The Hot List: July 12, 2011

The Hot List is the newest feature here on Digital Lust, and will highlight 5 things in the media world that are at the top of my mind. Let’s take a look at this week’s list:

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5. Batman: Arkham City
Batman is back in an all-new game coming to your favorite gaming console later this year. In this followup to the massively amazing 2009 title Batman: Arkham Asylum, gamers will explore Arkham City, a city known for it’s psychotic residents. As Arkham Asylum was one of my personal favorite games of this generation, it will be no shocker if this one tops or even surpasses it. Arkham City will open it’s gates this fall.

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4. Cowboys and Aliens
Universal’s upcoming film Cowboys and Aliens has me excited–two classic genres coming together into an incredibly unusual pic. Starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, the new film looks as if it will be one of the more exciting (or disappointing) films of the year. Look for my official review later this month. It releases on July 29th.

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3. HTC Evo 3D
Sprint’s new flagship phone was reviewed in one of the first posts here on Digital Lust just a couple weeks ago, and as I am learning more about how much this phone truly differs from the original Evo 4G, the more I really like it. This phone features a stereoscopic 3D display, allowing you to take and view 3D images and video. The phone also comes with a copy of The Green Hornet in 3D, as well as a demo of Spiderman 3D: The Game. The phone is also dual-core, making it the greatest option on The Now Network, whether you care for the 3D capabilities or not.

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2. Google+
If you’ve read anything here on Digital Lust in the past week, you would know just how excited I am about Google+. The new social network shows a lot of promise, especially when it comes to sharing and communicating with others. With it’s amazing group chat feature in “Huddle,” as well as spectacular video chatting on Hangouts, and much much more, Google+ is making even Facebook just a little bit scared.

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1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The final installment of the Harry Potter franchise is FINALLY upon us. The movie will pick up where Part 1 left off, so if you’re about to go see the movie, make sure to either read up or watch Part 1 again to make sure you’re prepared! The Battle of Hogwarts and the answer to pretty much every loose end in the series will finally be answered. It’s interesting, after reading the books and watching the movies over the past year, how this tale transformed from something of a children’s book to a dark tale of life and death and many other themes. This one proves to be the most exciting yet, and if the RottenTomatoes TomatoMeter for the movie is any indication of how good it truly is (currently at 97%), then we are all in for a nice conclusion to this epic film series 10 years in the making. I will be seeing Deathly Hallows tomorrow, and I will have an exclusive review available right at midnight on Friday (as everyone else is seeing it).

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Review: HTC Evo 3D

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Whenever we review gadgets here on Digital Lust, it will likely be a quick review based on a store visit where I play with a new phone (this blog is brand new, remember…). But just a week ago, I traded in my trusty HTC Evo 4G in favor of the newer, faster Evo 3D, so that gives me an opportunity to give a full blown review based on a few days of experience using the phone.

Lets start with the quick and dirty specs of the phone. The new Evo 3D packs a 1.2 gHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3″ qHD display, dual 5.0 megapixel cameras, and a 1730 mAh battery. It runs Android 2.3.3, with the beautiful new Sense 3.0 overlay. For owners of the original Evo 4G, you should be excited, because this phone clears up many of the issues you may or may not have had with the original device. The phone itself is roughly the same size as the Evo 4G, just slightly taller and thinner. It also feels lighter and easier to hold. The mini-USB jack has been moved to the side of the device (thank you, HTC!!!), and the only other new hardware addition is the camera button on the side. Overall, the phone looks and feels much more refined.

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The phone features a textured backing that gives it much better grip. Also note the giant cameras and lack of kickstand.

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The phone is lighter and feels thinner than the original Evo.

The newest feature to the Evo 3D is in it’s namesake–the phone features a new, stereoscopic 3D display not unlike what can be found on the Nintendo 3DS. The phone’s dual cameras are capable of producing high quality, 3D images, and displaying them through what is known as a parallax barrier. At first, viewing the 3D content may seem headache-inducing, but once you have grasped the concept of how to effectively take 3D photos, you’ll adjust to the new display. Aside from the 3D imaging, the phone also features a demo of Ultimate Spiderman 3D, as well as a copy of The Green Hornet 3D for your viewing pleasure.

