Hands-on with Sprint HTC EVO 3D; a fun and rock solid Android smartphone

Sprint customers can now pick up the HTC EVO 3D and while the 3D function may be a bit gimmicky, it is fun to use and performs well. The device is fast and solid so you should consider it if you are on Sprint.

I awarded the HTC EVO 4G my top pick a couple of times last year and think it is still one of the best devices on Sprint. We now have the HTC EVO 3D that takes much of what was good about the EVO 4G and improves it in many areas, including the display, faster processor, more solid feel, and latest version of the Android operating system.

The Sprint HTC EVO 3D is similar to the HTC Sensation on T-Mobile in many ways, but has the unique glasses-free 3D display and cameras. 3D is a common buzzword today and is a bit gimmicky, however I did find it fun to use on the EVO 3D and as long as it isn't really taking away from anything why can it hurt to have a fun feature? You can check out a few photos of the HTC EVO 3D in my image gallery along with a video walk through and more initial thoughts on the device below. I also included a 3D YouTube video with three clips I took while playing with the device.


Image Gallery: Check out a few photos of the HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile.
Image Gallery: EVO 3D retail box contents
Image Gallery: EVO 3D in hand

In the box and first impressions

The HTC EVO 3D comes in one of those excellent durable and compact packages that includes the EVO 3D, battery, A/C adapter, USB cable, wired stereo headset, and some pamphlets. The box is pretty plain with a white outside and colorful interior box.

Specifications

Specifications for the HTC EVO 3D include the following:
  • Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
  • HTC Sense 3.0
  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor
  • WiMAX 4G wireless radio
  • 4.3 inch qHD 540x960 pixels 3D display
  • 1GB RAM
  • Integrated 4GB flash drive (only 1GB accessible) with microSD expansion card slot (8GB card included)
  • Dual 5 megapixel 3D cameras with duel-LED flash and 720p video recording capability
  • 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • Proximity sensor, light sensor and digital compass
  • Integrated A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • 1730 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions: 123.9 x 63 x 10.88 mm and 129 grams

These are some of the best specifications currently available for Android devices and it is very nice to see the latest version of Sense 3.0 and Android on the device right out of the box.

Walk around the hardware

The front of the HTC EVO 3D is dominated by the beautiful 4.3 inch qHD (540x960 pixels) display. This is the same as the HTC Sensation 4G and after playing with these two devices I am starting to feel the traditional 480x800 is getting boring. There are four touchscreen hardware buttons below the display and a large headset speaker opening with indicator lights with a front facing camera above the display.

There is a microUSB port on the left side that I understand can be used with a special dongle for HDMI out. The EVO 3D has integrated DLNA support so that is the easier option for outputting video to a larger display.

The 3.5 mm headset jack and power button are found on the top while there is a mic opening on the bottom.

All the interesting pieces are on the right side with the volume button up top and a 2D/3D switch and large physical camera shutter button down on the lower part of the side. The 2D/3D switch is the toggle for still and video capture capability and does not toggle the display performance on and off of 3D viewing. The stainless steel capture button is one of the largest I have seen on a phone and should help you capture images and video.

The back has a great feel to it with a textured cover that really gives the EVO 3D a solid feel of quality. You will find dual 5 megapixel cameras mounted in a small protrusion surrounded by red colored metal and having dual LED flash lights in the middle. Being that this is a Sprint phone and not a Verizon phone I expected to see this border in yellow. The camera lenses are protected by a piece of glass and I hope this does not get scratched over time so that clear pictures can be captured.

3D video sample: Visit this link to see the 3D video sample.

The HTC EVO 3D is not a light device, but feels awesome in your hand with a density the gives me a sense of high quality. I would love to have seen another kickstand implementation on the device since I do find this useful.

Tthoughts on the software and performance

Like the HTC Sensation 4G, the HTC EVO 3D runs Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3) and HTC Sense 3.0 so I won't go into all of those details and will just direct you to my HTC Sensation 4G article. This new version of Sense provides you with an active lock screen similar to what we see on the HTC Flyer Android tablet. I am a big fan of Sense 3.0 and it performs well on the EVO 3D.

The EVO 3D comes with HTC Watch and is preloaded with the Green Hornet in 3D. Honestly, the movie looks great in 3D and I personally never had any issues with the 3D viewing experience. My wife's aunt said it bothered her eyes and it may for some.

My family enjoyed capturing and viewing movies shot in 3D, but the best experience for viewing is still directly on the phone so there are limits to how useful it is. Then again, sometimes it is fun to just have a pleasurable experience that isn't related to working on your phone and there is no harm in having the 3D experience on the device.

The EVO 3D also comes with the Spiderman 3D game and it too was fun to play as a rather simple fighting game with cool 3D effects. There is a link to 3D games from Gameloft for you to purchase for $4.99 each and these include Asphalt 6, GT Racing, Assassin's Creed, Let's Golf 2, and NOVA so there are some 3D games you can purchase and enjoy on the device. I would love to see the NASCAR app in 3D.

Pricing and availability

The HTC EVO 3D is available now for $199.99 with a minimum voice and data plan with 2-year contract after a $100 instant savings offer. Full no-contract price is $549.99. The least expensive monthly plan is $79.99 with 450 minutes and unlimited data.

Closing thoughts

Unlike back when the HTC EVO 4G was released and I seriously thought it was enough of a carrier changer for me to pick up my own I do not think the EVO 3D is a carrier changer. That said, if you are on Sprint, I think it is clearly one of the best Android options available and if I was on Sprint I would likely pick one up. Battery life seems to be decent and a LOT better than the EVO 4G while performance has been great. 3D is fun and your family may enjoy it like mine did.