A while back, I splurged at upgraded my mobile phone from a Blackberry 8330 t0 the HTC Hero from Sprint thinking it would be the phone that easily lasted me two years. You see, I have a very short attention span when it comes to technology, especially cell phones, and the BlackBerry operating system simply wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I wanted something more “modern,” so I got what was arguably at that time the best Android smartphone on the market; the HTC Hero.
As time went on, I had more and more problems with it. OS locking up, phone crashing, lackluster performance, slow application launching, running out of memory frequently and the list goes on. I loved the Android platform, and I loved the user interface HTC had built. It’s just that the phone couldn’t handle it, it was too weak.
So I decided to splurge yet again, and get the phone that I really want to last me for the next two years; the HTC Evo, which has been my cell phone wet dream for a long time. But now that I finally have it in my hands, is it everything I had hoped for?
The HTC Evo 4G is heralded as being the first 4G cell phone, but I could care less about that. I don’t have a 4G network anywhere near me, and I won’t be visiting a 4G area anytime soon. In fact, probably won’t have 4G until 5G comes out, seeing as how my moderately-sized town got 3G just a few months ago from Sprint. 4G means absolutely nothing to me, and I will likely never turn the feature on for as long as I have this phone.
Now that we’re passed that, we can get on to the review.
The HTC Evo is an absolute beast of a phone, with specs that would make any gadget queer cream his techno panties. The screen is huge and absolutely gorgeous, the SnapDragon processor is speedy and efficient, the preloaded Android 2.1 OS is fantastic (2.2 is now available), and the custom UI, entitled HTC Sense, is the best way to experience Android. Period.
However glorious, the phone is most certainly not perfect.
In terms of physical build, there is plenty the HTC Evo does without major flaw. For instance, it’s absolutely gorgeous, with the 4.3 inch touchscreen standing out as the prominent feature, sitting about a row of tactical touch navigation buttons and some shiny silver designs that wonderfully compliment the black exterior of the device. On the top, you’ll find a standard headphone jack and standby/power button. Down the right side of the phone is the volume rocker, and a charger slot and HDMI output occupy the bottom. On the backside, you’ll find a silver kickstand used for propping the phone up in landscape orientation for viewing of videos and such. There is also an 8mp camera lens capable of recording in HD.
This is where my initial complaints set in. I would have loved for the kickstand to be positioned in a manner that it could hold the phone up in both landscape and portrait mode. Is that necessary? No. Am I going to deduct points for that? No. But one thing that is a bit more of a problem is that the camera’s lens sticks out a minuscule amount from the back of the device, meaning whenever you lie your phone down, the lens, which is quite fragile, is getting scratched. Over time, this becomes a huge problem, as you lose quality in one of the best features of the gadget.
In terms of software, anyone familiar with Android will feel right at home. The OS is currently the most widely used in smartphones, and that’s for a good reason. It’s fantastic. Sure, it never really feels like it is doing what it is doing on purpose, and instead everything is clumsily falling into place, but HTC’s Sense UI helps that a lot. And now that 2.2 is here, the OS streams much more efficiently and everything works much better. If you’re stepping up from something like the Palm Pre or a Blackberry smartphone, you’re going to find a huge amount of new content to love. If you’re used to Apple’s iPhone OS, it is going to depend entirely on your preferences. There’s a lot Android does better than iPhone, but there’s also a lot iPhone does better than Android.
Again, in terms of software there’s a bit I have to gripe about as well. For starters, it is almost impossible to watch movies on your phone, which is built for displaying high-quality media. It’s a huge pain in the ass to get a movie onto your device (rip DVD, convert file, convert again, store on SD card, cross fingers and hope it works) when the iPhone 4 does it so effortlessly thanks to streamlined support of iTunes. YouTube HQ is nice, but I’d like to watch Dawn of the Dead or How to Train Your Dragon on my phone as well without tearing my hair out.
Finally I’d like to touch on the battery life, which sucks. Hard. I can get almost a full day out of a single charge. But almost doesn’t cut it. I’m fine with daily charging of a device, that seems perfectly fair to me. But when my phone shits out on me before I get off work at night, that’s something I can’t be happy about. There are better batteries out there, but I just spend $500 on this phone. Why the hell would I want to go buy an $80 battery to make it work all day?
Call quality is usually rock solid, the speakerphone works great, and the growing amount of apps means there’s hardly ever any chance you’re going to get bored or not be able to accomplish something with your phone. The giant 4.3 inch screen is amazing to look at, and the device itself is sleek and sexy. The 1GHz Snapdragon processor is a beast, the included 8 GB microSD card is a nice plus, and everything works really well.
Sure there are some drawbacks, but you’ll have that with any phone. At the moment, the HTC Evo is the best Android phone on the market. The only thing it has to compete with is the iPhone 4, but many people tend to shy away from AT&T’s shitty service. Speaking of which, not many people who don’t have access to 4G are too fond of Sprint. Regardless, if you’re looking for a new smarthphone, I highly recommend the Evo, even if it means jumping providers.
Score: 9.0/10 (Outstanding)