November 22, 2014

HTC EVO 4G: The AndroidGuys Review

I’ll spare you guys a bunch of long-winded paragraphs and get right to the point.  The HTC EVO 4G is the best phone you can buy for your money right now.  Coupled with Sprint’s rate plans, there is really not much to even debate.  From the gorgeous, and massive screen to the speedy 1GHz processor, it easily bests my previous Android experiences.  I am not going to bore you with head-to-head match ups or specific test here.  There’s plenty of the detailed stuff to be found online already.  No, I will simply tell you about the things that stick out.  My gut tells me that you guys are a lot like me.  Your usage changes from day to day and you just want to know the big picture.

It’s a Beast

Let me start with the size of the phone.  At 4.3-inches, it’s not exactly a tiny device.  Yes, I throw it in my front pocket and carry it around in the same manner as my long forgotten G1.  Yes, I also worry like crazy that something is going to stab me in the leg and break the display.  It may not be the Super AMOLED of the Samsung Galaxy S but it’s the first thing anyone notices whenever I show them the phone.  It’s almost laughable when I show my Cliq XT next to it.  However, the EVO 4G is every bit as thin as my Cliq XT and doesn’t feel much different in my pocket.

Buttons and Display

The screen, and four buttons are very accurate and responsive.  I’ve not run into any issues where they don’t recognize my touch and the cursor always ends up right where I want it.  Thanks to its size, typing is a breeze.  When going back through emails and texts, I can get right where I need to or want to.  Whether in portrait or landscape mode, pounding out an email is almost effortless.

I’m sure you’ve seen enough pictures of the phone to know that the top is where the 3.5mm headphone jack is while the bottom has the micro-USB and micro-HMDI port.  Unfortunately, Sprint and HTC opted to leave out a micro-HDMI cable so I cannot give you a detailed account of personal experience.  I can say this though – what I saw at CTIA (Prince of Persia trailer) looked amazing.  There was nary a stutter to be found and the image was as good as anything I’ve watched in HD.

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera that comes with the EVO 4G has replaced the Nikon my wife and I often carry around.  It’s nice to have a camera phone that opens up the app quickly and snaps pictures immediately.  Yeah, I am staring at at you, G1. As for the front-facing camera, it’s more than adequate for those of you who want to snap of some Facebook pictures.  If you’re into cutting-edge, Jetsons-like things such as video calling, I think you’ll be more than pleased with its quality.  NOTE: The pictures you see above were untouched and taken in real-world conditions.  Real-world meaning, “Hey let me get a picture of that really quick!

Battery

Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the battery. As many of you may have read elsewhere, it’s a sticky point.  As I said above, I did not do any hard tests or face off comparisons but I can share this.  You will want to keep a charger on hand, either for your PC (micro-USB) or in the car.  If you are coming from a previous Android phone, you already know how this goes.  The EVO 4G, like others, is capable of doing many things at once and handling multiple background applications.  You have to understand that if your twitter and Facebook apps are running updates every five minutes that it’s going to tax your 1500mAh battery.  Plus, the 4.3-inch screen makes it awfully hard not to watch YouTube or play games.  Longer-term web browsing, games, and GPS activity are going to wear you down if you’re not careful.  Of course all of you  know this already.  Battery life is probably most noticeable to former BlackBerry or iPhone users.  I will end it with this – considering the screen size and multimedia capabilities of the phone, I don’t expect more out of it.  Would I like more?  Of course.  Just get yourself into good habits like turning off Bluetooth and WiFi and you’ll be alright.

HTC Sense UI

This phone, like the Droid Incredible before it, really give HTC’s custom user interface the power it needs.  The 1GHz processor and memory is more than adequate to keep my seven screens full of widgets and shortcuts.  The FriendStream, Calendar, and other HTC widgets look amazing on the phone and really get a chance to shine.  I wanted to wait a few weeks before I could definitively say this but it handles everything I throw at it.  After getting past the first impression of ‘Wow!  It’s so fast!” I wanted to load the phone with apps and put it through real world usage.  I am happy to say that my EVO 4G has more apps on it than my Cliq XT and G1 combined and it shows no signs of struggle.

4G and Mobile Hotspot

I wish I could share my experiences with 4G with you guys but I live in an area that likely won’t see it for another year.  I suggest checking around for other reviews from people who actually have tried the service.  As for the mobile WiFi sharing, it’s super easy to use and the feature works great.  My first experience came in San Francisco when I watched LOST over my netbook using the 3G network.  After an initial stutter and buffering snag, I was able to enjoy the full episode without interruption.

