HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

Summary: The Evo 4G from HTC and Sprint is the new top-dog Android phone and frankly, it beats the pants off anything from Cupertino. Here's why.

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TOPICS: Hardware, HTC, Mobility, Wi-Fi
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I should start out by saying that I prefer Android over iPhone OS. I've previously picked the Nexus One and Droid Incredible over the iPhone 3GS in these pages. Also, Apple's hosting a little developer shindig on Monday called WWDC (you may have heard about it) and it's widely expected to announce a new iPhone handset at the event, which will change the mobile landscape - again. Also, this isn't intended to be a complete review of the HTC Evo 4G running on Sprint. There are plenty of those here, here and here. That being said, I wanted to share my first-look at the new big dog of smartphones -- and I do mean BIG DOG.

The first thing you'll notice about the HTC Evo 4G ($199 from Sprint with 2-year agreement) is its massive 4.3-inch 480 x 800 pixel screen. It dwarfs the 480 x 320, 3.5-screen found in the iPhone in every way. The Evo screen dominates the entire industrial design, to the point of being imposing -- but in a good way. It's hard not to be impressed when looking the the live wallpapers and gorgeous animations in things like the HTC time/weather widget. Going back to the iPhone is disappointing, its screen resolution is puny and icons appear pixelated. The new iPhone 4 is rumored to sport a 640 x 960 screen, albeit in the same-ish 3.5-inch package.

Bigger isn't always better though. Those with small hands and dainty women simply will find the Evo 4G's panel too large. Manly men with big mitts and people that like watching video on their devices will gush over it. It also has a micro (not mini!) HDMI port and a kickstand built-in, so it's clearly built for watching video content. An Evo dock is also on tap that will use the Micro-USB port for data and power transfers, but the big appeal will be its compatibility with Evo's Type D connector and HDMI 1.4.

Even though the Evo 4G is hefty, (6 oz, compared to 4.6 oz for the Incredible and 4.5 for the Nexus One) it's still pocketable and I find the larger screen great for looking at the pictures of my kids snapped by the 8 megapixel camera and for sharing them with friends. Speaking of the 8MP autofocus camera, it also features a dual LED flash and 720p video recording, albeit highly compressed.

I prefer Android because of all the reasons that I outline in my Nexus One and Incredible posts, specifically being about to use voice input for everything, OTA sync and updates, Google Voice, Maps with Navigation, microSD card support, the list goes on. Android 2.2 (Froyo) adds even more benefits and if iPhone OS 4.0 beta 4 is all Apple's got, it faces a serious threat from the rise of Android.

I seriously doubt it though. One would assume that Apple's whiteboards were a-squeakin' after Google's abuse at its IO conference. iPhone 4 is rumored to include support for video calls, hence AT&T's elimination of its unlimited data plans, and I'm sure that The Steve will pull a rabbit out of his hat again on Monday -- at least I sincerely hope so. While the Evo 4G has video calls via Qik, anyone want to bet that Apple's implementation will be bette?

New in the Evo 4G is the Sprint Hotspot app (one of my favorite features of the Pre+) which allows you to connect up to 5 devices (iPad anyone?) and it's free for now. Don't get used to it though, like all good things free hotspots will eventually come to an end. Possibly as soon as the Evo 4G launches tomorrow. The hotspot app is my favorite feature of the Evo and if Apple doesn't come out with something similar, it's going to be all down hill for the iPhone. I mean how can Apple not answer its competition?

HTC's Sense UI is growing on me, and while I used to prefer vanilla Android OS, I now prefer Sense. Unfortunately, Froyo (a.k.a. Android 2.2) isn't yet available for the Evo 4G, and I suspect that it's the Sense layer that's holding things up. Speaking of 4G, there isn't any where I live in southern New Jersey, but there is in Philadelphia (about an hour's drive away). I haven't tested 4G coverage at all on my Evo, so I'm going to reserve judgement on that until I can properly test it.

One knock on the Evo 4G is it's abysmal battery life. It's pretty atrocious, but because I haven't been using it as my full-time phone (yet) I haven't had much of an issue. But to the iPhone lovers that often point this out, I'll remind them that the Evo 4G has a removable battery and will connect to any industry standard micro USB charger cable. This beats the hell out of sealed batteries and expensive, proprietary cables any day.

Is it perfect? No. But it is better than the iPhone 3GS, and it's the third phone that's better than the iPhone 3GS. When Android 2.2 comes out for the Evo (soon, please?) it will take another huge leap forward. Apple definitely has its work cutout for it and if all it has is what I've seen in the iPhone OS 4 builds and the iPhone HD leaks, then the war may already be over.

I'll take another look at the Evo 4G (and Incredible and N1) after we see what Cupertino has cooked of for devs on June 7, 2010.

