It’s really not that big. It seems like it would be based on the specs and photos, but in reality the Sprint EVO 4G by HTC just isn’t that big. And it’s not levied as an insult, I just mean to say that the EVO is manageable in size.

The screen has the same 800 x 480 resolution of the Nexus One and HTC Incredible, but the pixels are spread out over a much larger 4.3” screen. The display setup to be overly red just like the other Android screens we've seen thus far, but it looks great. 

The size of the screen is really what sets the EVO 4G apart from the competition, and honestly I couldn’t think of a better phone for browsing the web. Loading full websites is a pleasure and the screen is large enough where you can actually read a lot of content. It's not a tablet replacement, but it is easier to work with than a 3.5 - 3.7" screen.


From left to right: HTC EVO 4G, iPhone 3GS, Nexus One, iPhone 4

I’ve heard it referred to as a mini tablet and honestly I don’t believe that’s the case. The 4.3” screen is big but I’m telling you, it’s not that big in practice. It just ends up feeling like a phone with a good sized screen. Move into the 5” and beyond territory and then you start triggering me calling things tablets.


HTC EVO 4G (left) vs. iPhone 3GS (right)


HTC EVO 4G (left) vs. iPhone 4 (right)

The phone measures 4.8” x 2.6” x 0.5” and it’s the largest smartphone I’ve ever held. That being said, it is absolutely pocketable as long as you’re not wearing skinny jeans. Even then it is thin enough that you could slip it into your back pocket.

Physical Comparison
  HTC EVO 4G (Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650) HTC Droid Incredible (Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650) Apple iPhone 4 Google Nexus One (Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250)
Height 121.9 mm (4.8") 117.5 mm (4.63") 115.2 mm (4.5") 119 mm (4.7")
Width 66.0 mm (2.6") 58.5 mm (2.30") 58.6 mm (2.31") 59.8 mm (2.35")
Depth 12.7 mm (0.5") 11.9 mm (0.47") 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 11.5 mm (0.45")
Weight 170 g (6.0 oz) 130 g (4.6 oz) 137 g (4.8 oz) 130 g (4.6 oz)
CPU Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1GHz Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1GHz Apple A4 @ ~800MHz Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1GHz
GPU Adreno 200 Adreno 200 PowerVR SGX 535 Adreno 200
RAM 512MB LPDDR1 512MB LPDDR1 512MB LPDDR1 (?) 512MB LPDDR1
NAND 8GB micro SD 8GB micro SD 16GB or 32GB integrated micro SD
Camera 8MP with dual LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 8MP with LED Flash 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 5MP with LED Flash
Screen 4.3" 480 x 800 3.7" 480 x 800 AMOLED 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 3.7" 480 x 800 AMOLED
Battery Removable 5.5Whr Removable 4.81 Whr Integrated 5.254 Whr Removable 5.18 Whr

HTC ditched the silly scroll ball of the Nexus One and the optical sensor of the Incredible and just left the EVO 4G with a row of touch sensitive buttons along the base of the screen. Home, Menu, Back and Search are all you get.

If you need a navigational aid the screen is big enough where HTC was able to include directional arrows on the on-screen keyboard. They are awkward to use at first because you’re not used to them, but afterwards they just make sense. I hardly used the scroll ball/optical trackball of the other Android phones so HTC’s decision to reclaim that real estate makes total sense to me. The screen is used for scrolling, if you need fine tuned movement just rely on the virtual arrow keys. Fine by me.

The touch screen supports haptics, which can be fully disabled. When enabled certain button presses will cause the EVO’s motor to vibrate a bit to confirm the touch. It’s a concession for those who still want some tactile feedback.

The EVO 4G is the first Android phone I’ve used with something interesting on its back: a kickstand. The metal stand lets you prop a horizontally oriented EVO on your desk at around a 45 degree angle. It’s great for watching videos, using as a clock or an alternative to a costly dock.

The stand is actually a nice touch, unfortunately the Android UI doesn’t rotate to landscape mode so it’s only useful within apps that support rotation.

Also on the back is the 8MP camera lens (there’s a 1.3MP camera on the front), two LED lights used as a flash and a speaker for the speakerphone. Along the bottom is a standard USB micro B connector and a micro HDMI (D-connector) video out. The HDMI out can only be used to output movies, it won’t mirror your display.

As its name bluntly states, the EVO 4G works on Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network. Sprint’s 4G service is currently only available in 43 cities spread over 15 states, if you find yourself in one of those states then the EVO has more than its large screen to tempt you.

The phone currently sells subsidized for $199 from Sprint after a $100 mail in rebate. Service starts at $69.99 for 450 minutes and unlimited messaging/data and goes all the way up to $134.99 per month including tethering.

Cost of Ownership Comparison
  AT&T iPhone 4 Sprint EVO 4G Verizon HTC Droid Incredible
Cost of Device $199 w/ 2 year contract $199 w/ 2 year contract after $100 MIR $199 w/ 2 year contract
Plan with 900 Minutes, Unlimited SMS/Data $104.99/mo, unlimited SMS, 2GB data $99.99/mo, unlimited SMS, unlimited data, 4G $109.98/mo, unlimited SMS, unlimited data
Tethering + $20/mo + $29.99/mo + $25/mo*
Total Monthly + Tethering $124.99/mo $129.98/mo $134.98/mo
Total Cost of Ownership over 2 Years $2718.76 $2598.76 after $100 MIR $2838.52
Total Cost of Ownership over 2 Years w/ Tethering $3198.76 $3318.52 after $100 MIR $3438.52
*Verizon hotspot service goes up to $30/mo in late July

Without the mobile hotspot service, the EVO 4G is the most affordable smartphone out of the three majors over the course of two years. AT&T actually offers a better deal with tethering but you need to keep an eye on your usage; go over 2GB per month and you'll incur additional charges, which isn't tough to do if you tether a lot.

