Cinema camera company Red first began teasing the Hydrogen One smartphone halfway through 2017, and since then the company has slowly been showing off more and more details of the device. The device was originally slated to be released in August, but after a few setbacks and an event at which we were able to check out the Hydrogen One for ourselves, the device is now finally available.
There are a number of things that make the Hydrogen One an interesting device, despite the fact that its specs are starting to seem dated compared to new flagship phones. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Red Hydrogen One.
Price and availability
Originally, Red was supposed to release the Hydrogen One in August. Then, the company announced it was delaying the device, and released a few photos of the phone to tide us over. Now, finally, the Red Hydrogen One is available to the public. The Red Hydrogen One will be available both online and in stores from AT&T and Verizon. Through AT&T, the phone comes at $1,295, or $43.17 per month for 30 months on AT&T Next. The Shadow and Black versions are also available from Verizon, and you’ll be looking at monthly payments of $53.95 for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment. You’ll also be looking at $1,295 if you’re looking at buying it outright from Big Red.
If you are holding out for the Titanium version, you’ll have to wait a little longer. The company announced the titanium model (TI) will sell for $1,600, but it has been delayed. In a recent forum post, Red CEO Jim Jannard said that the company’s suppliers had let them down and caused delays in the TI’s ship dates. However, everyone who pre-ordered the TI will receive a free aluminum version of the phone when those begin shipping. That phone will be theirs to keep even when they receive the TI.
Design and display
The Red Hydrogen One looks a little different than any other smartphone we’ve seen. It features a number of grooves and textured surfaces to help users better hold the phone, but the design elements aren’t just for grip — there’s also a set of pins on the top of the back of the phone, which will be used to give the phone modular features at some point next year. We’re not yet sure exactly what kind of modules to expect from the phone — though it’s likely many of them will be camera-based considering the nature of Red. Red has previously said that the modular system will allow for a “cinema-grade” camera.
At first glance, you might assume that the Hydrogen One has a standard display, but the display actually supports 4V (four-view) content — or content that looks holographic. In 2D mode, the display has a resolution of 2560 x 1440, but in 4V mode, the pixels show in multiple layers — so it doesn’t appear to have quite as high of a resolution in that mode.
So what about the specs under the hood? Considering the phone was announced in 2017, it essentially features 2017 specs. For example, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, which has since been replaced as Qualcomm’s flagship by the Snapdragon 845. That processor is coupled with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, which isn’t bad at all, plus you can expand on the storage with the MicroSD card slot. The battery comes in at 4,500mAh, which is pretty huge.
The display supports 4V content, and thankfully you’ll be able to capture that content with the phone, too. Red has previously said that the camera will be able to shoot 4V content using both the rear-facing and the front-facing camera — so you’ll be able to capture holographic selfies if you want to. Not only that, but when you shoot content in 4V, the phone will also save a standard 2D file too — so you’ll be able to view your photos and videos on a normal screen too. The rear-facing camera comes in at 12 megapixels, while the front-facing camera sits in at 8 megapixels.
Along with being able to share content on the Hydrogen One network, Red has said that it’s working with some of the social media “big dogs,” so it’s possible we’ll see the likes of Facebook or Twitter support 4V content at some point.
Updated on November 2, 2018: The Red Hydrogen One is now available from AT&T and Verizon.