The $1,200 RED Hydrogen One smartphone with its holographic display and modular design wowed the world when it was announced last month. And that wow-factor only increased when people stumbled across RED’s patents for this intense little camera phone. Unfortunately, the initial render, press release, and those patents was all we had to go off of … until now.
Well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee was given an exclusive first-look at RED’s prototypes of the Hydrogen One, and he’s sharing that first look with the world in the video above.
|The RED Hydrogen One prototype next to an iPhone 7 Plus and an OnePlus 5. As you can see, it’s anything but small.|
Brownlee got to look at three prototypes: a non-functional ‘fit-and-finish’ prototype that looks exactly as RED intends the final version to look (above), a prototype of the holographic display that he was not allowed to show on camera, and a prototype of the phone with a ‘Triplet’ lens mount module attached.
The first prototype was really all about the looks, and Brownlee had an interesting take on that. “It looks kind of like a Moto Z had a baby with a tractor,” he says. “It’s this part rugged, part modern look.” A look Brownlee actually quite liked.
The second prototype he wasn’t allowed to share on camera, but it’s the third prototype we’re most interested in, anyway. This is where things get really interesting for photo and video enthusiasts curious about how capable and modular this phone will really be. The third prototype features an attachment that adds a ‘sensor and lens mount’ to the smartphone.
|Adding a sensor and lens mount to the phone makes it much thicker, but also has the potential to supercharge the Hydrogen One’s camera capabilities.|
According to Brownlee, RED believes, “this can and will be the future of small form-factor cinema [cameras].” In fact, the company says the smartphone’s image quality “should only be surpassed by RED’s bigger cameras,” beating out mirrorless cameras and DSLRs if RED has their way with this phone.
At $1,200 for the phone by itself, and who knows how much for all of the modules and attachments required to get the RED Hydrogen One up to that caliber of image quality, it’s likely you’ll spend about the same amount of money on a cinema-capable Hydrogen One as you would on a cinema-capable DSLR setup… if not more. But if the quality is on par or better, why not get a really intense modular smartphone in the bargain?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this phone evolves from prototype to full-fledged product. Speaking of which: RED expects to have their next prototype—a fit-and-finish version with the holographic display built in—ready in the next 30-45 days. They’re not dragging their feet.