By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Quick Review] Sharp Lynx SH-03C, the first 3D Phone
Contrary to what LG wants you to believe, the first real 3D phone does not come from Korea, but from Japan and is made by Sharp. Available for a few months now, we had the chance to play a little with one of them — the Docomo SH-03C.
Size: 123 x 62 x 13.4 mm
Weight: 140 grams
Continuous Stand-by Time: 410 hours (3G)
Continuous Talk Time: 270 minutes (3G)
Main Display: 3.8” (480 x 800) NEW MOBILE ASV LCD 65,536 colors
Camera: Recorded resolution: 9.5 megapixels with AF
OS: Android 2.1, upgradeable to 2.2
Connectivity: WiFi & Bluetooth
I have said million times that I do not like the material used by Japanese handset manufacturers. I do not like the plastic touch and feel that most of them have, and I do not like having something cheap in my hands. Yes, you are right… I have been spoiled by Nokia and its amazing 8810 and 8850, HTC with their Touch HD, and now finally by Apple with their iPhone 4. Unlike the iPhone 3G and 3GS, both the iPhone 2G (aluminum) and iPhone 4 (glass) give you the feeling of owning something special — not just another piece of junk that was mass-produced without a soul. If you feel comfortable with, let’s say, the Xperia X10, then the Sharp Lynx 3D SH-03C will do just fine for you.
Once you put aside the look and feel of this new 3D phone, you will come face to face with a rather dull and not-so-exciting stock version of Android 2.1. Ok, I admit my opinion may be biased, and to be frank with you, it is very difficult to get back to a stock Android user experience when you’ve enjoyed HTC’s Sense UI and refinement. Then again, if you feel more comfortable running an unspoiled version of Android on your phone, the SH-03C is exactly what you are looking for.
So, what about the 3D thingy?
Let’s concentrate on what really matters here: 3D. Despite not being overly thrilled by 3D in general — I personally do not yet see the advantage of owning a 3D TV for example — I’m willing to change my opinion if necessary. I have to admit, Sharp’s 3D display on this little SH-03C works just fine and will give you the 3D effect that you where hoping for.
If you to compare this 3D screen and the one on the 3DS, I will say the SH-03C’s overall display quality is slightly below the 3DS’s. I believe that this is partially due to the “touch” layer that is placed on top of the SH-03C 3D screen, giving images that are less sharp and colorful than the 3DS display. I have no confirmation on that matter — it’s just an assumption based on my personal feeling.
So yes, 3D works well. Sharp’s 3D UI is nice, and playing video games in 3D, watching 3D movies, and viewing pictures in 3D is as fun as you would expect on a portable device, though slightly below the 3DS experience.
Yes, the SH-03C is able to take 3D photos as well as 2D HD Video, but unlike the 3DS, the SH-03C only comes with a single 9.6Mpix CCD AF camera module. This forced Sharp to develop a technical trick to allow you to shoot photos in 3D: To shoot 3D Photos, you will have to pan your phone from left to right, a bit like you would do when taking panorama pictures on panorama-capable cameras.
Although this is not the most elegant way to capture 3D photos, nor is it the most accurate or efficient, but when it works, it works well. Don’t expect miracles — photos taken in 3D will give you something like this:
(3D MPO files converted in 2 JPEG).
The camera will give you decent 800×480 photos in 3D that can be enjoyed on your phone. If you want to view 3D photos on your 3DTV, the SH-03C may not be the camera of choice.
Yes, the SH-03C is able to take HD video (720p), but the model we had seemed to have some technical issues. A portion of the upper part of the video would be out-of-sync compared of the rest of the video (see below).
I’m not sure if these technical issues also explain the poor quality of the video shot with the SH-03C, but the video from an iPhone 4 is much better in comparison.
As mentioned earlier, please do not take this as a “review”, but rather a quick, first hands-on impression of the world’s first 3D phone.
Technically speaking, as far as the 3D is concerned, there is nothing really to complain about. The SH-03C does its job well in this area and will provide you an excellent 3D experience. However, as I mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of the material used on this phone nor the stock Android OS experience. If Sharp could have done its job as well as HTC with its Sense UI or even with the Xperia X10 UI approach, I would definitively give this new phone a second chance. As it is, and since 3D does not bring much to the overall user experience, I will rather skip this model and wait a little longer.