14
May
HTC_EVO_4G_LTE_Front
Last Updated: June 14th, 2012

Hello and welcome! Allow me to introduce you to Sprint's next big boy phone: (deep breath) the HTC Evo 4G LTE.

This is Sprint's version of the HTC One X. HTC's much publicized "One" branding strategy survived a grand total of two carriers in the US - Sprint kicked it to the curb in favor of the aforementioned alphabet-soup-style naming convention. Keep in mind the original Evo was actually called the "HTC Evo 4G," so you're going to need to be detail oriented when talking about the Evo line. But hey, considering this is the same marketing department that birthed the novella known as the "Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch," we actually got off pretty light. Along with the bigger name comes a bigger battery. You get a bonus 200 mAh over the One X.

The LTE branding means that, yes, WiMax is dead. Sprint is finally going with the flow and switching to the same 4G tech everyone else adopted a year ago. There isn't much of a Sprint LTE network to speak of yet, so, for now, the modem functionality is purely future-proofing.

First up, before I get all opinionated, some specs:

Specifications

  • 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960
  • Adreno 225 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB ROM (Partitioned: 2.09GB for Apps/9.93GB for Data) with microSDHC slot
  • 4.7-inch 1280x720 IPS LCD Display
  • 2000 mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
  • 8MP Rear Camera, 1.3MP Front Camera; Back Side-Illuminated Sensor
  • WiFi A/B/G/N
  • Bluetooth 3.0+
  • FM Radio
  • All the other Acronyms: LTE, GPS, NFC (with Google Wallet!), and MHL (allows for a Micro USB to HDMI cable)
  • Dimensions: 5.31" (L) x 2.72" (W) x 0.35" (T)
  • Weight: 4.73 ounces
  • Android 4.0 with HTC Sense

The Good

  • Wonderful build quality, solid feeling and thin.
  • A beautiful screen that puts AMOLED to shame in every conceivable category.
  • The performance. You've got more power then you'll know what to do with.
  • Great audio from the headphone jack.
  • The camera's burst mode is very useful and even fun!
  • The best battery life this side of the RAZR Maxx.
  • Lovingly packed with extras: A kickstand, a camera button, SD slot, and FM Radio.
  • A kickstand. I know I listed it twice. I'm tempted to list it three times.

The Bad

  • Schizophrenic (and therefore horrible) design language. This phone looks like it was frankensteined together with leftover parts from several other phones. Several other cheap phones. Definitely the ugly duckling in the One X family.
  • The most awful glossy plastic backing you have ever seen or felt.
  • Hardware buttons. There's no hardware menu button, so for most 3rd party apps the software button strip pops up anyway. You get the worst of both worlds - more bezel and less screen.
  • Sense 4.0 isn't as terrible as older versions of Sense, but it still lacks polish and attention to detail. It removes functionality, it has some ridiculous UI concepts, and it looks dated and tacky compared to stock ICS.

Hardware

The design of this phone is just all-around weird. I wouldn't call the phone hideous, but it's definitely not beautiful. It's just odd. There are so many design decisions that just make no sense.

Design & Materials

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The front of the phone is all glass, except for the top. The glass abruptly stops just below the earpiece and front camera, and the surface switches to aluminum with a soft touch coating. I raved about the obeliskian beauty of the Galaxy Nexus, and this was so close. An all-glass front would have looked so much better. The top strip makes the glass look like it was designed for some other phone, and then shoehorned on to this one.

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The bottom of the glass has swooping, rounded corners that nicely follow the shape of the phone; the top of the glass has much sharper corners that don't follow anything. It's unsymmetrical, it's ugly, it's stupid, and I hate it.

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The side has a brushed aluminum band running around it, which I actually like. It's matte enough to not look cheap.

The buttons though, are a mess. None of them match. The hardware camera button is aluminum with a concentric circle texture, the volume rocker is glossy plastic, and the power button brushed aluminum. This mild schizophrenia turns into a full blown psychotic episode once you flip the phone over: They couldn't decide between a soft touch back and glossy plastic, so they.... used both.

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Meet Frankenphone! The top half of the phone is cheap, glossy plastic with a mirror finish, and the bottom half is a soft touch coating on aluminum with a matte finish. The difference isn't as pronounced in press photos, but in-person the two blacks couldn't be more different. It's like they didn't know what material to use for the back, so they commissioned a special "half and half" prototype for comparison purposes (and threw some aluminum on there too, for good measure), then they accidentally mass produced the prototype. The result is a tacky, gaudy nightmare. The one time I took it out in public I made damn sure to put it face up on the table.

If you buy this, your only hope is that the top half of the phone is removable, so hopefully someone with some design sense will make a matte top, or if you're the DIY type, maybe you could sand the ugly off.

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Also, for no discernible reason, the soft touch back is split into two parts. The seam is between the Sprint logo and the speaker. Neither one of these pieces is removable (believe me, I tried) so I really don't get why they didn't go for one solid piece. It's just adding to what is already a very busy design. The bottom part isn't very durable either. When I took this picture, I had used the phone for about 6 hours and there were already shiny spots where it touches the table.

On the kickstand (yay! a kickstand!) we're also introduced to a second type of aluminum. This piece isn't brushed, and it's colored red, and it really looks like it should be emblazoned with a Verizon logo.

So all in all, we've got 5 different materials on this phone: Glass, soft touch coated aluminum, glossy mirror plastic, brushed aluminum, and smooth, anodized aluminum. Awesome. Have you ever seen those unpainted project cars, where every panel is a different color? That's the vibe I get from this "design."

The real shame is that this is so close to being really, really beautiful. Pick one surface for the front [glass], one surface for the back [soft touch], one type (and color) of aluminum accent, and one button style and you'd be on the something. All the blemishes and inconsistencies combine to make the phone moderately ugly. It's not a deal breaker or anything, and I feel like owners will be able to forget about it in a few weeks, but it's still way uglier than it needs to be.

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Most of my distaste comes from the fact that the starting point for this design was the beautiful One X. Look at what they threw away. Just stop, release that, and you'd be golden. Sprint worked hard to make this phone uglier. That's the real crime here.

Build Quality

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While the designers had no aesthetic sense, they certainly know how to build a solid phone. The build quality is fantastic. The whole phone (except the glossy plastic) feels great and has a nice heft to it. It's about as thin as a Galaxy Nexus is at its thinnest point, and, materials aside, feels like a higher quality device.

How it feels in the hand depends on where your fingers fall. The soft touch coating feels great. It's nice and grippy. The glossy plastic, however, feels like slippery crap that was made from recycled Happy Meal toys. The glossy plastic really hurts the quality level, but the rest of the phone does a good job making up for it. The kickstand, in particular, feels like it could hold up a house.

Under the soft touch coating is an aluminum unibody design, just not much of it is exposed. The soft touch coating feels nice, but I would have liked brushed aluminum better.

Hardware Buttons

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The One X series (Evo included), is one of the first phones with hardware buttons and Ice Cream Sandwich. ICS deprecated the system-wide menu button, and it's up to developers to, where necessary, implement the menu button in their UI. Since the menu button is on the way out, HTC opted to go with 3 hardware buttons: Back, Home, and Recent. Logical, right? "On the way out," though, is the key phrase here. See if you can spot the problem:

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We are not ready for this. ICS adoption is at about 5% right now. Nobody cares about the ICS APIs. That means most 3rd party apps still need the now-depreciated menu button. When you have all software buttons, this isn't a big deal - menu pops-up right alongside the other buttons. On a hardware button phone like the Evo though, this presents a problem. The terrible solution is a 720 pixel-wide menu button pinned to the bottom of the screen. Now you've got software AND hardware buttons. Ugh. More messy design decisions.

In the future, this won't be a big deal, eventually, most apps will get rid of the menu button. Now though, the menu button is very much still in use. So if you go the hardware button route, you have to chose between a layout that isn't ready for prime time, and a layout that will be obsolete in a year. The transition period is right now. Now is the time when a flexible button layout is the most useful, not in your next phone design. This thing needed software buttons.

With this design you get the worst of both worlds: more bezel than there needs to be - to accommodate the hardware buttons, and the screen-sucking software button bar. It makes the phone feel not-well-thought-out.

Screen

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The screen is beautiful. It's got a full-matrix, 720p IPS LCD Display, and it puts my Galaxy Nexus' display to shame. It beats up AMOLED in just about every category - colors are brighter, everything is crisper, it works better in sunlight. It's the best mobile screen you can buy.