Topics: Hardware, HTC, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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42 comments
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  • Yet another tech pundit that thinks

    feature lists define a product.
    frgough
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @frgough
      Yet another Apple fanboy who thinks they don't.
      ParaGod
      • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

        @ParaGod

        At least he acknowledges that an Apple product comes up short on features. It's a step forward. Usually the reason stated for paying more for Apple is that its individual components are better than the competition's.
        Michael Kelly
      • They betray their double standards here

        @ParaGod
        Every time Apple announces new features in the iPhone OS, the Apple zealots go [b]NUTS[/b] with glee. Even more ironic is how many of those features they spent the previous 1-3 years downplaying. Copy and paste? Who needs it. Multitasking? It sucks... the life out of batteries. Who needs it? Native applications? HTML5 is perfectly fine.

        Cue the double standards...
        NonZealot
      • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

        @everyone

        People that have a hardcore allegiance to Apple will always tout their little toys as being better than anyone else's. When they have more features, it's the features that make them better. When they have less features it becomes the overall user experience that makes them better. To me it's those features that MAKE the user experience. I want a customizable device (notice I didn't say phone), I want to be able to put any app on it without restriction, I want to be able to tether, and most importantly, I don't want Steve Jobs or anyone else for that matter telling me what is and isn't good to have on my device. Android lets the USER decide what is and isn't good, and to me that makes for a FAR better user experience.
        ParaGod
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @frgough Exactly what I was going to say. People like Jason are pushing Apple to put more and more features on the iPhone. This eventually leads to feature creep and bloat. Most of the features he applauds on Android are of interest only to geeks. The iPhone is an elegant, simple device let's not add everything but the kitchen sink.
      The Star King
  • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

    You are obviously not a tech person. You are bias toward android and are hating because you dislike apple for what it does well, which is lead the pack and create not mimic or imitate preexisting technology. Android only has what apple created. Multi-touch, pinch to zoo, touch to zoom, auto focus camera, video camera the list goes on. However I'm a tech person and I appreciate androids new upgrades in hardware and os offerings it's about time someone met the requests of those brand of consumers. But don't get it wrong android is not a pioneer but a follower, they won't impress me until they like windows begins to take some chances like apple and make a new class of device.
    Elitedcr
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @Elitedcr Who cares who did it first? I only care who does it best. Android all the way.
      ParaGod
      • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

        @ParaGod

        Number of features doesn't make things better. If you compare the intersection of the feature sets of android and iPhone os, do you really think Android did them all better? Sure, a few of the newer phones have a nice display. You are also comparing a phone thats a few months old, to an iPhone thats just reaching a year old. Why not compare all the android phones that are still in use now, that came out around when the 3gs was released?

        I will admit, being an iPhone/iPad/Mac user, that Android has some nice things going for it. It would be nice to have some of the things Android has, but I'm not losing sleep over them. The higher res screen on the newer phones IS nice. I've also seen very laggy (guessing non-accelerated) interfaces on the Android phones. Multitasking is nice, but when it comes to a mobile device, I actually prefer the way that Apple is implementing the multitasking. Sure, Apple should add more support for it (so that other types of apps not currently supported will be able to take advantage, like IM/SSH/etc.. apps), but we're just seeing the first release of their implementation, there will no doubt be improvements over time.

        Android may do things well, but in my opinion, many of the things that both OS's do, iPhone does them better.

        Notice, I said in my opinion. Just as you prefering Android is your opinion.
        tk_77
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @Elitedcr
      I needed a good laugh today. I recall a time when other manufacturers had video cameras on their phone (like BB Storm) long before iPhone had one. Apple is the worst of mimic companies! They copy, steal, and sue. How ironic! HTC with Compaq iPAQ and HP's Jornado among many of the others were doing touch screens long before iPhone and even Apple's Newton. I'd say Magna Doodle was the true innovative device in this story, everybody else just followed.
      YeomanDroid
      • Etch a Sketch

        Without the X and Y controls to influence the idea of a touch screen, there would be no touch screen.
        nix_hed
      • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

        @tk_77
        To answer your question - Nexus kicked ass and took names (or I should say "a name" - 3GS).
        As far as not loosing sleep, I did not lose sleep over it also (former iPhone user here from the release date), the hardware is not bad I do admit, but take that away and you have what? iPhone OS? The only way that any normal person can work with that OS is if you introduced yourself to the world of JB.
        So, now that's the hardware seems to be catching up with Steve and OS still sucks I don't see anything great for iPhone's future. Maybe upcoming release will be OK but after that...(Palm anyone?). Oh, and the way AT&T is acting (another company happy to be rid of in my life) it seems as if they & Steve lost their minds collectively.
        netslider
    • Developer? haha... then face the TRUTH!

