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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  • flurrball - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the review Anand!

    You've convinced me to at least wait and see what the Droid X will offer to compete with the other smartphones. I'm really looking to get off the Apple/AT&T rapetrain, but not eager to sign a two-year contract and be unhappy again.

    Can't wait for your Droid X review!!
    Reply
  • Sf ted - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Anand, great review as always. You're a master of the details. I do have a suggestion that could change your mind about loving this device. The recent update increased my battery life an order of magnitude, elimanated the unsensitive Pp touchscreen and now reacts to my slightest of touches. You might have a much better experience after the update. Cheers! Ted Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Does anyone make an oversized battery that adds an extra 10-20 Wh? Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    You mean this thing can not play an Xvid encoded avi file out of the box? 512x288 and 576x320 are my most common resolutions. Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - link

    the default android video player will not take Xvid, but there are a number of apps hitting the market that likely do/will. RockPlayerBase is one that comes to mind Reply
  • totenkopf - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    In the dimensional comparison table please take all inch measurements to the hundredths place (evo is 4.80", iphone is 4.54", etc.) and keep the trailing zeros in this case. It's just the right thing to do... and because when my instructor said 10 years ago in highschool that someday I would use this knowledge, I'm pretty sure that today is the very day she was referring to... how fortuitous. Reply
  • echtogammut - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    I have been using the phone for about a week now and have found the battery life to be less than my old iPhone, but not a real issue. So far with fairly heavy usage, web (no 4g), regular GPS lookup and moderate phone usage (I run my own business), it takes nearly 2 days for it to completely discharge. One thing to note, I charged my phone for 8 hours after getting it, totally discharged it and repeated this processes twice. I always charged my iPhone at night and I plan on doing the same with this phone, so like I said battery isn't an issue for me. Reply
  • Trebus - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Nice review, as usual.
    But please learn how multitasking works on Android, this seems to be problem of many reviewers on the internet :-)
    If you long press the Home button, it is not task manager, there are simply 6 last used apps. Some of this apps may not be running at the moment.
    For start I can recommend this article about Android multitasking:
    http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2010/04/mul...
    Reply
  • austonia - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    I believe Premium Data gives you true unlimited data on 3G and 4G, although unlimited 3G is an unadvertised feature. I'm guessing they don't want a flood of extreme bandwidth hogs.

    http://community.sprint.com/baw/thread/33866?tstar...

    I'm past 5GB this month on 3G and it doesn't show any additional charges at sprint.com where i can see a near-real time summary of my bill. I download 6GB over 3G in one night (200-300 KB/s) so it would be easy to crack 100GB/mo if motivated.

    Tempted to see just how far I can push it. ;)
    Reply
  • Adul - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    I long since had my EVO 4g Root and running one of the many custom roms for it (DC3.2.0). I notice considerly improved battery life and put it to the test with a mix of browsing, installing apps, loading a new rom, and phone calls. Had it off that charger from work at around 4:30, drive to a friends house with wardrive running in the background. Got there and showed a few things on the phone that they did not have on his EVO. Left around 10 PM and made it home near 11. I have about 10% battery life left.

    Plus there was an update pushed and pulled out yesterday that address some battery life issues which is partially to blame on HTC background tasks.
    Reply

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