HTC Evo 3D Review: Average Phone, Cheap Trick

By  |  Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 7:06 am

If you’re thinking about buying the HTC Evo 3D on Sprint, the first thing you should do is ignore the 3D.

The phone’s namesake features — a glasses-free 3D display and dual cameras to shoot your own 3D content — amount to little more than a cheap party trick. And with a dearth of 3D movies and games to enjoy on the smartphone, the Evo 3D’s design and performance in two dimensions is far more important.

Strip away the gimmicks, and the Evo 3D is just average among high-end Android handsets. It’s a phone that provides lots of power through a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, but falters on design.

Compared to the graceful curves and smooth materials of HTC’s newly-launched Sensation 4G, the Evo 3D’s figure is no triumph. It’s not uncomfortably large despite a 4.3-inch, 960-by-540 resolution display, but its boxy shape and considerable weight lack elegance.

In the hands, you’ll always feel the phone’s camera shutter button, which sticks out from the bottom right side and rests right underneath your palm or fingers. A ridged back panel adds a touch of class, but ultimately this isn’t a phone that feels great to hold.

And don’t let the Evo 3D’s size fool you into thinking this is a multimedia powerhouse. The phone’s single speaker is poorly placed on the back side, projecting in exactly the wrong direction, and it kicks out some of the weakest audio I’ve ever heard on a high-end handset.

Unlike Sprint’s first-generation Evo, there’s no kickstand on this model, so forget about propping up the phone to watch some 3D flicks. With 4 GB of internal storage and an 8 GB microSD card, there’s not a lot of room to store your own music and videos, anyway.

The Evo 3D includes a 1730mAh battery, which leans toward the high end for Android phones, but I wasn’t floored by the battery life. After a day of moderate Internet use, no 4G service and no phone calls, the Evo 3D was in the red zone. When I kicked on Sprint’s 4G WiMax service for part of a day, the phone was dead by dinner time.

The Evo 3D redeems itself with a dual-core processor and Android 2.3, the latest version of Google’s smartphone software.

As with the Sensation, I tested the Evo 3D’s hardware muscle by playing One Button Bob, a desktop Flash game that always gave me trouble on single-core devices. As expected, the processor allows the game to run smoothly. The Evo 3D also had no trouble with videos and games, including the 3D content that was pre-loaded on the handset.

Combined with HTC’s Sense interface, the Evo 3D provides a slick and capable Android experience, although as with the Sensation 4G, Sense isn’t silky smooth like an iPhone or Windows Phone.

A customizable lock screen lets you see important notifications and jump directly to your favorite apps. There are pre-loaded widgets for apps like Twitter and e-mail, too. And I like the carousel effect that spins between home screens. Otherwise, it’s Android as usual. Check out our Nexus S review for more on how Android 2.3 operates.

Finally, let’s talk a bit about 3D. Don’t expect great 3D pictures out of the Evo 3D. Do expect images that look like layers of cardboard cut-outs, with the effect falling apart when subjects are too close or too far from the camera. Sure, I enjoyed showing off the 3D to friends and family, but not enough to factor it into a purchase decision. The Evo 3D’s two-dimensional stills and video are better for practical use, especially because the shutter is much more responsive. (Annoying bug alert: In both modes, I had issues with the camera freezing after snapping a photo.)

As for 3D content, the Evo 3D includes a Spider-Man game demo from Gameloft and a few other 3D games for purchase. One 3D movie, The Green Hornet, is pre-loaded, but you must sign up for HTC’s Watch movie service and download software updates to view it, and from what I can tell, there are no other 3D movies available for purchase right now. Without a thriving 3D ecosystem, its hard to recommend this phone for content consumption.

I don’t think highly of gimmicks, and the Evo 3D’s tentpole feature hasn’t proven that it’s anything but. I’d much rather have a phone that excels at the basics, which is why I gave the HTC Sensation 4G such high praise. Unfortunately, smartphones tend to be tied to specific wireless carriers in the United States, and for now, the Evo 3D is Sprint’s only option with a dual-core processor. I wish that was something to get excited about.

Second Opinions:

Engadget | CNET | BGR | PCWorld | Laptop | This Is My Next

(This post republished from Techland.)


