After more than a year of waiting, RED’s Hydrogen One smartphone is almost here. Verizon and AT&T announced this morning that they’ll begin selling the phone this Friday, November 2nd, for $1,295. Both are offering it on monthly payment plans, of course: Verizon will offer a 24-month plan, and AT&T will offer a 30-month plan.
At $1,295, the phone is $100 more expensive than it was for customers who agreed to preorder it sight unseen last summer when it was first announced. At the time, RED CEO Jim Jannard said the cheaper pricing wouldn’t be guaranteed for people who didn’t preorder, so early adopters did end up getting a small discount.
The Hydrogen One was initially supposed to launch in early 2018, but it was pushed back multiple times. Because of those delays, it’s launching with a Snapdragon 835 chip — the processor seen in all of last year’s flagships — instead of the Snapdragon 845 seen in phones like the Pixel 3 and Galaxy S9.
But specs aren’t really the story here. The big deal is the Hydrogen One’s much-hyped “holographic” screen, which few have been able to see before now. It’s is also capable of recording in a 3D format that’s specific to this phone’s screen.
I’ve been testing out the phone for the past week, and I have to tell you: it does not live up to the hype. And with its $1,295 price tag, I suspect it’ll have a very hard time competing with the iPhone XS and just about everything else.