Do yourself a favor and don't look at this screen in the store if you don't intend to buy it. It's better that you don't know what you're missing. Trust me. My Nexus' screen makes me sad now.

Performance

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The Evo 4G LTE is packing a 1.5GHz dual-core S4 snapdragon and, um, it's fast. Everything scrolls smoothly, and apps open quickly. We're pretty much beyond the point where any of that is a challenge. As for the harder stuff, It's got more than enough juice to handle any emulation needs you may have - Final Fantasy VII hits the frame limiter and stays there. N64 games work great too. I really have no idea what I'm supposed to do with all this power. If anyone has anything really challenging I can throw at it, I'm all ears. Someone make a PS2 emulator.

Like all HTC devices, the Evo features Beats Audio, a 300 million dollar EQ present that provides a moderate bass boost. Any time you play audio of any kind, a permanent advertisement notification appears saying you're using Beats audio, and it gives you the option to turn it off. I'm not impressed. What I am impressed with however, is the rest of the audio system. The headset jack can really push a good pair of headphones - its sounds much better than a run of the mill smartphone. Phones have replaced MP3 players for most of us, and it's clear HTC is focusing on the providing the best audio experience out there.

WiFi performance is great too. That 700MB Final Fantasy ISO transferred in 2 minutes using AirDroid and an N router.

Camera

On paper, the Evo's camera should be pretty good. It has something called a "backside illuminated sensor" (BSI sensor), which, supposedly, can suck down more photons than a traditional, front-illuminated image sensor. More photons = better picture.

Lets get technical! The traditional design has a lens at the front, wiring in the middle, and photodetectors at the back. This is, obviously, a stupid design - having a bunch a of opaque, metal wires in the middle of your light detection system is less than ideal (It's hard to blame camera designers though, the human eye has a similar design flaw).

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A BSI sensor has everything in the much more sensible configuration of lens -> photodetectors -> wires. So you can suck in all the photons you want without them being blocked by strands of metal. Wikipedia says this design improves the photon capture rate from "about 60% to over 90%," which certainly sounds like a big deal. For the record, this design is the same type used in the iPhone 4 and the SE Xperia Arc.

So, does the fancy image tech lead to actual image improvement? Let's find out.

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Well, here they are, in all their unedited glory. You don't really need me for this part - what do you think? I'm not really a camera expert, but to me, at full size, there's just a general lack of detail. Take a look at the tips of fur on my pup, or the green surface of the cactus (a macro shot), it's just a fuzzy mess.

That's if you really want to nit pick though. For the casual picture taking and Facebook stuff, the camera is great. Way better than the garbage sensor in my Gnex.

On the usage and software side of things, there's a real-life, hardware camera button! It feels like it's a two stage button, but the camera is always in continual auto focus mode, so there's really no point for the first stage. And, as usual, from anywhere on the phone, you can long press the shutter button and open the camera app.

The camera app itself is packed with features. There's a self timer, macro and HDR modes, automatic upload to Facebook or Flicker, face detection, automatic smile capture, and even Instagram-style filters.

The camera's burst mode is probably my favorite feature of this phone. It takes about 3 pictures per second, for as long as you hold the button down - and it makes a satisfying, rapid fire click noise for each picture. It's really fun to surprise people with it and take about 20 pictures of them in a few seconds, then show them their full range of emotions. You're guaranteed to get one hilarious WTF face and one genuine smile per set. It's a lot of fun. The review option shows you the all the pictures in a set, and you can tap "best shot" which will delete all the other pictures.

Kickstand

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Kickstands rock. This has one. This has one and it is bomb proof.

It's solid, strong, and keeps the phone stable. It's made out of aluminum, and the hinge is so tough, it's even a little hard to open - you really have to dig it out of the phone. It opens with a satisfying click and just oozes quality. The hinge is stiff enough to work upside down, so you get the bonus option of two different angles. I love it. This should be a standard feature on all phones.

A couple things hurt the utility of the kickstand, though. As you can see from the second picture, above, the micro USB port is on the side, so if you can't charge while using the kickstand "the right way." It has to be upside-down, and I'd probably call upside-down the less optimal angle. Still though, it's a step up from the original Evo.

Next time though, guys? Bottom USB port. Thanks.

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The other problem is that the Sense launcher doesn't rotate. So the kickstand is nice once you're inside of an app, but launching an app while in horizontal mode is a pain. Multitasking in horizontal mode is terrible too. Bouncing to the home screen and back nets you 2 rotate animations. What fun. This is easily fixed with a 3rd party launcher, but still, it shows a lack of attention to detail. And speaking of a lack of attention to detail:

Sense 4.0

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My daily driver is a Galaxy Nexus. I'm used to stock Android, and I love stock Android. I generally feel that, if you're going to change something, it had better be for a good reason. Stock Android isn't perfect, there are lots of tweaks you could make that would make it better, but changing something for no reason is stupid. Changing something and making it worse is a cardinal sin. It's with that frame of mind that we take a look at Sense 4.0.

Traditionally, HTC software design has felt like this. Things would swoop and spin and fly around for no reason. It was like watching a cheesy 3D movie where they always throw things at the screen. Sense 4.0 however, has been toned down a lot. It's definitely a step down from stock Android, but overall, it's not that bad. I... I could live with it.

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Design wise, Sense is still Sense. Everything is still green, and HTC still thinks gradients are like, the coolest thing ever. That last picture is HTC's "Hey, you've scrolled too far" effect - the harder you pull, the further each list item pulls apart. It's... interesting. Though I'm not really sure what analogy they were going for with that effect.

The general toning down of the sparkly crap is nice, but more of refresh would have been welcome too. Things like the status bar still look exactly like they did a million years ago on the Hero's 2.1 build of Sense. Compared to stock Ice Cream Sandwich, all the HTC stuff is starting to look dated.

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Don't worry though, the cheese isn't all gone. They insist, for instance, of using a cube rotation for almost every transition. It's on the home screen, the weather app, the calendar, the clock app, HTC's app store, the dialer, it's on the app drawer, and the car app, and on all the crapware, and the people app - It's on everything. Cube rotate all the things.

Bonus fail points for random UI elements not being able to handle the cube rotation, like the cloudy sky animation you see above. They also don't load preload the next side of the cube, so most of the time you are rotating to a grey square. Does no one double-check this stuff? There's just no polish of any kind.

Lock Screen

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The lock screen has gotten an overhaul. Swiping up on the giant chrome ring will unlock the phone. Any apps you stick in your home screen dock will show up on the lock screen as well, and you can quickly jump to them by dragging them into the ring.

The large, blank area on the lock screen is used for a giant, context sensitive widget. When you play music it shows a music player, new texts show a preview, low power shows a giant battery. It's nice. The music player even works with Google music. The widget doesn't show anything for Gmail, Google Talk, or Google Voice, however. Bummer.

There's one big problem with their implementation though, in stock ICS, you have 6 options for lock screens: None, Slide, Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN, and Password. HTC removed "Slide" (the default ICS circle unlock) and built their lock screen on the "None" option. So now "None" (which is still just called "None") doesn't mean "none" anymore, it means "HTC Lock screen."

Now, I'm not really a fan of lock screens. My phone doesn't turn on in my pocket, so I don't understand the need to add an extra step to the beginning of every phone interaction. Normally "None" is my go-to option, but since "None" is now the HTC lock screen, you are stuck with it unless you install a 3rd party app.

This is also an added annoyance if you use one of the security lock screens, because now you have two lock screens. On stock ICS, if you use pattern unlock, when you turn on the phone, you just swipe your pattern, and get down to business. On the Evo, you first get the ring unlock, then the pattern unlock. Double lock screens.

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There are even more lock screen configurations available from the personalization app. There's a productivity preset, if you're the type that has notifications pile up, a wiz-bang weather lock screen, a people grid, about a million clocks, and absolutely hilarious Facebook, Photo, and Stock ticker lock screens. Why hilarious? The information is presented in a swirling vortex. I'm not kidding. Facebook updates, photos, or stocks will swirl and spin by in the background, as if your phone is in the center of a cash grab machine.

Did I say Sense 4 was toned down? I take it back.

Recent Apps

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Left: Stock Android's recent app list | Center and right: Sense's recent app list

I'm noticing an alarming decline in the usefulness of the recent apps screen. In Gingerbread, we got 8 icons. Stock Ice Cream Sandwich (first picture) only gives us 4, which is less useful, but at least they make up for it with thumbnails. Sense 4.0 (the other 2 pictures), gives us one. One thumbnail. Maybe you could argue that counts as one and a half, but tell me, in the center picture, what app is that on the left? If you can't tell, it doesn't count. Scrolling over (right picture) gives you a peak of the left and right apps, but you still only get one name and icon.

Oh and don't forget the tack! This screen is chock-full of superfluous garbage. Your apps are now sliding across a wet floor! Everything has a shiny reflection! Moving your finger the slightest bit upward while over a thumbnail sends it excitedly bouncing up and down like a child on a sugar high.

This is a disaster. I need this screen. I accomplish real work here. This is a place for stark, utilitarian UI - show me names and icons, and get out of my way. This is not a place to show off reflections and cute bounce effects. This is the old, crappy, HTC Sense that should be banished to version 3.6. Fire whoever designed this. Fire them now.

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Top left and right: Sense's recent app list | Bottom left: Stock Android's recent app list.

Oh the fun's not over. How's this for attention to detail? Sense doesn't rotate the thumbnails (top left and right pictures), so if you switch orientations, you have sideways thumbnails. You can even have upright and sideways thumbnails right next to each other! Great. Stock Android handled this beautifully. There, the thumbnails are square, so regular auto-rotate keeps everything organized.

You can still swipe up to remove items, but they removed the long-press-App-Info functionally present in ICS (ICS lets you long press on a thumbnail, hit "App info" and you can easily force close or uninstall an app).

They managed to damage the feel of Recent Apps too. In Android, apps you haven't used for a bit get unloaded from memory. When you open them again, one of the things that needs to happen is a redraw. If you pay attention, you'll notice apps load piece by piece, not in one big chunk. Normally, this isn't a big deal.

You've probably noticed Sense's Recent Apps implementation has full sized thumbnails. One of the things Sense does, that the stock thumbnails don't do, is expand the thumbnail to full screen when you click on it. But a redraw still needs to happen, so the thumbnail fills the screen, then it disappears, then the real app comes back piece by piece. Observe:

I always want to interact with the full screen thumbnail. Sometimes this doesn't happen on a recent enough app, and I sit there like an idiot for a few seconds waiting for a screen redraw that will never come.

The scrolling is terrible too. You expect it to be a free flowing scroll, with a smooth deceleration, like every other scrolling list, but the scrolling wants to "lock" to every app thumbnail. It's the only scrolling in the entire phone that works like this, and it really messes with the user's expectations.

So what has HTC accomplished here? They tarted-up the design with pointless reflections and gradients, made it less useful and harder to use by reducing the number of apps from 4 to 1, they screwed up the scrolling, removed the app info functionality, and made the phone look borderline broken with a flickery app loading. Great job. And all this on a function so important it has its own button next to Back and Home.

Keyboard

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Out of the box, the keyboard is crap. You can change some settings though and, while it won't ever be as good as the ICS keyboard (which has been removed and is not an option), the Sense keyboard can be whipped into shape. For starters, spell check is off by default (yes, really). So you can type a "Thos" instead of "This" and it will dutifully preserve your typo. Brilliant. You'll want to turn that on. Speaking of spell check, the ICS spell check has been left untouched, so, should you leave the settings at their defaults, the little red underline will be there to pick up the slack.

The other must-change setting is vibrate. This one needs to be shut off. Vibrate is supposed to go off with every key press, but the vibrating is so big and slow and chunky that it just can't keep up. If you're typing at a steady clip, it will alternate between heavy and light vibrates, and often misses a key press entirely. Vibrate is supposed to help with your typing, but the inconsistency just messed with my head and made me second guess myself while I was typing. Things are much better with it off.

After the tweaking, the keyboard is decent. It corrects words well, and generally just works. It won't correct missed spaces the way the stock Android one will, however.

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The stock text select cursors have been changed to little green teardrops. The inconsistent Select All/Cut/Copy labels from ICS have been replaced by much better and more parsable custom versions, and they even added a magnifying glass when you hold down on the teardrop. Overall an improvement. Except in the apps that, for some reason, aren't skinned. Get a load of Google Docs (right image), for instance. It still has the stock cursor. Lame.

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Swype is an option as a separate keyboard, and the stock keyboard even has Swype-like functionality built in if you turn it on somewhere in the options. It seems to work well, but that's something a Swype fanatic would be a better judge of.

There are about a million settings to explore for the keyboard. If you're a time traveler from the past you'll be glad to know T9 is an option. There's also support for every language known to man, some kind of Chinese drawing support that I couldn't figure out how to activate, and bilingual support, which checks against two dictionaries at once. I'm not even that good at English so, other languages aren't really my thing, but it all seems very (uncharacteristically) thorough.

Other Apps

HTC just couldn't stop themselves from skinning some of the default Android apps, and you can never get the stock ones back, so it's worth highlighting what they've messed with.

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In the rarely occupied "Good change" category, we have the Gallery app. I really like it. While it isn't as pretty as the stock gallery, it's much more useful. It gathers your pictures from all over the internet - Facebook, Picasa (G+), Dropbox, Flicker, and Skydive. The best part - and this is where it blows away the stock gallery - is that they are separated into groups. So now you don't have Google+ post pictures mashed up with your regular photos like you do on the stock gallery.

Facebook support is fantastic. You definitely want to use this over the official app for pictures, its better and faster than that... thing. The stock editor is gone though, the only edit options are crop, rotate, and Insta-filters. You also can't rotate a picture with multitouch. I think Apple owns that too.

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The calculator fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Ho-ly crap. It almost looks broken. When I first saw it, I thought I had messed up a DPI setting or something, but no, they want it to look like that. Yikes.

Some functionality is gone too. You can no longer use the advanced panel in portrait mode. At first I thought it was removed entirely, but it turns out you just have to switch to landscape mode to use it.

Why is there not a button for it? Your clear button really needs to be 3 blocks long? Common sense stuff like this just bugs me.

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The calendar got a heavy skinning and information display is down across the board. There's slightly less room for calendar now, thanks to the bigger header, new bottom bar (with cube rotate!), and permanent birthday information (the second row of purple blocks). The semi-useful appointment colors in month view are gone, and text is bigger, so you see less information than on the stock version. A day block in week view is a whopping 3 characters wide. Allowing for super informative appoint labels like "Wor."

You also can't see all day events in week view anymore, heck you can't even see the color of all day events. You just get a purple block with the number of events, you have to tap on it to see anything. There's a also a bug that displays contact birthdays on the wrong day (right picture). My dad's birthday is the 17th, and nowhere else but the HTC calendar does it say it's on the 11th. No idea how they messed that up.

They did make one big upgrade over the stock calendar though. Colors now match the desktop version! Take note, Google. We need this (back) for Jelly Bean.

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The stock Android dialer sucks. HTC's version is a big improvement. Tapping the keypad simultaneously searches for numbers and T9 contact names, and your recent calls are displayed at the top. There's also old school, long press speed dial for each number. Again, Google could learn a thing or two.

I don't know what all dialers have against horizontal mode, but this one doesn't support sideways dialing either. So expect an added level of difficulty when trying to call someone from a car dock.

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Finding a widget in your giant list of widgets is a pain in the butt. Everyone knows this. Google tried to solve this in ICS by putting the widgets in the app drawer and giving you thumbnail previews. HTC does one better and adds categorization and search to the widget interface. This makes it a whole lot easier to dig through the 100 or so widgets I have on this phone.

If you thought you couldn't get through your day with only 3 full-screen calculator widgets, fear not, because there are actually 4. You get 4 calculators, 4 calendars, EIGHTEEN different species of clock, 2 FM radios, 3 friend streams, and 3 each for Mail, Messages, Music, Photos, Stocks, and Weather. So, yeah, that search functionality? Kind of necessary.

The App Drawer adds a "Frequent" tab to the standard "All" and "Downloaded" tabs. It also has the same search feature as the Widget Drawer, but there's no metadata of any kind. So a search for "Google" doesn't bring up your list of Google Apps, because "Google" isn't actually in the icon name.

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And, of course, no phone would be complete without a healthy serving of crapware, and the new Evo is no exception. ICS put crapware on notice by allowing you to disable uninstallable apps, but it turns out carriers can just disable the disable button, which Sprint has done for some apps.

So we've got 3 categories, Permanent, which means you can't uninstall or disable it, Disablable, which means you can't uninstall it, but you can turn it off, and full-on Uninstallable. Here's the bevy of garbage that awaits you:

Permanent:

  • HTC Hub - an app store with, maybe, 100 apps. It breaks the apps down into the same categories as the Market Play Store, and tapping on a category and seeing one app is truly a sorry sight. It will let you download ringtones too, there's about 30.
  • Setup - This lets you relive the first days excitement of the initial setup again. Oh, nostalgia. No uninstall or disable.
  • Sprint Zone - The top item in the promos section invites me to "Steal the thunder this holiday season." Guys. It's May. This also features more links to websites.
  • Task Manger - This is an advanced calculator with fraction support!.. Just kidding. It's a task manager.
  • Voicemail - Come on people! This is built in now. Get with the program!

Disablable:

  • Media Share -HTC's DLNA implementation.
  • Sprint Hotspot - Again guys, integrated. What's the point of using an OS like Android if you aren't going to take advantage of it?
  • Stocks - A stock ticker. Hey HTC, you know your aforementioned manufacturer specific app store? That's where apps like this belong.
  • Transfer - This wants to import data from my old phone over Bluetooth (really?). Even other Android phones. They do know all that stuff is already synced to the internet... don't they?

Uninstallable:

  • HTC Mobile Guide - just a link to a webpage. A link to a webpage that takes up space in your app drawer.
  • Watch - HTC's video app. You can buy Underworld, the first one, for $10. uninstall

So by my in-no-way-definitive count, 9 pieces of non-removable crapware. Judging by my previous journey into the crapware world, that's not that bad. Nice show of restraint.

Battery Life

battery-header

If you remember from way back in the opening (sorry), the Sprint version packs an extra 200mAh over the AT&T version. And, as usual, battery usage depends entirely on how much you have the screen on. The good news is this thing is a champ in standby, it went 16 hours with moderate usage on the first charge. The next day is was pretty heavy with a few hours of reading at max brightness and well, things didn't go so well.

wm_2012-05-14 00.17.18wm_2012-05-14 00.17.14wm_2012-05-13 06.25.08

For day two I was able to cause total battery meltdown in about 7 and a half hours. Still though, 7 hours with the kind of abuse I was putting it through is pretty good. Mostly I was just typing some of this review while on the move.

As you can see in the second screenshot, app logging is totally broken. I was jumping in and out of Chrome, Gmail, Docs Drive and whatever app I was writing about at the time, and none of that shows up in battery stats. The stats don't reset either, so, unless you do a total power down, you're going to have one continuous, multi-day graph. It is kind of impressive see it read "32 hours on battery," but it's not very accurate. And see that jump at the end of the third picture? Just before the jump, the phone said 0 battery and powered down. I powered it back on and suddenly it found 10% of juice it had misplaced, and proceeded to run for another half hour. So note to HTC: for OTA #1, the battery stats need a bit of a debugging.

While the battery is pretty extensive, it's also non-removable, so bring a charger. I understand the One X's unibody excuse for a lack of removable battery, but on the Evo, the back is already removable! Why couldn't they have made the battery accessible there?!

Finally, this is kind of a weird statement, but I feel like the kickstand makes this battery especially vulnerable. It's very tempting to leave the phone on with Gmail open or just have it play some type of media. It would be nice to have two batteries and not have to deal with battery conservation willpower. The kickstand is just so awesome, it makes me want to have the phone on all the time.

Conclusion

Overall, the HTC Evo 4G LTE is a solid phone with lots of little extras that add to the "Swiss army knife" vibe a good smartphone should have. The kickstand, NFC, FM radio, and camera button make me happy. It's very capable. Plus, you've got more horsepower than you'll know what to do with and a beautiful screen.

Sense is still not as good as stock Android, but it's not a huge problem. I was surprised by how well I could put up with it. You will die of a thousand paper cuts in the UX department, though.

I've noticed a general theme of "working hard to make things worse" with this phone. On the software side, Sense takes away functionality in exchange for tacky reflections and gradients, and the things they changed show a real lack of polish and attention to detail. And as for the hardware design, it could have looked like the One X! Instead we get a non-cohesive "revamped" design that looks like it was made from spare parts.

So good design made worse, and good software made worse. It seems like, in several areas, HTC and Sprint were given choices to make, consisting of a "good" and "great" option, most of the time, they picked the "good" option (except for the glossy plastic, where they picked the worst possible option imaginable). The result is a solid phone, that I'm sure many people would be happy to own, but could have been so much more.

I'll be fielding questions in the comments. I'm not allowed to root it, but I'll answer anything else I can. Fire away.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://www.theandroidsite.com benmarvin

    Haha, love the Facebook screenshot. Classic.

  • vincesetzer

    Preordered mine because the alternative is to wait for the SIII. I look forward to putting AOKP on it as soon as that's available. The back of the phone does look terrible. There will probably be some after market solution for that, hopefully. 

    • Zak Taccardi

      cm9 is available on the sprint galaxy nexus already^^

      • John F

        Wow. People actually look at the back of a phone that much? I like nice butts too but could care less what a phones ass looks like. If the LCD is brilliant and beautiful, on the tough side and the insides have the performance to my liking's...... then good enough for me. I use and abuse my phones, never cared about entering it into a beauty contest!!

      • ffejjj

        If you want a lessor phone :)

  • Lexster

    You seem extremely angry in this review, man. You need a Xanax. ;) Seriously, though...you seem to be overly obsessed with small design changes that don't necessarily matter. I'm guessing you're very concerned with UI design in general, yes? The multitasking change isn't going to really matter to a vast majority of people. The slightly less area of information for the calendar isn't going to matter to most people. And, seriously? Simply because spell check is off and vibration is on, the keyboard "sucks"? That seems really petty to me. I'd rather know how it fairs accuracy-wise to ICS. And, FYI, auto correct was off by default on my roommate's Razr when he got it, so that's not really a unique thing, it seems. I also find it strange that you're the only one complaining about the "bloatware." Every other review I've read has said there were only one or two things of bloatware. All in all, I don't see how you can say it's a "solid phone", when the only relatively good things you had to say were that it got decent battery life and had a fast processor.

    • vincesetzer

      I think the thing the reviewer is aware of is that this phone, out of the box, isn't going to really impress anyone. It'll appeal to those people on sprint that have limited options and have been with Android for a while already. Sense UI is gimmicky and not well thought out and completely irrelevant. The look of the casing of the phone is important because that's what people see when you are using your phone. Obviously, hopefully people don't buy phones to impress other people, but these things do add up and matter.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        I'm giving you a crown, for being The Internet's Most Rational Commenter of the day.

        • vincesetzer

          (⌐■_■)

      • http://www.facebook.com/DouglasBailey1 Douglas Bailey

        Yes and there are sense fans...LOTS of them...same with TouchWiz.   Stock ICS fans continually push their opinion on skins but they are they phones that are selling millions...not stock ICS.   The galaxy nexus is on Sprint as well...why do i feel this phone will easily outsell it?

      • Dan

        Hahaha, WHAT?!  Out of the box, this is the fastest and smoothest phone in existence, has the best screen in the industry, and has the latest and greatest EVERYTHING.  I'm going to enjoy watching everyone drool over my phone, right out of the box!  This is one of the most asinine comments I've ever heard.  What phone are you running that this would not completely overshadow (out of the box)?  Listen, I'm all about rooting and customizing (I flash multiple ROMs a week), but this phone is gonna be sick out of the box.  The thing is getting 5100 quadrant scores with no tweaks!  Unless you are referring to the physical look only (and that's honestly a very subjective thing - some reviewers are loving the look), I think your comment is mind-bogglingly inaccurate.

        • bluevoodo

           Yes this author seems, pretty biased against this phone or company overall, I wonder if he's a Samsung fan?

          • PaulAtreides

            This article stinks to hell of fanboyism. There are some good points made, but the overall vibe I got was the "Nexus or go home" attitude.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Fanboyism towards what? Stock Android, which OEMs messed with? Once you go Nexus and try one of these, you might be disappointed as well.

    • Zak Taccardi

      there's a button dedicated to multitasking on this phone. Android is designed to allow quickly swapping between multiple apps, even more so now that the hardware can keep up.

      So yes, multitasking is important.

    • fixxmyhead

      yea i noticed its very angry. im the total opposite dont care what it looks like, dont care what its made out of, etc. as long as its powerful. this is the reason i stay away from xda but ONLY check out the development section cuz everything else is full of whiny little bitches that has to have a thread about every little meniscule detail,design, etc.

    • http://twitter.com/simp1istic simp1istic

      He's absolutely unabashedly right about the multitasking thing. It's a godawful horrible change. The work was ALREADY done for HTC. They spent time and money making something worse and useless. It's completely idiotic. 

      The vibration of the keyboard is horrible. He's used the phone, have you? It's nowhere near as accurate as the excellent stock ICS keyboard. 

