Hands-On With the RED Hydrogen One

The new RED Hydrogen One phone has some new and unique display features that got a lot of interest nine months ago. Now RED has taken their new mobile phone to the media to showcase what it can do. Although we aren't allowed to see the screen (it doesn't display well on videos) we can get an idea of what RED is envisioning for the future of capturing video. 

The Modularity of It All

RED already offers the ability to use lenses from Nikon, Canon and many other third party lenses on their cameras. With this phone, they're imagining being able to change the sensor and mount lenses as technology progresses or as the needs for the various shots you want to take changes. 

It's a Monitor

The RED eco system is built with rigor and you'll be able to use this phone as a monitor on any RED camera that's out there, whether you're shooting a movie or a music video. The worst case scenario would be that you're busy shooting your best shot ever and it's your significant other calling about dinner plans having you shout out "cut and take five!"

The Screen

We weren't able to see the screen in this video. RED is very good at building on the anticipation and wow factor for when they eventually release it later this year. But by the looks of things it'll do something no other phone does with regards to 3D visual experiences. But without seeing it, we don't know. 


It seems like RED will be an important player in the creator phone market starting this year. Apple has their focus on the video abilities of their phones, but if you envision a professional shooter who's on the market for a new phone, the RED will be looked at as a serious tool for use in their everyday life. This will make it a lot more likely to be chosen over an iPhone. It's an interesting development, and I'm looking forward to its release.

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Doug Stringham's picture

I expect this to be a hard fail.

Wouter du Toit's picture

I think that’s what they said about RED when the company launched their first camera too.

Doug Stringham's picture

I never said that about RED... and have used them since their original release. This looks like a hard fail.

Oliver Kmia's picture

Same here, after reading a few articles and watching some videos I still don't really understand what this thing does and why it's so special beside the all the hype about the screen.
Modularity is usually a disaster on the consumer market, people want something round, small and efficient, not a big transformer phone that costs more that a Iphone X.
Photographer will keep using their cameras instead of attaching a lower end sensor on it while consumers won't carry large piece of glass with adapters to take selfie.

Tony Tumminello's picture

From what I've been reading, people seem to be predicting that the screen is going to effectively just be a high-res version of something like the Nintendo 3DS (which would explain the embargo and the explanation of "it doesn't photograph/video well").

It'll definitely be interesting to see if this flops harder than the last phone that tried to make a big deal out of the screen, the Amazon Fire Phone, or if it succeeds on the back of the modularity.

Zach Iddings's picture

Its most definitely not like a nintendo 3DS haha. Played with it in person, and it is correct that it wouldn't really be possible to photo/video the screen and turn people onto it. your eyes have to adjust to whatever science shit they did to the screen to make everything holographic. Doesn't really translate at all through someone trying to record it or take a photo of it.

Chris Rogers's picture

I expect the battery to last a total of 1337 seconds.

Zach Iddings's picture

I was at the sneak peek event, viewed the phone hands on a couple times. Once sharing the screen with my girlfriend so I didn't get a straight-on view, but it still looked awesome. Watched the videos they had on it a second time straight on and it was pretty damn amazing. The 3D audio is also insane. Speakers on top and bottom of the phone help a ton, but in the headphones is where it gets real crazy.

This phone wont be for everybody, and I don't think Jim cares as long as some people like it. The modularity of this phone isn't going to be your typical modular shit like motorola tried to do or whatever. Seems mostly for the RED user base. I don't even own a RED and I still preordered this phone because I'm sick of the iphone and wanted an excuse to switch. But I will definitely snap on my Canon glass when the camera module comes out for it.

Be a skeptic, say what you want, but after seeing it in person.. it will change things.

Jayson Carey's picture

This will likely be a "flop" if compared to other flagship phones, but I look at this phone as an on-set tool for AC's and operators instead of a flagship phone. I wouldn't expect a SmallHD 702 or a Teradeck Bolt 500 to be super popular consumer items either.

Cool, so an updated Ninendo 3DS that can call people?