Anything Else?

I do have a somewhat minor gripe in the way the microSD card is handled.  You must power the phone off and remove the battery each time you want to replace the card.  Like I said, trivial.  If you throw a 16GB or 32GB card in there you should be okay.  If you are one of those people who go back and forth between multiple 2GB cards then you are going to get tired of that quickly.

Call quality is nothing remarkable in that I never thought about it.  The speaker and input were plenty loud and the network provided a clear conversation every time.  There were no issues in dropped calls or clarity but that’s more of a network discussion anyhow.

In terms of Android, there’s nothing else out there that another phone has over the EVO 4G.  As I mentioned at the beginning this phone and the accompanying Sprint rate plans make it not only the best Android phone out there, but possibly the best combination in the industry.  Looking beyond next week’s WWDC and Apple’s big iPhone announcement, I am hard pressed to imagine anything better in the near future.

  • James Stanson

    I am LOVING mine. This is the device I've dreamed of since I was a kid.

    Suck it, Verizon.

    • bubbatex

      I am sitting here outside of Austin, TX with an iPhone 3GS, a Verizon Incredible and the new Sprint EVO. ATT and Sprint seems to be "sucking it" for me. Verizon's 3g data is at least 2x times better than either – and I am in 4g coverage area. The EVO's call quality seems to be just a tad better than the Incredibles, but the iPhone is last as far as phones go. LOVE the iPhone, but I really need more "Phone" and less "i". Thanks ATT, I will be void a great phone once one of these Android devices proves their worth…..

  • dr oid

    I'm "sucking it" with Verizon……all over the country, big towns and small…with a sweet HTC inc. I'm sure the evo is nice like the incredible…but with mine…I get incredible coverage…something 4g Sprint just cannot do.

  • TareX

    The horrible battery life just kills the usability of this phone. Behind the 4.3" screen, there's a 4.3" backlight constantly on… Also, it's almost 40% thicker than the HD2… this thing is more like a tablet. I think the Samsung Galaxy S struck the right chords with its 4" Super AMOLED screen…. if only its camera had a flash and the phone didn't come in this cheap plasticky cover….

    As for the Samsung's terrible -albeit user friendly- UI compared the Sense, I know I would just root both, and have Froyo running (with Launcher Pro) on Day One…

  • Robert

    I picked up my EVO this morning around 11 am. Being a new device I was on it basically all day between calling several people testing out call quality, text messaging, lots of web browsing, Facebook updates, a good dozen pictures and even used the GPS for the 12 mile drive from Best Buy back home to test it out. The phone started out with 58% battery life and 7 hours later it was at 20%… Getting 7+ hours out of what was at best 1/2 battery life is pretty good. It is a little awkward to hold when talking on the phone. That is some thing I will have to get use to. Both the size and weight of the device is a lot different than the Nexus One I dumped to get the EVO. The Nexus One was almost perfect except for a combination of T-Mobiles very limited network and 3G signal issues… Be interesting to see how well it holds up tomorrow on a full charge….. But so far I think the battery issue is WAY OVER exaggerated..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/theSuperStar theSuperStar

    good review.

  • MJ123

    Got mine this morning (was out the door by 6:15 am), I'm not having any trouble with the battery, I did turn off a few things when I got out of the store … it's been on for 14+ hours, 12 hours 35 minutes since I pulled it off the charger and I've still got 80% of my battery. Made a few calls, watched a couple of clips of last nights Letterman show on Sprint TV, posted a little on Facebook, but not that much because I had a busy working. Unlike TareX I don't have backlight on constantly … it lights up if a call is coming through, or if I activate it to do something … so you might want to adjust some settings TareX.. I turned off the WiFi and the 4G since I wasn't in an area that had 4G today … call quality is great, everyone that I spoke with had no problem hearing me even when their own connection was dicey.

