After three full days (going on four) with the Evo 4G, here are more thoughts on this excellent HTC phone. This time around I’m covering battery life, the kickstand, more thoughts on the screen, streaming video using Qik, and how the phone works as a WiFi hotspot. If you haven’t read my initial impressions yet, please do so. Now let’s get to it!
Battery Life: Let’s get the negative part out of the way first. After three full days of what I’ll dub “moderate nerd use”, battery life has been merely okay. I’ve been using the phone mostly for web activities — browsing, Twitter updates, checking Facebook, etc. Every now and then I’ll use the GPS functions in Google Maps and Foursquare. I’ve snapped a few pictures and videos too. Keeping in mind that batteries need to be conditioned, the battery results (from completely charged to totally drained) of my first three days were 12, 12, and 14 hours. [Update: After 10 days of use, I’ve been getting approximately 12 hours a day from the standard battery.]
The results aren’t surprising considering the phone’s speedy processor and huge screen, but I can easily see myself in situations — E3 2010, for example — where a single battery isn’t going to cut it. The good news is that unlike the iPhone, you can simply buy a second battery and carry that in your bag. There’s a rumor that HTC will release a 2,500mAh battery for the Evo 4G next month (the stock battery is 1,500mAh), which would be a brilliant accessory. Either way, I will get another battery for this phone should I choose to keep it.
Kickstand: This little addition has been incredibly useful…and I didn’t think it would be. Obviously having a kickstand is nice for watching videos, but I like leaving the phone out and just propping it up on my desk, coffee table, kitchen, etc. while I’m doing…whatever it is I happen to be doing. Part of it that I’m still afraid to damage the phone — particularly the completely uncovered camera that I’m not about the place on a hard surface — and part of it is that there aren’t any good cases available for it yet.
Screen: I didn’t mention it in my initial impressions, but as wonderful as the Evo 4G’s 4.3-inch screen is, it still uses old technology. While a lot of new phones use newer OLED screens, the Evo 4G uses older TFT LCD technology. OLED offers better battery life, wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, and higher contrast ratios. However, some people do not like the color reproduction of OLED screens and feel that they over-pronounce reds (I’ve never had this issue. I think OLED rocks.). The big disadvantage is that the current generation of OLED screens are extremely difficult to see in daylight. This is one area where TFT LCD is clearly better. The bottom line is that even though the screen uses older tech, I’m totally loving its size and output.
Streaming Video: I shot a quick test video (embedded above) on the Evo 4G using Qik.com, which allows you to stream live videos from your phone. I signed up for an account on my laptop, logged in on my phone, and shot a video. It’s really that simple. Obviously you can’t stream HD video, but the camera, signal, and service worked like a charm. I’m probably going to try and do some impromptu E3 interviews using the phone and Qik.
WiFi Hotspot: As mentioned in the video, I tested out the phone’s WiFi hotspot feature. For an additional $30 a month, you can use the phone as a hotspot that can support up to eight devices under optimal conditions. The results were pretty good considering that we’re talking about a WiFi signal transmitted from a phone pulling in a 3G CDMA signal. Using my friend’s iPad and iPhone, I was getting upload speeds around 580kbps and download speeds around 245kbps. Web browsing on both devices was snappy, even on complex web sites. If you want to connect a device like an iPad or PSP on the go, the WiFi hotspot option is worth considering. If you’re primarily concerned with connecting a laptop, you’ll get faster speeds connecting the Evo 4G to your PC via USB and using a tethering program like Mobile Stream’s EasyTether.
Call Quality: I still have to do more testing in this area since I’ve only made about 60 minutes worth of calls. So far I’ve been pleased with how the Evo 4G works as a phone. The quality is comparable to my T-Mobile BlackBerry 8900 using UMA (still need to think this one through) and markedly clearer than the 8900 using Edge (the mobile signal, not the WWE wrestler or the guitar player). The Evo 4G beats the crap out of the iPhone 3GS as a phone. Remember, call quality is subjective so I can only share my experience using the Evo 4G on Sprint’s 3G network in Los Angeles with you. It could be better or worse depending on where you live.
That’s it for now. I’m going to focus more on call quality over the next few days. If there are any other aspects of the phone you want me to explore, just let me know. As always, shoot away any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.