      • Lexster

        I didn't say it was a /good/ idea, just that it's not one worth getting freaking upset over. And secondly, no, I haven't used the phone. That would be why I was asking about the accuracy. And, also...pot calling the kettle black much? Have you used the phone? How would you know the vibration is horrible and that it's not as accurate?

        • http://twitter.com/simp1istic simp1istic

          I have a One X, the multitasking and vibration are the same as this phone. 

          He's not "freaking out" over it by writing a damn review. 

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I hope the vibration itself doesn't feel the way it does on the EVO 3D (it shouldn't, they're made by different companies) - it's the most obnoxious kind of vibration I've ever experienced. Almost has a ring to it (that's not a good thing).

  • Jay

    what's that game? Starcraft?

    • Ron Amadeo

      Yep. SCII. My go-to screen demo. Brightly colored, lots of detail.

      • Zak Taccardi

        Diablo 3 in 12 hours!!

  • Awesome Sauce

    I really liked the very thorough review and all the inconsistencies that were pointed out on the software side.  If I were at HTC I would fix all of them because everything stated in the article DOES make sense and would make a more cohesive UI.  Im not worried about the glossy back because someone will make a functional replacement for it.  Im eagerly awating the delivery of mine.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      God, I really hope someone does. There's no guarantee though.

  • ModXMV

    I have been using CM6 and CM7 on my Evo 4g for 2 years.  I preordered this but I have huge reservations regarding UI.  Are you at all inclined to use this unit over your Galaxy Nexus?

    • Ron Amadeo

      Oh GOD no. Once you go Nexus you never go back. I do have a serious case of kickstand envy, though.

      The GN is going to get Jelly Bean on day one and this isn't. That's the deal breaker for me.

      • ModXMV

        Hmm maybe I will cancel my preorder.  Is the camera on the Nexus really that bad?

        EDIT: Is there a way you can do a side by side shot comparison?

        • NemaCystX

          Yes, Yes it is...  

          Here's a great example of the bad quality.

          When I take a picture on the Galaxy Nexus, in the viewfinder on the screen you think your taking a great quality pic, then when you view the picture you took, it looks bad. So much noise and grainy lines.

          When I take a picture with my HTC ThunderBolt, I get the picture I see on my viewfinder on the screen. you can't tell a difference in screen quality vs picture quality of the shot you just took its that nice.  

          I used to take pictures all the time with my ThunderBolt when it was my daily driver, but when I got the NEXUS, I haven't taken as many because I don't like the quality I get.

          The Galaxy Nexus DOES take nice pictures if you use flash but in low lighting and no-flash, its horrible,  macro shots are nice though, if you can get some good lighting without flash on.

        • Lexster

          I wouldn't cancel your pre-order based on one review. Unless you are really as picky about some minor UI design changes. This is pretty much the first mostly negative review I've seen about the phone.

          • ModXMV

            It's not a negative review.  I am a huge advocate for stock android and an unlocked bootloader.  Every review has said that sense is a step back from stock.  This phone has neither.

        • Ron Amadeo

          I don't have anything particularly photogenic around right now, but here's a quick A/B under indoor florescent lighting.

          http://imgur.com/a/IgwBQ 

      • Zak Taccardi

        Got a Nexus S from a Samsung sponsered Sprint conference, and it's true - once you go nexus, you can't go back.

        I just ordered my Sprint Galaxy Nexus today. It's difficult knowing that the hardware of this Evo and the upcoming GSIII is far superior to the Nexus hardware - but I just can't give up that Nexus software.Not gonna lie, I dream of a Nexus device with an S4 Snapdragon processor.

        • vincesetzer

          I just cancelled by Evo 4G LTE pre-order. Nexus here I come! After the Hero and the Evo, I'm done with HTC.

      • Lexster

        I was burned by the Nexus S. Not sure I'm willing to spend more more on Samsung and risk another crappy cheap-feeling phone with a bunch of bugs.

  • http://twitter.com/dynomike666 Mike

    Fantastic review.  I love the nit-picking and attention to detail, all those things about Sense you mentioned would drive me nuts.  Now that I have a Gnex, i can't see myself getting another non-Nexus device again.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      That's Ron - all his reviews are like that, and I appreciate them far more than those who just write an overview of a device and its OS with no negatives.

    • complainer

      I totally agree. I'll miss having a kickstand but I think picking up a Galaxy Nexus makes more sense for me at this point.

    • complainer

      I totally agree. I'll miss having a kickstand but I think picking up a Galaxy Nexus makes more sense for me at this point.

    • complainer

      I totally agree. I'll miss having a kickstand but I think picking up a Galaxy Nexus makes more sense for me at this point.

    • complainer

      I totally agree. I'll miss having a kickstand but I think picking up a Galaxy Nexus makes more sense for me at this point.

  • NemaCystX

    Verizon actually got a nice looking variant of the One family, the DROID Incredible 4G LTE actually looks nice.

    As far as the recent apps in Sense 4, if people don't like it nor want it, why is it one new feature of AOKP in build 35?  I do agree that some people would rather have more thumbs on screen to quickly switch between the apps but a bigger thumbnail is also nice too.  I could see the Sense 4 recent apps layout work better on a tablet and the gingerbread style working better on smaller screens.  ICS or Sense 4 style works for me.

    I'm more excited about OpenDESIGN though as we'll be able to take features like that from Sense and use them on CM9

    http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/05/10/opendesign-wants-to-bring-all-the-best-features-from-manufacturer-skins-to-cm9-compatible-devices/ 

    Great Review (above) and Great article on the OpenDESIGN (LINK above)

  • William Roberts

    the top matte piece is actually metal not plastic hence two peices

    • Todd

      I had posted a comment that apparently was deleted (as was the reply to it) that touched on this. The phone is unibody aluminum, so the reason there is the 2-piece matte black is what William says above. 

      I do agree, the gloss plastic looks like dookie, and this is from someone probably going to get it.

      • Ron Amadeo

        I don't know what happened to your comment, but yes, there's aluminum inside. Then they coated it with plastic. =/

        • Todd

          Well, that continues to suck. I knew I was trying to tell myself that I didn't care that much about the design but it seems like it just keeps getting wonkier and wonkier.

        • http://www.facebook.com/DouglasBailey1 Douglas Bailey

          For someone so obsessed with detail ( and i mean that in a good way) its a shame you have repeatedly throughout the review and now in this comment misinformed your readers.

          The phone is made out of a unibody aluminum chassis that is then anodized which gives it its soft touch finish and then the sides are machined down which gives the aluminum band around the outside.   The glossy polycarbonate plastic (not cheap plastic) is the only plastic on the hardware construction of this phone.

          • Ron Amadeo

            The "polycarbonate" feels like crap and looks like crap. 

            And if you check the picture under "Build Quality" you'll see that the stuff under the glossy plastic is translucent, so that's not aluminum either. 

            The aluminum is definitely coated in something, and I don't have a laboratory on hand to determine the chemical makeup of the coating. It feels like soft touch plastic so I called it soft touch plastic. It's 100%, certainly not bare aluminum. 

            The glossy thing feels bad, the matte thing feels good. Exposed aluminum would be better feeling than both of them. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/DouglasBailey1 Douglas Bailey

            Can't reply to yours again but its not counted by anything..its a chemical etching process.  Its anodized aluminum.    And i think the world has learned its lesson that an all metal phone will have terrible reception. 

          • Ron Amadeo

            I think we broke disqus!

            I added a bit about the back having a plastic coating, and not totally plastic. It's not exposed aluminum though.

            Anodized aluminum has a grain to it and still feels like aluminum. Like the kickstand, that's anodized aluminum. The back isn't that. The back feels like soft touch plastic. Soft touch plastic over aluminum, but you can't feel the inside part.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I didn't delete any comments in this thread. I get email notifications for each one, and this is the first one that appeared from this name/email in this thread :-/

        • Todd

          Very strange, I didn't think that you guys would be deleting comments, and that makes me feel better. I can't find it in my Disqus dashboard, but I do think I was mistaken in that I had a reply (I think I had an old notification on my Disqus button). Consider this a Disqus bug.

    • Klb7885

      The top part is glossy plastic and the bottom aluminum. They had to make the top plastic because is google wallet.

    • robert steedman

      HTC says the reason for the different finishes on the back of the phone is for the camera,  so that you know your finger wont be blocking the camera lens.   seen the HTC review i believe here at AP. 

  • Ashish Raj

    Hey AP, do us a favor & make Ron review all the new phones hereon..