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46 Comments For This Post

  1. lp7 Says:

    I don't see how you can call this phone average – with or without the 3D feature, I absolutely love this phone. It does everythying well. I did not care about the 3D, I wanted the latest Android and the dual core processor, but now that I have the 3D I am enjoying it much more than expected. The phone is so smooth and the HTC Sense just gets better – really love the latest version. I am finding call quality, battery life, signal strength all better than expected. I would not hesitate to get this phone again – as a matter of fact – we already have 2 in our family.

  2. Muay Thai Says:

    Yea, my thoughts exactly. Who needs 3D anyway, lave that for the cinema. Muay Thai Combinations | Muay Thai Kick | Martial Arts for Children

  3. Mike Says:

    The evo 3d is a great phone there are no gimmic to the 3d on the phone.This is a poor review!!

  4. Benjamin Says:

    Borderline oxymoron. Perhaps you could mention the EVO 3d is faster then the sensation. You could mention the extra RAM or fact that the 3d is an added bonus you don’t have to use. Let’s not begin to go into how the two phones are siblings.

    Same qhd screen.

    No this is an attack from a jealous sensation owner who used the only defense the sensation has. It’s looks.

    The EVO 3d is clearly the better phone.

  5. Patrick Says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

  6. Patrick Says:

    Poor review. I bought the Evo 3d day 1 and can’t find anything to complain about. This phone is awesome and out performs the sensation, the 3d part is just a bonus to a powerful well built phone! With all the features that the Evo 3d ships with i feel like the 3d helps to future proof the phone and since I am locked in to a 2 year contract with Sprint, I like that idea unlike reviewers like this who can jump from phone to phone. When Apple’s new p.o.s drops with 3d tech on board reviewers like this will change they’re tune and praise somthing that my phone has had for months.

  7. Dirxque13 Says:

    Lacks elegance? It's a tool, you tool, not a chandelier. If it doesn't feel right in your hand, maybe your hands are the issue. try taking your thumb out of your butt and maybe you'll be able to hold the phone easier. The fastest processor & most RAM available today is somehow average? Geez, what a douche'.

  8. Ben Says:

    This phone is easily the BEST phone on the market today! I purchased it on launch day, and have been floored by how fast and responsive the phone is! The 3D pictures, I expected to be a gimmick, but was surprised on just how good the 3D is! Awesome 3D pictures and 3D video!! The battery life is the best out of any smartphone I've see… I work in the industry so I know. This phone blows all others away with the dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM which no phone has. The Blackberry Playbook is the only other device that has the 1GB of RAM right now.

    I highly reccommend this phone to anyone who is looking for the latest and GREATEST!

  9. tim Says:

    Dirxque: lo freakin L

  10. Darrel Says:

    While you do make some interesting points, this article reeks of pre-existing disdain for the phone (including your comments regarding Sprint).

    But in all honesty, there really is no such thing as an unbiased review. You cannot help but write based on your own perception.

  11. Palaver Says:

    I hope you're not getting paid for this kind of drivel.
    I'm guessing your personal phone is an iPhone and you've got a little chip on your shoulder. This upstart is stealing market share from the rightful owner of the market top spot, your iPhone. It so hard for a fan boy to give an honest opinion on a superior product other than Apple. I've been through this many times as an IT Dir. Or are you just pretending to be a tech reviewer. Just a rhetorical question…

  12. johnsmith Says:

    god you just sound like a complete ass.

  13. SteveMilwaukee Says:

    I am a little bit surprised by this review. I had the Evo 4G and switched to the 3D.

    To call the phone average is just surprising to me. Average?

    Like Darrel said, its the job of a writer to give some opinion and that, of course, is fine.

    I just don't have any idea as to what Jared Newman is talking about.

