[OPINIONS] On the HTC EVO 3D for Sprint

Source: Engadget

As we get closer to the HTC EVO 3D‘s official release date (expected to be June 24), various tech blogs have already begun reviewing Sprint’s newest flagship device. The EVO 3D is the successor to one of last year’s most popular Android smartphones, the EVO 4G. When the EVO 4G was released, it was the first 4G smartphone on a major US carrier. Although the idea of “4G” connectivity was still young at the time, Sprint and HTC successfully set the bar for the next generation of smartphones by introducing a device that many considered revolutionary. Besides the 4G radio, the original EVO packed many other features and specifications that were literally huge last year. It’s monstrous 4.3-inch screen, front-facing camera, HDMI output, and stylish kickstand all contributed to the general appeal and respectability of the device. It’s now a little over a year later and the original EVO is finally being succeeded. Does this heir to the Sprint throne have what it takes to be as revolutionary as its predecessor? More importantly, is it good enough of an upgrade from the original EVO to merit your hard-earned money? Read on and let me explain what I feel are the most important changes and whether or not this device delivers.

THE RUN DOWN…

Hardware

Processor - First and foremost, the EVO 3D is equipped with hardware components that are quite improved from the original EVO’s. Most noticeably is the processor that powers the device. As the past year has gone by, we’ve seen pretty drastic improvements in processor technology and today’s top dogs all utilize dual-core chips. The EVO 3D is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor made by Qualcomm. This new chip allows the EVO 3D to be a lot faster than the EVO 4G. Opening apps, browsing the web, playing games, and navigating throughout the phone’s user interface should be pretty much flawless with this chip at the heart of the phone.

RAM - Another improvement made within the EVO 3D is the increase in RAM. RAM is a hardware component that compliments the processor. A smooth and snappy user experience on any computing device requires both a strong processor and a good amount of RAM. The EVO 3D has a solid 1 GB of RAM, which is actually double what the EVO 4G had, and 232 MB more than what HTC’s other newly released flagship device (Sensation 4G on T-Mobile) has. As we’ll talk about later, this increase in RAM is crucial to the EVO 3D’s performance.

Source: Boy Genius Report

Screen - The screen technology on the EVO 3D is also a pretty big and important upgrade. The screen is a qHD display with 960 x 540 resolution. This increased resolution with result in images and text that are much sharper than what was seen on the EVO 4G. The increased resolution also makes the EVO 3D’s display comparable to its iPhone competitor’s Retina Display.

Battery - One of the biggest problems with the original EVO 4G was its poor battery life. With such a huge screen and a 4G radio, the phone was drained of its power extremely quickly when compared to other smartphones at the time. Fortunately, the EVO 3D packs a larger battery, coming in at 1730 mAh as opposed to the EVO 4G’s 1500 mAh battery. It was a good decision to include a larger battery considering the EVO 3D not only has a large display and 4G connectivity, but also a dual-core processor.

Source: Engadget

Cameras - And of course, the EVO 3D’s main features are its two stereoscopic cameras around its back, which is capable of taking 3D photos as well as recording 3D videos. Each camera is 5 megapixels and is accompanied by a dual-LED flash. The EVO 3D is the first smartphone to be released on a major US carrier to contain 3D cameras. By introducing this feature, the EVO 3D continues its predecessor’s tradition of being the first to offer the next “big” thing. 3D content can be viewed on the device’s screen without the need for 3D glasses, which is also a pretty impressive feat.

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Software

Source: Laptop Magazine

User Interface (UI) - The EVO 3D is powered by the latest version of Android (2.3.3, Gingerbread). Android 2.3.3 features some minor aesthetic changes to the base Android experience as well as more practical changes like an enhanced method of copy and paste. In addition, Gingerbread has better support and compatibility with dual-core devices. Like most HTC Android smartphones, the EVO 3D has a custom user interface on top of the Android experience known as Sense. The 3D device runs the latest version of HTC Sense, 3.0. Sense 3.0 introduces many visually stunning graphics and animations as well as some added functionality. More on this later.

So there you have it, a little run down of the EVO 3D’s specs and what its highlights are. Now, I’ll dive further into each of the mentioned items from above and discuss whether or not the specs actually deliver the experience that you’d expect from this new device.

