HTC Evo 3D: Oh My God Make It Stop Hurting

The original Evo 4G was a beautiful, throbbing monster. A huge screen, powerful guts, and features spilling out of its belt. Now what could make a giant mecha-Android better? Adding 3D powers, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Plusses
The Evo 3D is more or less the same ass-kicker its 2D predecessor was, but a year later and faster. It's got a dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon CPU (and with Gingerbread, it's fast), caps so-so HD video (720p in both 2D and 3D), and gleams with a vibrant, 4.3-inch, 960x540 display. Media playback is smooth, menus are pretty responsive, and its rubberized hide makes it feel beefy in your hands (like a solid spare rib, not a bloated hanger steak). I particularly loved (and, by the handset gods, demand this of all phones) the thick hardware camera shutter—hold to focus, click to shoot. Phones are becoming better cameras than most cameras, so it's only right they should feel that way.

Minuses
The EVO 3D is the first phone to ever literally hurt my face. The 4.3-inch 3D screen's glasses-free, of course, which means it uses the same auto-stereoscopic method as the Nintendo 3DS. Well, not the same—the 3DS is a joy to use and view, while looking at 3D stuff on the Evo felt like I was having my eyes gouged out, Oedipus-style. It gave me a headache. I wanted to look away. And for what? A 3D effect that just isn't very good. To pull off a 3D picture of video that has any 'pop' whatsoever, you need to use framing so contrived as to render the whole thing pointless.

Specs: HTC EVO 3D

Screen Size: 4.3"
Resolution: 960x540
Playback: 720p
Weight: 6oz
Processor: 1.2GHz Snapdragon 8660
Memory: 4GB internal - up to 32GB expandable
OS: Android 2.3
Cameras: Dual Rear 5MP, Single Front 1.3MP
Price: $200 with two-year contract

I love having a phone with a nice camera built-in because I can whip it out and digitally-remember. I don't want to have to spend minutes making sure the EVO 3D's dual lenses are creating an appreciable 3D effect. And I sure as hell don't want to then have my retinas bludgeoned by its horrid screen afterwards. (The 3D mode can be switched off via a hardware toggle, and HTC's Gingerbread interface skin doesn't have any 3D crap itself though.) It's a shame. The Evo 4G was fun for people who wanted a bazooka in their pockets. The 3D's only suitable for shooting yourself in the face.

Yes, you can turn the 3D off and still enjoy a decent, decently-powerful Gingerbread phone. But there's absolutely no reason to buy a phone whose main raison d'être is 3D if you're going to ignore the 3D.[HTC]

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