(Not a Review of the) HTC Evo 4G: Part I — The First 24 Hours

I’ve been using the HTC Evo 4G for a little over a day and I want to share my initial impressions with all of you. This is going to be the first entry in a multi-part series that (not) reviews the phone. While some sites would serve up a review of a phone based on a day’s use, I think that’s remarkably stupid. How useful is a review based on 24 hours with a consumer electronics product?!? I’m going to approach this series — as much as I can — from a “normal” user’s perspective and not a “reviewer’s” point of view. Remember, these impressions are all from my first day using the phone and my thoughts will probably change after further use. Let’s get to it!

My HTC Evo 4G was ready to go minutes after it was opened. Like all Android phones, you simply type in your Google login information and your email, contacts, and calendar are synced to the phone. Keep in mind that I already organize my contacts on my primary Gmail account (I highly recommend this since you can sync to multiple phone platforms). If you don’t store your contacts in the cloud, basic setup will take longer.

If you’re a light social networker then you’ll probably dig HTC’s Friend Stream application. Also part of the initial setup process, this little app aggregates your Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr friend feeds. It’s a clean and handsome program, but it’s too simple for my purposes. I like to use Facebook and Twitter in different ways and prefer having separate apps for each service. I also follow too many people, which can make Friend Stream a bit overwhelming to look at. That said, I think a lot of you would like it for being a simple all-in-one solution.

The Evo 4G’s 4.3-inch screen is awesome, but it can also be problematic. It’s gorgeous to look at. High-resolution movies look fantastic on it. The problems I had (in the first 24 hours) stemmed from its impressive resolution — 800 x 480. I’ll use YouTube as an example. Videos with the “HQ” label looked brilliant and took advantage of the screen’s size and phone’s horsepower. Older videos and ones from low-res sources look terrible. Low-res movies that look good on a iPhone (480 x 320 screen) can look nasty and pixelated on the Evo 4G. This is absolutely not HTC’s fault and don’t think I’m dinging the phone for having a beautiful high-res screen. My point is that for common usage, the high resolution can sometimes be a curse.

As for touching the screen, I had no problems with the Evo 4G. Some people greatly prefer the iPhone’s touch sensitivity. Several tests have shown that the iPhone’s touchscreen is superior to most screens on competing phones in terms of responsiveness. While I fully admit that the Evo 4G’s screen is slightly less responsive than the iPhone 3GS’s, I was able to to do everything I wanted to with it. Typing, navigating, and using pinch-to-zoom were totally fine for me. This is one area where I recommend trying it for yourself. Some of you will have no problems with the touchscreen. Some of you — particularly longtime iPhone users — will have issues with it.

For web browsing, the Evo 4G uses a modified version of Android’s WebKit-based browser. It’s a fantastic browser that will let you enjoy most web sites to their fullest. By default, Flash (you know that Adobe thing Apple hates?) is turned on and JavaScript is turned off. After changing the latter setting, I enjoyed all the sites I visit on a daily basis. Using pinch-to-zoom to enlarge certain areas of a site was a breeze. During my first day with the phone, I did more web browsing than anything else. Having a great browser and beautiful screen made web surfing a pleasure.

While the Evo 4G can do a ton out of the box, I had to raid the Android Market to make it a fully functional Raymondtron 9000 (I’ve dubbed this phone the Raymondtron 9000 Mark IV). Here’s what I’ve downloaded so far: NYTimes, Barcode Scanner, Foursquare, Pandora Radio, Amazon.com, AIM, Advanced Task Killer, Google Voice, Google Goggles, Yelp, and WordPress. Everything works great so far and I can’t say enough about Android’s ability to multitask. While the iPhone App Store has way more applications than the Android Market, I’ve found everything I need to confidently call it a Raymondtron 9000.

So yeah! I hope you’ve enjoyed my initial thoughts. I still have a ton to go over, including battery life, camera quality, gaming, and more. Those aspects of the Evo 4G will be covered in future installments of this “not a review”. For now, fire away any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, if there are any aspects of the phone you want me to examine, please let me know.

Author: RPadTV