The RED HYDROGEN ONE has finally gotten a release date from Verizon, and it is going to be launching this Friday, November 2. The device is going to cost $1295.99, and if you decide to purchase it on an Equipment Installment Plan, it'll cost you $53.95 per month for 24 months for the black and "Shadow" color model. That makes this the most expensive smartphone on Verizon's network, while the Apple iPhone XS Max 512GB does come in at $1449, that is not the starting price for the iPhone XS Max, but this $1295 is the starting price for the RED HYDROGEN ONE. And there's a good reason for this smartphone to be so expensive from RED.
RED is well-known as a cinema camera maker, many YouTubers and Hollywood studios use RED's cameras like the Gemini 5K or Helium 8K. RED is a bit different from the other camera makers out there, and this is because all of its cameras are module. What happens is you buy, what is essentially the "computer" of the camera, which looks like a brick. Then you can buy different lenses and such to add onto the body. Which includes up to 8K sensors. Now when it comes to the RED HYDROGEN ONE, you aren't going to be shooting 8K footage with this smartphone, but RED does want to be able to sell lenses that it can attach to the backside of the phone, and take even better images with the RED HYDROGEN ONE. The phone also has that holographic display, which reminds you a bit of the HTC EVO 3D from back in 2011, but we'll have to wait to see just how good it is. Now since the RED HYDROGEN ONE was delayed so much, the specs are a bit dated. It sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD+ 3D display, the Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There are dual 12.3-megapixel cameras on the back with dual 8-megapixel cameras on the front. And this is all powered by a massive 4500mAh capacity battery.
Background: RED actually announced the HYDROGEN ONE back in January of 2017, and it was slated to come out early 2018. It saw plenty of delays, and it was also kept under wraps pretty tightly. Over the summer, RED came out and said it would be available later this summer, and that it had two carriers on-board, which included AT&T and Verizon – the two largest wireless carriers in the country. RED has had a few small events for media to check out the phone, but it would not let them film certain aspects of the phone, including the screen. This seemed odd, but the reason is that the screen doesn't show up on video all that well, since it is a 3D or 4-view display here. It makes sense, but still seemed a bit odd. Finally, Verizon has announced that it will be available later this week.
When the RED HYDROGEN ONE was announced it saw a ton of hype for the device, particularly among film makers that already use RED's cinema cameras. This is because RED is not a big camera company like Sony, Nikon or Canon, so it's not as popular as some other companies. But it had a lot of hype, due to how much cameras really mean for smartphones these days. Many smartphones take some really great pictures these days, and taking RED's camera expertise to a smartphone is a pretty big deal. Seeing as the smartphone is the only camera that most people keep in their pocket for taking pictures everywhere. And imagine not having to pick up and carry your big camera to go out shooting, if you are a YouTuber or Vlogger. But the RED HYDROGEN ONE does not include RED's camera expertise, it's largely the same 12.3-megapixel sensors that you'll find on any other smartphone camera these days, with a bit of software optimization included. So you won't notice a whole lot of a difference between the RED HYDROGEN ONE and other smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or LG V40 ThinQ.
Impact: The RED HYDROGEN ONE is a pretty niche smartphone for a lot of people. If you aren't a YouTuber or a film maker, you likely won't be picking up the RED HYDROGEN ONE. It's unfortunate for RED, but not a huge surprise. One reason for this is the price $1295 is a pretty steep price tag for a smartphone, especially for a company's first smartphone. Companies like Samsung and Apple can get away with it a bit, because they have been making smartphones for a number of years already and are pretty popular. Many also won't be interested in having a 3D display, as we've seen those on smartphones already, and they really weren't that great. And according to early reviews of the RED HYDROGEN ONE that appears to be the case again, even with a much higher-resolution display.
Verizon Wireless is offering the RED HYDROGEN ONE beginning this Friday, November 2 for $1295 or $53.95 per month for 24 months. Surprisingly, Verizon is not doing a pre-order period for this smartphone, so you can head to Verizon's website or to a local Verizon store to pick up the RED HYDROGEN ONE. Verizon will be offering it in black and shadow colors. Both sport anodized aluminum bodies, with the shadow color being more gray than black. The titanium model, RED decided to not mass produce because it was just too expensive and the yield was not great on it either. So it made sense to focus on the aluminum versions, especially seeing as the phone is already $1295 alone without adding in titanium which would add a couple more hundred to the price tag here. In fact, RED says that the titanium is a "highly limited edition", and it is only going out to those that pre-ordered the titanium model, nearly a year ago. The aluminum models come with 128GB of storage, and there is also a micro SD card slot, so you can really shoot a lot of content on the RED HYDROGEN ONE.