    Just a brutal piece of journalism

  14. DeX99SS Says:

    I am so happy that everyone seems to have the same opinion as me on this… This review is utterly horrible. I came into this thinking it was a gimmick, and still think that all phones will eventually have this feature… But I am blown away by the quality of the 3D on this device… Whether its viewing go pro 3d footage on youtube, or capturing your own… Its amazing.. And it captures what looks to be just as good as the GOPRO footage I have seen… I mean, not one complaint there. Its fast, its snappy in menues, and in my opion it is elegant… It weighs less then the original EVO, its screen is of superior quality to many phones, including the original evo… The speaker could use an upgrade, but if your viewing a personal movie on a personal sized screen, then use some personal headphones… And the kickstand is a moot point on this device, as glasses free 3d has a narrow viewing angle.. good luck proping it you moron. I ran benchmarks on it, and no suprise it was on top of the leaderboards… To boot, this only ran me $50.00, trading in my old EVO 4g and upgrading. This should get nothing but rave reviews.

  15. sriklin Says:

    I hate to be repitious with the previous comments, so I will keep this short. The Evo was the best smartphone of its time, and the first iPhone killer. The EVO 3D has taken this to a whole new level, as the super fast processor, coupled with the 1MB onboard memory and the video card makes this phone one of the fastest if not the fastest for almost all tasks. I thought I would have been happier with an 8 MB camera than two 5MB cameras and 3D. I was so very wrong. The pictures and the video I have taken since Friday when it launched have wowed everyone I have shown them to. I can tell you this is the best phone I have ever owned, and I have had twenty something cell phones since the first Nokia briefcase phone in the 80"s.

    Jared….get a life.

  16. Dennis Says:

    What they said – I've had the phone for three days and LOVE it!

  17. Mike Cerm Says:

    I guess I would echo almost everything that's been said here. Don't get me wrong, if I could get an iPhone on Sprint, I'd probably get that instead, because I really don't care that much for Android in general. That being said, this is, without exception, the best Android handset on the market right now. Thanks to top-notch specs and HTC's Sense, it kicks the crap out of the Nexus S, the Atrix, and the LG Optimus 2X, and even the Galaxy S II (with its lowly WVGA screen). End of story.

    Is the 3D a gimmick? You bet. I thought I would hate it, but it actually turned out to be kind of fun. Also, EVERYONE who I've showed it to has freaked the hell out, and loved it! Without exception, people have said of the camera, "Wow, that's sooo cool! I want one!" Is it actually useful for anything? Not really, but it's a neat toy. It certainly doesn't take anything away from the rest of the experience.

  18. Greg4422 Says:

    Evo 3d big and boxy… well it's actually slimmer than the original Evo…but taller… if the design was drastically changed it wouldn't be an evo, now would it… it would be something else.
    Who cares about 3d… I don't.. but the dual core processor and 1gb or ram makes my toes twinkle. Now about the absent Kickstand; You do realize you can buy one of several hard cases for the Evo 3d that comes with a kickstand. HTC has one, OtterBox and Case-Mate as well.
    Bugs… geeks like myself fully understand when you're an early adopter of a new product…there with be some growing pains… thats the price you pay for getting it first. I have no doubt whatever bugs turn up will be resolved in a timely manner…as they were with the original Evo, and as they were with antenna gate… of that phone who's name must never be spoken.

  19. kskb Says:

    I bet this so called reviewer's brains(if has any) just took a piss at his own mouth. Your stupid review is obviously flawed.Just go to the net and look at all the Evo 3D reviews. They all praise the superior specs. And these reviewers are much better than you in every way. Only the 3D experience is faltering.That's because 3D tech on phones are very new and not bested yet…But to call the rest of the phone average is just something a useless wallowing ball-sack will do. So, just shut your trap Jared, and go hump a swine or your iPhone. The Evo 3D is the best android phone out there and possibly faster than the iPhone 5 when it comes out. Its a bit like Optimus Prime in Transformers or an Alienware phone or a Pagani Zonda. ALL POWERFUL

  20. Megameh Says:

    I had a iPhone 3G from which I upgraded to Motorola Atrix on AT&T. When a friend pointed out I had the opportunity to rid myself of AT&T, I jumped on it and switched to this phone. After a week of using Atrix, I can say this phone is really good. 3D is a gimmick and I love it ! The 3D quality is way better than what I had expected. I do agree on a few points. There is very little 3D content available out there. The batter life is crap specially with all the services enabled. As for the ease of use, performance, design etc., hands down the best phone I have seen.
    Calling this phone average is just plain stupid.

