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The most mysterious Android phone of the year looks amazing, but it probably isn’t for you

May 21st, 2018 at 7:50 AM
RED Hydrogen One Hands-on

The Android landscape this year is filled with iPhone X clones, which only shows that, after more than 10 years of iPhones, it’s still Apple setting the pace in the mobile industry. It sure is great to see Samsung not copy Apple for a change, given that Samsung is Apple’s most loyal fan.

That said, there is an Android handset out there that’s unlike anything ever made. A company that never made phones before is launching a device this year that will have no match in the industry. Sadly, the more we hear about the phone, the clearer it is the handset isn’t for most people.

A few days ago, Verizon and AT&T announced they’re going to sell the RED Hydrogen One later this year. RED, a high-end movie camera maker, announced last year that it’ll make a phone like no other. It turns out the company kept its promise, and while the device is delayed, it’s on track for a summer release.

The Hydrogen One is a high-end Android phone that could very well rival many of last year’s phones — it’ll still ship with a 2017 Snapdragon 835 processor, hence the comparison.

But if you’re solely looking for a new handset, the Hydrogen One isn’t for you — this baby costs $1,195 or $1,595, depending on whether your like aluminum or titanium.

What the Hydrogen One brings to the table is a glasses-free 3D experience, which the company calls 4-view. On top of that, it’s got a modular design that will let you attach DSLR lenses to it. The phone will also work with RED cameras, and could become an integral part of movie-making experiences.

RED showed the handset to the media, and we already have a bunch of hands-on videos to explain how that 4-view screen works. Explain is the only thing they do, as RED banned everyone from actually taking pictures of the screen, which is the main selling point of the handset.

The following clip from The Verge tells us all we need to know about the handset.

How did RED create this mysterious 4-view display? The Verge explains:

[RED founder Jim] Jannard told me that there is a special layer underneath the LCD display which, when enabled, is able to direct light in multiple directions instead of the standard two that happen with lenticular displays. RED is also doing more than just combining two images to make standard 3D — I’m told it’s trying to use an algorithm to blend multiple angles from those two lenses to create the effect.

It’s a hologram, basically, but it doesn’t really pop out of the screen so much as give you depth within it. I wouldn’t describe this screen as the reason to go out and buy this phone, but it was neat.

Jannard further told USA Today that “the phone is for everybody who wants to change the way they view the world.”

“We see in multi-view, yet everything we watch on our phones is in 2D. We want to change that, so you get your content in multi-view.”

If you want all that, the Hydrogen One is for you. If you’re a content creator, that’s one more reason to consider the Hydrogen One. But if you’re looking for a high-end Android smartphone, you’ll probably have to deal with the notch or buy a Samsung phone this year.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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