There’s no direct button on the phone to make a call; you have to go to the Android home screen to hit the “phone” control to get a dial pad. EVO’s screen is large enough to allow your “favorite” contacts to be listed above the dialpad.
The EVO’s touch scrolling isn’t as baby bottom smooth as the iPhone (but then again, no phone is). Haptic feedback helps on typing, and you get pinch-and-zoom for both Web pages and photos.
The EVO is a great 3G phone. Mobile-oriented pages such as CNN, ESPN and The New York Times jump to completed view in 3-4 seconds, while full HTML sites such as Digital Trends’ home page take around 8-9 seconds.
I took a day trip to Philadelphia, the closest city to New York with 4G service. There, all these pages loaded twice as fast – a near-instantaneous 1-2 seconds for mobile-oriented sites, 4-5 seconds for more full HTML pages.
That kind of incremental Web access speed barely warrants a whole new network. But EVO’s mobile hot spot adds a whole new level of the need for speed. Used with an Apple iPad, EVO loaded pages three to four seconds faster in 4G than in 3G, not as fast as I expected, and still glacial compared to “real” WiFi. For instance, The New York Times loaded in 13 seconds with EVO’s 3G connection, 10 seconds in 4G and seven seconds in my home WiFi network. Used to provide WiFi to an iPad and a couple of iPhones, EVO’s speed dropped a second or two.
Yes, the EVO has an 8 MP still camera and a 720p video recorder, but both are compromised by the silly pinhole plastic lens, the cellcam equivalent of putting a Porsche engine in a riding motor. Photos are big and colorful, but often lack definition and edge detail, are sharp in one part of the image and out-of-focus in another, and are filled with digital artifacts, a lot of which could be solved with a better lens.
-This sample footage has been compressed for the web.
Like 4G, HD videos also fall short of expectations. Big, yes, and better than any VGA cell camcorder, but footage is unexpectedly choppy and fuzzy when compared to even the cheapest HD pocketcams such as the Flip. Videos also are large – a 10 second clip runs nearly 8 MB, and a 2:30-minute clip was 15 MP was 145 MB and took nearly 20 minutes to transfer from phone-to-PC via Bluetooth – all HD clips are too bulky to email.
And with only a touchscreen shutter release, it’s hard to keep EVO still enough to snap a clear image.
But considering how poor cell photos and videos usually are, this is really quibbling.
Quoting talk times for EVO is a waste of time since so little of your usage will be spent chatting, and there’ll be differences between 3G and 4G usage. Besides, neither Sprint nor HTC has releases talk times at press time.
I spent six hours in on-and-off-usage in 4G in Philadelphia before I got a 15 percent power remaining notice. Apparently, even with its enormous battery, using the hot spot really soaks up the juice. With average mixed usage, expect to have to refill its lithium ion tank in the late afternoon.
The EVO is a true breakthrough, not only for its impressive concoction of next-generation features and functions, but it’s overall look-and-feel. Even in “just” a 3G coverage area, the HTC EVO is an impressive cellphone, and will become more impressive as its 4G-enabled capabilities such as video chatting become available. In a 4G zone, it’ll likely be unmatched by another carrier until the iPhone LTE hits stores in 2011 at the earliest.
- 3G/4G connectivity
- Built-in mobile hot spot
- Bright, colorful, 4.3-inch screen
- 8 MP camera with dual LED flash
- Front-facing camera
- Hot spot, 4G shorten battery life
- No external dedicated camera activation/shutter button