  21. evoman Says:

    Best phone on the market today. I own 2 of these and have tried out many of the new phones from AT&T and SPRINT. I am thinking of trading my daughters EVO 4G for a 3RD 3D evo and willing to pay another $200.00 – 600 total because this phone is really that good. The 3D is way better than anyone is saying. I think they have not used it long enough and its really weird that people can't find good use of it because it is simple as this… a 2d photo is just a photo and pretty plain and boring. A 3D photo makes a person or image come to life. You will stare into the photo and feel like you are THERE. People need to get their eyes checked if they cannot see the nice detail that the 3D gives the photos. Sure you cannot take action shots in 3D or it will be blurry but take a portrait picture of someone and be amazed if you can get them to point out at you or hold something towards you.

    READ THE REVIEWS FROM ACTUAL OWNERS… something is going on here with the tester reviews. It reminds me of ACORN and OBAMA all over again… it is pretty obvious something is going on with the reviews. The phone is nothing short of amazing!

  22. JaredSeriously? Says:

    Jared, you made yourself look like an ASS! Every review you have ever done is now in question because you are so far off the chart on this review. It is really embarrassing for you to have put this review up and been so wrong. Maybe you were wasted or something? Seriously, this isn't a joke.. it's by far a fact. I think you should be give this phone for free by SPRINT or donated by someone so you can live with these lies everyday you wake up. I feel sorry for you if you were in anyway serious by this review. Please do everyone a favor and don't ever do this again. – seriously!

  23. sarap Says:

    Who is this guy??? Have it love it, best phone out there.

  24. scott Says:

    got to say im with everyone else the phone is smooth an absolutely fun makes u feel like a kid at christmas all over again but everyone has there own opinions but its a lil weird that everyone who owns the phone an spends alot more time on it seems to enjoy it but when someone tests it to find its flaws and not find enjoyment out of it by any means goes to show someone needs to take a step back an review himself and his mindset before writing an article of slanderish disdain for a great device

  25. NErV666999 Says:

    your a moron and must have phoned this one in….. without time to address all of your inaccuracies I will point out that almost any video can be made into one that is 3d to be played on the 3vo. not the same as one that was shot in 3d but fun nonetheless, and wait until we have root. The devs over at XDA will have it maxing out to its full potential in no time, Hey a little advice.. don't quit your day job

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  27. Arausio Says:

    Actually I agree somewhat with the reviewer. I have had this phone for 4 days and I'm not too happy with its performance. Its current performance is somewhat lackluster. You can throw the 1.2ghz DC around all you want but whats funny is how badly it does in 3d performance next to Galaxy S2 and other new phones. 1700-1900 in quadrant is pretty bad next to 3300-3500. Then you consider in all tests 3d (as in GPU graphics not 3d camera feature) its not scoring so well.

    I HATE the fact the speaker is so muted you can't hear hardly anything without cupping the speaker. Even then its still very low. This problem is well known with a lot of forums lit up about this issue. I tried to watch Green Lantern (Wow that was a horrible movie and you could barely notice the 3D) and I had to bust out the headphones if I wanted to actually enjoy the audio.

    It was quite funny when a family member walked in with their phone set at half way and it was drowning out my audio (before I put the headphones on) while they watched a movie on theirs. When I commented to him how lucky he was to actually be able to hear his movie, enjoyably, without a headset he said "You think that's something listen to this" he then cranked it up to max and suddenly my face went >:-|

    Then there's the 3D. Even if you love 3D you can't really get much usage out of it. Outside a few pics that look so-so. YouTube hardly has any 3D content, website don't have much (or any) content for it, then you lack movies that support it, there's about 5 games that use 3D from gameloft. (All of which have low frames per second 5-18)

    As it stands 3D on this phone is more of a gimmick then on TVs.

    The screen is middle of the road ok, nothing special. Especially after seeing OLED and iPhone4.

    For sure I'am going to return this phone before the cutoff so I can wait for Galaxy S2 or photon.

  28. buckwheaties Says:

    I’m not as technologically literate as most of you but simply put I dislike this phone and its service provider very much. It’s lacking in so many areas compared to the iPhone I gave up to crossover to the dark side. I’ve have my EVO for a little under a week and I want to throw it up against a wall most if the time!!!

