 3D, I'd be hopping off of Sense 3.0 the moment a Cyanogenmod RC is available. Hacktown, Baby!

After the Sense debacle with the EVO GB update, I don't want anything to do with any version of Sense- 3.0 or otherwise. Launcher Pro is better, has more options that Sense doesn't, doesn't crash, and battery life is better with it. Forget about Sense.

No offense, but your comment has some major logic faults here... First, you are comparing the 3D to a phone that was not DESIGNED for the new Sense 3.0 OR for Gingerbread. Trying to say that the EVO 3D is going to be crappy with these two items just because an older phone has trouble with them, does not mean that the new phone that is DESIGNED for these two items is going to be bad. Saying that it does is like saying because one flash light is small and doesn't put out much light, then the much larger version is also going to put out a teeny tiny amount of light. Just simply doesn't make sense.

Me too, that's why I'm going to wait for more dual-core or even quad-core phones to be released. I love my Evo and wouldn't even look for another phone if it had a better processor, 8gb or more of internal memory, more RAM, qHD, and better battery life. Those are the only things I need that the Evo doesn't have.

Hyped up EVO with a camera button and a 3d camera that you "will" use but not really use it..... You have to ask yourself do I have a 3d tv and does any of my family have one or even know what it is?

Don't forget 1.2 dual core asynchronious processor ,1gig ram, 800mhz antenna oh an qhd so no not hyped up but totally new evo. Aka GANGSTA

Phil, put this to rest for everyone. does it do 1080p on 2D? because Engadget and a lot of people are saying it only does 720p in 2D.

Many other reviewers state that they were unable to find the 1080p setting - they could only find up to 720p.

It'll most likely come in an update...

Like somebody mentioned in the forums, it was probably buggy and couldnt have it fixed yet. They very well may have an update for us on the day of release.

Hopefully that update will fine-tune the reception and eliminate the call quality issues as well. But still, review units are out and the damage may already be done.

HaHa Do it and post a link on here so we can review it. J/k

I will prob do the same thing with my wife, 3d should be fun, and she will be getting the Evo 3d as well.

" 'But Phil,' you say. 'It's got all that 3D stuff, and I don't care about 3D stuff.' ...Know what? That's fine. You don't have to use it."

You're awesome, Phil! Thanks for this great review.

8 days to go!

I guess I'm not surprised the reviews are so tepid for this phone. It really is just an update to the EVO 4G with the added 3D feature. I think my new phone strategy will be to wait a few months into summer and see what else is coming to sprint. So far I think its:

Moto Photon 4G
Samsung Galaxy S II
HTC Kingdom
Something from LG?

So really there is gonna be something for everyone in there. The 3D is still in contention for me, but it isn't helped by the overall luke-warm reception from multiple sites.

To hell with the NS4G. The damn thing has more problems than I can count on two hands. Cannot wait to get the Evo 3D and actually be able to send text messages over 160 characters sheesh!

I don't think the Seido 3500 extended battery for the EVO 4G is compatible with the EVO 3D, if that's what you mean. Different phone. Different power requirements.

This is a great upgrade from the Evo 4g, even if you hate the 3d part of the phone this is really nice. Better screen, more powerful cpu/gpu, more ram, more internal storage, better sense. This phone it doubled everything from the Evo 4g and think a lot of people feel it should be the best phone out and complain about little stuff. I mean LITTLE. It does not need to be better then the galaxy 2, or iPhone, but as long as it DOUBLES everything from the Evo 4g with specs then u can't go wrong. If you love the Evo 4g then hands down this phone is for you with or without 3d.

Agreed! You obviously understand the difference between the EVO 4G's HW vs. the EVO 3D's HW. There are some really ignorant people commenting in this thread...

With all the reviews, I just can't stop thinking about what HTC COULD HAVE done if they had taken all the development time spent on 3D cameras and instead used it to produce a shooter on par with the ones in Nokia smartphones. THATS WHAT I WANT. If someone built a smartphone with a full featured camera in it, I would buy it and HAPPILY pay more for it.

Am I the only one who feels this way? My Evo takes good pictures but there are times I wish I had a better camera. But who wants to carry two devices? Isn't that the whole point of smartphones--minimizing the devices one needs to carry around?

A better camera would be nicer. A camera that isn't 3D. You'd think they'd have increased the storage as much as the MyTouch 4G (12GB), with a 3D camera on board. You know some of these folks will go 3D photo and movie crazy.

That cassette-tape-looking protrusion of a camera sure is fugly. It's begging for scratches and oily fingerprints, not to mention how it will be "un-protectable" by cases.

I'll never understand why every other HTC phone is getting a flush camera but the EVO-line cameras keep sticking out further and further. WTF?

I've got the official HTC soft case on my EVO 4G, and the case is thicker than the camera lens... so it is protected. I bet it will be the same with the 3D.

These reviews are not helping one bit. I was all set on getting this, no questions asked. Now I'm asking questions. Sad face.

