Living with the HTC EVO 4G

Looking Forward:

Even as recently as last year a phone like the HTC EVO 4G would have had a good six months in the sun, maybe more, but with Android spreading like athletes foot in a locker room the ante is seemingly upped every month.  Motorola has countered with the DROID X, and Samsung has unleashed the Galaxy S series across all four carriers, including the Epic 4G which will join the EVO 4G at the pinnacle of Sprint’s lineup.  But there is something about being first.  Something about being ground breaking and setting the bar.  I haven’t checked out a Galaxy S yet, but the DROID X doesn’t do it for me.  The EVO is big; the X is a monster.  HTC enhances the Android experience with Sense; Motorola muddles it up with whatever they’re calling Blur these days.  It’ll be interesting to see what TouchWiz 3.0 does in the long run; thus far Samsung comes close, but hasn’t quite figured it out with other devices.

Then there’s the issue of unofficial customization.  The EVO was rooted before it came out, then again shortly after it was updated.  HTC may not be actively allowing this, but they’re sure not doing much to stop it.  Motorola, on the other hand, is.  What you get with your DROID X is what you’re going to get unless some super talented people put in a lot or work, and by many accounts some of them won’t even bother.  I’m excited for Froyo, and I’m excited because the Godfather of Android development, Cyanogen, has started to release nightly builds for the EVO.  I’ve tried it and the future is bright, though not quite stable enough for everyday use just yet.

As much as I like Sense and as great of a job as HTC has done with their widgets, I think that 2.1 will be my swan song for the software layer.  It was very much needed in the early days of Android, but between all the improvements of 2.2 and the Market apps that let me use the phone the way I want it I’ll be going vanilla once Cyanogen gets to an official release.  Android has come into its own and can now stand on its own two feet.  To say Android is taking off is an understatement, but it’s time for manufacturers to start embracing the stock software, which will allow for faster updates as the platform continues to move along at breakneck speed.

That Other Phone:

I’ve got something else to confess: I don’t like Apple.  It isn’t that I’m particularly loyal to Microsoft or Google, rather it’s the way Apple treats their customers.  They lock things down, they rule with an iron fist, scoff at transparency and refuse to admit problems in the face of facts (see: antennagate.)  That said, they make gorgeous hardware and simple to use software, and the iPhone has become an undeniable phenomenon.  There have always been shortcomings in iOS, but that’s from the prospective of a hardcore phone nerd who likes things my way.  To the average users it’s simple, intuitive and worry-free.  Since the iPhone was launched everyone has been playing catch-up, but while there may have been some worthy competitors nothing has been able to give it a true run for its money, something we could confidently say is better.  Until now.

The HTC EVO 4G did not get to this point by itself; the DROID and Verizon’s marketing blitz started the shift, bringing Android into the public consciousness and proudly proclaiming what DROID does.   The DROID’s success, along with the DROID Eris, Hero and DROID Incredible helped pave the way for the first Android superphone in the HTC EVO 4G.  Along with the DROID X and Galaxy S, and its quick software development cycle, Android is poised to assault the iPhone from all angles, but there is something to be said about being first.  The EVO 4G is the first phone that can go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 4 and come out equal or even on top in some categories.

(Because I don’t personally use them there are many great features of the phone I haven’t mentioned, such as the video conferencing, Sprint Hotspot, live TV and a slew of others.)

Final Thoughts:

One thing that Sprint needs to do is ramp up their 4G rollout.  They’re sitting at around 50 markets now, but lots of them are smaller markets.  Verizon is fast-tracking their LTE rollout, and while it looks like Sprint will have a significant lead on handset hardware they need to strike while the iron is hot.  I think the Epic will be a perfect compliment in Sprint’s lineup, giving users two top tier phones running over 4G.  I personally prefer a slimmer profile and onscreen keyboard, but I recognize there are some who need physical keys.  Adding a third or fourth phone by the end of the year surely wouldn’t hurt.

I wouldn’t trade my EVO for anything right now, and I’m not really sure what super feature would lure me away from it.  I’m spoiled by the big screen and can’t imagine going back to something smaller, but when I look at something like the Dell Streak that might be too big.  Rumors of a 2GHz beast from HTC and Motorola have already started to circulate, but honestly I can’t see things getting significantly faster.  If my netbook can hum along with a 1.6GHz Atom processor I think my phone is just fine with its Snapdragon.

