Professional camera manufacturer RED is finally starting to ship out the titanium variant of its Hydrogen One almost two years after its official launch, according to recent reports.
First unveiled approximately halfway through 2017, the RED Hydrogen One was, at the time, an advanced Android flagship packing in the latest features and components in two configurations. Both effectively shipped with the same specifications but users could either pay $1,295 for the almost all-aluminum variant or $1,595 for the titanium version.
Now, following delays purportedly caused by the hardware manufacturer tasked with building the gadget, the titanium variation on the design is available directly from the manufacturer.
Making good on a promise but there are definite caveats here
When RED initially ran into manufacturing issues, it promptly decided to ship aluminum versions of its premier device to those customers who had pre-paid for the titanium version. That was done along with a promise that the company would send titanium versions to customers who had paid the added cost once they became available.
Those devices should be among the first to ship out as well and users won't be expected to send in their aluminum version — RED is allowing users to keep that variant as a gift. None of that necessarily makes this great news for those consumers since they had paid for the latest and greatest in technological advances and the RED Hydrogen One no longer aptly fits that description by almost any measure.
Almost two years since its announcement, the specs inside the RED Hydrogen One are decidedly out of date when compared to modern flagships. That means it makes even less sense for new buyers, except in instances where customers might be willing to buy the gadget for its unique design language alone.
For just short of $1600, buyers will be getting a Qualcomm-built Snapdragon 835 chipset backed up by a healthy 6GB RAM and 256GB on the storage side. That's packed behind a 2560 x 1440 5.7-inch Quad HD+ display panel with a 3D mode — dubbed 4V mode –that appears to drop the resolution noticeably but allows content that looks holographic. Driving the experience, users get Android 8.1 Oreo.
Despite RED's reputation as a Hollywood-class camera maker, a fairly standard dual 12.3-megapixel cameras which can also capture in 4V mode but mostly features optimizations and software features. Accessories designed along the same conceptual lines as Motorola's moto mods were originally planned to deliver a much more fulfilling camera experience but those have yet to surface.
Battery life should be great with the RED Hydrogen One, thanks to its 4,500mAh capacity battery.
This may not be worth the wait
For the sake of easy comparison, a brand new Samsung Galaxy S10+ ships with Android 9 Pie and a specially-designed OneUI overlay running on a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display at 3040 x 1440 with HDR 10+ certification. Internationally that's powered by an Exynos 9820 SoC or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC in select regions — offering substantial improvements over the RED Hydrogen One due to a two-generation gap.
On the camera front, buyers get a dual 10-megapixel and 8-megapixel selfie camera. The back houses a dual 12-megapixel camera accompanied by an ultra-wide 16-megapixel snapper. A 4,100mAh battery backs everything up. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ starts at $999.
Some users will certainly be okay with the older technology found in RED's offering and those users who will now have two devices can certainly choose to sell one or the other. Older flagship devices are some of the best options for those who need a fast, reliable device on a budget. But, for those who paid extra for the titanium version, to begin with, the RED Hydrogen One may be one Android gadget that wasn't worth the wait.