______________________________

MY THOUGHTS…

Hardware

Processor - As for the dual-core Snapdragon processor, I think that it is definitely fast, no doubt about that. The extra 0.2 GHz makes it look good on paper compared to some of its competitors like Nvidia’s 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 chip. The thing is, how does the Snapdragon actually compare to its competitors in everyday use? It’s kind of hard to tell, but judging by recent reviews of the EVO 3D and Sensation 4G, which also uses the same processor, it looks like the chip stutters here and there. It seems to lag just a tiny bit (often unnoticeable unless you’re actively looking for these things) when opening apps and browsing certain webpages. Now, there are a TON of external factors that may be causing these little hiccups, but if we take into account the same factors and simply compare the Snapdragon to Nividia’s Tegra 2 or Samsung’s Exynos, it seems a tiny bit slower at times, which ultimately makes it look inconsistent.

RAM - The 1 GB of RAM was the right call here. Sense 3.0 is a graphically intense user interface. Without sufficient amounts of RAM, the UI is sure to cause the phone to lag and stutter here and there. Compared to T-Mobile’s HTC Sensation 4G which only has 768 MB of RAM, the EVO 3D is sure to perform better. Video reviews of the Sensation showed somewhat laggy screen transitions, where Engadget’s EVO 3D review shows pretty smooth and fast transitions. Again, the 1 GB of RAM was a great decision.

Screen - qHD and the 960 x 540 resolutions is the norm nowadays. All new flagship smartphones are expected to have this resolution. The thing is, I don’t think the technology is as good as it sounds and seems on paper. With a higher resolution, you’d expect drastic visual changes in images and text, but recent reviews of devices like the Motorola Droid X2 on Verizon, which also sports a qHD display, show little noticeable difference when compared to regular screens with lower resolutions. I guess with this, it’s something that you need to just have on your device to uphold its superphone/flagship status. In my opinion, you’ll hardly notice anything here. Other display technologies like Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus screens look drastically better than these qHD Super LCD screens…and, they have lower resolution too.

Battery - The EVO 3D’s 1730 mAh battery is a great improvement over the original’s 1500. With the battery’s larger capacity, the EVO 3D’s battery life is much improved. However, with many additional features in the EVO 3D that adds to the battery’s burden, you’ll find that the improvement is not as large as you’d expected it to be. Nonetheless, you probably won’t have to hunt down that charger as often as you did with the original EVO.

Cameras - The 3D cameras are no doubt the highlight of the EVO 3D. Many of you out there are probably still deciding whether or not 3D imaging on a smartphone is necessary or is simply a gimmick. I for one, think that it definitely IS a gimmick…for right now at least. If you look around the Internet and do some research regarding the latest devices that boast 3D cameras like the LG G-Slate tablet on T-Mobile and of course, the EVO 3D, they all seem to be of mediocre quality…so mediocre in fact, that it’s hard to take the technology seriously. At the end of the day, it’s simply another cool thing to have just to say that you have it. Does it provide a magnificent experience that is truly revolutionary?…I don’t think so.

____________________

Software

UI - I’ve already discussed my opinions regarding HTC Sense 3.0 running on top of Android in my Sensation article. In summary, I believe the latest iteration of Sense is mainly for show. Not much functionality was added to the new UI besides the revamped lockscreen. Sure, Sense still LOOKS as good as it ever did, but really, I’d give up all the flashy stuff for speedy performance ANY DAY. If I bought an EVO 3D, I’d definitely put an aftermarket launcher on it to add much more functionality and to reduce any minor lag that Sense may cause.

______________________________

Conclusions

Source: Engadget

So after saying all this, is the EVO 3D worthy of an upgrade from the original EVO? The simple answer is YES. The EVO 3D excels in many aspects: it’s faster, leaner, has a better looking screen, a larger battery, and a newer version of HTC Sense. It definitely is a drastic improvement over last year’s technology. With the inclusion of those 3D cameras, it’s also sure to turn heads and make your friends jealous. The things that I have critiqued the device on above are very minor gripes, gripes that only matter to die-hard phone geeks like me. The average consumer should not be bothered by these things at all and at the end of the day, the EVO 3D continues its predecessor’s reign as a revolutionary smartphone that sets the bar for competitors to model after. Check out reviews of the HTC EVO 3D by Engadget, CNET, and Boy Genius Report.

