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The Red Hydrogen One phone is black magic

The Red Hydrogen One is an exciting, eccentric phone aimed at creatives and early-adopters.

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Patrick Holland

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Red Hydrogen One
1 of 21 James Martin/CNET

With a 3D holographic screen, modular upgrades, scalloped edges and the promise of a cinema-grade camera in the future, the Red Hydrogen One is one of the most ambitious phones in years.

Red Hydrogen One
2 of 21 James Martin/CNET

Under the 5.7-inch 2,560x1,440-pixel LCD screen is a nano light field that produces the 3D effect which Red calls 4-View (4V). No glasses are needed.

Red Hydrogen One
3 of 21 James Martin/CNET

You need to see the 4V screen in real life -- showing it in 2D photos just doesn't do it justice.

Red Hydrogen One
4 of 21 James Martin/CNET

When not showing 4V content, the screen is a perfectly normal (2D) phone display. As mundane as that sounds, this is truly a remarkable achievement.

Red Hydrogen One
5 of 21 James Martin/CNET

On the back of the phone are two 12-megapixel cameras that are exactly the same. Unlike the iPhone XS or Galaxy Note 9 the second camera isn't for zooming.

Red Hydrogen One
6 of 21 James Martin/CNET

The two cameras are paired stereoscopically -- kind of like binoculars -- allowing you to capture 3D photos and video.

Red Hydrogen One
7 of 21 James Martin/CNET

The Hydrogen One smartly saves a 2D version of any 4V photos or videos you capture so there's no FOMO. 

Red Hydrogen One
8 of 21 James Martin/CNET

Red is a California company that makes high-end cinema cameras used to film movies like Crazy Rich AsiansAnt-Man and The Wasp and Deadpool 2.

Red Hydrogen One
9 of 21 James Martin/CNET

On the back of the phone are copper pogo pins that will support modules Red is making. Sadly, there are none available at launch.

Red Hydrogen One
10 of 21 James Martin/CNET

The scalloped edges on the sides feel like a pair of brass knuckles.

Red Hydrogen One
11 of 21 James Martin/CNET

They fit my hand and fingers like a glove.

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Next to the top corner of the phone is a raised circular record/shutter button. A long press when the phone is in sleep mode will open the camera.

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13 of 21 James Martin/CNET

There is a fingerprint reader located within the scallops on the right side of the phone.

Red Hydrogen One
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The back of the Hydrogen One is made of aluminum and Kevlar.

Red Hydrogen One
15 of 21 James Martin/CNET

The Hydrogen One costs $1,295 (which converts to about £985 or AU$1,800) for the aluminum version I tested or $1,595 for a titanium version that will be released at some point in the future.

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16 of 21 James Martin/CNET

The phone is enormous. About the size of the new Razer Phone 2 or last year's iPhone 8 Plus in a case.

Red Hydrogen One
17 of 21 James Martin/CNET

Here it is next to the new Razer Phone 2 (left).

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And here is the Hydrogen One (right) next to the Pixel 3 XL.

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Now this is a proper pile of phones. At the bottom is the Red Hydrogen One, to the left is the iPhone XR (face up), at the top of the photo is the Pixel 3 XL and seemingly hovering above the other phones is the Razer Phone 2 on the right.

Red Hydrogen One
20 of 21 James Martin/CNET

It's exciting seeing Razer and Red push past the phone sameness found on the market.

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21 of 21 James Martin/CNET

For more on the Red Hydrogen One phone check out CNET's in-depth review.

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