    I'm also just curious to know which present phone suits his bill the most!!

    • Ron Amadeo

      Thanks! but I think reviewing everything would kill me. I'll try to get my hands on a GSIII next, all their software changes sound crazy.

      My current favorite is my GN, which is why it's mine. I really have no qualms about running out, switching carriers, and spending whatever I have to spend on an ETF to get a better phone. It's not that I'm super rich or anything, its just that phones are kind of a hobby for me.I reviewed the Nexus here: http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/21/review-the-galaxy-nexus-and-ice-cream-sandwich-the-future-of-android-starts-here/It seems like every phone is a series of compromises. The GN has an old processor compared to this, Pentile AMOLED isn't as good at as a full matrix LCD, and Samsung's plasticy build quality makes my skin crawl.

      It's all outweighed by the great software and having the first look at Jelly Bean. Having an unlocked bootloader and a great mod community means I can fix most of the UI problems I have with it. So I brought back voice actions with a search button (thanks to AOKP), removed the permanent search bar with apex launcher, and set the DPI higher, so you can see more info at once. It also helps that the all black front is really nice looking.

      Like I said, it's a bunch of compromises. I feel like every phone "needs work," I'm not really satisfied with anything.

      • Thetinguy

        It seems the Evo is better in every way except for looks and sense. Any reason you wouldn't use the htcdev unlock and install a de-sensed or AOSP rom?

        • Fritz Freund

          I'm looking for a new phone this summer but I hate Sense. This is what I might end up doing...

          HTC... LEAVE ANDROID ALONE! Stop trying to make it your own OS by changing the UI. 

          P.S. Very nice review Ron!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Heh, Ron is free to choose which phones he reviews, but I always enjoy his reviews myself (like the Galaxy Nexus one: http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/21/review-the-galaxy-nexus-and-ice-cream-sandwich-the-future-of-android-starts-here/ ).

  • Steve

    Oh. My. God. See at first I didn't really see what people were getting at about the capacitive buttons and saying how missing the menu button was going to ruin the experience and take up more bezel(Screen in this case). Now that I've seen those, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING! That looks so terrible. Waste of space for 3 dots. SMH.

    • Lexster

      Maybe you should be pissed at the developers who aren't changing their apps to reflect the menu button that's supposed to be built into their apps now. If they did what they were supposed to do, the menu button wouldn't pop up on the screen. It's not HTC's fault, it's the app developer.

      • toshistation

        Developers will do what they're incentivized to do. They aren't going to cowtow to HTC's terrible design scheme when their gingerbread designs already work just fine. ICS adoption for apps (as the article points out) is only at 5%. Maybe HTC should've considered the ecosystem of the OS before making a horrible design choice.

        Even Samsung figured this out with a capacitive menu button that when long-pressed opens multitasking.Seriously, stop making excuses for HTC's awful choices.

        • Lexster

          Um...you realize that the whole three dot thing is FROM ICS, right? HTC didn't decide to have that. It shows up in apps on the Galaxy Nexus as well if they don't have their own Menu button like they're supposed to, it's just that they have the on screen buttons, so the other buttons just move to the side. It will happen on any phone that doesn't have a specific menu button either on-screen of as a capacitive button.

          And, also? That long press on the HOME buttons has been around forever. Samsung didn't invent it. It's not a new ICS feature.

          And, finally, you're right. They will do what they're incentivized to do, which is while I will be contacting every dev for apps I use, letting them know that I want them to fix their app to actually be the way Google wants it now and that they won't get any more money from me until they do.

  • Manny05

    Very detailed and honest review. I agree with all your points
    GS3 is the way to go.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Just for the sake of information, the pulling apart of list items mentioned right at the beginning of the Sense 4.0 section is sort of a reversed rip-off of the Windows Phone interface.  In WP, when you try to pull something too far, everything is graphically mashed together in a squeezed fashion; obviously HTC decided to reverse the concept...Frankly, I'm not in love with this feature on WP but it's passable, I hate the look of it on that screen shot because it means seeing a background that doesn't fit with the conceptual design...It's just a cheap hack the way it's done here.

  • Sejanus

    Great review! Loved those little details.

  • nonextstop

    In the weather screenshot it says Egg Harbor City. Is it the one in New Jersey? Cause I live near there haha

    • Ron Amadeo

      Yep. Hi.

      • nonextstop

        O_o haha Im from Northfield. Its right outside of Egg Harbor Township

  • Eludium Q36

    "There isn't much of a Sprint LTE network to speak of yet..." 

    Just to be clear, there is no Sprint LTE network at this point in time. I'm a Sprint customer and look forward to it happening but the first markets aren't slated until a vague Summer time-frame, and my Wash DC is only rumored for "later this year". Sprint is in all likelihood deployment testing LTE in the first markets but it's not "turned on" anywhere at this point.

    • vincesetzer

      wimax has been in baltimore and it's not bad on the evo 4g. the battery just vomits on itself though when that antenna is turned on. I wonder if LTE does the same.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Hopefully the LTE chip is integrated into the SoC (I believe it is), which should result in far better battery life.

  • Greg Bissell

    I love how the HTC One reviews didn't mention how crappy and a disaster Sense 4 is but NOW all of a sudden they tell you what an utter mess it is. So glad I have a Gnex and not an HTC phone!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Different reviewers highlight different things - Ron's always been the under-the-hood, examine-every-detail kind of guy.

  • Robby Payne

    Do some research. It's a Super LCD 2 screen and the top, sides and bottom half if the back of the phone are unibody aluminum.

    Also, I'm amazed at how poor your sample photos are when other sites show wonderful sample images from the One Series and the EVO as well. Perhaps the slack in camera performance is operator error.

    Your review is thorough, though, and apart from your incorrect assertions about the build, this is a great collection of finer points on this device.

    • Ron Amadeo

      Aluminum coated in plastic. You could put gold inside, but if you coat it in crap it's going to feel like crap.

      Like I said, I'm not a camera expert. I pointed it at something and clicked the shutter button, in a spot where the lighting was decent. What else do you want me to do?

      • Lexster

        Where exactly did you see that it is coated in plastic? It's not listed anywhere I've seen.

        • Ron Amadeo

          It's in front of me. The only exposed aluminum is the kickstand and the ring around the edge.

          • Lexster

            Why is it that no other reviewer has mentioned this? They've all said that it's anodized aluminum and that the silver stripe is just been machined to the original aluminum finish.

            Also, here's the video explaining the build process. Notice there's no mention of it being coated in plastic. In fact, they say they didn't WANT to coat it in anything.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pNlGtUPuabs#!

          • Ron Amadeo

            It's right in that video
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNlGtUPuabs&feature=player_detailpage#t=105s

            "One of the interesting things we wanted to achieve was the soft touch finish as opposed to a harder, rougher cold metal feel"

            Whatever it is feels like soft touch plastic and scratches off.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500145185 David Fleck

            Yea, Ron, you are just wrong about this.  It's an aluminum uni-body. The machined edge and the soft bottom half of the back are all one piece.  The soft feel is from a special sand blasting technique and actually has no coating at all.  The edge is the same piece of aluminum but it has been machined back to bright silver. 

          • Beep

            It's not coated in plastic, the unibody undergoes high pressure blasting with varying sized grit and then it goes through chemical etching to remove the peaks caused by the blasting.  

  • CeluGeek

    HTC hates Android so much they can't wait to change everything to their
    own look and feel. It isn't funny anymore. I'm not buying an HTC device
    unless  they learn to respect Android's look and especially, Android's feel.

    And you know who else will be better off buying any Android ICS device
    that is not made by HTC? Visually-impaired users. For once, Google released a version of Android that a blind or visually-impaired person can actually use... and HTC made sure to make it inaccessible with all their nonsense crap. I was checking out the One X for AT&T and I almost ended up paying the $600+ the phone costs, not because I wanted to buy it but because I was so angry about the complete inaccessibility of HTC's implementation of ICS that I almost smashed the live phone to pieces!

    • Lexster

      "
      HTC hates Android so much they can't wait to change everything to their 

      own look and feel. It isn't funny anymore. I'm not buying an HTC device 
      unless  they learn to respect Android's look and especially, Android's feel."
      Hah! Hahahaha! Seriously? You're going to rail HTC for this? Well, then I hope you won't buy a Motorola or Samsung device either because other than the Nexus, they also have skins which "don't respect Android." Please.

