Battery Life

There’s no other way to put it: the EVO 4G has terrible battery life. It’s worse than the iPhone 3GS, worse than the Incredible, worse than the Nexus One and far worse than the iPhone 4. If you travel at all, this is not the Droid you’ve been looking for. All of our battery life tests were run from a clean boot with no extra apps downloaded/installed in the background. We didn't forcefully remove anything that shipped on the device however. This is representative of the out of box experience you'd get from a brand new EVO 4G. WiFi and 4G were disabled unless they were in use.

Battery Life
  HTC EVO 4G Apple iPhone 3GS HTC Droid Incredible Google Nexus One
Wireless Web Browsing (3G) 3.58 hours 4.82 hours 2.83 hours 3.77 hours
Wireless Web Browsing (4G) 3.58 hours N/A N/A N/A
Wireless Web Browsing (WiFi) 7.77 hours 8.83 hours 5.23 hours 5.62 hours
3G Talk Time 3.95 hours 4.82 hours 5.82 hours 4.67 hours
H.264 Video Playback 3.63 hours      

Continuous talk time is just under 4 hours. Wireless web browsing? 3.5 hours. The latter is actually surprising given that I measured 3.5 hours on both 3G and 4G networks. According to Sprint when the phone is stationary, power draw on both 3G and 4G should be relatively similar. When searching for a 4G signal however the battery life should be considerably worse, which is why many EVO owners resort to turning off 4G when they don't need it.

Video playback is also pretty bad. While the display is great for watching movies, even in airplane mode with the display cranked all the way up the EVO 4G only lasted 3 hours and 38 minutes in our H.264 playback test. That's not much better than most notebooks.

WiFi web browsing is actually realy good, at nearly 8 hours if you can stay off the cell radio you'll actually do just fine with the EVO 4G.

Performance Final Words
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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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