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09 July 2010

My HTC Evo 4G Review (Finally)

Sorry this took so long. I've had the new phone for over a month now and have had friends email me asking for the review. But with everything going on and the Fourth of July weekend, I'm just now in a good place to let it rip. So here it goes...

Sprint Service
My wife and I have been with almost every carrier there is. Sprint is as good or better than most. We pay around $120.00 total for two smart phones and unlimited everything (Except for voice. We share 1500 minutes and never come close). I do have to pay an extra $10.00/month for 4G which I can use if we travel to cities that have it...

I have held HTC phones in the past which were small, light, had little screens and felt very cheap (Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, etc.) but HTC has definitely taken a turn in quality. The Evo is big, heavy and solid (which all appeal to me). I want something that has a nice large screen (since it takes such large pictures and 720p video) and something that feels well built. The Snapdragon processor is stinking fast - no lag time like I was used to on the Palm Pre. My only irritation is the screen - still sub par compared to the iPhone and requires protection with a BodyGuardz shield. However, I have been putting these on every device I purchase so I would probably even put one on the iPhone...

Amazing pictures - large, good color and lots of options to choose from. Quick operation with no "sit and wait" like I had on the Palm Pre. Easy picture management and easy share functionality with a menu of over 14 options.

720p. HD video on a phone. Wow. But let's be honest - what phone is going to take crystal clear HD video? As for the quality I call it amazing for a phone - but definitely requires good lighting and moderate movement. For an interview in broad daylight you might have a hard time telling it was from a phone. But a soccer game at night and you're out of luck my friend. Again, good features, quick operation. The phone came set up to use Qik for all the video stuff but I haven't got it to work yet. Probably user error - just haven't really messed with it yet. Also - haven't tested out the video conferencing.

Android 2.1 OS
I'll admit I was a bit leery of switching to a Droid phone. I really like the stuff Google puts out, but had a hard time believing they could put out an amazing OS for a phone - something Microsoft still hasn't perfected. But I'm pleasantly surprised at the level of complexity, the simple UI and the available options (Apps typically available at the same time as they are for the iPhone). The other cool thing is that most newer Android phones will be upgraded to Froyo (Android OS 2.2) in the next few months. I've already read some articles on the speed and increased functionality with Froyo (including flash support) and I'm stoked.

HTC Sense
Basically - when you buy a phone (like a computer) the company that built it likes to put a few finishing touches on it - typically small software programs and UI upgrades that they feel will be helpful. In this case, HTC has built what is called HTC Sense - a UI that sits on top of the stock Android OS and makes it easier for the user to access content and use the phone. For those that love to tweak their OS and flash it every week or so - probably not necessary - but for the average user this is a nice touch and makes the phone that much more simple and straightforward. You basically get seven screens that you can edit to death. Add shortcuts, small widgets or full screen widgets. Mix and match - make it yours. You also have a nice shortcut that shows you all seven screens at one time for easy access.

Battery Life
I'm not going to lie - big smart phones require daily charging. However, I haven't seen a huge difference from my Palm Pre and on days when I use the phone on an "as needed" basis I can almost get 2 days of use out of one charge.

Cutting Edge Stuff
The Evo is revolutionary for reasons that I probably won't even take advantage of:
  • 4G: I don't live in an area that has 4G so I have no idea what it can do. Looking forward to a trip to Chicago so I can test it out though...
  • Wireless Hotspot: In a 4G zone the Evo can provide Internet access to up to 8 devices. Again - not in a 4G area and don't want to pay the price to access this functionality.
All together an amazing phone. I'm glad I bought it and can't wait to see what Froyo does to the speed and functionality.