  29. Shayne Says:

    I had high hopes for this phone but thus far have been unhappy. It may have something to do with Sprint too. I came from Verizon and have found the reception to be terrible with Sprint phones. The 3D is kinda cool but no use really. The main complaint I have about the phone is the fact it keeps rebooting itself over and over….WTF. Another complaint is the volume of the tiny little speaker on the back of the phone that you can hardly hear. I'll never understand why cell phone creators but the speaker on the back of the phone. If it wasn't for the new data plan BS that Verizon just started I'd go back. But for now I guess I'll wait and maybe Sprint will get there crap together about reception issues and 4G coverage. And hopefully a software update can fix the phones downfalls.

  30. bountyhunter1000 Says:

    I would love to for people to know that Sprint roams off of VERIZON TOWERS. All I hear are people complaining about how good Verizon service is and crappy Sprint service is. SHUT IT!!! It is true that you phone will hold a Sprint signal as long as possible but IT WILL STILL ROAM OFF OF VERIZON TOWERS!!!

    It is true too that the Samsung Galaxy S 2 is fast really fast. What people are not considering is that that phone is unlocked and has nothing on it. Its UI is very small compared to sense 3.0 and has NO bloatware. I have seen 3D's get 200MFLOPS in linpack! GS 2 tops at 150. That again is with a new rom and no sense on the 3D and a stripped rom on the GS 2. Now before you get on me about rooting. The GS 2 is not carrier locked or boot locked, meaning you can root out of the box no problem.

    As far as this review… Screw you. It feels good in the hand better then the evo because of its slimmer form factor. Sense is way smooth. Your kinda right about not being as smooth as IOS but hey who needs "true" multi tasking. Nothing like gobs of free ram cause you phone freezes programs puts them on hold and says see ya till you get back. I'll take being able to download a file from the web while watching youtube, and sending a text. It is also by far the fastest phone sold in the USA on USA carriers. If that is you definition of average then ya its average. 3D content… really? Did you give the first IPhone a bad review cause there was only a few apps available? ITS one of like 4 3D phone in the world jack ass.

    When you review just be so standoffish. I don't apple. But my girl has a Mac and loves it. I use it on occasion, I just prefer my PC. I have had experience with the IPhone is is bad no… Its like a BMW. They have their fans who will bleed BMW however there is better, they were just the first.

  31. 3D HATER Says:

    I totally agree. The EVO 3D sucks and is a definite downgrade from the original HTC EVO that I purchased from Sprint. My main priority is having a phone that has good sound quality when making and receiving calls – this one is terrible. I bought it and was so frustrated with its lackluster call and sound quality that I returned it. I loved my original HTC but they don't even make that anymore for Sprint, so I'm stuck with the Samsung Epic 4G which, while it certainly trumps the HTC 3D, it feels cheap and I don't like its UI as much as I did the EVO. If the basic phone, speaker, and sound quality is bad, the phone itself is a failure. I already have a computer, I really need a phone.

  32. Karl Says:

    I have had my EVO 3D for several days and I absolutely love it. Screaming fast. No lag. And who the hell wants to be around someone that is blasting sound over there cell phone speaker. Put some headphones on and spare us. With the headphones you get the SRS capabilities which sounds really good. As for Sprint vs. Verizon: Sprint roams on Verizon towers and Verizon roams on Sprint towers. So if you have no coverage you would not have coverage with Verizon. I will never pay Verizon's inflated prices for service. Plus, Verizon's customer support sucks. Not saying that Sprint is great but I do not need to call Sprint for support because it just works. Two things you will never catch me with is an iPhone and Verizon service. For those people that are having problems with any Android phone. DO NOT USE TASK KILLER. It messes things up. Most corruption problems come from TK. I have had HTC Android phones for almost two years and I have not had any issues with corruption or rebooting because I do not do stupid things to my phone.

  33. joe Says:

    Speaker on the back? Have you even seen this phone before?

  34. derp Says:

    The review is obviously biased. There’s no real downside to the phone. To be honest, if you want to hear something better on your phone, get a Bluetooth or headset. If u want to watch a movie comfortably, use a television. Is this reviewer really picking on this awesome phone over something so trivial as a kickstand?

