Red Hydrogen One First Look

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High end camera and video recording manufacturer, RED, is getting into the smartphone game. This isn’t a surprise. We’ve known about the RED Hydrogen One for a little bit and they even released a render of the device. But, one single render is not enough for crazed tech fans. Luckily, YouTuber MKBHD got an exclusive first look at the RED Hydrogen One and gave all of us a very nice impression of what RED has in store. Check out the video:

As you can see, this looks like a pretty rugged, solid device. In the video he seemed to be happy with the design. I’m predicting this device is going to be a divisive one, design wise. While it’s nice that they are trying something new instead of making an iPhone clone, the Red Hydrogen One feels like it has a lot going on, design-wise.

First, those ridges along the side… I’m sure they feel nice in your fingers and give a bit of grip but I personally would prefer it to be a smooth design. Although, as you saw in the video, this is a pretty big smartphone. Maybe those ridges will come in handy and maybe my opinion would change once I was able to feel it in my hand.

I’m also not a big fan of the competing patterns on the back. The middle portion is metal while the top and bottom are Kevlar. Again, this goes to show how rugged the RED Hydrogen One is designed to be. The camera looks bold which makes sense. After all, this is a camera company making a smartphone – not the other way around. You can also see some connectors on the bottom of the back-side of the device. This is going to allow for modular components which should help you customize the device to work exactly how you want it to.

The front-side of the device is very nice. The RED Hydrogen One is going to sport a 5.5-inch display. In the video MKBHD says it will be a super high-resolution display. This prototype was not a working model so we didn’t get a chance to see it in action. There are also stereo speakers on the front of the device that should make enjoying content on that big, beautiful screen feel very nice.

As for buttons and ports… The RED Hydrogen One will have a USB Type-C port as well as a 3.5mm headphone port. In the video they show the headphone port on the bottom of the device but MKBHD mentions that they are moving it to the top for the final release model. On the right-hand side there is a dedicated video recording button. This is an essential feature for a smartphone that is going to rely on it’s camera to set itself apart. Hopefully there are multiple commands so, for example, I can press it once for a picture or hold it to initiate video recording. Further up the device on the right-hand side is a power button that also serves as a fingerprint reader. On the left hand side of the device we find the volume rocker.

Again, this was simply a “fit and finish” prototype so we didn’t get a sense of what the device looks like in action. MKBHD was able to see the RED Hydrogen One in action and had great things to say about it but we will have to wait a little longer to see for ourselves. There is no confirmed pricing yet but it’s expected the RED Hyrdrogen One will cost upwards of $1,000. That’s the same territory as the rumored iPhone 8 pricing which will be a tough sell for a lot of people. Of course, this is a niche device for people who want the best camera you can get in a smartphone. I’m interested to see it in action. It’s probably not my cup of tea but I know there will be a lot of people eager to see the photo and video chops the RED Hydrogen One has. What do you think? Do you like the look of this device? Is $1,000 too steep for a camera manufacturer making their first smartphone? Let us know what your thoughts are!

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