Since the launch of the HTC Nexus One the Nexus line is what all Android phones have been measured against. The flagship Nexus represents Android in its purist form: the latest software directly from Google. Currently that flagship device is the Galaxy Nexus, the launch device for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that hit Verizon’s shelves and LTE network in November. With an impending launch of their own LTE network Sprint has brought the latest Nexus to their lineup as well, but will the flagship Android device be the flagship phone for the pin dropping network? Not if HTC has anything to say about it with the latest member of the EVO family, the EVO 4G LTE. Read on to see how these competing devices compare.
Even though the EVO 4G LTE and the Galaxy Nexus are both dominated by their similarly large displays (4.7” and 4.65”, respectively) the two devices actually look pretty different. In fact, for black phones with such similar specs all around HTC and Samsung have managed to produce two devices that look and feel different entirely.
The buttonless Galaxy Nexus is literally a black slab, with only the black speaker grill and semi-hidden front camera breaking the monotony. The glass covers the entire face of the phone, and while it is not Gorilla Glass, Samsung does use a fortified glass that appears to perform well. The three gold dots on the right side allow for contact charging, as well as smart actions when docked. It is an awesome feature we wish more manufacturers used (interestingly the HTC One X has it but the feature was dropped on the EVO 4G LTE.) The Galaxy Nexus’s monotony continues as you flip it over, revealing a nearly all-encompassing gunmetal gray plastic housing. The black camera casing is offset by silver trim, and at the bottom of the Galaxy Nexus sits the single speaker. The textured back is wholly uninspired, and in fact is almost identical to the Galaxy S II.
To the contrary, the EVO 4G LTE really shows its personality through design. Around back a bright red band separates the piano black top third of the EVO with the matte black bottom. The phone’s kickstand is housed in this band, popping out to let you stand the phone in any of three directions. The camera is trimmed in the same iconic red as previous flagship EVO devices. The EVO 4G LTE uses an aluminum unibody design, most of which is anodized to the matte black finish, but along the sides HTC has milled the aluminum down to its natural silver, providing a smart and sharp contrast of colors. The housing wraps around the very top above the 4.7” display, encompassing the silver speaker grill. At the bottom of the display sit three capacitive buttons.
Slightly thinner and narrower than the Galaxy Nexus, the EVO 4G LTE feels better to hold in your hand. The cold aluminum gives a premium feel to the device that the Galaxy Nexus’ plastic just can’t match. We appreciate the microUSB port being on the bottom of the Nexus versus the side of the EVO, but in the grand scheme of things that is a small measure. The EVO’s use of Gorilla Glass 2 means it can be lighter but just as strong, likely a source of the weight difference between the two handsets. It is odd and possibly a figment of our imagination, but the EVO 4G LTE also feels better to interact with for some reason. We haven’t been able to place our fingers on just what it is, but it is something that we noticed the minute we took the EVO 4G LTE out of the box and something we still feel as we switch between our various devices.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to us the EVO 4G LTE wins the design contest and it’s not even close. It is thinner, lighter, made with premium materials and HTC has shown personality in the design, rather than just recycling an old handset. The EVO feels better to use, and the fantastic kickstand is icing on the cake.
Samsung uses their own Super AMOLED HD technology to produce tremendously vivid colors and equally deep blacks. HTC has turned to Super LCD2 tech for the screen on the EVO 4G LTE, and they made a wonderful choice. S-LCD2 incorporates IPS technology for superior viewing angles and brightness with excellent quality. Both AMOLED and S-LCD2 suffer from color oversaturation, but the S-LCD2 panels tone it down considerably while retaining the deep black levels. Both are amazing displays and we wouldn’t complain about either, but if we were choosing we’d take S-LCD2.
HTC EVO 4G LTE 360-degrees View:
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 360-degrees View: