HTC Evo 4G LTE Review: Lightning-Fast Speed With a Kickstand
HTC's Evo 4G LTE will impress you its vibrant screen, sharp camera and easy-to-use software, but the "LTE" in its name won't will fall short of expectations. Sprint is slower than Verizon and AT&T. If you don't mind your 4G running at 3G speeds, the Evo packs a punch.
If you squint, you'll mistake the Evo for the One X. They're both attractive device with a brushed-metal chassis and beautiful display. The red and black color scheme is a nice touch of color, but it's not for everyone, including me. You won't call the Evo small -- it's bigger than the iPhone and Galaxy Nexus, but I didn't find it particularly hard to use. At 0.4-inches, it's slim enough to hold and use comfortably with one hand.
Hold on. I do have one gripe: there's a bright red line that bisects the back. I thought it looked just ugly, and the strange combination of materials takes away the otherwise sleek design. That's the thing. Even though the Evo looks like the X, there's a certain feel about it that seems cheaper. Maybe it's the mix of glossy and matte materials, I don't know. But in terms of looks, the X is definitely the better-looking sibling.
But there's a reason for that red stripe -- it pops out to show a kickstand. Do you need a kickstand? Maybe if you want to watch TV or stream movies. But I wouldn't cry if it'd been left out. Call me shallow, but I prefer a nicer design.
The high-resolution 4.7-inch screen, meanwhile, is excellent. HTC used "Super LCD 2" technology to display deep blacks and bright colors. The display is pretty much lifted from the One X, but that's not a bad thing. The 720-by-1,280 resolution shows good details, even up-close, and it's far sharper than inferior PenTile technology rival devices use.
The 8-megapixel camera is even better. The lens is sharp, even at long ranges, so your photos turn out extremely clear. The f/2.0 aperture sucks in plenty of light and high-powered features like HDR snaps photos with a greater range of contrast, so you'll capture beautiful pictures -- even in low light environments.
I really liked the Continuous Shooting Mode. If you're not great at capturing the perfect shot, it'll take string of photos, so you can pick the best of the bunch to show off. The lens is very fast and accurate, so if you plan to snap action shots, it's a great phone to take to parties or trips to the beach -- and you leave the point-and-shoot at home. There are a few filter and editing options. But the icing on the cake? There's a dedicated shutter key -- a small, but often overlooked convenience.
If you're an audiophile, you'll enjoy Beats Audio. Your music collection will sound even better. Through some software magic, it deepens the bass and sharpens the treble, for a full-bodied listening experience. Think of it as listening with heightened senses. If you prefer the natural sound, though, you can turn it off.
The Evo runs on ICS, which is fairly standard, but unfortunately, HTC added its Sense interface atop it. Rather than helping, it makes it more difficult to switch between tasks, and frankly, I think it looks uglier than vanilla Android. Sense is a small nuisance, but as far as I can tell, it brings nothing good to the table. The X suffers the same flaw.
Fortunately, the virtual keyboard is decent. If you hate Swype, the manual input is easy too. And if you don't like either, Google Play has alternatives you can download. Voice dictation is a big problem, though. It makes Siri look competent -- no small task. Sometimes it correctly types out what I say. But more often than not, I spend way too much time trying to fix it -- it's easier to type it out with my nose. I timed it.
HTC also added NFC. You can transfer photos, music and other files between phones, or swipe it to pay for goods. HTC sacrificed the design to add it in -- using glossy plastic instead of metal for the upper back. Again, I'm shallow. Forget NFC. Nobody takes mobile payments yet, and everyone uses apps like WhatsApp to send files. Give me the metal. You'll be happy to know there's of storage: 16-gigabytes of internal memory with a microSD card for up to 32-gigabytes more.
The Evo has its flaws, but the biggest one is Sprint's fault. The poor LTE service means the Evo is 4G in name only. Good luck trying to get a stable signal, and if you do, your speeds will be basically 3G. Mine was. And when you complain, Sprint is shifty about when and where it plans to build out its network.
Its predecessor, the Evo 4G, suffered from a weak battery, so HTC made sure to add a beefed up 2,000 mAh pack. You'll last through the day, fixing many of the problems the old phone had, but I wish I could have removed the battery. You'd be wise to buy an extra charger for the car or office.
The Evo LTE is very similar X. Despite minor cosmetic differences, the Evo has a few useless advantages, like a kickstand and HD voice call support, but other than that, they share similar specs and prices. I prefer the X because it's better designed, and it runs on AT&T's much-improved LTE network. But if you're tied to Sprint, you could do worse than the Evo. Just remember that LTE coverage isn't there yet. So if you don't mind sluggish speeds, give it a try. ♦
TFT (Accelerometer / Proximity Sensor / Ambient Light Sensor)
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June 23, 2012
One of the Best
I'd been waiting for the Evo 4G for a while. And after pre-ordering and getting it the first day it was released, I've used it for a few months and am finally ready for a quick review.
