After nearly two weeks with the HTC Evo 4G, I’m ready to give my closing thoughts, recommendations, and all that good stuff. I enjoyed the process of using the phone and updating my (not a) review on a rolling basis. To me, it was much more useful and accurate than reviews that were based on using the phone for two days. If you don’t have the patience to read the whole thing, I’ll just say that the HTC Evo 4G is the best Android phone out there today. Now, let’s kick off the final chapter in this (not a) review with a binary list of what I liked and didn’t like about the Evo 4G.
What I Liked
- The Screen: Saying I like the screen is actually an understatement. I frickin’ love it! While I would have preferred an OLED screen, the TFT LCD screen on the Evo 4G produces images that are bright and clear enough. That aside, it’s just fantastic using a 4.3-inch screen. It makes viewing web sites, videos, and photos a better experience. It makes using a virtual keyboard easier. After you’ve used a phone with a display this large, it’ll be tough going back to the 3.5-inch and 3.7-inch displays that are more common.
- The Camera: This was a pleasant surprise since I had low expectations due to HTC’s history. It’s not the best camera out there, but it’s very good.
- HTC Sense: Although Android has been getting friendlier with each update, HTC Sense adds a bit more polish to the experience. Some people prefer the stock Android feel and customization, but I think more people will like the little touches Sense adds.
- Kickstand: I love this thing more than I ought to. I just find it incredibly useful.
- Android: It’s a fantastic operating system. It’s tight integration with other Google products is perfect for me.
What I Didn’t Like
- Battery Life: I’ve been averaging 12 hours out of the Evo 4G’s battery. My use has been pretty moderate (for a tech nerd) and I know that I’ll be in situations where I’ll be using the phone a lot more. I will absolutely need an extra battery for a situation like E3 2010. That said, this is what I expected from a phone with a large screen and a fast processor, but just because I expected it doesn’t mean that I like it.
- Button Layout: The other Android phones I’ve used had a trackball or optical sensor at the bottom of the phone. I’ve always thought that they were kind of stupid on a touchscreen device, but I see one area where they come in handy: creating space. The Evo 4G’s four function buttons are really close to its bottom edge. When I use the phone in landscape mode, I will inevitably hit the search button by accident. This happened a lot when I first started using and while it happens much less these days, I’m pretty sure that it will always be an issue for me. It’s just annoying.
- HTC Sense: The bad thing about HTC Sense — and really, any customized version of Android — is that updates take longer. Android 2.2 (FroYo) has started rolling out to select HTC Nexus One phones and should be available to all N1 users by the end of the month. As fantastic as the Evo 4G is, it would be an absolute beast with the performance gains found in FroYo. HTC has promised that the Evo 4G will be getting 2.2 in 2010, but who knows what month the update will hit.
- The $10 Solution: No, I’m not talking about EA’s Online Pass, but rather Sprint’s $10 premium data surcharge for the Evo 4G. Some writers have reported that this is for 4G access, whether it’s in your area or not. That’s incorrect. According to Sprint it’s for the “richer data experience” the phone offers. It’s a bullsh*t explanation, but the way I see it, Sprint is punishing its customers for using a great phone. The one saving grace is that Sprint’s prices are very good to begin with. Even with the $10 fee, an individual Sprint plan is almost always cheaper than what AT&T and Verizon offer. Still, the $10 fee is kind of crap (though it seems benevolent compared to the garbage AT&T is pulling).
Like I said at the top, the HTC Evo 4G is the best Android handset out there today. I highly recommend it as long as you’re cool with picking up an extra battery or are usually near a power outlet. The screen size, form factor, and camera combined with a polished Android experience make it absolutely fabulous. As long as Sprint coverage is solid in the places you work and play, I think the Evo 4G is a fantastic purchase.
Will I Keep the Evo 4G?
To be completely honest, I’m still not sure. I’m not even halfway through my T-Mobile contract, so I’d have to pay an early termination fee to keep the Evo as my primary phone. It’s very tempting though. The decision would be a little easier and the $10 premium charge would be easier to stomach if 4G were available in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sprint claims that it’ll hit both cities in 2010, but the exact date hasn’t been stated. It’s a brilliant phone and Sprint 3G service is very strong in Los Angeles, but it’ll be costly to switch. It’s very, very, very tempting. Perhaps I’ll make up my mind in two more weeks when my month of free service is up. Let’s see how the HTC Evo 4G survives E3 2010!