So we're just back from HTC's brand spanking new office in sunny Slough (laughably compared to the UK's answer to Silicon Valley in the press conference) where the HTC EVO 3D was unveiled. We've already told you the feature yarn, but after a brief play with it, here are our initial thoughts along with some hands-on pics.
If you've read our recent LG Optimus 3D review, you'll be aware that we remain unconvinced of the future of 3Dness in terms of mobile. Well while the HTC EVO 3D has not converted us, we're happy to say the quality of 3D was far better than LG's version and as with the Korean's device, no special eyewear is required. Our eyes felt less strained and whereas you had to hold the Optimus 3D firmly in one position or else you'd lose the 3D effect, the EVO can be tilted at a slight angle.
For the best 3D effect when using the still camera we found focusing the camera at an angle of about 45◦ created the best sense of perspective. You can pinch and pull to zoom in and out of a photo, but as soon as you do this, you will automatically switch back into 2D. A degree of patience is needed for the phone to focus, but with touch-focus on board you can speed up proceedings by simply pressing your finger on the area that is struggling.
When filming three-dimensionally, the HTC EVO 3D handled objects moving away from the lens far better than when they came towards us. Yet overall we were pleased with the results. The demo sample we played with came pre-installed with a 3D trailer of The Green Hornet. The 3D effect seemed less prominent than our own raw shot videos, but the picture was both colourful and crisp.
Flip the phone over and you'll spot the two camera lenses that make the 3D capturing possible. The back also has a ruggedised feel that we liked, making it feel sturdy without losing any of its finesse. The HTC EVO 3D actually weighs in two grams lighter than the LG Optimus 3D, but whether it's because the weight is distributed better, it actually felt lighter in the palm of our hand.
Overall, the HTC EVO 3D impressed. The 3Dness is the USP of the phone, so if that isn't your bag you're more likely to opt for one of HTC's other handsets such as the HTC Sensation. But if it is, well, the early signs are good.
The HTC EVO will arrive in the UK in August, when we'll be bringing you a full review of the handset.