Nearly a year after launch, RED has dropped the price on its Hydrogen One smartphone to $645 — a price that is still too expensive for what you get, and even at launch, would not have justified all of the phone’s shortcomings. The 50 percent price drop, spotted by Sascha Segan of PCMag, seems to have been implemented on RED’s website sometime in the past week. The phone originally sold for $1,295.
Even with this dramatic price drop, the Hydrogen One remains a terrible deal. A brand-new iPhone 11 — a remarkably better phone, with much better cameras and video shooting capabilities (something RED fans might care about) — costs just $54 more. And most year-old phones are even cheaper: the iPhone XR is now down to $599, and Google’s Pixel 3 is down to $499. They are both better phones.
RED was simultaneously far too ambitious and entirely clueless when it came to producing its first phone. The beloved camera company went with an unusual design, added on a modular port for high-end camera accessories, and included a “holographic” 3D display that was supposed to be the future of filmmaking, or something like that. But the screen was bad during regular 2D viewing and even worse during 3D viewing, and even the cameras didn’t live up to anything close to RED quality. Not only that, but the phone also debuted with a year-old processor due to continued production delays.
The Hydrogen One is even less appealing a year out, with the promised add-on camera module still missing and development plans entirely unclear. RED announced plans for a Hydrogen Two in July, and at the time, company CEO Jim Jannard said a camera add-on was still in the works and would support both phones.
I would be stunned that RED is still selling the Hydrogen One, but I doubt the company has even sold through its initial production run. Now, at least, the phone is down to a price that feels like less of a joke — or, at least, would have if it had debuted at this price a year ago.