I love my EVO.  It’s a versatile communication device, going well beyond a phone.  I feel comfortable pulling it out for heavy internet use on the couch or in bed, eliminating the need for a tablet.  The keyboard is so large that typing out long emails is not a problem, and as such my netbook usage has declined rapidly of late.  I upgraded to a 16GB memory card, which has put the final nail in the coffin of my iPod Touch.  The dual LED flash is generally powerful enough for a night out on the town, and in daylight pictures turn out very well.  Goodbye Elf.  This device has made my life easier; there is no doubt about it.  I’m sure there will be something better, maybe even this year, but it’s going to have to really push the envelope for me to give up my HTC EVO 4G.

This article is written by one of PhoneArena's editors who has used the HTC EVO 4G as his personal phone for quite some time now. In contrast to our reviews, where we try to present a phone from the broadest range of viewpoints possible, this article solely presents the author's personal opinion, based on his needs and taste.

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47 Comments

1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Glad your enjoying it. I really thought for a hot minute about jumping to sprint to get the phone. I wouldnt bash blur so much though. People that actually use blur for more than a test or review generally really like it. Like anything it has its ups and downs. The whole motorola lockdown is a killer for me, though. I wont touch a phone that has been locked down to keep the mod community out. Not after owning a cliq and going through that hassle first hand. I have the Galaxy S/vibrant. Touchwiz 3 isnt anything to write home about. I Keep one widget up to demo to customers, but the rest i use market apps for. But for its speed and the utter beauty of the screen, nothing can compare. Even putting it up against regular AMOLED devices like the HD2 makes them look bland. Putting it up against a TFT screen like the evo makes it look like the difference between the newest LCD HDtvs and those old dial turning tvs. Not having a flash kinda sucks for a high end phone, but its lowlight shooting capabilities work quite nice, especially for wider shots where the flash just wont work.

19. herbiederb

Posts: 275; Member since: Jan 28, 2010

Both HD2 and EVO have TFT screens. I have both and theyre both good in the sunlight. HTC/EVO/HD2 FTW!

42. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

herbie, the HD2 has an AMOLED screen, not TFT. Thats one of the few actual differences between the evo and the HD2 besides OS.

46. steveymacjr unregistered

Um, correction, the HD2 doesn't have an AMOLED screen... This link here:http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/HTC-HD2-US-phone-pa_4345.html shows the HD2 to have a TFT screen...

2. cj100570

Posts: 204; Member since: May 12, 2009

Love, what a wonderful thing!

3. scottmbolt unregistered

iFail = A smart phone for dumb people EVO = An ultra smart phone for smart people!

4. sprintguy09

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 17, 2010

After seeing the epic 4g preview on youtube it stole me away from the evo it just that much faster

5. Richcop

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 02, 2009

Nice article. I feel the same way about the EVO. I would not change it for anything. I also have 3 spare batteries and usually get 9-20 hours out of a charge with pretty heavy use.

6. PapaJay224

Posts: 866; Member since: Feb 08, 2009

I really hate Sprint, its against my competitive nature to like them, as well as listening to a Key Note from Dan Hesse is like nails on a chalk board. BUT with that being said, I am happy to see people are enjoying Android phones more and more and getting away from the, need I mention "look at me phone". (the phone in which we do not speak). Im happy Sprint, Verizon, T-Mo, and yes even At&t are supplying the world with these device's. A serious Hats off to Google, a once known search engine and now cell phone connoisseur.

9. DonLouie

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 22, 2008

I don't see why any type of hate for Sprint is needed just to be competitive but to each their own.

16. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

more than likely it means he works at a competitor like VZW or Tmo. My guess. Besides, competition drives deep feelings. :)

7. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

A few questions for the editor that may help me decide between the Evo and Epic, were you able to notice the 30 FPS cap on the Evo? Also have you had a chance to use any of the Galaxy S line to compare the experience with the Evo?

8. sprintguy09

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 17, 2010

Have you seen any of the youtube vids of the epic yet if not check them out it will make your mind up for you

10. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Yeah...those vids are why I'm leaning towords the Epic and have not bought an Evo yet. Though I've seen a lot of comments regarding lag on the Galaxy S which most say is due to TouchWiz 3.0. So as long as I can load a vanilla Eclair or Froyo ROM is should be set.

11. sprintguy09

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 17, 2010

Yea I hurd about the lag also but from the vids it looks like on the sprint version they have fixed that but I like the sense Ui on the htc so im kinda iffy about the samsung touchwiz

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

fiddling with sense and touchwiz.. sence is nicer. Touchwiz on the galaxy series is made colorful to accentuate that beautiful screen. Otherwise, its not that great. Im waiting for Cyanogen or someone else to come out with a great mod for it. All lag is produced by the shoddy touchwiz overlays. I have a galaxy S. There is no phone as powerful. Every bench shows the Galaxy series obliterates the competition in pretty much everything. screen, horsepower, polygon pushing, battery power, touch accuracy... its not a competition. Put em side by side and it makes an EVO screen look soo old and bland its not funny. Of course, it does that next to any cell phone, not just the evo.. lol.