I KNOW!!! I went and pre-ordered the phone through Radio Shack the moment they would accept them because all the reviews from the "pre production" models were so incredible and everyone seemed to absolutely love them.

Now it has me wishing I never spent the 50 bucks and instead just waited to see what the htc Kingdom is going to be... I've already made up my mind about one thing, if I ever were to get an Android phone, it would be an htc..

But, what I dont understand, is how could the "amazing" effects of the 3D feature be so "awesome, amazing, and brilliant" with those PRE PRODUCTION models when it was first revealed, and then go to "omg it hurts my eyes, it looks so crappy and horrible, wtf was htc thinking"??!! I mean, everyone LOVED the phone when they saw it at the announcement release event (whatever it was called) and now it seems like everyone is going back on their words..

I was totally ready to get an Evo3D until I went to the AT&T store and held the Infuse and old Galaxy S phones. I couldn't believe how much lighter they were than the Evo4G. I don't understand why the Evo4G is so much heavier and still has worse battery life. The infuse even has a 4.5" screen and is still considerably lighter. I'm really tempted to wait for the Galaxy S 2 now purely because of the weight and thickness.

Exactly. My girlfriend has a Samsung Mesmerize and it feels like a toy compared to my EVO.

Also, I hope nobody is REALLY thinking the EVO 4G is too "heavy" just because other phones are lighter. Its not like its 10 lbs or something.

I agree that I want a phone that feels solid, but the Evo4G is by no means light. Maybe its because I've had considerably smaller phones in the past, but I used to use a Palm Treo 755 back in the day and that was a monster and still felt lighter than my Evo. I also felt that those Samsung I tried out didn't feel that cheap. The Epic4G that I've tried before felt like crappy plastic, but the Infuse and Galaxy S didn't.

You can't compare to a Treo- that doesn't have a GLASS SCREEN. The old touchscreens are the horrible resistive type, not capacitive.

Unfortunately glass is heavy and shows prints.
Fortunately glass is very durable and a great interface.

Judging by other phones with with glass screens, it doesn't seem that the screen is the significant factor when it comes to weight.

I love all the negative comments about the 3D display when I guarantee you 98% of you have never seen it with your own eyes. Wait until you do before actually passing judgement.

"A CAMERA on a phone? What a gimmick!"

lol

Most people commenting about 3D have no use for it & would've rather seen that time & energy put towards developing or implementing features that would actually be utilized daily.

How long after the EVO 4G was the EVO Shift released? I'm guessing they'll do something similar this year with a non-3D offering...

take 3D off & put a better quality camera in there & I'd be interested! Although I'm not sure how Sense 3.0 would like it..

We don't even KNOW the quality of the camera in the EVO 3D yet, so how can such a statement be valid, at all???

Pretty sure your eyes aren't going to notice too much of a difference between 5 and 8 megapixels.

And what part of "you can turn the 3D feature off" did you guys not understand? That's been repeated again and again lol. If you don't want it, don't use it lol

Think about what you just said there:

"Most people commenting about 3D have no use for it & would've rather seen that time & energy put towards developing or implementing features that would actually be utilized daily."

What about the camera situation from years and years ago? At first no one wanted cameras on a phone cause it was a "gimmick", but look at us all now.

What about the screens? At first we all had standard definition TVs, and when HD came out, alot of people thought "oh its a gimmick, it'll never stay around" but oh boy did it. They started putting higher definition screens in phones during that time too, and some people were all like "no no I dont need more pixels in this screen, its already got enough!" but now everyone can't seem to get enough of em!

The 3D feature may not be top of the line, but it is future proof. TVs are not coming out with 3D capabilities regardless if we want it or not, just like HD did when it first came available. And as more and more people start buying new TVs, more and more people will have 3D capable screens for this phone to be able to hook up to.

Sure right now, the 3D feature is not something people are going to welcome right out of the gate, but in time, it very well could be the feature that absolutely EVERY phone just simply HAS to have in order to compete. You wouldn't go and buy phone that is brand new, but only has a 200MGz processor would you? I'd doubt it.

What is MGz?? Do you mean MHz?

People got a big push in the direction of HD TVs because of the mandate that all broadcast television be in digital. Yes, you can just get a converter box, but if you need to buy a new TV, you just have no choice anymore.

As far as 3D, it is a gimmick that will always be a gimmick to me. If everything goes to 3D, I will just continue using my outdated electronics until that just stops working. If the 3D feature can be disabled and I am not charged extra when I must buy a new phone, then I guess I am okay with that.

The 2D-3D hardware switch on the EVO 3D is just for photo/video capture. Hopefully there is a option in the software to turn off that headache-inducing feature known as 3D.

meh.....I'm happy with my EVO + MIUI ROM + kickstand + + + + + + It does what I need it to do on a daily basis and don't need to jump on the bandwagon and spend more money on something I don't need. PASS...Enjoy to those that actually purchase it. :)

Although it has the same processor, the Evo 3D has a LOT more RAM. If the phone was memory starved, it would have to swap stuff in/out a lot, and that will hurt performance on the Sensation...

