The Happy Technologist Interesting Geekdom

2Aug/110

A Moment for the HTC EVO 3D

I've been a Sprint user for over 10 years, at least according to Amanda, who cheerfully explained to me why my cell phone bill never makes sense but that they appreciate my loyalty anyway as she sold me my new phone a couple of weeks ago.

My new phone is the HTC EVO 3D, but enough about that for now. First, it's important to talk about my PREVIOUS phone, which was the very underrated Samsung Moment.

The Moment was a very early generation Android phone which managed to hit just about all the design elements I wanted. Despite being a bit too slow (Angry Birds never played quite right) and missing out on simple things like multi-touch which Samsung apparently left out to get it to market quickly and inexpensively, it was one of my favorite phones. My Moment was a replacement for a Palm Treo which dutifully kept by my side for several years (forever in smartphone land).

Samsung MomentThe Moment was a wide slide-out keyboard styled phone. If anyone is reading this that designs phone keyboards, go pick this up and play with it -- it's the best. The keys are clearly separated and slightly raised so that touch-typing, such that is is on a teensy-weensy keyboard is actually possible. I wasn't quite able to bang out entire novellas without looking, but I could get pretty far into a decent text message with minimal mistakes while watching Netflix. The keyboard rocked.

Moreover, the Moment set aside the typical 4-button Android interface (Home, Menu, Back, Search) that seems prolific, instead opting for the three required buttons (Home, Menu, Back), and two buttons dedicated to phone operation (Pickup and Hangup, where the Hangup button also acted as a power button for the overall phone). Most importantly, though, the phone had a tiny touchpad that depressed as a select button. I haven't seen better cursor control on any smart phone, although the Palm and the Blackberry dedicated rollerballs and rockers are fairly close.

The HTC EVO 3D with which I now entertain myself boasts none of this coolness. The more-than-4-inch screen is gorgeous, responsive (the phone is wicked fast), and I've whittled down the on-screen keyboard options to a few that I like (I'm currently using SwiftKey X which has a curious habit of predicting words when nothing has been typed -- it currently assumes that I want to say "I am a beautiful person." if I don't give it any other starting letters). But it's not as cute or cuddly as the Samsung Moment.

But, and this is very important:

IT TAKES 3D PHOTOS!


I picked the EVO 3D because it was one of the best phones out for Sprint at the time. Either it or the Galaxy S seemed to be the frontrunners: both are super fast, current versions of everything with wide software and accessory support. Better GPS, wifi, 4G support... all the bells and whistles you'd want. But the 3D features made the decision easy -- even if they were completely useless, the cool factor was enough to sway a decision. It turns out, the 3D is a whole lot of fun, and quite a bit more entertaining and functional than I'd hoped!

Ooohhhh, pretty. Ok, well, that's about as good as it gets looking at something 3D on the web (if I find something better I'll try to link to it). If the picture above isn't moving, hit refresh -- the Smart3D people seem to hang rather frequently... actually I've never seen a website perform worse than they seem to be now, although I'm hoping it's just a bad timing issue. Anyway, the phone's display has some nifty parallax-barrier technology that lets you view 3D pictures directly on the phone to great effect.

Parralax barriering (!) basically means they display the left and right eye images on the regular LCD in an interlaced fashion, then turn on black bars (barriers made out of another LCD layer) that are aligned so that, from a particular distance and angle, the left eye is blocked from seeing pixels meant for the right eye, and vice-versa. Tom's Hardware has some pretty pictures up that help explain things better, although it's interesting that Wikipedia's pictures put the parallax barrier between the color LCD and the eyes, but Tom's has it between the LCD and the backlight... I guess either one could work, although the Wikipedia method makes more sense to me, and I'm not sure which the HTC EVO uses, but hey, it works, and that's what counts the most. 🙂

All in all, the phone definitely makes me happy. I miss the cute simple form factor of the Moment (and the Palms before it), but the pretty screen and much faster processor, plus the useless-but-very-cool 3D features make it a ton of fun. Go get one. Now.

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