The Sprint HTC EVO 4G Reviewby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 28, 2010 6:04 PM EST
Death to Physical Buttons
Along the top of the EVO 4G, just to the right of center is a power/lock button. It barely protrudes from the chassis which makes it difficult to hit both on accident and on purpose. On the right side of the phone is a volume rocker switch, which squeaked on my review sample. Those three are the only physical buttons on the device. The EVO 4G is all about its screen and HTC did nothing to detract from that.
The line of capacitive touch buttons along the bottom of the screen are responsive and by default have haptic feedback enabled (the phone vibrates slightly when you hit one of them). Unlike the Incredible I reviewed, the back of the phone didn’t rattle whenever the phone vibrated.
The touch buttons themselves are just as responsive as on the Incredible, which also means they are much better than those on the Nexus One.
The EVO 4G feels pretty solid. The front is nearly all screen (minus the row of touch buttons at the bottom), the border of the phone is glossy black plastic and the back is a very soft feeling plastic that’s wonderful to pet. The device doesn’t feel fragile.
Since there’s very little border around the screen and buttons I found myself accidentally triggering the quick search and sometimes the camera app with my palm while holding the phone.
Getting the back cover off is simple enough: just stick your finger nail in the opening at the top and pull it off. It snaps back on just as easily. I found that in general the EVO 4G seemed to be better built than the Incredible but not quite as solid as the Nexus One.
Beneath the rear cover you’ve got the now typical HTC arrangement. A beefy 5.5Whr battery and a microSD card slot for media (and eventually app) storage. The phone ships with a 8GB microSD card by default.
Along the bottom of the phone you’ve got a micro USB connector and a mini HDMI connector. The latter can only be used while playing back videos; it won’t mirror the EVO’s display to your TV unfortunately.
The phone comes with a USB cable and USB power adapter. The HDMI cable is sold separately.
Let’s Get Chippy
Inside the HTC EVO 4G is a Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650 SoC. This, unlike the Snapdragon in the Nexus One, supports both GSM and CDMA networks, which is what lets this phone work on Sprint.
The Snapdragon SoC has an amazing amount of integration that brings the CPU, GPU, video encoder, decoder, camera processor and modem all onto a single piece of silicon. To enable WiMAX support HTC turned to Sequans and used its SQN1210 WiMAX radio; this is what gives the EVO its 4G network support.
The 4G radio has an easily accessible on/off widget on one of the home screens by default, but honestly the Sequans chip appears to do a good job of being power efficient. I didn’t see a substantial difference in battery life with 4G enabled or disabled as long as the workload remained the same. Obviously with a faster connection you’re more likely to surf and download more, which will in turn kill your battery quicker but from what I’ve seen 4G battery life is roughly the same as 3G battery life for an identical workload (more on this later).
A Broadcom BCM4329 controller enables 802.11n support as well as Bluetooth and FM Radio tuning. Yes, the HTC EVO 4G can function as a high priced alarm clock radio if you want it to.
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tommo123 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkany chance of revies of some apps?
i.e for android keyboards, swype is awesome - best keyboard i've used
stryder76 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkSprint/HTC has released an OTA update yesterday. Supposedly, the EVO is now faster or at least feels snappier.
Will you redo the benchmark tests?
cknobman - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkLOL only thing the OTA update yesterday did was brick alot of phones (including mine)!!!!!
What kind of idiotic developer dosnt do a software check before installing new software? And what half assed QA team dosnt check for that scenario and lets the crap code roll out to production?
For those that arent aware the problem was the OTA update installs fine the first time then shortly later the user is notified a upgrade is available (apparently same one you just applied) and when the user tries to apply update instant bricked phone!!!!!!!
Its kind of my fault but after installing the first time I went home and was playing with my kids and surfing the web when my phone poped up the upgrade available again. I was busy and just hit ok thinking it was another upgrade in a series of progressive ones. Boy was I wrong. As a applications developer myself Im dumbfounded how some sh!tty code like this could roll out which is now going to cost sprint quite a bit of money.
Sprint has officially pulled the upgrade until they can fix this issue.
stryder76 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkYou mentioned that there is a website that lists the virtual keyboards but all it states is "at .com". What website were you going to link to?
BlueAqua - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkNice review Anand. Don't forget that Sprint makes you pay and extra $10 a month just to have an EVO. Undscountable too. Their new plans and this fee would have cost me over $2000 over my current similar plan for 2 phones, which really isn't worth it at all.
rothnic - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkHave you been trying to get your hands on a Droid X at all? I have really been hoping it would address most of the issues that the Evo has, while having the 4.3" screen. I have been comparing T-Mobile vs. Sprint vs. ATT vs. Verizon and think the Droid X might be the winner.
Some reviews of the Droid X point to slightly better video and picture quality. (not as good as some iphone 4 samples I have seen, but a compromise)
No $10 charge for 4g that isn't even in my area.
No capped internet, which has turned me away from upgrading my 3 year old iPhone for the iPhone 4.
Better processor, so hopefully smoother experience(especially after 2.2).
Would like to see your review of it.
bigdeal101 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkAnnand,
Is it possible to do a Clear 4G review or Sprint non phone review. I have been considering getting 4G but for Broadband only. I would be especially interested in home vs. mobile option with respect to signal strength and usability. Also, if there are any antennas out there for 4G do they help much. Not everone is an internet phone warrior but they do use the internet with laptops in mobile situations.
Thanks from a 13 year fan. (I read your site when you were in High School as well as Sharky and the original Toms Hardware. Still also visit Kyle's Hard OCP. )
ergo98 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link"Unfortunately there’s no way to close an app from the task switcher although there are many options in the Android market if you want something a bit more robust."
This isn't some grievous oversight. Most task killers do far more harm than good.
Apps in the background seldom consume anything more than RAM. The RAM they do consume is automatically freed the moment any other application requires it. The app is essentially "freeze-dried" to a minimalist bag of state, restored when you go back to it.
I am a little disappointed seeing this continued ignorance about Android, most especially on AnandTech. Sure there are people who'll tell you how great life is with a task killer, just as there are also people who will swear by their Q-Bracelet's magical curative powers. Eschew task killers and embrace the platform as it was actually intended -- it isn't Windows.
The only real caveat to this is services -- services do consume resources in the background, however by and large the only services in Android apps are actually critically necessary, such as background music playing or downloading. Services very seldom need to be managed in any form beyond the app GUI.
strikeback03 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkAnd there are plenty of users who believe the default settings allow suspended programs to hang around for too long, esp. on Sense devices.
Impulses - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - linkMeh, you'll find a never-ending discussion on the subject if you look around... But there's also plenty of OTHER things you can do to conserve battery life. The stock sync settings for FB/News/whatever accounts are a little too aggressive if you ask me, that's the obvious place to start. Alternate launchers are said to help as well, I haven't really compared battery life w/ADW vs Sense...
Personally Sense's launcher's UI seems silly to me, why do I need a permanent button on my home screen to just add more app shortcuts and widgets? And why is the phone button so large? Wasted space... That being said, a lot of the other Sense add-ons are very welcome (like the contact linking across accounts, which can be done manually, thankfully). Luckily you can dump the launcher and keep the rest.
Aaand that's pretty much what Android's all about, choice. Some of the custom ROMs out there do wonders for battery life as well, alto that goes well beyond the scope of a product review (as anything that requires rooting/jailbreaking does). But switching launchers or simply tweaking stock settings should be in the discussion at some point imo. It's a degree of customization that you don't (easily) get w/other phones/OS.