It doesn't have a LOT more, it has about 25% more. That's not enough to make the kind of difference he's claiming.

Hey Phil , great review thanks

Even though the Spec.s are great (1.2GHz , 1GB RAM , Sense 3.0 , ..etc)

I just can't get passed that ugly back , it looks allot like a cheap knock-off of one of the Transformers characters
Even the front is meh , the OG EVO 4G* is allot better (Design wise)
Im sure that people will disagree with me

You know , If HTC made a 3D kit for it instead making it a 3D phone , it would've been allot better

Some accessory kit , like the all the crazy kits out there for the IOS things

Do you guys know that there is "CD player" kit for the iPhone , a teaser gun kit for the iPhone , a dock that transform an iPod touch into a fully functioning phone , a 3D kit for iPhone\iPad ? Even a Blender for God sake !

Plus , after what Motorola did with the Atrix (the Docks) !
It won't be hard to be make , that way it can be used with all HTC phones

This way everybody is happy

But Im sure people will disagree with me

Because of issues with my eyes, 3D tends not to work real well on me.
I'll have to see this one in person to make my judgement.
I like the specs on this phone, but 3D is kind of to me.

Then DO NOT USE THE 3D part of the phone. Duh! That is what people keep saying over and over again.

3D is not a MANDATORY feature of the phone, it doesn't detract from the phone AT ALL. Just ignore that feature if you have no interest in it...

Since the hardware switch next to the camera button is only to turn the 3D capture off, does the software have the option to disable 3D on the screen? I listened to Android Central podcast where Phil spoke on the EVO 3D. He said that you cannot turn off the 3D feature. If that is true, then the 3D feature cannot just be "ignored".

I would guess not since the Evo4G has a smaller mA battery. Even if you could, I would guess it wouldn't be great for it.

People could give this phone a 1 out of 10! Bottom line, i knew i was getting it since it was announced on march 22! Hate all u want! If it's not an evo, it's just a phone! Love u htc! Keep innovating new features that separate your phones from others while everyone else's just does the same boring things!

Can we get some comments on call quality in the final review? A slight buzz during calls seems to be the only thing some of the other reviews agreed on.

Also, does it really feel that much snappier than the Sensation? Sense has to be getting pretty poorly optimized if the extra memory on the EVO makes that much of a difference (i actually like Sense btw, but that tidbit still concerns me).

Personally I'm thinking of waiting for a more detailed review (Anandtech) or some user feedback. The comments about call quality have me concerned, and I'd like some empirical battery tests (a la Anand), not Engadget's retarded "we left all radios on and it died fast" test, or the anecdotal comments from other reviewers. Honestly doesn't anyone but Anand bother to test things in a controlled environment anymore?

There's so many ridiculously conflicting comments across the reviews right now, even if you ignore Engadget's battery/camera claims. One review claims good viewing angles, the next one says the exact opposite; one review claims it holds unto a stronger signal then the OG EVO despite the call quality, another says it gets terrible signal... These things are only subjective if you're poorly equiped to review the device and don't have anything else for comparison purposes, otherwise they're easy things to test, just takes a little time.

Let me put a few things to rest here. I work at sprint I played with the Evo 3D all day took my hour lunch break walked literally next door played with the Sensation for about 50 mins (in full sprint uniform mind u) and yes it is Without Question Faster than the Sensation not Blazing but noticeably for sure. With that said I also tried the Green Hornet 3D movie it was kinda cool not jaw dropping so I thought ok whatever then I went to YouTube 3D by typing 3D YouTube in the Google search engine. When I clicked on the link I opened it using the YouTube app and all the videos had a little 3D icon next to them similar to how official music videos have a music note next to them on the OG Evo....That laddies and gents WAS jaw dropping. I watched a video of a Guy surfing and thought I was gonna get wet. All in all I think just like with the movies your 3D experience is going to be based on the content your viewing. Till this day nothing has looked better to me in 3D than Avatar...some movies look better in blue ray than others. Its gonna be the same way with the 3D. And PS there's so many small things backed into the new sense that just give you that more bang for your Buck feeling that I don't even wanna spoil them for you guys...

Since you work at Sprint, did you get a chance to compare the voice quality with the EVO 4G?
Also, side question.... The Photon has GSM. Have you heard whether the Photon is supposed to work on 4G Wimax And LTE when Sprint turns that on? Just wondering if Sprint is planning ahead for LTE with the Photon.

Didnt get a chance to test call quaility the phone wasn't activated yet we literally took it out of the box hooked it up to the stores overdrive 4G and went bananas on it. In terms of Sprint and future LTE plans they actually have that future VERY well thought out as well as planned unfortunately they haven't spoke about if the Photon is included in that particular plan as of yet.

THe ANdroid Central guys once again glance over one of the areas that the IPhone is un beatable.... The screen