The RED Hydrogen Smartphone? What the heck? A Deep Analysis

by planetMitch1 Comment

The RED Hydrogen smartphone is announced… Dust is settling after yesterday's crazy hyped up announcement of the RED Hydrogen Smartphone… so what is this thing?

I'm sure many of you are wondering the same thing and even after the minimal information from the RED Hydrogen announcement there isn't much real data on what this is, but there are plenty of polarized opinions.

So I thought I'd do a bit of digging and provide a curated cross section of what's out there on the web.

Of course, the initial announcement: (beware it is a tiny ass 1 page piddly info PDF)

And the flood of purchases started flowing in based on simple trust that RED could produce this new thing.

I'm dying to know what you think down in the comments!

Good summary of tech from FXGuide

The Tech Highlights: 

  • 5.7″ Professional Hydrogen Holographic Display. No glasses needed.
  • Support for holographic RED Hydrogen 4-View content (H4V)
  • View Stereo 3D content (no glasses)
  • Viewing Modes: AR, MR, VR, Holographic, 2D, 3D in Landscape or Portrait
  • Integrated support for controlling RED Cameras Scarlet, Epic and Weapon
  • 5.1 converted from Stereo via Headphones
  • Expandable Micro SD Slot
  • USB-C Cable/Charger
  • New content format .h4v
  • both internal store and the external micro SD card slot
  • And yes a headphone jack
  • front and rear cameras (but not what RED calls “cinema quality”)

Cost: US$1195 (Aluminum), $1595.00 (Titanium) – Tax, shipping and handling not included.

Shipping is scheduled for the Start of 2018 (Q1).

And a follow up post on REDuser from Jannard:

So… very interesting day to say the least. I love some of the reactions.

In no particular order, let me take a few swings here.

The Holographic Display.
It is incredible. It is multi-view (4-view) as compared to stereo 3D (2-view). Watching shocked faces light up when people see it is really motivating. There is no good way to describe it until you see it. Hopefully we will get some skeptics eyes on it soon… then they can tell you.

Our display is technology you haven’t seen before. It is not lenticular, which is inferior tech in every way, has been tried many times before and failed for good reason. (see Amazon 3D Fire, LG Optimus, etc). Lenticular display dramatically lowers resolution, cannot be turned off for standard 2D content, only works in one direction (usually landscape), has color crosstalk… to name just a few issues. My bet is that other “big” companies will try to re-package lenticular 3D displays with eye-tracking in response to our program. Don’t fall for it.

Why did some Redusers blindly order HYDROGEN today without even reading the release? This seems incredible to those unfamiliar with the RED program. Over the past 10 years RED has gone from scam (announcing the impossible) to delivering the impossible… over and over. Our core customers have seen and participated in this process and have stories to tell. Apparently we have earned their “blind trust” because we have not let them down. We understand that those unfamiliar with our history will certainly not get this.

Some additional details. One website said it was unclear whether HYDROGEN came with a battery. Let me assure you that it does. 🙂

It also comes with internal storage and an external micro SD card slot. And a headphone jack. A selfie camera and a back camera. These cameras will not produce cinema quality images. No cell phone does. What we will have is a modular system that adds image quality well beyond any other camera short of our professional cameras. Remember that we have a lot of elbow room on this front. Our Weapon Helium sensor scored 108 on That beat the Sony A7RII by 10 full points.…me-high-score2

So why do we feel we can make a difference in the cell phone market? Because we are doing everything different and (we feel) better. That is the only way to enter a market. That was the thinking behind Oakley. It was the thinking when we released the RED ONE. Same formula. Make something significantly better and you have a reason to be.

We look forward to releasing many more details and specs about the project as time goes along. Anytime you don’t like what you see, full refund for any reason spoken here. However… be prepared to be surprised on the upside. It only gets better the more information you have.

Today we saw the full range from “complete trust” to “hard skepticism”. I have seen this before… many times actually. Makes me smile.



One of the most intriguing things to me is the claim in the PDF that the audio enhancements are worth the price of the phone alone. Ok, definitely curious. Will this fix my $5 headphones I bought from 5Below? What are the requirements here? Hmmm. Not much info.

again, from FXGuide:

The only significant difference – away from the video/display – is that the sound quality will be dramatically better for playing your music etc. Superior audio would require conversion of your audio files to the virtual 5.1 for improved headphone audio.

From Forbes:

Red says there's a special piece of code embedded that it calls the “H3O algorithm,” which converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio. Red calls this 5.1 on headphones. Now, this sort of thing isn't new at all. Anyone who games on a PC will be aware that there are plenty of surround sound headphone options. And we know you can do a lot with binaural audio too, giving the illusion of spatial sound. And, if you're doing 3D and “holographic” content then you'll want immersive sound to match.

Vincent Laforet's opinion:

An excerpt – read the whole post

So why did I buy “Hydrogen” before I even read the full description of what it was?

Frankly it's very very unlike me. Others have credited me all too often as being an “early adopter” or “pioneer.” The truth is – if you really study my past – I usually wait a bit to see how things flesh out…

I was so adamant about the BS related to 3D that I refused to even shoot a single thing with it … that could be called myopic but I was just so passionately against it.

More to the point: prior to today's announcement, I had committed to buying whatever Jim Jannard and RED Digital Cinema w Jarred Land were selling sight unseen.


Simply put they've gained my trust. I'm not and never have been a fan boy … but they have delivered enough times and in a meaningful enough way (and then some) that they've earned my trust. Or should I say “faith?” … (go read the whole thing)

other RED Hydrogen opinions:

One of the best RED Hydrogen deep analysis posts is this one: “RED Holography (Lightfield?) Hydrogen Phone” from FXGuide

Tech Guru Robert Scoble:

This sounds interesting but let's be honest. I'm buying an iPhone, not this. They didn't even have it working for the media (hence why there's no videos that I can find of the thing actually turned on).

That said, I sure want to see one.

engadget: “Camera maker RED is building a phone with a ‘holographic' screen

“And here's the really crazy part: if RED can actually deliver what it promises, the Hydrogen One may actually be worth the asking price.”


Matt from the Cinematography Database:

Chris Murray (watch on 2x speed)



(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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