The EVO has landed: HTC EVO 4G LTE Hands On
This phone will live in infamy. It’s funny cause I think back to around the time this phone was announced people were saying it wouldn’t make history like its older sibling the HTC EVO 4G. Boy were they wrong. This is one of the first devices in history to be banned by the United States International Trade Commission due to an injunction won by Apple Inc. in December of last year. The injunction kicked in April 19th. HTC had thought ahead to remove the violation (Apple Patent 647 a patent governing the use of actionable links in email messaging and web-browsing apps) but what HTC didn’t anticipate was the ITC banning the import of their devices via Customs. Anyhow we have several articles chronicling the fiasco that is now being called EVOGATE but that is all a memory as the EVO has landed. This will be updated to a full review ,but for now I’ll give you my first impressions of arguably the best smartphone on the market today.
Before I begin I will tell you this phone has no LTE right now despite it’s name. At the time of this writing Sprint has only just begun to light up its first round LTE markets beginning with Atlanta and the market I live in is on the list for the second round so its a good sign to see them at work in the area. However, I will not be penalizing the phone and going on and on about it. All the apps etc I have used have been on a 20 mbs download connection via WiFi so im reporting on the phones performance when it has the bandwidth it needs. I will say Sprints 3G is barely passable in my area but that’s the last time I’ll say it in this article.
Many have griped about certain aspects of the EVO’s appearance. I think it’s difficult to judge until one holds the phone in the hand. We have been joking that the color scheme and design matches that of the A-Team van and indeed it does. With dimensions of 5.31 x 2.71 x 0.35 the phone is huge and you will more than once find yourself using both hands on it’s expansive screen. In terms of appearance the brushed aluminum back just screams quality when you touch it. We all have heard of the shiny black finger print magnet that houses the lense cover. I think it will grow on most people. This phone is one of a kind and can be mistaken for no other. The thin aluminum line that surrounds the outer rim of the phone is elegant and the buttons are well placed and easy to hit. You will find yourself accidentally hitting the volume rocker but more from how responsive it is than poor placement and the hardware camera button is excellent. The camera does take an uncomfortable half second to load when this button is depressed. This delay does not happen when pressing the on screen camera button however. All in all the phone is a sexy beast and one cannot forget in true evo fashion the red strip around the phone hides the iconic kickstand which now props up the phone from a couple viewing angles making charging while on the kickstand possible.
My personal favorite feature of the HTC EVO 4G LTE is the display. It comes packing a 4.7 inch SUPER LCD 2 display with Gorilla Glass 2 scratch resistant glass. The display resolution is 720 x 1280 with 312 pixels per square inch. It is absolutely dazzling. I use that word because I have spent a considerable amount of time staring at it in disbelief. It is so bright and vibrant I had little trouble seeing and using it in direct sun light. One would think this would make the phone horrible on battery life but the power efficiency is quite nice in my opinion. As a sample I have included screenshots from an Adreno graphics demo. Display type is a matter of opinion more than it is a referendum on the technology but for me this is the best display I’ve ever lay eyes on period.
Now to the mostly hotly disputed aspect of the phone. I won’t go into the people who want to compare this camera to those by other manufacturers. I’ll just say the ability to shoot 4 frames a second with the Image Sense Chip is really awesome and the picture image quality is nothing to shake a stick at. The rear facing cam is an 8 mega-pixel with a huge F2.0 aperature specially made to shoot quality images in low light. On the front the EVO makes use of a 1.3 mega-pixel camera that shoots images and video in 720 p. It works extraordinarily well in video calls etc. Below are a few images I shot with the camera set up as it comes out of the box. You be the judge.
Processor and Performance
The HTC EVO 4G LTE is like it’s cousin the One X in more ways than one but most notably its the Snapdragon S4 Processor with Adreno graphics processor. The Sense 4 custom UI that comes on all HTC handsets is another point of contention but with the S4 behind it’s like ICS with your favorite dessert topping. A lot of the bulkiness of the Sense UI versions of the past is gone and the UI simply wizzes. Ask this phone to do something and it does it … fast. Benchmark scores for me were around 5100 Quadrant with the stock ROM and games look and play amazingly well on the SUPER LCD 2 screen we previously discussed. This phone leaves nothing to be desired in way of performance and the battery live is phenomenal. I have been able to get through the day on one charge with ease and the longer I have had the phone the better it gets. This phone has not come close to buckling under the mayhem I have put it through with multi-tasking. This phone does it all.
Media and Audio
I hope to end the beats audio controversy by putting it like this, Beats Audio is nothing special to an audiophile. If you are the kind of person who tweaks their eq and desires the best sound experience all the time you will not be impressed. However, if you are the average user like myself and you just want good sound then Beats Audio does this and does it well out of the box. Looking at the big picture the EVO brings the best possible experience to media through audio and visual excellence. Beats Audio does not hurt at all and after all it’s optional. That being said its universal and powers the entire audio experience on this phone. The speaker sounds pretty good depending on how the phone is resting. It was fairly loud and clear and you get zero complaints from me. Again in terms of consuming media as a total package it’s hard to beat, in fact it’s king.
The EVO is a huge device but it is light thin and easy to hold. Does it fill the shoes of the EVO line? It holds the line and certainly reminds me of my EVO 4G in form factor and spirit. Its a safe bet this is my vote for the best smartphone around even when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S 3. The phone matches or best it’s closest competitor stat for stat after all. All the controversy and wait were worth it. If you are like me and use your smartphone on WiFi the vast majority of the time this phone is a no brainer to pick up. It was well worth the wait after all the controversy. Below I will place more miscellaneous shots of the phone and will return here when I feel comfortable with an Official Review. More to come…..