EVO 4G is about to hit Sprint's network on June 4 and will
be the first 4G smartphone. That impressive distinction and its
stellar hardware spec have earned it the reputation of being the
smartphone of the summer to buy. Pre-orders for
the phone just began at Best Buy and Radio Shack, but already a
couple of early reviews by Engadget's Chris
Ziegler and All
Things Digital's Walt
Mossberg (who also writes for The
Wall Street Journal)
have shown up on the internet.
The basic summary of the early
reviews is this. The 4G is faster than anything you've seen,
but it's spotty and a battery draw. The phone is overall above
the competition with its super fast data speeds, simultaneous
voice/data when on 4G, huge screen, mini-HDMI connector, and
impressive camera. However, there's some minor quality
concerns. But a couple of special features -- Wi-Fi
connectivity, high speed YouTube, and video chat elevate the phone
potentially to must buy status.
Turning first to the packaging
which is "resembling a microwaveable meal", according to
green shoppers will enjoy that the packaging is recycled and comes
with a recycling envelope. Also packed inside is the Micro-USB
cable, USB wall charger, a 1500mAh battery, 8GB microSD card and the
Turning to the hardware and build
quality, both reviews praised the massive 4.3" screen, which is
only matched by HTC's own HTC HD2 (powered on the stale Windows
Mobile 6.5). That lead might not last for long, though given
that the Motorola
Shadow/Mirage phone is supposed to pack a 4.3" screen
and be released by mid-year. Still for now, the screen is about
the best you'll get -- better than the current generation iPhone,
that the phone is "beefier" than the HD2 or Nexus One.
And Walt Mossberg gripes, "The phone is heavy."
also some light leakage out the bottom of the phone and HTC strangely
has designed the phone to rest directly on the camera lens glass,
which could lead to scratches for those who do not protect their
phones in a case. Inside, the memory card is a bit hard to
replace as its under the battery and uses a strange latching
mechanism. The EVO shares the fire engine red underbody of the
HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon.
Overall both reviewers said
the build quality, despite the minor shortcomings, is excellent.
Among the hot features is the kickstand, which Engadget lauds
"positive (sic) spring loaded action and feels like it's made of
Turning next to the camera, it receives a
lot of praise in the Engadget review,
which says that it features an extremely fast shutter speed, even
with auto-focus. They like that you can switch between MPEG4
and H.264 video modes, but criticize HTC's liberal compression of
One app that raised the phone up a notch was
the YouTube HQ app which features impressive full-screen videos that
are loaded fast, thanks to the speedy network. Another highly
valuable app is Sprint's Hotspot app which is extremely easy to use
(more on the speed later). Finally, Qik-powered two-way video
chat app is also expected to be a hot edition, but it wasn't ready
for review quite yet.
A burning question likely on your mind
-- how does the 4G work? Well apparently in the limited number
of cities with coverage, its very fast if you can get
it. Endgadget reports
getting "WiFi-like speed" (7.5Mbps down and nearly 3Mbps
up, 3.5 Mbps average up) while being able to make calls over
Similarly, Walt Mossberg says his tests show speeds of 1
to 4 mbps, compared to 1Mbps down for the iPhone on AT&T or 2
Mbps down for the HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon. However
Mossberg warns, "[W]hen using 4G, the EVO’s battery runs down
Battery life is a reoccurring concern.
It isn't horrible, but it apparently isn't great. If you plan
on tethering, you might want to plug in your phone to prevent battery
drain over long sessions. Another concern Engadget raises
is that HTC has been slow pushing out updates so there's a chance the
2.2 "Froyo" update could be slow coming to the
phone. App memory capacity (only 358 MB of 9 GB for third party
apps) is yet another concern.
Both reviews summarize the phone
on a positive note. Mossberg summarizes:
verdict: The HTC EVO 4G, when used on Sprint’s 4G network, offers
the highest consistent downstream data speeds I have ever seen on a
cellular network. It also has a number of other strong features: a
front-facing camera for video chatting, and the ability to serve as a
Wi-Fi hotspot (for an extra fee of $30 a month) that can
simultaneously connect up to eight laptops or other devices to the
And Engadget comments:
us be crystal clear: we love this phone. Nay, we adore it. But the
fact remains that it's still very much an Android device -- which
means that if you don't like Android now, odds are good that even
Android executed on the most amazing hardware to date won't do much
to change your opinion of it.
quote: (7.5Mbps down and nearly 3Mbps up, 3.5 Mbps average up)
quote: Turning to the hardware and build quality, both reviews praised the massive 4.3" screen, which is only matched by HTC's own HTC HD2 (powered on the stale Windows Mobile 6.5). That lead might not last for long, though given that the Motorola Shadow/Mirage phone is supposed to pack a 4.3" screen and be released by mid-year. Still for now, the screen is about the best you'll get -- better than the current generation iPhone, certainly.
quote: Similarly, Walt Mossberg says his tests show speeds of 1 to 4 mbps, compared to 1Mbps down for the iPhone on AT&T or 2 Mbps down for the HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon. However Mossberg warns, "[W]hen using 4G, the EVO’s battery runs down alarmingly fast."