- Amazing cameras. The 8-megapixel main lens shoots 1080p high-definition video, while the 1.3-megapixel lens lets you chat. There's also a shutter button so you can have a real-camera feel. Burst mode is pretty cool. It lets you snap a barrage of photos for those hard to capture action shots. Just press the shutter and pick the best photo of the bunch. Easy. There's also image stabilization for better-focused photos and a plethora of filters to add post-processing effects. The bottom line: you won't find a better camera on a phone.
- Android 4.0. The Evo is one of the first smartphones to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich. The new OS is more refined, easier to use and wonderfully improved. HTC doesn't include a vanilla version, since it has some Sense 4.0, but it's pretty close to stock.
- The phone may look large, but it's remarkably thin at just 0.35-inches and lightweight at a mere 4.7 ounces.
- The performance is blazingly-fast. The 1.5-gigahertz Snapdragon dual-core chip makes everything run smoothly and without lag. Sure, it's not quad-core, but I haven't seen any performance issues one bit.
- The display. It's amazingly vibrant and clear. With a 720-by-1080 pixel resolution, almost as many as the iPhone, everything looks crisp. I own the New iPad and I can testify that the Evo's screen is nearly as good as the tablet.
- The battery life. With a 2000 mAh battery, HTC estimates a whopping 7 hours of talk time. That's talk time. Rather than other smartphones that don't even last a day, the Evo still has half its power left at the end of the day. I can easily get two, maybe three, days per charge with moderate usage. It's nice to be able to grab the phone when you forget to plug it in the night before.
- Expandable memory. The Evo has a microSD slot, so if 16-gigabytes of internal storage aren’t enough, you can throw in an extra 32-gigabytes, nifty for movies.
- The sound. I was blown away by Beats Audio. Are these sounds coming from my smartphone? Yes! Oh, the call quality is pretty loud and clear too.
The pros significantly outweigh the cons. If you're looking for a top-tier smartphone, the Evo should definitely be on the short list.
- While the Evo is thin and lightweight, the fact is, the phone is large. It's considerably bigger than the iPhone, due to its bigger screen, but it's hard to hold -- especially for small hands. Check out the phone in person before committing to it.
- Where's the 4G? It's more of a problem with Sprint than HTC. Sprint's LTE network is "lacking" for lack of a better word. Most of the country is covered by WiMax, via Clearwire, and LTE won't be available except for a lucky few.
- Button layout. The Evo includes three button -- back, home and app switching. With smartphones shifting away from hardware keys, the Evo adds a few too many buttons. To make matters worse, there's no dedicated Google key, so navigation is rather tedious and annoying. Frankly the app switching button is useless.
63 out of 63 people found this review helpful.
May 27, 2012
Pretty Awesome Phone
I've been using this phone for the last day and it's pretty incredible! Here are a few things I love about it:
1. The battery. I've been getting 7 to 8 hours of talk time. With is with moderate usage, so a charge will last me through the day with 40 percent or more left at night. I could probably get more if I disabled the wireless features, but I'm not complaining. There's an energy-saver app that will optimize the performance and turn off certain apps when the Evo is in standby, or when you're sleeping -- helping to prolong the battery life. I'm not a heavy by any means, and I can get through a full day with half in the tank -- or said in another way, I can go two days.
2. The screen. I drooled over the 4.7-inch screen. As a designer, the screen is to die for. The Super AMOLED makes the colors more vibrant and the pixels crisper. It just pops out at you. Unfortunately, the Evo's screen has a bluish/greenish hue present in AMOLED displays, rather than the iPhone's pure white, natural color. But it's still impressive, considering the Evo's screen is much larger than the iPhone 4S.
3. The camera. 8-megapixel lens? Check. 1.3-megapixel second lens for video chat? Double check. Who needs a digicam? You're basically carrying one in your pocket in this phone. I can't rave enough about it.
4. A quick mention about 4G. I live in an LTE area, and I get pretty good coverage. I'm seeing rates at around 0.7 to 1.7 Mbps for download and 0.6 to 1 Mbps for upload -- depending on location, weather, time, etc. For comparison, with WiMax, I usually get 11 to 15 Mbps for downloads and 1.4 to 3 Mbps for uploads.
I'm pretty happy with the Evo so far. If I had to be nitpicking, I'd say the phone is so thin that I sometimes don't realize it's in my pocket!Was this review helpful to you?
33 out of 38 people found this review helpful.
May 24, 2012
Good Phone, Bad 4G
I picked this baby up the minute it was available. And boy! The Evo is really a powerhouse! It beats out One series by a mile. I love the kickstand while watching videos, and it's also thinner and more lightweight. Android 4.0 and HTC Sense pack a one-two punch that beats out the iPhone any day! Did I mention Beats Audio is amazing?! GREAT camera -- the best -- and the display is pretty nice too!
HTC did a great job packing in the best of everything, but I can't give it a 5 out of 5 stars -- it's not that the phone is bad, per se. Sprint's service is just a piece of #*$ -- 4G service just plain sucks. I barely get it, and if I do, it doesn't feel any different than 3G. I'm betting Sprint hasn't even rolled out the network to most people.Was this review helpful to you?
37 out of 44 people found this review helpful.
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