The Apple iPhone jolted the collective cellphone world three years ago, bursting consumer expectations of what a cellphone could and should be able to do. While the HTC EVO 4G, available on Sprint isn’t quite the breakthrough the iPhone was, it does represent the future of cellphones. Just as the iPhone made multi-touch touchscreens, accelerometers, proximity sensors and visual voicemail de rigueur for advanced cellphones, EVO’s 4G connectivity, front-facing camera for video chatting, HD camcorder, and especially its multiuser mobile hotspot capabilities, are all features future high-end cellphones will emulate. But don’t expect imitations any time soon; Sprint is currently the only network with 4G coverage.
EVO’s drool-ilicious pool of future tech is sure to make even Steve Jobs jealous – and maybe a bit mad that AT&T’s network can’t even enable iPhone tethering, much less include a mobile hotspot. It’s tough to imagine what tasty morsels HTC and Sprint have failed to toss into this cell salad.
EVO’s hot spot capability essentially works the same as a MiFi – it takes the 3G or 4G cell signal and creates a WiFi connection which can fuel up to eight different devices.
EVO’s other impressive soon-to-be-copied primary attributes include:
- 4G connectivity, which Sprint says will cover 44 markets by the end of this year;
- 4.3-inch LCD
- 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video chatting, sharing and virtual game play using Qik software (the service isn’t available yet, and you’ll likely need another EVO user to play)
- 8 MP camera with dual LED flash
- 720p HD video recorder
- Mini HDMI output jack (cable not included)
There’s dozens of other fascinating and state-of-the-art functions and features, all powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor under the Android 2.1 operating system.
On the rear is a handy kickstand for hands-free video watching in landscape mode; EVO topples over if you try and use the kickstand for portrait.
Physically, the phone is a doppelganger to HTC’s Incredible phone from Verizon, a flat black slab that’s heavy – 6 ounces, yet not as heavy as it looks. There are only four touch-sensitive buttons on the front – Home, Menu, Back and Search. On the right perimeter is a volume toggle, up top is an on/off switch and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and on the bottom is a microUSB jack next to the mini HDMI jack.
The EVO comes pre-loaded with an 8 GB microSD card buried under the large battery. But considering how much memory HD video footage, 8 MP photos and music sops up, you’ll likely need/want a bigger card.
With its big, beautiful screen, the EVO makes a great little movie viewer, but you’ll have to sideload your video for the time being. The EVO includes Sprint TV, but shows do not always display in full screen and don’t take full advantage of the copious display real estate. Sprint is likely to add some sort of movie download service to compliment its 4G networks, but there’s nothing yet.
In 4G territory, YouTube videos automatically load HQ/HD versions.
Since the EVO is an Android phone, it handles music as well as any other Android phone.
For calls, conversation quality is above average; not exactly landline-like, with only a hint of cell tininess.
For movie watching, the earpiece and rear speaker are only loud enough for quiet environments.