Red Hydrogen One review:

The Red Hydrogen One phone launches during a time when smartphones have a certain oneness about them. Most have a hulk shade — maybe with a nick — inside a rectilinear physique that runs presumably Android or iOS software. But in 2018, we’re saying some acquire specialization.

There’s a new Palm, a petite messenger phone, and a Cat S61, that packs a thermal imaging camera. Then there’s a Razer Phone 2 and Asus ROG phone, directed during gaming. And don’t forget about new versions of aged specialized favorites such as a Galaxy Note 9 with a stylus and a modular Motorola Moto Z3, that will get 5G mobile subsequent year around a Moto Mod. Viva la difference.

And now, with a Red Hydrogen One, we have presumably a many specialized phone of them all. This 5.7-inch Android is a initial phone from Red, a California camera powerhouse famous for bleeding-edge video cameras used to film cinema such as Crazy Rich Asians, Ant-Man and The Wasp and Deadpool 2.

As you’d expect, Red aims to broach illusory video, print and audio peculiarity that we can accumulate in your behind slot — usually not one in a span of spare jeans. It sweetens a understanding by permitting we to supplement modules, including one for a cinema camera sensor and lens mountain entrance out in 2019. But it is Red’s inclusion of a 3D arrangement that creates a Hydrogen One so crazy unique. When it’s not arrangement 3D content, a shade is a ideally normal 2D phone display. As paltry as that matter sounds, this is truly a conspicuous achievement. You need to see it in genuine life — arrangement it in a 2D print or video usually doesn’t do it justice.

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This is a aluminum and Kevlar behind on a Hydrogen One.


James Martin/CNET

But this arrange of creation doesn’t come cheap. The Hydrogen One goes on sale Nov. 2 and will cost $1,295 (which translates to about £985 or AU$1,800) for a aluminum chronicle we tested or $1,595 for a titanium version. Yes, that’s some-more than an iPhone XS Max or Galaxy Note 9.

Besides a high price, there are a few things to cruise about a Red Hydrogen One. Currently it feels some-more like a curiosity, one of those adventurous experiments to “revolutionize” a proceed we use a phones. 3D or “4V” photos and videos are effectively proprietary, and near-impossible to share during a moment. A slew of betrothed accessories are also proprietary, and won’t arrive until 2019 during a earliest.

We’ve seen this kind of desirous proceed before from a likes of Lytro Light Field Camera and a Essential Phone. Both showcased cold record that was severe around a edges in tangible execution.

Similarly, a Hydrogen One has a “the paint isn’t utterly dry yet” feel to it. It was delayed mixed times, and during launch, Red’s program feels like it’s not entirely ready. For example, a camera app can loiter and solidify up.

The some-more we use a Hydrogen One, a some-more it seems like a 3D camera that doubles as a phone. And that’s what truly differentiates it from prior 3D devices. The Hydrogen One isn’t usually about immoderate 3D content. It’s about formulating it. And if that appeals to you, afterwards it’s unequivocally value checking out.

If you’re a Red cinema camera user who’s vehement about a possibilities of a Hydrogen One phone and a yet-to-be-realized cinema camera module, it’s value watchful to learn some-more about what a appendage will indeed be able of and a price.

But for scarcely everybody else, it’s tough for me to suggest a Red Hydrogen One phone during this time. That said, try to check it out in-person. Both ATT and Verizon are formulation displays for a Red Hydrogen One in their stores. Experiencing that shade will unequivocally make a few people cough adult their credit card.

Red Hydrogen One

Red Hydrogen One’s 3D holographic screen

The 3D shade is simply a many extraordinary underline on a phone. It draws both doubtful looks from some and “how brave we rubbish my time” eye rolls from others.

I showed a Red Hydrogen One to a garland of friends and coworkers to get their reactions:

  • “Holy shit! It’s 3D though glasses.”
  • “I don’t wish to demeanour during it. It creates me sick.”
  • [laughter]
  • “This is positively one of a coolest things I’ve seen from a association in years.”
  • “I’m not unequivocally impressed.”
  • “How? How? How? How is it doing this?”
  • “It harm my eyes.”
  • “This is unequivocally good.”
  • “This is unequivocally bad.”

When we ask people to demeanour during a 3D phone, there’s a little impulse where we can roughly see them put on their 3D critic’s hat. For example, if we told we to demeanour during a 2D print of a cat, you’d expected concentration on a cat itself rather than design noise, moire or aliasing — no matter how bad a design peculiarity competence be. But if we asked we to demeanour during a design of a 3D cat, you’d expected fixate on a outcome some-more than a subject.

There are people, and we work with some of them, who see 3D as zero some-more than a unsuccessful gimmick. They fast bring as explanation a Amazon Fire phone, Nintendo 3DS and each 3D radio ever made.

But if Apple reason a press discussion and told each iPhone user their screens support 3D starting today, people would flip out. There would be 3D videos, 3D FaceTime, 3D games and 3D Memoji everywhere.

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Photos and videos in this examination of a Hydrogen One can’t uncover off a 4V outcome of a screen. we suggest saying it in chairman to knowledge a 3D effect.


James Martin/CNET

Part of a problem for “3D” is that it is worshipped and hyped as a commencement of a new product category, instead of being looked during as a apparatus for expression. Red seems to welcome a latter approach.

The Hydrogen One’s shade is partial 3D and partial hologram that Red calls 4-View (4V). Under a 5.7-inch 2,560×1,440-pixel LCD shade is a nano light margin that produces a effect. It’s neither Princess Leia being projected by R2-D2 from Star Wars, nor is it as uncomplicated as a hologram plaque on a behind of a credit card.

Instead a 4V outcome gives a layered abyss to 4V photos and video. It reminds me of saying a play or uncover in a proscenium theater where a view is prosaic though gives a three-dimensional illusion. Red’s 4V outcome is infrequently suggestive of lenticular printed 3D ball cards — that competence be one of a reasons scarcely everybody we showed a phone to moves it side-to-side.

Of march if we have a 3D screen, you’re going to wish to watch 3D calm on it, so Red smartly combined a mini ecosystem for 4V content. There’s a Red Hydrogen Network app to find 4V films, videos and shows. For personification 4V games, there’s a Red/Leia Loft app. (Leia, no propinquity to a aforementioned princess, is a association behind a 4V shade technology.) There’s even an Instagram-style app called Holopix for posting 4V photos. Back in May, Red also demoed a video messaging app that authorised we to discuss in 4V. No word on if or when that will be entrance out.

There’s one some-more proceed to get 3D content: Make it yourself. The cameras on both a front and behind let we take 4V photos and videos.

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The twin behind cameras concede a Hydrogen One to constraint 3D photos and videos.


James Martin/CNET

Red Hydrogen One cameras can constraint both 2D and ‘4V’ photos and videos

On a behind of a phone are dual 12-megapixel cameras that are accurately a same. Unlike a iPhone XS or Galaxy Note 9, a second camera isn’t for zooming. The dual cameras are interconnected stereoscopically — kind of like binoculars — permitting we to constraint 4V photos and video.

The Hydrogen One smartly saves a 2D chronicle of any 4V photos we take so there’s no FOMO. After some time sharpened with a phone, we sought out angles and framing to uncover off some-more abyss in my pictures. Instead of usually holding a print of a crony standing, we had them reason their eyeglasses in front of their face meaningful it would demeanour cold on a 4V screen.

Curious enough, 4V photos taken with a behind cameras have to be in landscape course and 4V selfies can usually prisoner in mural mode. And yes, there are dual 8-megapixel front-facing cameras used to emanate 3D selfies that we found generally fun for organisation shots.

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