    When I'm looking at battery usage I'm seeing the following:

    Cell standby — 43%
    Phone idle — 41%
    Android System — 8%
    Voice Calls — 5%
    Display — 3%

    I'm gonna have to dig into the manual to figure that out, because I'm pretty sure that doesn't add up to 100%.
    The feel of this thing is amazing, and I'm kind of wondering if some of these negators actually have the phone … it doesn't feel plasticky at all. It feels sturdy, and well built. At one time I thought that the Evo would be too big, I'm a woman and I was going back and forth about whether or not I wanted to stick with Sprint for the EVO or switch to Verizon for the Incredible … but last weekend I dropped by Radioshack and handled the demo model that they had. Felt okay, so I decided to just go for it this morning. Didn't pre-order it, so I had to be there early or I'd be out of luck … they only had 18 total EVO's onhand, and 10 of them were pre-orders.

    I'll have to see what it's like when thrown into overdrive this weekend … totally burned out from only getting 4 hours of sleep and driving a couple hundred miles today. We'll see, but thus far I'm pretty happy with this phone.

  • MJ123

    Man I'm tired … I know, that does add up to 100% … sleep deprived me.

  • Calian

    You're referring to video calls as "cutting-edge"? It might have been cutting-edge 7 years ago when 3G arrived. Keep up, damnit.

  • http://www.cheap-hard-drive.com/ Cheap Hard Drive

    I’m very tempted to move over to this from my iphone 3G but am concerned about the battery life. However faster data speeds are very appealing.

    Do we know if iphone 4 is going to be 4G?

  • http://twitter.com/kpoz @kpoz

    That is the Jabba the Hutt of strawberries, Scott.

  • http://www.scrappincop.com Deb

    Great review. I rarely get more than 8 hours out of my Hero so the battery life doesn't concern me too much. You can pick up batteries for $5 on ebay and I have 2 spares for my Hero. I just wanted to comment on that gorgeous looking strawberry – I've never seen anything like it!

    Thanks for the info, can't wait to get my Evo when I'm eligible for upgrade in November!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/ititothemes Tito Salgado

    iPhone 4 killed this phone for me.

  • theposter

    @cheap hard drive

    Dude, ATT will have a 4g network around 2012, if you are lucky. ATT it’s way to lazy when technology comes around. The only way that they got the iphone was because veryzon turned down that offer… anyways…

    Those with the evo 4g, please note that the 4g is not available in all areas, but sprint is working on that, also, there is an increase of $10 by just acquring the phone, so that you could use the its features.

    Other than this the phone looked great so far, and it’s pounding badly the iphone, it was about time to show apple that they can’t rule the market for so long.

  • https://mutiarar06.student.ipb.ac.id Mutia

    nice review.. love it..

  • http://ekas0615.student.ipb.ac.id khay

    nice post. thanks for sharing. i like it :p

  • Jeffery Haas

    BEWARE the microUSB port.
    Mine has broken using only the supplied microUSB cable that came with the phone.
    I've only had this phone maybe two weeks!
    I am waiting to find out if it's covered by warranty.
    It had better be.

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  • beechaviator

    Well I purchased my EVO at Best Buy last week December 23 and they price matched Sam’s Club and I paid out the door $179.00 plus sales tax with the normal upgrade price being $199 – no mail-in rebate required like the Sprint store. As soon as I activated the phone it received 3 HTC updates and the phone is running Android 2.2 release 3.70.651.1 w/ PRL 60674. The phone is energy hungry, but it seems to last the entire day for me and I use quite a bit of WEB use each day. The unit while short on memory with only 512MB comes with 8GB SD card and I’ve moved many apps over to the SD card. The snap dragon processor is lightening fast and the display – while not a super AMOLED – is quite nice. For those that need to extra juice, you can get a extra size Seido 3500 mAh battery (or other type) which comes with a replacement back cover which is quite nice. These sell at Amazon for $53.94 or retail for $69.00 at Best Buy. These more than double the time between charges and are great for those who travel and can’t get to a charge point. Bottom line is I like my EVO and would buy another as long as Sprint does not have the iPhone as it is clearly a better product – come on Sprint, get some Apple products like Verizon is! Again I’m happy with the EVO, but if I were to wish for the perfect Sprint high end phone it would be the next generation (5G maybe) of iPhone with CDMA/WiMAX and that would really rock!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jesus-Lopez/100002210504205 Jesus Lopez

    The Evo is definitely the best phone on the market right now; with the large screen, 8meg camera, and 4G speeds this phone easily tops the iPhone. This phone is very great for watching TV with my Sling adapter from DISH Network. I actually work at DISH and the Sling adapter allows me to watch live or recorded TV on my phone. The best part is that I can use it wherever I get WiFi or 3G coverage, and you can imagine how much better the experience is with Sprint’s 4G network.

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