33. de 2 philly

Posts: 21; Member since: Jun 11, 2010

Unfortunately the Galaxy S series dont have as nice of cameras, 4G or kickstand... horsepower may be more, but doesnt have as many options... well until the EPIC comes out.

43. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

sprints 4g is a max of 12mb/s with a realsitic around 7s... in a very limited area. The Tmobile's max is around 21mb/s hspa+ with a real world average of about 14. The Vibrant may not get higher than 7.2 because it lakes HSPA+ capabilities, but my real world is about 4-5mb/s. The tmobile HSPA footprint is much larger and spreading faster than Sprints Wimax. Soo.. for the 85% of sprints network doesnt have 4g, it runs on a theoretical max of 3mb/s and a real world of about 2mb/s. So in most areas, my Vibrant is faster :).. so much for 4g superiority. as for the kickstand??? Really? thats a deal breaker? U cant just.. i dunno.. hold it sideways or lean it against something? The camera takes full HD 720p 30fps video, which is better than the EVOs 23fps. While it may lack a flash, it has a great lowlight mode that more than makes up for it in most situations. In fact, i just did a real world test last night comparing to my friends Incredible. When it came to up close shots, the flash won in lowlight.. hands down. When it came to getting shots of larger areas, the flash was useless and actually hurt the picture quality, where the Vibrant's lowlight mode made the picture look great. And what options are missing exactly from the GalaxyS that the Evo has? They both play TV, run the same apps, run the same OS.. The galaxy has: the better screen, more horsepower, a dedicated GPU, no FPS cap like the Evo has, and more. The evo is a great phone, but it was not the best phone for very long. That is the way of electronics. Next month somethin will come out that makes the Galaxy look old. And so on and so forth.

12. etownone

Posts: 40; Member since: Jul 25, 2010

As a verizon customer, I'm really really jealous of the EVO. Especially now that the Droid X come out, and just as the stated, it's a monster. Being that both are 4.3 displays, why couldn't the Droid X be the same size as the EVO?? I held the EVO, it's just feels and looks like the perfect size for an Android Smartphone. Oh well.. Here's to looking forward to the Samsung Fascinate.

38. herbiederb

Posts: 275; Member since: Jan 28, 2010

Moto cant seem to get their engineers to lose the chins and humps... or maybe they think theyre innovating. Carrying that thing is one step away from carrying around an iPad.

13. VZWbamf

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 11, 2009

I agree the Droix X is bigger, but give me a break people, its 1/8 of an inch taller! THATS IT!

18. etownone

Posts: 40; Member since: Jul 25, 2010

You right .... But try holding them in your hands side by side. And you'll see that the Droid X really does seem like a monster while the EVO got the size, feel, and look just perfect .... IMO. And I really wish this wasn't the case cause I went on day 1 to buy the droid X and just got turned off by the size

14. VZWbamf

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 11, 2009

But... HTC's Sense UI is amazing... I wish they would sell it in the market! Hahaha

15. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Not a fan Sprint either, but it is nice to see them turning things around. Two great 4G phones but still not sure about wimax. LTE would have been a better choice but who knows maybe that can make it work. Good job Sprint.

20. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I love my droid x and i have no issues holding the phone and it feels nice in my pocket. I would have gotten the evo if it weren't for the x.

21. agentoj

Posts: 105; Member since: Oct 29, 2009

Will swype work on the evo. If you download the swype beta, will it ork right off the bat or will you have to tweak with stuff?

23. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Go to thee EVO 4 g website forum and download the Swype keyboard. I am using one made for the EVO 4G and it's better than the Beta floating around......And Yesssss....I love my EVO 4G!

24. agentoj

Posts: 105; Member since: Oct 29, 2009

which forum are you talking about? the one on sprint's website, one on howardforums or where? -PS i am planning on getting the evo in a couple of months since that is when i am eligible. My only concern is battery life, since the hero got bad battery life.

26. herbiederb

Posts: 275; Member since: Jan 28, 2010

Full cycle the battery a couple of times the 1st week and keep control of widgets/active wallpapers and you should be fine. Dont forget download ATK.

27. markemark11

Posts: 47; Member since: Jan 07, 2010

i hate the battery life argument. it is what it is. you dont buy a corvette if you are looking for fuel efficiency, so you dont buy a super smartphone if you are looking for battery life. just take necessary preperation such as an extra charger and car charger. life will be fine.

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