Death to Physical Buttons
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  • Mr Perfect - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Ah, ok, that's fair then. Looking forward to the coming reviews.

    Thanks for the reply,
    MP
    Reply
  • mikephenix - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Most of the choppyness can be attributed to the 30 fps cap imposed on the OS. Both 2d and 3d framerates are capped at 30 fps on this phone. It's unusual that HTC would cap this device, when the nexus one and incredible do not have this cap in place:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=6...
    Reply
  • AmbroseAthan - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    One thing I feel like you overlooked is the Sprint TV.

    I own the EVO also and one of the things I have absolutely loved is the Sprint TV, and this is mainly right now for ESPN. Every single World Cup game is streaming live, so if I am for some reason away from the TV, I can watch. Even in only 3 bars of 3G service, it comes through very clean. With the kickstand, I set it up on a kitchen counter and a group of us watched Brazil play (grandpa had commandeered the TV for the US Open). Battery live looks to be in the vicinity of 3.5+ hours of TV.

    I admittedly need to explore it more, but there are multiple live stations and several stations of older material.
    Reply
  • ale087 - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I do see a degree of choppiness when compared to the iPhone and as you said it can be attributed to the lack of GPU acceleration in the UI... You should, however, mention in your review that there are optimized home replacements like ADW launcher and Launcher Pro that offer very smooth scrolling and better responsiveness, and excellent task manager/killer apps and widgets that help with memory management....
    Your browsing speed tests puzzle me, however. In real life tests on the same wifi network after clearing all cache, I consistently see the EVO and the Incredible render webpages faster than the iPhone 4 and 3Gs.... Also, the nexus one with the FRF83 froyo renders pages noticeably faster than even the iPad (with flash 10.1 set to on-demand or off), and its Java script performance far excells that of the other handsets and the iPad from what I have seen from other sources....
    Reply
  • mongo lloyd - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Looking forward to a Samsung Galaxy S (A.K.A. Captivate, GT-I9000) review. Maybe that'll be the device Anand's searching for. Reply
  • ale087 - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Hi Anand,
    I remember you previewed the Galaxy S and left us all excited about its release, any chance you've received one to review? The international unlocked version is out and I would really like to see an in-depth hardware review to decide if I want to spend the big bucks for it. It would also be fantastic if you do an iPhone 4 vs. Galaxy S review since they have such similar hardware :D. BTW I think it's great that you're doing phone reviews! nobody else goes as in-depth into the hardware as you do, and it's great to get a better understanding of what's ticking inside of these devices...

    Thanks!

    Alejandro
    Reply
  • spathotan - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Glad I went with the Incredible instead. Had it for about 3 weeks and I love it. Ive tortured it a bit and its passed with flying colors. Was downloading/converting 2 songs and 2 videos off YouTube while playing a 3D game (ZENONIA) all at once with ZERO performance lags. I was quite suprised. Reply
  • juampavalverde - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I will like to see the improvement of this evo4g with android 2.2, i have the feeling that with some time this android phones will just get better (also in battery life). Anyway looks great! Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Many of them have already seen a steady improvement thanks to the user community of devs... If you're the sort that doesn't mind tweaking and messing with your device a little bit anyway. Personally I've never been big on any of that w/electronics outside of my PC (I want my phone, DVR, MP3 player, etc. to just "work")... But I've delved into the world of custom Android ROMs and whatnot and it really is quite amazing what some of these guys can accomplish, it certainly puts Google/HTC's stock builds to shame.

    Sprint has also issued two OTA patches for the EVO already (review was probably written before the 2nd one), the last one corrected some scrolling issues when the phone was not handheld (grounding issue I believe, personally I rarely encountered it even tho I read w/the phone laying on the table a lot) and made some other small improvements to the radio (which in turn should help w/battery).

    Frankly I haven't been bothered by any performance issues w/my EVO, but my only real basis for comparison is a 2nd gen (slower) iPod touch so YMMV. Battery life was somewhat disappointing w/the stock ROM but has improved a lot w/custom ROMs and/or some tweaking of the default sync settings. By default it's set to sync several different accounts (FB, Gmail, News, etc. etc.) at different intervals, some as often as 2-3 hours. Anand made no mention of this, I wonder if he looked into that at all when testing...

    The last thing I'll mention is that Swype blows any other touch keyboard out of the water, by a longshot... You really have to experience it first-hand to know what all the hype is about. It's still in beta (not hard to find leaked .apk's on the message boards) and I believe they're even gonna try selling it on the iPhone app market eventually (also available for WM).

    Regardless, it's a joy to use, 'specially on such a large screen, I can type faster w/one hand and Swype (AND more accurate) than I can with two hands on a Samsung Impression (which has one of the better landscape/slider keyboards amongst feature phones out there). The freedom to try all these things out (w/o waiting for Apple or anyone's approval) is what I really love about Android.
    Reply
  • smsmith - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Hey Anand,

    Thanks for the great review! Your iPhone 3GS sunspider time seems a bit high though. Just now I ran it on my 3GS and got 13771ms.
    Reply

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