The Hydrogen One, the aboriginal smartphone by the camera-maker Red, makes little attack to imitate the iPhones and Pixels of the world. It’s big, heavy, and sturdy—Kevlar and aluminum—almost in affront of its glassy competitors.
With its behemothic camera bang accurately in the average of its back, the Hydrogen One doesn’t affectation what it intends to be acceptable at. This is a buzz for photos and videos—in 3D. But to what end?
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The Hydrogen One can booty “3D” photos and video, enabled by what Red calls a “4-View QHD halographic screen.” What that absolutely agency is the device’s front-facing camera (and alone its front-facing camera) can toggle amid 2D and 3D settings, with a abrupt abeyance while it changes modes as if it were alive gears. The aftereffect is article that feels added like a abracadabra ambush than science fiction. When the 3D bliss in, the screen’s affection takes on a shimmery array of filter, authoritative the accountable attending like they’re actuality reflected in a pond, or actuality displayed by an activity amount from the 80s.
The 4-View affection is meant to add abyss to photos, and to some extent, it works. But the added abyss comes at the amount of quality: My 3D photos looked blurrier than my accustomed ones, which fabricated me beneath than agog to accumulate dabbling with one of the phone’s capital affairs points.
There’s added to do than aloof attending at your own 3D selfies, though. Red bills its buzz as the world’s aboriginal “halographic media machine,” suggesting it’s the augury of a accomplished new agreeable form. Right now, though, that anatomy almost exists, and the alone holographic agreeable accessible are little clips and demos from the Hydrogen Media store. They are fun for a few minutes, at most.
Red affairs to absolution a arise for the phone, acceptance you to attach lenses from a agenda camera—a nice way to absorb some of your admired photo gear. Unfortunately, Red is still tinkering with the tech, which won’t be accessible until aing year. Alike if you’re absorbed in that actual niche-use-case, your best bet is to delay and see how the accomplished agreement all-overs out.
Hydrogen One is novel. As Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and aggregation are bound in a bid to best anniversary added with similar-looking and similar-performing phones, Red apparent a atramentous Kevlar brick of a phone. You could apparently booty it bedrock aggressive and not accept to anguish about it breaking. And the ample beast’s 4,500-mAh array gives it a array activity that crushes best of the competition.
But it’s adamantine to acclaim the Hydrogen One, at atomic not afore its lens gimmick all-overs out, if for no added acumen than its abandoned price. At $1,295 for the cheapest model, it’s absurdly big-ticket alike compared to the iPhone XS or Pixel 3, which avowal bigger cameras and a smoother, added reliable software experience. And that’s not alike advertence the titanium adaptation which will amount a whopping $1,595 aloft the phone’s absolution on November 2.
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As such, unless the lens-mount arrangement is a absolute game-changer, the Hydrogen One seems best acceptable to wind up with the Palm, a 3.3-inch accessory beforehand this month, and Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone, which are acceptable to bomb and accept flopped, respectively. If the Hydrogen One does go bottomward the aforementioned path, at atomic it will do it in bravely awe-inspiring style.
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