HTC EVO 3D review: An extra dimension

GSMArena team, 19 August 2011.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Unlimited connectivity

The HTC EVO 3D boasts a complete set of connectivity options. There’s quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and blazing fast dual-band 3G (or tri-band 3G, depending on region). The speeds go up to 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink.

The local wireless connectivity has Wi-Fi b/g/n complete with Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP (but not High Speed).

Full DLNA support is enabled via the Connected media app. It handles all sorts of DLNA connections – playing media to and from devices on the network with just a couple of clicks. Apps like the gallery have this functionality built in too.

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The Connected media app flexes the EVO 3D DLNA muscles

We tested the EVO 3D for death grip issues and got worried when the Wi-Fi indicator fell to zero when we held the top. It would still open web pages easily, so it seems that the issue is with the finicky signal strength indicator and not the actual radio.

You have a long list of options for connecting to a PC - Charge only, Disk drive (mass storage), HTC Sync, USB tethering (use as a modem) and Internet pass-through (the phone uses a computer's Internet connection). The Charge only and Disk Drive now have big, thumbable icons, which is great since they are used most often.

Last but not least, is the HTC Portable Hotspot. It can support up to 8 devices (the default Froyo app maxes out at 5). The app can be set to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery in case you forget to switch it off manually.

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Selecting a USB connection type • Starting the personal Wi-Fi hotspot

You can WEP, WPA or WPA2 encrypt the hotspot and you can enable “allowed users” only to connect or leave it open for all (unsecure, but the quickest setup).You can also hide the SSID for improved security and select the Wi-Fi channel manually for improved performance.

We haven't covered all the connectivity yet - the "microUSB port" as we called it for convenience is actually an MHL port. If you plug a MHL dongle in it, you can output HD video over a standard HDMI connection.

The phone's UI is mirrored on the TV - the qHD resolution has the perfect 16:9 aspect ratio for connecting to HDTVs.

Browser plays FullHD Flash videos, crashes

The HTC EVO 3D has the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread web browser, plenty of processing power and a large, high-res screen - in other words, all the right ingredients.

The user interface keeps mostly out of sight, which leaves the entire screen to the web page. The minimalist UI is still quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up.

There are back and forward buttons, adding and viewing bookmarks and managing the open tabs. Finally, the More button brings out even more options – stuff like Find on page and text selection.

The EVO 3D's browser also supports double tap zooming and text reflow, which makes even longer texts extremely easy to read on the phone display. Pinch-zooming is available too - and if you zoom out too far, the tab selection UI pops up, which is very convenient.

Speaking of tabs, they are displayed as 3D cards and you can easily open multiple tabs (a tap and hold on a link lets you open it in a new tab). The bookmark list shows a thumbnail view of the bookmarked pages and you get a “most visited” list in addition to the regular history.

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The bookmarks and History lists • Text reflow in action • Tabs are supported

Once you select some text, you can copy it, launch the Quick lookup app (which offers Google Translate among other things) or share the text via a message or social networking.

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Web browsing is a pleasurable experience on the HTC EVO 3D

A 1080p YouTube video playing smoothly was a nice surprise after the video player frowned at 1080p clips. For comparison, FullHD Flash videos were choppy back on the Sensation. Flash games work fine on the EVO 3D too. You can play the Flash content in full screen and landscape mode, which makes the most out of the display.

You could use the YouTube app if you find navigating YouTube in the browser hard. Mind you, the Android 2.3 browser has support for HTML5 and its video tag but that is a few years (at best) away from becoming the norm.

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Playing Flash games in the browser and watching YouTube videos

The browser however crashed on a number of occasions, each time it was on a Flash-based site - YouTube and a site for mobile Flash games, for example. The improved performance of the Flash player is great but needs a stability tweak.

Well-stocked organizer complete with a document editor

The usual set of organizer apps is aboard the HTC EVO 3D, with a mobile Office app to boot that can both view and edit documents.

The Polaris app has support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions and it can create Office 2003 Word and Excel documents but not 2007 docs. Oddly, you can edit existing Office 2007 docs.

There is also a PDF viewer to handle PDF files. The on-screen keyboard does cut down the available space to about two thirds but if you zoom out you can still fit a reasonable amount of text.

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The HTC EVO 3D handles .doc, .xls, .ppt and .pdf files

This version of Polaris gives less editing options than we're used to - you can do copy, cut and paste, then apply bold, italic and underline styles and highlight text and that's it. There used to be font style options here but now they're inexplicably gone. You can't edit formulas in Excel spreadsheets either.

The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.

The calendar has five different types of view: daily, weekly, monthly, agenda and invitation. Adding a new event is quite straightforward and you can also set an alarm to serve as a reminder.

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The HTC EVO 3D's calendar

The Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. Invitation only lists events with invitation info attached to them. The day view showing the weather forecast at the top of the screen is a nice touch.

There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons. Flipping it horizontally enables some more advanced functions like logarithms.

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The built-in calculator

The HTC EVO 3D features an alarm clock application, which can handle multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. The Desk clock app displays the current time and date and lets you switch off the display backlighting to save battery power or not disturb at night.

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The alarm clock and desk clock apps

The stopwatch and timer are part of the Clock app and might come in handy if you plan to take the phone with you when doing sports. The World clock is here too - it lets you quickly check the time in different time zones.

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World clock • Stocks app • Voice recorder • Flashlight app

The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance. You can use the Stocks lockscreen too. The Voice recorder might be quite useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo’s weather forecast for your area a click away.

There’s an HTC-branded flashlight app too – it uses the LED flash and you can set it to 3 levels of intensity. Nice and all, but the Android Market is full of this kind of apps already.

Quick lookup is another handy app. It lets you enter a query and view the Wikipedia article (formatted for easy reading), search Google, YouTube, use Google Translate or look it up in Google Dictionary.

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Quick lookup is a handy research tool

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