      • CeluGeek

        Both Motorola and Samsung have scaled back on their customizations so at the very least, they feel like you are using Android. Plus Touchwiz at least adds useful functionality, like sliding right to call contacts and left to SMS them, and hiding applications or placing them in folders way before stock Android allowed for this. I'd rather have useful functionality than stupid spinning cubes.

        Also Touchwiz in ICS (at least in the Galaxy Tab 2) is very compatible (though not 100%) with Android's accessibility API, while HTC went the extra mile to make sure their nonSense breaks Android's accessibility. Heck, at least Motorola has the decency of including their own accessibility tools so users don't have to feel the pain of them breaking Android's built-in accessibility with their Blur.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbermi Jeff Bermingham

    http://youtu.be/pNlGtUPuabs
     
    the bottom half is not plastic, its aluminum. and the reason for the plastic top is because aluminum would interfere with the antennas and the NFC. (ie deathgrip on the iphone)

    • Ron Amadeo

      The bottom half is coating in something that feels like soft touch plastic. I added a bit in build quality about the unibody, and tweaked some stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6706714 Ofir Fatal

    Wow this is one of the best (read: in-depth) reviews for any Android phone on any site. Ron, you have a fan in me. Thank you for going the extra mile and going through all the details. I already know all the usual specs, but it's stuff like software implementation and how the camera works that I find to be useful. +1!!

  • Zerounodos

    I was really excited about= hardware buttons, kickstand, screen, power, sd card slot... but non-removable battery is a deal breaker for me.

    Actually, since this phone won't be available worldwide (or will it?), I don't know why I got so excited. I'm not from the US. 

    • Ron Amadeo

      Sprint only.

      • Zerounodos

        Crap. Well, at least I won't feel bad for not getting it, since I simply can't! Haha, I liked your review, thanks! You may have conviced me a bit to get a gnex... :D

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This version will only work on Sprint. It's useless to folks outside U.S.

  • Aaronn

    Galley app hahahhaha.... did you type that part from the phone without spell check enabled? Great review though, I read the whole thing!

    • Ron Amadeo

      What? It's an app for sailing.

      Good catch. =P

  • Fifth313ment

    Hey could the reviewer or anyone else who knows or can find out let me know the
    locations of the proximity sensor and light sensor? I've been looking
    all around the net at schematics and diagrams but I've only been able to
    find maybe the location of the proximity sensor but I wanted to know
    100% as I'm looking at a screen protector but in the images it looks
    like it's covering the sensors? So if you could maybe post a pic with
    something pointing to the locations? This would be greatly appreciated,
    thanks.

    Also It sucks that it seems no accessories are out
    for the EVO LTE yet? I wanted a Steinheil screen protector but they don't even have a page for the EVO LTE nor do other big name brands like Zagg? I don't think an HTC
    One X version will work from the way it looks the screen is curved?

    Thanks,

    5th

  • GONZO26

    Good work on the review. Galaxy Nexus or Evo 4G Lte? Which do you prefer and recommend? I'm torn between which one to get

  • Ninjafarts

    "While the designers had no atheistic sense"...

    Is this a typo, or just another way to call the design god-awful?

    • Ron Amadeo

      They are godless heathens. 

      I picked the wrong spell check item. =P

      Thanks

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Ha, good one.

  • ginobili1

    Ron you sounded really pissed off by HTC for this phone. Maybe the plastic backing got ya!

  • Aparish21

    Thanks for taking the time to out this together. Did you get a chance to perform the "snap a pic while in video mode" function? If jot could you give it a the and see how it goes?

    • Aparish21

      Edit: geez that was typo-laden...sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17001583 Bill Badnaruk

     Hey ron, check your facts, the phone is made primarily out of a solid aluminum structure.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=pNlGtUPuabs

    pretty much everywhere you said soft touch plastic, should be replaced with incredibly complex CNC'd aluminum unibody.

    • Ron Amadeo

      Ok, I added a bit about the aluminum uni body to the build quality, and tweaked some plastic references. It doesn't seem to matter much when none of it is exposed though. The back isn't exposed aluminum, there's a coating on it that feels like soft touch plastic.

      • RonD45

         The U-tube video says no coating or plating. Look at it again.

  • MvP77

    I have a att one x and it is easily the best phone I have (I have/had iPhone 4S, Galaxy S II sky rocket, gsm Gnex, and galaxy note.) Sense while not perfect is not as bad as this review makes it sound. I prefer it over touch wiz, and even over stock ics. I will agree that the multi tasking change is horrible though and I'm hoping we can get the boot loader unlocked and some custom sense roms that can change that.

  • Jad911911

    I get it, you don't like SENSE but lots of people do.  If one doesn't like skinned android, then stick with nexus phones.

    • bluevoodo

      I hear you, I just got my unlocked nexus phone from google play and, im missing "Sense" some of that stuff is pretty usefull like being able to send text messages to group, without having to type everyones name individually (kinda the point of making a group) 

  • bluevoodo

    BSI, Illumination is nothing new, the original HTC evo 4g had a backside illuminated sensor, same as the iPhone 4, Overall this review seems like it was written with the attitude of a pre pubescent teen, granted some people dont like "sense" but it is a whole lot of times more user friendly than stock android. I just switched to a Galaxy nexus and I constantly find myself wondering how certain things are done in Android, that were so obvious in "sense," can anyone explain why I can create a group in my contacts app but I cannot send a message to a group without adding every single persons name?

  • yarrellray

    Bottomline here this was a GREAT REVIEW by Ron awesome job. The great part of android is the diverse amount of devices that exist for people to choose from. 2 years ago a selected android as my platform and selected HTC for my first smartphone why because it made it easier to understand the overall customizations offered by HTC allowed me to learn the things I needed to learn. I love my EVO 4G in June 2010 then went to the EVO 3D in June 2011 these devices brought me to exactly where I am today. I own the Verizon Glaxy Nexus and selected the Nexus based on the fact that I needed to experience my first pure stock android device and trust me their is nothing better than stock android today in 2012. Yes back in 2009 and 2010 the overall stock experience left alot to be desired to say the least but today ice cream sandwich is the BEST THING going on any platform in my eyes it all just fits. Samsung has come along way from 2009 and the software in their devices is TOPS in the industry. If your NEW to android HTC or SAMSUNG SKINS will help you to learn exactly what it is the platform is basically all about. When you have reached the point where I am today then you will find out that skins are no longer needed and that all the things that HTC and Samsung as well as Lg and Motorola all offers can be found as a third party download. The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a wonderful device especially if you have a EVO 4G or EVO 3D on sprint then yes get the new EVO or GS3. Myself I love stock way to much now and love exactly what google wants the ice cream sandwich software to be on screen buttons no captive buttons.

    • squiddy20

      No one wants to hear your life story Richard. 
      Also, would it kill you to use the Enter/Return key once in awhile? Seriously, every single one of your comments are one big blob of unorganized, cluttered text with some caps lock thrown in for emphasis on certain unimportant/unneeded words. Go get an education.

      • yarrellray

        It's pretty clear you want to here it otherwise you wouldn't be wasting your time responding to all my comments throughout websites. It's pretty clear college life must be pretty dull and you must be one of the biggest on campus BUTT HOLES there ever was. Do yourself a favor and go buy a life it's pretty sad going around site to site searching for all my comments over the internet. And you claim to be a college boy with  Intelligenance I cant help but laugh at how USELESS you really are in the real world.

        • squiddy20

          You have a seriously messed up head Dick. If I wanted to hear about your miserable life, why would I say I didn't? If I wanted to hear you whine and complain like a little bratty 5 year old, why would I tell you to grow up and stop complaining about things that are completely out of your control? Again I say: go get an education. Maybe then you'll be able to make sense of your own thoughts.
          For your information, most colleges are wrapping up for the summer, and mine ended about a week ago. So in some respects, you're actually correct in saying college life is "dull", *because I'm done for the semester* you nitwit. Go look at a calendar. Or better yet, use the calendar in your "pimp slapping" Galaxy Nexus to acquaint yourself with the times of the year.
          For the umpteenth time, you cannot "buy" a life. You can however "get" a better one by taking self-help courses, going to college (which you laughably insult me about), and/or searching for a better job. Good luck getting anywhere with that "brilliant" intellect. By the way, what you are referring to is essentially bribery. Good to know you're willing to stoop to such low standards/morals.

          • Guest

            LOL

            I'm with ya squiddy. I remember this fool stomping around phandroid.com telling everyone how the Sensation was gonna bitchslap the GSII. Today he's saying Samsung is "TOPS".

            Crazy ass fool.

            ROFL

  • ffejjj

    I'm very glad i have read other reviews from less bias people.