  35. Garrett Says:

    I went to a sprint store today and played with the nexus, the evo 4g, the evo 3d and a couple of other android phones. The evo 3d is very nice. great screen, comfortable, very fast processing and quite frankly much better than all the other phones i looked. I have to agree that this review is really bad. You get and F buddy. I cant wait to ditch my blackberry for an Evo 3D a week from now.

  36. jesus Says:

    have the phone works ten times beter then the old evo r4g.

  37. James M. Says:

    Talk about unfair and unbalanced!!!!!!!!!!

    If you prefer another phone that's fine and dandy but why insist on putting down the phone based on your personal opinion and not by facts?? Doing so only makes future review by you less credible.

    Have you priced the cost of a 3d camera / camcorder??? The Evo 3d is a great price for the hardware. And if you bothered to do your research you would know that current 3d movies can be converted to view on this device, I already have Avatar 3d on this phone and I've only had it for 4 days now.

    Do us all a favor next time entitle this page "EVO 3d Opinions" and not a legitimate review….

  38. Chad Says:

    The battery life is astonishingly bad. Period. This phone wasn't worth the hype

  39. Chad Says:

    The review was accurate. I'm starting to regret my decision to get this phone. I really can't stand the lack of battery life though. Ive tried everything recommended to conserve power and its just not enough. I dont care about the 3D but this phone does take very high quality 2D photos. And yeah, the second major BASIC drawback is the crappy audio. What a bunch of crap. There is really no excuse for a poor audio smartphone in todays day and age.

  40. DCLawyer Says:

    Dude, crack went out in the 80’s… Being in the biz, I am around phones from all carriers and research each one, both hands on and online. Ya, I didnt buy the phone for the 3D, but the dual core processor is incredible, (look for dual core to be on most every high end android phone being released over the next 6 months, on all carriers). I love the Gingerbread O.S. and in my area I get great true unlimited 4G at a great price. I LOVE THIS PHONE. I rooted it & made a few tweeks to customise it to my needs, and voila, short of a notebook, it is the perfect pocket PC. Its quick, multitasks super fast, great camera, fits in my hands perfectly, love the side shutter button, I can print directly from it, almost never have to reboot in order to fix things, and in fact except rare occasions I no longer have to use my laptop. Its a perfect pocket PC. The only devices that are clocking faster are notebooks. HTC is at the top of their game. Samsung makes great screens but average everything else. And as far as comparing it to the iPhone… PLEASE. I’ll take the shorter battery life anyday when I can really customise a devise to my specs and dont have to deal with the Apple “Nazi” mentality. Truth is this is a quickly changing environment where there isnt a “perfect” device available yet.

    Lastly, we offer the best Trade-In Program in the biz and amazingly HTC retains resale value far above every manufacturer, the next closest company is Apple. The 3D is an awesome beast and at the top of a very short list of phones worth the price of admision.

  41. name Says:

    Bottom line is I bought one and I am in love with it. Extended batteries are available on ebay for cheap. The phone also supports up to 32gb micro sd. This guy clearly works for Iphone or something. Very bad review. Evo 3d is better than an iphone.

  42. tariq Says:

    this is one of the best phone I have ever used.I have previously used a Samsung galaxy s2 and i do agree its faster and snappier then EVO 3d, but the user experience on EVO3d is just phenominal because of the sense 3.0. moreover I love the 3d effect and how it wow's eveyone. no problems what so ever. been using it since one and a half months.will highly recommendit to everybody.

  43. Ben Says:

    Haha, I must say that this review is becoming an indirect proof for the charms of the Evo 3D due to the replies. I managed to get the gsm version and you know what? Apart from the slightly fiddly 3D, I've no complaints. As a matter of fact even my flat-mate wants one now!

  44. bigchapp Says:

    i bet the reviewer has an iphone. not having a kickstand is the only complaint i have.

  45. jiga jaga Says:

    mainnnnnee what the hell you talkin bout this phone rocks!!! get f… outta here! cheap trick my ass

  46. Jerry Says:

    i agree whole heartedly…I have had mine a couple months and had a Hero before…I LOVE my 3D…its so much faster than my Hero was..and the 3D is great for family pics and movies..havent tried it on a 3D tv yet but cant wait