The Tale of EVO Screen Woes: A First-Hand Account (With Video)

After much discussion with my peers, I had come to the conclusion that the problems people were seeing with the HTC EVO 4G’s screen were nothing more than a select few, Twitter savvy folk stirring up trouble on the Interwebs. Sure enough… I was wrong.

You see, the day I got my first EVO, I was in complete awe. The screen was unlike anything I had seen before. Even next to an AMOLED equipped phone, I was impressed. Then came the moment when my heart was broken–my EVO had a dead pixel. Not to fear, I thought to myself. I shall call Sprint and swap it out for another.

And so I did. Sprint was extremely helpful and understanding on each and every call I made to them. Once the EVO was finally back in stock, I ordered a replacement and patiently awaited its arrival. Sure enough, on my birthday, my 2nd EVO would grace me with its presence. I was overjoyed! I quickly opened the box, turned on the phone, examined the pixels on the magnificently white boot screen, and noticed it was clear. “Perfect,” I said, as a sign of relief exited my upper extremities.

But then it happened. The EVO had finished booting up and had presented its homescreen. I squinted, checked the brightness settings, then ran to grab my first EVO. The screen on my replacement device may have been pixel complete, but the colors seemed dark, dingy, and overall, unappealing. I didn’t get the same feeling that my original EVO gave me when turning on its gorgeous 4.3″ TFT display. This new EVO was no suitable replacement.

Just to be the tech savvy nerd that I am, I decided to also check out the screens infamous grounding issue. Sure enough, my replacement EVO had that problem as well. I was shocked! Not only did the screen look like it belonged on a sub $200 smartphone, but unless it was on a sturdy surface, it wouldn’t respond properly to touch. This is totally unacceptable for a top-of-the line device.

I will continue pursuing the acquisition of my perfect EVO, as I am still within my 30 days of purchase. But if I had to pick between an EVO with a vibrant screen containing a single dead pixel and an EVO with a dingy and malfunctioning touchscreen, I’m sure I’d take the former.

Below is a video comparing my two EVOs and the issues that the new one has. Keep in mind that both devices were set on auto-brightness for the video. I apologize for the shakiness, as I still don’t have a tripod to use for proper video recording (ordering one soon). Obviously, the color differences are better seen in person, but this should give you some idea as to how different the two screens look. I’m not even sure which device is the model Sprint and HTC intended to release. All I know is that the screen on my first EVO seems much more impressive. Anyone out there wanna weigh in on the EVO’s screen woes? We’d love to hear from you.


  • webby

    HTC build quality … there are a whole list of reported issues on this phone and other recent HTC phones. It is the only reason that I haven't bought the EVO — too concerned about build quality.

  • theillustratedlife

    I went through too many iPhones after the dock connector port on my first one started running. (The corner cracked and stopped seating the cable properly). The last one obviously had a yellow tint on the screen. The guy at the Apple Store Genius Bar tried to write it off as normal, even though the employee who took my reservation clearly noticed the problem. Apparently Apple was "warming the screen in regards to customer feedback." Luckily, a similar crack emerged on the replacement and allowed me to exchange it for one with a properly calibrated screen.

    I'm now a happy EVO owner, although something really needs to be done about this battery life. Google, please release the source to 2.2 so we can start building feature-complete homebrew ROMs.

  • I will be sure to thoroughly investigate my Saturday morning. In fact, I took the Sprint customer care agents, but I am not aware of all calls from customers complaining about these issues. I even went to a couple of shops nearby and they have not had any problems or backward because of this thing However, I am suspicious Kinda worried now.

  • Matt

    I may or may not have the grounding issue. It seems like it comes and goes as it pleases, which is frustrating because I can't consistently reproduce it. I'm not sure if I want to take the risk of returning it and getting a phone with screen separation issues or a worse case of the grounding issue.

  • Danw

    So far my screen looks beautiful and is not peeling up. I have noticed the grounding issue but it only appears to impact swiping and only on the very top of the screen when not holding the device. All touch input still works fine and I can even pinch zoom and swipe screens. The only thing I can't do well is pull down the notification bar if i'm not touching the device with another hand or if its on an ungrounded surface like a pillow.
    I am having an issue with my inear speaker with heavy distortion/crackling on voices but i'm afraid to take it in cause I don't want to get a phone with a bad screen

  • Guest

    Have you checked the brightness settings on the 2 phones?

    • Not to be mean… But did you even read my story?

      "I squinted, checked the brightness settings, then ran to grab my first EVO."
      "Keep in mind that both devices were set on auto-brightness for the video."

  • Marco

    Oh well. That HTC has some QC problems is not a new finding. The N1 has so many QC problems it is unbelievable. Some people had to swap 3 times to get a functioning unit. I swapped once and do it again as soon as I have the final version of Froyo and my problems persist. HTC should rather produce 30% less phones per year but good quality phones. Quality not quantity. But this doesn't count anywhere anymore I guess. I will by my next android phone either from another manufacturer or after thoroughly testing of other users. HTC has to gain my trust again.

