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Lunch » Tags » Sprint » Reviews » HTC EVO 4G Android Phone (Sprint) » User review

Convergence is here - and it works pretty well!

  • Jun 13, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
I've been n the technology industry for a long time and over the past several decades, I've heard a number of visionaries (real and wannabe) prophesy about the day when the computer could be held in the palm of your hand and you'd use it for everything without compromising on anything.

Well if that day isn't entirely here, it is very, very close as is demonstrated with the Sprint HTC Evo 4G.

This is one amazing machine.

The 4.3" screen is absolutely marvelous. Unlike my last four HTC smartphones (PPC6700, PPC6800, Touch Pro, Touch Pro 2), I can read without squinting!

The Android Operating System puts Windows Mobile 6 (or whatever they are calling it these days) to shame.

The 1 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is blazingly fast. Multitasking is quick and efficient.

Available RAM is a bit on the chintzy side.

There's a lot of bloatware installed on the system, but that is easily gotten rid of. You have to be extremely careful with setting options since, as delivered, the Evo 4G will suck your battery dry within a few hours of just sitting there and seemingly doing nothing. In my early days of experimentation, I went from 100% charge when I went to bed to 15% by morning. This is one device where you really want to learn all you can about it. Read the manual, delve deeply into the settings and follow the forums. When people talk about poor battery life on this phone, they're being honest but also exposing their ignorance or unwillingness to optimize the battery life. My suggestion to Sprint, HTC and Google would be to deliver the Evo 4G with all the battery sucking options turned off and thus avoid the unnecessary bad rap about battery life.

I have never been a fan of onscreen keyboards - until now. The onscreen keyboard on the Evo is great. It took me a little while to gain accuracy and speed, but I am now as fast if not faster than with the slider keyboards on my earlier HTC smartphones. One of the first purchases I made to complement the Evo is the Freedom Pro Bluetooth keyboard. (You also have to buy drivers for it from Google's Market service.) Couple that with any of several notes applications, email or QuickOffice and you can leave your laptop at home on many occasions. By the way, the Evo will support the new 32GB microSDHC cards.

The Evo, with an optional Sprint service, can serve as a WiFi access point for up to eight other devices. The service while seemingly pricey is half the cost of Sprint's standalone data service. Sprint levies a $10 surcharge on monthly usage fees for the Evo. Allegedly this is to cover truly unlimited data service on 4G networks. The problem I'v encountered is that Sprint's 4G service in Chicago is spotty and practically impossible to obtain indoors. When you can get 4G, It can be blazingly fast - but it can often also be no better than a good 3G connection as well. To date, I am not overly impressed with 4G in terms of actual availability.

Evo has two cameras. The rear-facing one is typical of higher end cell phone cameras. Usable, but not great, pictures. The twin LED flash helps a lot. The front-facing camera can be used with the Qik service for video calls. So far I am not impressed with Qik and the fact that are adding a surcharge for "premium" features which, in my opinion, shouldn't be considered premium doesn't help. Fring allows you to use Skype and Skype itself has promised an Android client this year.

There are many cool things about this phone. It is, in my opinion, physically beautiful. I like the large size and it fits my hand well. The Android OS, so far, has been dependable with no system crashes. An occasional application crash, but not the OS itself. The four capacitive buttons on the bottom work more often than not. The volume controls on the right side are a design error in my view, but they work well enough.

The HTC Sense User Interface, which I had turned off on my HTC Touch Pro and Touch Pro 2 smartphones has finally reached a level of maturity where it adds to the convenience of using the device.

Call quality has been quite acceptable.

Many tasks that can drive you mad on other phones are simple on the Evo. Finding and connecting with new WiFi and Bluetooth devices is as simple as it can get.

That said, the WiFi and phone receivers on the Evo seem exceptionally poor. I lose the WiFi signal in my unit, something that does not occur with my other phones or computers. Likewise my Sprint signal is far weaker indoors than with any of my previous Sprint HTC phones. This may, in fact, turn out to be a dealbreaker for me. Having had the unit for a week now, I have eliminated all the other possibilities for the poor reception - it is the Evo at fault here and I will be communicating with Sprint this next week to learn what they intend to do about the problem. The forums have been filled with complaints about these issues and, if my experience is a guide, with good reason.

Google's Android Market offers a broad array of software, much of it useful. I have downloaded a number of programs, free and paid, and found them useful.

A couple of little blessings: a kickstand on the back so you can conveniently watch videos or listen to music or books and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Overall this is an incredible piece of work. With my Bluetooth external keyboard, I can see myself leaving the laptop at home on many occasions. The Evo, so far, handles all my basic tasks smoothly, quickly and efficiently.

You have to really learn about this device in order to manage power consumption - otherwise your battery life will be abysmal. And many, including myself, are unhappy with what might be weak WiFi and cell receivers or may be a firmware problem. I am hoping that the problem can be resolved soon.

Sprint, HTC and Google have done a real number on the Sprint HTC Evo 4G. It is outstanding, a true engineering masterpiece. All the power you need for your everyday work tasks and communication fitted into the palm of your hand. On top of that, it is a great entertainment center as well, the 4.3" screen being more than adequate for watching most movies and video. Speaker volume is adequate and speaker fidelity is as bad as any other. Use headphones for your listening.

The Evo is a great device and probably more fun to play with than I am entitled to have.

Jerry

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A lot of people are running out and making the cell phone companies rich. What ever happen to the good old days when we just waited until we got home and made any phone call or tried to contact some one that was important. Now, they have made these phone so expensive and put so much stuff on these new phones that you could not learn to use the phone adequately. We have been using this phone for about a year and we have yet to take advantage of its full potential. I really don't know how the …
About the reviewer
Jerry Saperstein ()
Ranked #198
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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Exclusively from Sprint, the HTC EVO 4G mobile phone is the world's first 3G/4G Android handset, offering simultaneous voice and data connectivity and download speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. Additionally, the HTC EVO 4G can still connect to 3G data services in areas not currently served by Sprint's 4G network (learn more about Sprint's 4G network below).



The HTC EVO 4G's 4.3-inch screen is perfect for watching video on the go (see larger image). Packed full of powerful mobile communication and multimedia features, the HTC EVO 4G has a large, vibrant 4.3 inch display and a built-in kickstand for easy viewing of videos--from Sprint TV programming to HD movies captured on the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera. It's powered by a screaming fast 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and Google's Android 2.1 operating system. With integrated Google technology, the HTC EVO 4G brings one-touch access to the popular Google mobile services millions use every day, including Google Search by Voice, YouTube and Picasa. The HTC EVO 4G also provides easy access to both personal and corporate email, calendars, and contacts supported by Exchange Server and Gmail.

And through Android Market, you'll get access to thousands of useful applications, widgets and fun games to download and install on your phone, with many more apps being added every day. The HTC EVO 4G also includes HTC Sense, a user interface overlay from HTC that makes it easy for you to create an individualized mobile experience ...

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