Bottom line: Red generated a ton of hype for its debut smartphone, the Hydrogen One, but as is often the case with first efforts, it misses the mark. From the gimmicky screen and dated processor to the non-Red cameras and an expansion port with no accessories, there's no reason to drop $1,300 on this phone.
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