HTC EVO Design 4G Review

Introduction and Design

When Sprint announced last year that the HTC EVO 4G was just the first in a family of EVO products we were a bit skeptical, but here you have the EVO Design 4G, the 5th member of the EVO family.  The EVO Design 4G is quite the looker with an aluminum unibody design and 4” qHD display.  Known as the Hero S elsewhere, the EVO Design 4G has WiMAX data and a dark paint job to set it apart.  Other key features include a 5 megapixel rear and 1.3MP forward-facing cameras, 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and DLNA for wireless media streaming.  Included with the EVO Design 4G you’ll get the microUSB cable, AC adapter and a 8GB microSD card.


As the name implies, there is a large focus on the aesthetics of the EVO Design 4G.  Following in the footsteps of devices such as the Legend, Desire S and Rhyme, the EVO Design 4G is crafted out of a single piece of aluminum for a unibody construction.  Unlike the Rhyme, the battery is still thankfully removable.

From the second the EVO Design 4G touches your hands you know it’s going to be good.  It feels wonderful in the hand - a perfect balance of weight and size.  The smaller 4” display makes it more accessible to more petite hands.   The display isn’t quite as big as the original EVO 4G, EVO 3D or the Amaze 4G, but the slightly smaller size combined with the qHD Super LCD display makes this the most pixel-dense display HTC has ever put out.  Text is very crisp, the brightness is good and readability isn’t an issue in all but the most direct light.

You can compare the HTC EVO Design 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool

The only physical buttons on the EVO Design 4G are the volume rocker and power button, both of which are shallow but still give good indication they have been pressed.  We’re a bit disappointed to see that there is no dedicated camera key, especially since this has been a fixture on recent HTC devices.  The back is mostly coated with soft touch paint for added grip, save for the brushed aluminum banding with an engraved HTC logo.  The mirrored camera housing adds some more eye candy.

The EVO Design 4G feels nearly perfect and is one of the best designed phones recently.  We’re crazy about HTC’s unibody designs and are particularly fond of the black aluminum found here.  The weight gives the EVO Design 4G a good, quality feeling without being prohibitive and the slightly smaller display makes it easier to hold for small hands.  As usual, build quality from HTC is top-notch with premium materials.  Simply put, this is one nice looking phone.

HTC EVO Design 4G 360-degrees View:

Interface, Software:

The EVO Design 4G runs HTC’s Sense 3.0 interface over Android 2.3.4.  We’ve covered it extensively in the past and there is nothing new to say.  The takeaway is that it’s the best version yet of the only manufacturer overlay that we don’t mind using.  It runs just fine on the EVO Design 4G’s 1.2GHz processor, in fact it felt just as smooth as the dual-core EVO 3D or Amaze 4G.

We appreciate Sprint’s crusade against bloatware, and you’ll only find a handful of carrier-specific apps on the EVO Design 4G, some of which are even un-installable.  This leaves a gig of free space to the user to go along with the 768MB of RAM.  The 1.2GHz processor is a single-core Snapdragon S2 and Quadrant scores take a hit (the EVO Design 4G regularly hit 1750-1800) but it passes the feel test just fine.  Everything is quite snappy and we didn’t notice any sluggishness when playing games.


HTC’s browser is one of the better ones out there.  Page loads were quick, zooming in and out was fluid and there were no problems with text rendering.  The EVO Design 4G runs on Sprint’s 4G WiMAX data network, as well as their EVDO Rev. A and supports WiFi b/g/n for local connection.  Like the Photon 4G, the EVO Design 4G is a world phone with GSM support.  It also has GPS and Bluetooth 3.0 with support for the HSP 1.2, HFP 1.5, OPP, FTP, PBA, A2DP 1.2, AVRC, HID and MAP profiles.


The 5 megapixel camera is not the EVO Design 4G’s strong point.  Colors were rather inaccurate and images had a tendency to be dark in all but strong light conditions.  The camera interface is the familiar one we’ve seen from HTC for a while not, but isn’t the latest one seen on the Amaze 4G. Options are pretty standard; the user can choose from several preset scene modes as well as some user adjustable options.  Shutter performance isn’t quite as fast as the “zero lag” Amaze 4G, but it is still quite quick and snapps photos in under a second.  Video recording at 720p was pretty smooth with audio pickup was almost too good because of how loud it is.

HTC EVO Design 4G Sample Video:


The familiar HTC music and movie players were in place, but curiously the EVO Design 4G was not able to play our DivX files.  These haven’t tripped up HTC devices in the past, and on the EVO Design 4G Xvid, H.264 and MPEG-4 files played fine in 720p.  In fact, they looked quite good on the Super LCD screen.  Other multimedia players are of course available in the Market for those who want different options, such as Amazon or Google cloud storage support.  The EVO Design 4G gives you the option to steam content to or from the device with DLNA support.


Callers weren’t too fond of the EVO Design 4G, complaining that we sounded very tinny, fuzzy and that there was a little echo to it.  They didn’t have any problems understanding us though and rated it 7/10.  They sounded just fine to us, with pretty natural voice tones and plenty of volume.  The 1520mAh battery is rated at a healthy 7.3 hours of talk time.  We accidentally left 4G on overnight in an area that doesn’t have 4G and the battery only drained about 30%; on past devices like the EVO 4G that would have killed the battery in no time.


The HTC EVO Design 4G isn’t a premium phone, but it sure acts and feels like one a lot of the time.  The build is simply one of the best on the market, with a gorgeous display to compliment the clean lines.  Performance is fluid, connectivity options are plentiful and battery life was solid.  The camera could be better and callers weren’t thrilled with the microphone pickup, so there is some room for improvement.  Still, as a “budget” 4G device a $99 EVO Design 4G is a steal even when you don’t consider that the Samsung Conquer is the competition.  In fact, it’s really just a dual core processor and a slight bump in memory away from being one of the finer devices available.

Android: 2.3.4
Software: 1.19.651.1

HTC EVO Design 4G Video Review:


  • Amazing design with a sturdy feel in the hand
  • High quality qHD Super LCD display
  • Fluid performance despite a single core CPU


  • Call quality was acceptable, but could be better
  • Camera performance was lacking

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

8 Reviews

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