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Once you have a good grasp on how to take 3D images, you’ll notice that the 3D effect is truly stunning.

Performance wise, the Evo 3D is the fastest phone that I have ever used. That is thanks to the dual-core processor that the phone uses. Everything on the phone runs extremely quickly–video playback is fantastic, gaming is faster than ever, and running your everyday tasks to fulfill your life has never been quicker. Call quality, despite what other reviewers of the phone might say, is quite spectacular. Every time I make a call, I can hear the person I’m speaking to quite clearly, with little interruption or distortion.

Data is also very snappy–if you’re using Sprint’s WiMax network. 3G speeds on the Evo 3D have yet to impress me, as they seem incredibly slow based on what I experienced on the original Evo. This, of course, could be issues with Sprint’s network in general, or maybe they need to update the radios on the phone. Whichever the case, it isn’t pretty yet. This seems to be my one gripe that I have with the phone thus far.

Battery life has always been something that has been significantly lacking on Android devices, and as these devices get seemingly more powerful, battery life has never really held up well. That changes with the Evo 3D. Many reviewers for the Evo 3D have been extremely critical of the battery on the phone, and I couldn’t disagree with them more. The 1730mAh battery seems sufficient enough to get through a day with heavy use. For example, I went to a concert last weekend. I charged the phone completely before leaving. I took about 50 pictures, about 15 minutes of 3D video, checked Facebook constantly, and uploaded a bunch of my pictures onto Facebook. After 6 hours of extremely heavy use, I was down to 45% battery, which means I would have made it maybe 11 hours if I had kept going at the same rate. The original Evo would have died probably about half way through that usage. I’m pretty impressed with the battery, and hope that it can only get better after the phone starts to see custom ROMs.

On a final note about performance, let’s talk about Sense 3.0. This is what everyone with an HTC device has been waiting for, and it is finally available through both the Evo 3D and the Sensation. This new version of Sense is nothing but pure sexy. The general concept of Sense is exactly the same, with the Rosie launcher being practically the same as it has been on previous Sense devices. The polishing, however, it what sets it apart. The widgets look better with their new 3D effects, Sense apps (messaging and email, specifically) are more functional and cleaner than ever before. My favorite part is the new lockscreen. It features a ring that you pull up to the center of the screen to unlock. You also have four icons that you can drag down into the ring to instantly launch your favorite and most used applications. On top of that, you can also choose from having weather, stocks, messages, photos, or your Friend Stream appear right on the screen. It’s a huge step up from previous versions of Sense, and is one of the best parts of the phone. All in all, Sense 3.0 is practically perfection for an Android device.

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The new Sense 3.0 lockscreen allows you to show weather, messages, stocks, or photos directly on the screen while unlocking your phone.

The final bit I’d like to touch up on is the photo quality on the Evo 3D. While the two 5.0 megapixel cameras are significantly lower quality than the original Evo, I can’t see too much of a difference in quality. For 2D pictures, it may appear somewhat lower quality. I have found that taking 3D pictures is more effective, and if I want to post them to Facebook or here on the blog, I simply have to convert them to 2D (and the phone will do it for you). I know some reviewers are disappointed with the quality of images, but it honestly isn’t something that I’m griping about.

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This was a shot that I originally took in 3D. The phone gives you the option of sharing the photo in 2D or 3D.

With all of that said, it would appear that the Evo 3D is a worthy successor to the Evo 4G. True statement. The new Evo has so many things going for it. With the new 18-month software upgrade program that Google has partnered with many manufacturers to create, the Evo 3D will be seeing the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich), and possibly many more versions as they are created. The Evo 3D costs $199.99 for a new, 2-year contract. If you’re like me though, being a Sprint Premier customer, you may be eligible to trade your Evo 4G in and receive a $150 credit towards the Evo 3D. Worth it? Absolutely. This phone makes everything about Android so much more enticing.