Solid, attractive design with built-in kickstand; Best-in-class HD screen; Sharp and fast camera; Google Wallet support; Unlimited data
4G LTE network not yet available; Large design
A fantastic display, superfast camera and unlimited data make the Evo 4G LTE a compelling choice, but this Android phone doesn't yet live up to its name.
The first Evo on Sprint was an Android phone so groundbreaking and popular that it spawned a franchise. But follow-ups such as the Evo 3D and value-priced Evo 4G Slide, while good, just weren't as exciting. Well, there's finally a true successor to the original super phone, the HTC Evo 4G LTE ($199). This 4.7-inch Android stunner has the same great camera and crisp Super LCD 2 screen as the HTC One X for AT&T, but has some unique strengths. You get unlimited data, a built-in kickstand and support for Google Wallet. And later this year, the newest Evo will be the first smartphone to make HD Voice calls. Is this the Android to get for Sprint subscribers?
We have just two nitpicks with the design. First, the glossy cover on the top half of the back of the phone picks up fingerprints. Removing this cover lets you access the microSD card slot. Second, the capacitive buttons beneath the screen are dimmer than the ones on the One X.One X (4.5 ounces, 0.36 inches). Is having a built-in kickstand worth the weight? We think so, because you can prop up the phone for watching movies or when you want to use it listen to music. Just keep in mind that those with small hands may find this tall handset difficult to operate with one hand; we felt ourselves stretching to reach the power button.
We have mixed feelings about the dedicated camera key on the right side. It's easy to press and makes using the sharp and fast 8-MP camera feel like you're using a point and shoot.
A narrow black volume rocker lines the right side of the Evo 4G LTE, which is a little tricky to located because it's so neatly integrated into the design. Same thing goes for the microUSB port; you'll have to look for it on the left side.
In other words, this is one phone you'll want to show off with the kickstand when watching movies.
The audio in that "Battleship" trailer wasn't very loud, but sounded clean. However, when we streamed Blink 182's "After Midnight" on Slacker, we got more oomph out of the back-mounted speaker. You'll get a better audio experience if you plug in some earbuds and use Beats audio, which you can toggle on and off in the notification drawer. With the setting engaged, Gavin Rossdale's gravely vocals on "Baby Come Home" sounded more present, and we noticed a sizable bass boost.
Software and Interface
As expected, HTC's iconic weather clock takes center stage, but you can swap that out and decorate the other six home screens with all manner of widgets. The Agenda widget, for example, shows you upcoming appointments and the birthdays of your Facebook friends.
The notification menu is a little too clean for our tastes. We appreciate the ability to swipe alerts off the screen, but would like to be able to toggle the wireless radios from this screen, as you can with the Samsung Galaxy S III. We also wish that apps didn't automatically populate the home screens as you download them. That sort of feature should be opt-in.
Specs and Performance
With a 1.5-GHz Snapdragon S4 processor under the hood and 1GB of RAM, the Evo 4G LTE is ready for anything. Even with several apps open we didn't notice any lag when popping back to the home screen or loading Web pages (over Wi-Fi). The 3D running game "Gravity Project" played smoothly when Slacker streaming in the background. There was only a slight delay when opening some of HTC's own apps, such as Mail and Calendar.Samsung Galaxy S II (3,035) and Galaxy Nexus (3,164). On the An3DBench graphics test, the One X registered a very good 7,390. That's higher than the Android average (6,976) and slightly better than the One X (7,138). However, the Galaxy Nexus scored a higher 7,802.
Last but not least was the Quadrant test, which is a CPU, I/O, and 3D graphics benchmark. On this app, the Evo 4G LTE scored 4,736. That's lower than the One X (4,901), but beats the pants off the Galaxy Nexus (1,368) and the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx (2,452).
The Evo 4G LTE comes with 16GB of preloaded storage, which you can augment with a 32GB microSD Card.
Web Performance and (the Promise of) 4G
That's great, but for now you're stuck on 3G speeds. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is in more than 230 markets, and AT&T has 35.
In a side-by-side test with the One X for AT&T, the Evo 4G LTE was more than 10 seconds behind loading the full desktop version of The New York Times. On mobile sites, the Evo and One X were closer, with the former taking 6 seconds to load ESPN Mobile, versus 4 seconds for the One X.
But that's not all 4G is good for. It took the One X just 10 seconds to download the 21MB "Angry Birds Space" versus about 2 minutes for the Evo 4G LTE. And when we fired up the latest "Batman" movie trailer, the Evo 4G LTE defaulted to standard resolution instead of high quality on the One X.
As expected, the Evo 4G LTE turned in 3G-like performance in Speedtest.net, ranging between 509 Kbps and 1.4 Mbps for downloads and a meager 447 to 659 Kbps for uploads.
Sprint has shown welcome restraint with the Evo 4G LTE, bundling only two of its own apps. Sprint Hotspot makes it easy to turn the handset into a mobile hotspot, enabling you to connect up to eight devices. You'll need to pay $30 per month though, and we wouldn't recommend doing that until 4G LTE service gets turned on in your areas.
HTC bundles a bevy of its own apps, including Mail (we like the threaded messaging), Media Share (for streaming media to DLNA devices) and HTC Watch for downloading movies and TV shows. The Music hub is especially compelling because it aggregates all of your music apps in one place for easy access. Sprint Music, SoundHound and TuneIn Radio are included out of the box, but apps you download like Slacker and Pandora automatically get added.
Camera and Camcorder
As for video, a quick clip we shot of a fountain in New Orleans was sharp, colorful and pretty smooth. We did notice some brief artifacts though when we panned up to the blue sky.
The 1.3-MP front-facing camera on the Evo 4G LTE delivered bright but slightly blotchy results when we made a video call over Wi-Fi using Google Talk.
A 2,000 mAh battery gives the Evo 4G LTE plenty of staying power. After 5 hours and 36 minutes of moderate to heavy usage, the phone still 11 percent juice left. That's pretty good endurance (the average Android phone gets 5:59), but we'll have to see how well the phone stands up once that 4G LTE radio gets put to good use. We'll update this review with more battery testing results shortly.
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|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Android 4.0|
|Networks||LTE (Band 25) and CDMA 1xRTT EVDO Rel. 0, EVDO Rev. A|
|Data||EV-DO Rev. A|
|CPU||1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960|
|Internal Memory||16 GB|
|Memory Expansion Type||microSDHC|
|Display (main)||4.7 inches/1280 x 720 IPS|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth 3.0|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Camera Resolution||8 MP|
|Talk / Standby Time|
|Size||5.31 x 2.72 x 0.35 inches|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|