RED Hydrogen holographic phone hands on

red hydrogen phone hands onNews of the Android smartphone from camera geniuses, RED, certainly grabbed the headlines when it dropped. Since then things have been rather quiet. Until now.

The world’s first smartphone with a “holographic display” is no longer a mystery.

All we could tell by RED’s earlier teaser was this was going to be chunky and industrial, just like their current range. We expected great optics and cleverness inside, but that was about it.

Well, props to MKBHD who has shared his first impressions on YouTube.

He is a noted RED fanboy so I was prepared for gushing aplenty, but it doesn’t seem everything is perfect. Yet.

RED Hydrogen first impressions

His video has him flashing three prototypes.

The first one is a non-functional dummy unit that gives us a look at the casing design RED is shooting for.

On the backside of the phone we can see the magnetic connector pins and a rather large camera bump with dual cameras and an integrated LED flash.

MKBHD says RED’s attachable modules will work just like Motorola’s Moto Mods for its Z series.

[youtube id=”tQzqFbwWPSk”]

OK, I can dig that. Magnetic connectors and modules that attach effortlessly to add functions to your phone is a great idea. Moto were definitely ahead of the curve there.


The second prototype is one with a working “holographic display,” but he wasn’t allowed to show it on camera. Gah!

red hydrogen phone screenHe seemed to be suitably impressed by it, but stops short of telling us how the holograms work. Double gah!

So, we’re none-the-wiser as to whether this is simply the glasses-free 3D experience a la Nintendo 3DS or are we getting actual holograms? Hands up for who’s hoping for the Princess Leia “You’re our only hope” moment?

The final prototype is shown wearing one heck of a camera attachment.

red hydrogen digital cinema moduleI think the Digital Cinema camera module is beautiful in its brutalism. Inside that beast the sensor should give the phone’s built-in camera even more performance. I am guessing potent zoom skills could be added too.

MKBHD says the Hydrogen will shoot video with quality comparable to the company’s entry-level cinema cameras. He doesn’t back this up with any sample footage, so we’re left trusting him.

What’s the point?

Well, apart from extremely interested amateurs with money to spend, I could see the film industry taking these up.

For instance, the second unit, who are generally busied with shooting B-roll footage and pickup shots while the director and his first unit crew focus on the key shots, could certainly get on-board.

I could also see trickier location shots and possibly stunt shots utilising these comparatively compact cameras.

The phone’s not launching until Q1 of next year, so there’s certainly time for more information to land.

Could this truly be a game-changer? Well, for £1.5k, it really ought to be 😉