Red is the company behind probably the most talked about professional, ultra-high resolution cameras today, and they also the creators of the Hydrogen One.
According to Red, it’s not much more than a phone, it’s a Holographic Media Machine. And it’s very expensive, as all Red products are, costing USD 1.595 for what they call the Titanium version and a slightly more moderate USD 1.295 for the Aluminium version.
Star tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on a preproduction unit and wasn’t entirely blown away by the unit. Watch the video below:
The phone looks a bit like a normal smartphone with a military grade protection case wrapped around it. The specs, or what we know of them, aren’t out of this world either:
- Runs Android
- Carrier unlocked
- 5.7-inch screen with “nanotechnology” to seamlessly switch between 2D, stereo 3D and 4-View “holographic” display modes
- Front and back cameras
- Supports modular attachments, including an upgraded camera module
- Charges over USB-C
- MicroSD card slot for expanded storage
- Headphone jack
- Can serve as a touchscreen monitor for Red’s other cameras
- Has a 4500mAh battery
- A 2,560 x 1,440 resolution screen
- A 128GB of storage by default
Two things stand out with the Hydrogen One: it supports 3D and 4-view holographic content, without the need for glasses. It remains to be seen how good the experience is, and the only way to experience it is to get hold of a unit since the holographic effect will not show in pictures of video.
Marques does check this effect out in his video and doesn’t seem to be impressed with it, especially on how a user could create holographic content without owning professional equipment to do it. To be clear, this won’t be possible with the phone itself, you will need additional modules to achieve that.
The second thing is its modularity. The Hydrogen One has, on the back, a multipin connector that Red calls a high-speed data bus to connect the phone with other modules. The idea seems to be to give users the possibility to connect additional camera modules to the phone, or even to integrate the phone into a RED camera rig, if you are lucky enough, and wealthy enough, to own one. This is interesting, but only to those interested in adding features to an already expensive phone. And also, Red is notorious for asking astronomical prices for accessories for their cameras, and I don’t think that will be any different when it comes to their phones.
Apart from that, the Hydrogen One sounds like a regular high-end Android smartphone. And that’s the problem I would say. Expect content creators and tech enthusiast, I don’t many regular people ready to invest in a phone that can display holographic content, especially because the amount of available content (films, series…) in that format is non-existent, and probably will remain non-existent for many years to come.
So how hyped should you be for the Hydrogen One? In my humble opinion, not that much. Unless the camera specs are really out of this world, as not much is know about those specifically, and the Hydrogen One turns out to be a portable RED camera with smartphone capabilities rather than the other way around.
More to come!