    The sad thing is some people will likely not get this device due to your review and your personal opinions.  Shameful in my opinion

    • Ron Amadeo

      Shouldn't you accuse me of being biased toward something? I think that's how a difference of opinion works on the internet.

  • Mike

    Really great review. I've been deciding between the Evo or the GNexus, and this really helped me make my decision. Galaxy Nexus here I come

  • Cristina O

    I love sense. Functionality and beauty....
    Great review, but not exactly a fair one in all aspects.

  • Derrickbishop31

    Wow every single other review I've read on this phone has been nothing but excellent. Sounds to me like you are just a hater of sense and HTC all around. I have the 3d and I had the evo4g before this. And let me just say that I like sense. I've used third party launchers.. had a iPhone. And even a Samsung ( touchwiz blows). Sense is by far the easiest and prettiest UI out there. I always come back to it. Stock android is ugly to me. I like the on screen buttons other than that no thanks. I don't get why people hate on sense such as you when its so nicely made. People really I wouldn't listen to this review saying such horrible things. You want to talk about ugly how about the s3 that thing is shiny plastic all around. It looks like shit. I will be there this Friday to upgrade to the new evo with a huge smile on my face ill post back and let all of you know how amazing it is! And those couple of people saying I'm not getting it now. Opinions are like a*&holes every one has some. Your loss. Shame on you for this hateful review.

  • Todd

    Hey Ron, wanted to give an overall impression on your review after reading some of the comments. I agree, this is a very detailed review, the likes of which we rarely see. However, to me, the quality content was over-ridden by the amount of snark included. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate snark in many a thing but not when I am looking for an objective review. 

    Comparing the squared off top of the glass to the rounded edges and saying that it is asymmetrical and a bit confusing is a great observation that no one else has made (that I have seen). However, when you finish off a very good observation by saying "it's ugly, it's stupid, I hate it" diminishes the relevance and it comes off as just something you personally disklike when in fact the design language in that example is very confusing.

    There are other examples like spending half the review mostly talking about negative points about Sense, and then in the Conclusion that it's not that bad. Which is it? The death by a thousand paper cuts just further confused the matter. Is it terrible, okay, bearable, or slowly bleeding you dry and leaving you lifeless? I can't tell. 

    All that being said, thank you for the most in depth review I have seen, whether or not I agree with all of it. This is one reason that I come back to AP for my info.

    Edit: And please update the bit about the soft-touch plastic that is actually very cleverly treated aluminum. The unibody on Sprint is a huge deal and the way it reads is that it's just another plastic phone.

  • Tee

    HTC Evo is HTC One? From the European point of view, you Americans just keep on getting fooled by the naming policy of the phone companies. Time after time...

    This seems so stupid. Think if you go to Europe (or anywhere else, for that matter) and someone asks 'which phone do you have?'. 'Evo...One...Evo...'

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The name on Sprint is EVO 4G LTE. It's not that confusing.

      • Tee

        Well, you might think so. Think if Volkswagens would be called 'Audis' somewhere...

        Evo is Evo and One is One. Now that would be simple?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          It would be, but we're dealing with U.S. carriers here :) Specifically the one that called the Galaxy S II - the Epic 4G Touch.

        • Aparish21

          Does the One have a kickstand? does the Evo have unibody?  not that hard to differentiate is it?

  • Idle Time

    Detailed review for sure.  But it's too bloated and concentrating too much on the Sense UI, keyboards and what not because all of those things can be replaced and tweaked, even if you're not rooted.  And if you're rooted, then all of those points are almost completely irrelevant.

    Buying a new phone, i"m most interested on how it feels on my hand, its specs, its hardware offering, screen and how good it looks since it will be my closest new friend.

  • Darkhawk

    Nice Rant!!! Oh.. wait...... never mind.

  • Darkhawk

    Nice Rant!!! Oh.. wait...... never mind.

  • ntx757

    Knowing that by rooting I could have a probable CM9 option running in a few weeks which I'm ok with...would you discourage the purchase of the device? I like the hardware that's what makes me not want the Gnex more than half a year old if sprint would have gotten of it sooner would prob already have it.

  • ntx757

    Knowing that by rooting I could have a probable CM9 option running in a few weeks which I'm ok with...would you discourage the purchase of the device? I like the hardware that's what makes me not want the Gnex more than half a year old if sprint would have gotten of it sooner would prob already have it.

  • Jon

    Wow Ron, this is an extremely well written review. Best I've read for this phone, maybe of any phone. You go way more in depth than anyone else and focus on things that other review sites never even mentioned. You bring up some great points and you had me LOLing quite a few times. I think you should do all the reviews for new phones lol. 

  • Hilferding

    Another WOW! Ron, you did an outstanding job. I'm reading your review for the 5th time and it makes my day again! Definitely some people here didn't get your point, that's their problem. I am one of your fans now and I really hope you'll do a lot more review of the same kind!

  • SS

    Great article, I appreciate your sarcastic sense of humor and in depth look at what Sense changes from stock Android.  If only HTC made stock phones this one would be a beast.

  • MNtechgirl

    Thanks for the very detailed (& at times, comical) review, it still looks like a great phone to me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbyrd01 Dan Byrd

    I currently have an EVO and would like to purchase this phone when my contract is up, but I guess my concern would be the non-removable battery. I have went through about 3 battery's with my EVO over the past 2 years. I guess I-phone users have the same problem if they keep the phone long enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbyrd01 Dan Byrd

    I currently have an EVO and would like to purchase this phone when my contract is up, but I guess my concern would be the non-removable battery. I have went through about 3 battery's with my EVO over the past 2 years. I guess I-phone users have the same problem if they keep the phone long enough.

  • EFFFFF Apple

    Impressive, thorough review, although I'm sitting here with the butterface here in my hand, a little less enthusiastic to turn her on for the first time after having read it. 

    I wanted to point out that, while the frankenstein/schizophrenic analogies were spot on, there my be some hidden genius behind the bizarre surface & material arrangement on the back of this phone.  While this does nothing to mitigate the abject ugliness i will hopefully soon overlook, I'm thinking the differing surface textures may serve a purpose afterall.

    Glossy plastic backs on phones, if memory serves, can be annoying when whipping out and manipulating with your hand because they don't slide easily across certain regions, principally the base of the palm.  Conversely, some slick, matte phone backs can induce frequent panic attacks as it slides so readily around in and then out of one's hand as the balls of the fingers lack sufficient traction on this surface.

    Large phones are already unwieldy for many average-sized humans with proportionally-sized hands, and this Evo LTE is considerably larger in every dimension other than thickness than any phone i've even seen, including my OG Evo.  Moreover, as these behemoths shed weight, they may also be losing additional ease-of-handle.

    There may be a chance that this questionable design could, in time, prove to be an innovation.  This phone, so far, feels downright secure in my hand while not being stuck in one position in my palm.  So, you heard it from me, the dual-surface backs will soon be a fixture on all phones fit for purchase, but i would venture to guess that you will never be quite satisfied by the aesthetic.

    it's substance over style, anyway, guy.  Thanks again for the great assay.

  • Zukakog

    What RTS game is that on the screen when you're talking about the position of the MicroUSB port?

  • Irishgreendavis

    This review is stupid, ugly, and I hate it!! I can't believe the utter hate for such a BEAST of a phone. I've used and held all the newest heavy hitters( one x, sgs3, note, galaxy nexus, iPhone 4s( yuck), etc.) and this EVO definately outshines them all. I've gotten more compliments of EVO than any other phone. its so smooth, lag is non exsistent. screen is amazing!! Best phone screen to date. and yes ill say it..I think the phone is gorgeous. yes the black plastic could go but I like the change of pace n originaity of this phone..my overall review...best phone to date ...

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.arutunian Robert Arutunian

    Ron-nice critical review.  You have probably gone on to other reviews by now.  I have read that many people are having very crappy 3g signal reception with this phone.  Generally how was your experience with 3g in different areas and how did it compare to other phones.
    Thanks,
    Robert

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      More than your average Sprint phone? I have terrible 3G on my Epic Touch, but that's because Sprint really sucks in the Bay Area at the moment. LTE should solve that... when it gets here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/robert.arutunian Robert Arutunian

        We can only hope it is sooner rather than later.

  • Dylando91

    this review is brutal. i love it. not afraid to point out the flaws. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/robert.arutunian Robert Arutunian

      I also like the phone.  Reviews have made big deal even about the back of phone being shiny black with dull black.  I have to say this does not bother me at all.  I do not even look at that side of the phone except when opening the support.

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