Red's Hydrogen One smartphone fails to impress in early reviews

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Red’s Hydrogen One smartphone is finally launching on November 2. One of the most intriguing – and delayed – devices in recent memory, it starts at an eye-watering $1,295. For that kind of money, you’d expect something pretty special but according to early reviews, it’s… well, not good.

Jacob Kastrenakes with The Verge has been testing the Red Hydrogen One for the past week and while he praises the company for trying something new, that’s about as far as the complements go. The “holographic” screen is just flat out blurry and bad, he notes, the cameras aren’t even unique to Red as one might expect and no accessories yet exist for the lauded expansion port.

Considering how poorly sales will likely be, it seems unlikely that those accessories – including a Red-made camera sensor and lens mount – will ever materialize.

Since the phone is so far behind schedule, it is powered by last year’s hardware – a Snapdragon 835, instead of the Snapdragon 845 found in current-gen flagships. It’s also quite bulky and although those ridges seem as though they’d make it easier to handle, they more seem like a magnet for dirt and grime.

PCMag also doesn’t recommend buying “a $1,300 phone that is full of bugs and is missing key differentiators.” Gizmodo’s Sam Rutherford described the gimmicky screen as a slightly better version of what you get on a new Nintendo 3DS. CNET’s Patrick Holland, who wasn’t as hard on the phone as others, even conceded that it’s hard to recommend the Hydrogen One to most people at this time.

(Image courtesy Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

If you’re somehow compelled to grab Red’s first smartphone, it’ll be available this Friday through AT&T and Verizon.

Lead image courtesy James Martin, CNET

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TS Booster
What a shame. This and the Pixel 3 disappoint. I guess I'll hold on to my S7(not edge) for another year.


TS Evangelist
Maybe in about 9 months, they will have a "fire sale" like they did with the Essential PH-1, which started out at $699, but can be had on Amazon for less than 350, and sometimes under 300 bucks.


TS Evangelist
I like the design, but I also like to think my phones battery can last at least 2 years. It is possible with Sams and Appls. Also whats with the price? Did they not learn anything from Essential's story? They should have looked at One plus which was able to stay afloat undercutting top brands. I wish them luck with their business, but I will not support it at this time. Furthermore, I am very skeptical they can succeed with this device.