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15 thoughts on “[OPINIONS] On the HTC EVO 3D for Sprint

  1. Veroba says:

    I agree. The first time I heard about this phone I got all kinds of excited, mostly because of its unheard of internals. It’s a great piece of hardware. And Sense 3.0 is just icing on the cake! I’m seriously contemplating switching over to Sprint just for this beast of a phone.

  2. jedi...... says:

    the things i was looking for in my next phone were only 2 things…. fast dual core cpu and 4g connectivity. verizon who ihave (for now till this friday) had been in talks of the droid bionic. but thats all verizon ever does is talk and keep everything a big hush hush secret. when i saw this phone i did ALL the research and learned all i could and have since decided to switch to sprint to get this phone. ive had this phone payed off and preoordered for about 4 weeks. btw to all who dont know verizon IS switching to tiered data VERY VERY SOON. yet another reason to leave them. verizon’s last fatal mistake with me was the “phone” droid x. im on my 5th one of those phones and they all had the same issue they reboot randomly and lockup. even after a factory reset or reflash of the sbf file if you lay the phone on a table whereever it will just reboot without warning. seems the issue is caused by a hardware glitch as soon as that phone runs outta ram instead of killing a process or app it just reboots or locks up. verizon knows well of the issue and told me they fixed it with the droid x 2….riiiight lol. anyhow sprint doesnt have as good of 4g as verizon since its wimax and doesnt penetrate buildings as well but least its unlimited and they are putting out good phones something i cant say for verizon.

  3. Brandon Perry says:

    Excellent breakdown. I’m planning on purchasing the Evo 3D, and I’m glad to see people other than the big tech websites talk about this great phone in a way that is both informative comprehensive! I’ll be making this jump to the Android army from a Blackberry Tour 9630, on Sprints network, so I’m very excited!

    • Alex Nguyen says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Welcome to Android, I’m sure you’ll love the customization levels possible on this platform. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions regarding Android here!

  4. I don’t trust reviews. All reviewers bring a bit of bias and it always shows itself 1 way or another. The addition of 3D to the EVO is an addition. An addition that you never have to use. So penalizing the phone for having it is asinine. I have this phone on pre-order and will decide for myself whether it’s worthy of my lust once it arrives.

  5. Tyler Dix says:

    Thank you for being as objective as possible and not critical of 3D just because its not a perfected technology yet, especially for a cell phone with an auto-stereoscopic screen. I think it will be a pretty cool addition to a great set of specs. I am worried about the quality of the camera, since i have the Evo 4G and i love the quality of its 8 megapixel shooter. Most of what i have read says the camera something to be desired, but I feel exactly like mrspokenwordCJ in that I will just have to see for myself on Friday when I pick up my own.

  6. Akshay Patravali says:

    What a timing to launch this device…My att 2 year contract is over the same day.
    Just a great phone to switch carriers..:-)

  7. yarrellray says:

    As a proud evo 3d owner since day one the best ASPECT OF THIS DEVICE IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE BATTERY LIFE..On day one I got 14hrs battery life with 3g and 4g left on as well as background data left on. Then on day two I got 27hrs of battery life with 3g and 4g and background data off as well as screen brightness all the way to low…Man o man what a total joy this device is. The battery management as well as the task killer all native application is something to behold. I won’t even go into all the other things the device can do but I reinstalled NETFLIX and THE FLASHLIGHT APP FROM THE EVO 4G TO MY EVO 3D…MAN I AM IN HEAVEN RIGHT NOW….

  8. pritam says:

    i am confuswd about about the evo 3d and the sensation. which one to go for?
    its my first smart phone so dont have much idea about it. i am also looking at the samsung galaxy s2. i will be very thankfull if u gys can suggest me one. my requirments are good data speeds , good screen quality, and a best performer!

  9. mrspokenword says:

    I’ve had my E3D since launch day, was at my local Radio Shack at 9 a.m., I can say that it’s everything I hoped it would be. Up until actually using this phone I wasn’t a fan of 3D. But now, I endorse it wholeheartedly! I’ve taken dozens of videos and pictures and only 1 or 2 have been in 2D. The addition of 3D was definitely a good decision by HTC/Sprint.

  10. jk77ishere says:

    you never mentioned call quality?

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