      @Elitedcr Andy Rubin incorporated Android OS as a startup in 2003. Over a year before Apple decided to hire an engineer for that 30 month integration of iPod with a phone with a touch screen interface. That's over two years after HTC launched the first iPaq Touch Screen Smartphone. Perhaps you'll remember it was Andy who first coined the phrase Personal Preferences and Location Awareness in 2003, 2 months before Android OS was incorporated!

      iPod DMD, iPad equals Steven Jobs ripping off Archos WiFi DMD (digital media player) first sold in 2002. Yes.... it surf the web via Wifi and play most any video or audio! Why wasn't it called it "Magical and Revolutionary" back then? Could it be that it was ahead of it's time and Apple has Billions to spend in hyping it's products and killing the competition!

      Oh.... when was iPhone OS ported to the iPod/iPaq/Archos like device (iPhone)? Seems to me that Android OS was incorporated in 2003. Over a 1yr before they even hired engineers for their 30month development of iPhone. That's when they began their engineering effort for their device's Touch Screen. Which was late in 2004.

      Andy had coined the phrase, "Location and Personal Preference Awareness and that of it's owner's needs and wants". Google bought Android in August 2005, almost 2yrs before iPhone was even sold to customers! ....I go run around and Google this all for you, but since you're a developer, I'd imagine you could at least figure out how to do that! ^_^

      Oh..... and iPhone OS has been rooted. :D ....meaning jailbreakers can now dual boot Android OS 2.2 with FLASH....... haha.... So if you are a developer or such a techie, maybe you should switch to developing for Android, before all the iPhones are running it... more than iPhone OS!!!! xD iPhodroid iPhandroid even sold as Androidoniphone
      i2fun@...
  • HTC Memory Problems on EVO As Well?

    I read a report today where the HTC Incredible, and possibly other HTC phones, are displaying low memory messages when plenty of memory remains. Will this problem show up in the EVO as well? Is this an HTC problem, Google Android problem, or a combination of the two?
    bruceg@...
  • Only problem with the Evo

    is the network it's on. I don't know about the rest of the country, but Sprint's network sucks in it's own back yard (Kansas City MO metropolitan area). Otherwise, it's a beefy phone that would be better served on Verizon's network, even if it lost the 4G connectivity.
    nix_hed
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @nix_hed

      Every carrier has problem spots, but maybe you haven't noticed over the past couple of years that Sprint is tied with Verizon for #1 in the midwest for best service; AT&T comes in a distant 2nd (or 3rd depending on how you look at it). Oh, and their 3G data network is rated #1 as the most dependable data service in the country. Beating Verizon and demolishing AT&T which has a 3G network 1/3 the size of sprint's data network.

      I live in Kansas City and I have nothing but consistent service and great data speeds. When I'm with my friends and someone wants to pull up a youtube video, even my Iphone friends let me pull it up on my Pre because it loads so much faster if we aren't around a WiFi source.
      sds1977
      • Verizon/Sprint coverage is useless cause

        CDMA technology lacks one very important feature that GSM has. Be able to transmit DATA and VOICE at the same time.

        Effectively, you can't use a CDMA phone to talk on the phone and at the same time:

        a) Use it as a hot spot
        b) Use Google Navigation
        c) Surf the Internet
        d) Stream video

        T Mobile does offers that at faster 3G rates than Sprint with its 3.9G WiMax (2.2-4Mbps on average for TMob comapred to 2-3Mpbs for Sprint). Verizon barely reaches 1.8Mbps which is not truly 3G more like 2.5G. But ATT rarely provides 0.5Mpbs so thats 1G.

        ATT can do this but do so poorly and very expensively now.

        So, we all live with our choices and drawbacks.
        Uralbas
    • RE: HTC Evo 4G is the Android phone to beat

      @nix_hed Not at all! is there another 4G network deployed anywhere in the world? NO!

      Who has the best 3G coverage? VZW! Who has the second best 3G coverage? Sprint! On which network can Sprint users roam? VZW!

      Where's St. Louis?
      brianpeterson@...
  • Sure...

    @?Dilemma

    So why don't you start being serious about the battery life?

    Grow up. The iPhone is old news. Old, sad, tired and proprietary news.
    Sleeper Service
    • @Dilema

      First off, I didn't see anywhere in your article where it said the battery lasted only 1-4 hours. So you were lying when you wrote that. Please don't lie in the future.

      Second, did you bother reading the comments to the article that you linked to? They stated that after a couple recharge cycles, the battery lasted much longer.

      Third, it looks like it is the iPhone that has terrible battery life. There are [b]tons[/b] of complaints in the Apple support forums about battery issues:
      http://discussions.apple.com/search.jspa?objID=f1333&search=Go&q=battery

      Using your criteria, the iPhone battery only lasts 1-4 hours.

      Cue the double standards...
      NonZealot