  • Miguel

    Why is it so difficult to post a link to the video ALONG with the video imbed? I (as many probably) cannot view YouTube at work. Thank goodness for Chrome to Phone.

  • NeoteriX

    I appreciate the time it took to document this on video Ben — honestly, for the grounding issue, I had seen so many documented videos on it, I had assumed that all Evos and Incredibles were implicated and that it was a design flaw, not a manufacturing defect. Now it seems clear that only some subset of Evos are affected by the grounding issue.

    Also, it is hard to note the differences in saturation in the video — maybe increasing both to the same (max) brightness and using a more vivid background (I would recommend the "HTC Sense" color blur active wallpaper — I know that one blew me away with the color vibrancy when I first started my Evo).

    • Yeah, it's not the easiest to see on my video, but depending on the computer I watch it on, I see a fairly different color saturation. Take it from me… the one on the left looks sooo bad compared to the one on the right. You can even see it on the video's thumbnail image. Look at the launcher, for example. The one of the left looks somewhat greenish by comparison.

  • It's sounding more and more like HTC can't keep up with the demand of the Android phones and they are suffering more and more from quality issues. I guess it's Mortorola's chance to shine in this area. . . and whomever else wants to make the run at being "the Android high quality phone manufacturer."

    • NeoteriX

      'Lest you think this is a new phenomenon, I would challenge you to search around the launch dates of any new device–the venerable iPhone 3GS included. You'll see the same issues of yellowing screens, breaking plastic, degrading oleophobic coating… manufacturing defects are NOT new in this day an age of mass produced electronics.

      • They may not be new, but they're still unacceptable IMHO. People pay good money for these devices. There's no reason they should have to return multiple phones before getting one that actually works as it should.

  • ShadowGod

    Every new phone is going to have "build issues". It goes with the territory. Remember the Palm Pre? Now that had build issues.

    I am not having any problems at all with my EVO, no battery issues, no grounding issues, no dull screen. It's perfect. Don't imply that the battery issues and the "grounding" issue affect all EVOs because they don't.

    • I never said they plagued ALL EVOs. However, it's starting to become more and more apparent. What are the odds of a single person getting 2 defective EVOs? That's not very good.

  • Ben,

    I am assuming your first Evo was from Google I/O as I havent experienced any issues with that device as it seems the stock actually sold from Sprint were the ones having issues.

    Obviously I didnt have any dead pixel issues but could see at night, if tilted on the side, bright light eminating from the side of the screen as it it wasn't "chaulked" all the way.

    Beyond that I had no touchscreen issues and even the battery was a champ as I had it last over 4 days with light use.

    • As I said in the video, the first EVO is the one I ordered from Sprint shortly after the launch date. Unfortunately, I never made it to Google I/O. I wish I had though 🙁

      I've heard about the light emanating thing. I have a bit of leakage below the navigation buttons, but it doesn't bother me at all.

      • I apologize as I didn't check the video when I didnt see how exactly you came across the 1st Evo in the text.

        It was good to see Scott & his wife at Google I/O as I didn't know if anyone else from the Android Guys team made it as well.

  • unwired

    No problems here whatsoever. Sorry others are having problems, mostly because it allows iFanboys a reason to snicker.

  • Trevor

    I went through this same issue with verizon while trying to get the perfect droid. The problem it turns out is that they do not give new phones as replacements, but refurbished phones. Their theory on it is that if yours is slightly used, why should you trade it for a new one?!

    My first droid had a headphone jack short, traded it in, and got one with a dingy screen. So I took it in and I showed them the screen, said they didn’t have any in stock and would ship me a replacement. The replacement had the same dingy screen on top of even more issues, so I sent that same one back to them, and settled on my otherwise perfect, but dingy droid.

    It turns out the screens they refurbish with are not the same quality as the original, so when you send in your evo with the dead pixel, they will slap a dingy screen replacement on it and put it back in circulation, that is, assuming HTC does the same thing as moto.

  • John

    I will never buy anything made by HTC again
    They are just awful at quality
    Total junk

  • ray


    • ray


  • samuel

    RAY CALLLLMM YOURSELF! LOL.. but yea my evo had the grounding problem bad. The entire screen was almost unusable. I noticed the screen was loose at the bottom and after a week of constant use it got noticeably worse. So I’m taking my evo back before my 30 day period because I’m not taking any chances. I preordered my WHITE Evo today. If my next one has any issues it will surely be my last HTC phone.

  • this phone is cool but the battery power is very very disturbing..

  • matt m

    I haven’t experienced a grounding issue or anything like you guys are talking about, but I am very disappointed in the durability, my screen shattered from a four inch fall onto a wooden table.

  • eka

    very nice video. thanks

  • James

    Thanks for the video. It proves I’m not the only one notice the slight different in newer evo’s screen with yellowish tint. I purchased one right after Sprint release date then 2nd unit 2 months later. It’s the 2nd unit that has the screen annoying diggy yellowish tint. Please post update to see if the none yellowish screen is still available. thanks.

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