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The HTC Evo: An Android phone so brawny it needs a kickstand

The HTC Evo 4G has a 4.3-inch screen

This story first appeared on the Affluence Luxury Blog

I think I’m becoming an Android fanboy. For the second time this year, I’m enamored with a new Android phone. In April, I wrote this admittedly glowing review of the HTC Incredible, available at Verizon for $200

This time, it’s the HTC Evo 4G, a big-screened beauty that goes on sale Friday (June 4th) at Sprint for $200. It runs on the Android 2.1 operating system, has an 8-megapixel camera, and includes Sprint’s mobile “hotspot” application so you can use the Evo to connect a laptop to Sprint’s network. That last bit is called tethering, a feature the new iPhone will also have.

Among the Evo’s many delights — and one potential frustration — is a feature I have yet to see on a mobile phone: a kickstand. Now, you may think that’s a ridiculous feature but it’s actually awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I think every media-playing smartphone should have a kickstand.

Have you ever tried to watch a baseball game with the MLB At Bat app on your iPhone? Or even a YouTube video? It sucks to hold the phone, and it invariably falls down shortly after you lean it up against something. A kickstand solves this problem quite nicely.

Now, lets talk about why the HTC Evo needs a kickstand: it comes with a 4.3-inch screen, a bright and shining feature that makes the Evo look more like a tiny tablet PC than a mobile phone. My first reaction upon seeing the screen (the iPhone 3Gs’ display is 3.5 inches) is that it was just too big. It really jumps out at you.

But after using the Evo for the past few days, I’ve determined that I really like the bigger screen for one simple reason, and that’s not watching movies. The big screen is much easier for touch typing. Your thumbs have breathing room on this screen; I’ve made far fewer typing mistakes on the Evo than I did on the Incredible, for example. (I’m an iPhone owner, so I’m used to that keyboard.)

The HTC Evo 4g is the first phone to run over Sprint’s 4G network, which is also known as a WiMax network. Now, in my tests between the Incredible and the Evo, I can’t tell much difference. The Incredible, I think, is slightly faster at opening applications (both phones have a Snapdragon chip) and generally managing your mobile actions. But it’s very close.

I’ve been using the HTC Evo in Chicago, and I’m usually in 4G areas according to the phone. Not always, though, and in those cases the phone is still pretty zippy. It also includes Wi-Fi, and the Evo — like most Android phones and the iPhone — does a good job of alerting you about an available Wi-Fi network.

If there’s an issue with this phone, it may be a weak battery. I suppose that’s to be expected: it runs on an advanced network, the screen is huge and you want to use this phone because it’s a lot of fun. In my tests, it appears that you have to start seriously thinking of recharging the phone after about a half-day of steady use. That’s a bit worse than the iPhone and Incredible.

A nice feature is the battery indicator, found under the “about” menu in settings. It tells you what features are sucking on the battery, as well as how much time has passed since it was last charged. Still, if you buy the Evo, leave some room in your budget for a charging accessory.

Another useful feature is a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera. (The iPhone 4G — that doesn’t mean it will run on a 4G network, by the way — is widely expected to have a front-facing camera as well.) This is handy for video chats with your phone, or for snapping self-portraits. Hey, we live in social-networked obsessed times.

The 8-megapixel camera — with flash — is really nice, particularly for videos. I captured nice videos in a lower light situation, and then uploaded them from the phone to YouTube. I haven’t snapped enough pictures yet to get a great feel for the camera, but I like the results so far.

The phone includes Google Maps Navigation, the category killing application that puts free turn-by-turn driving directions on your phone. With the Evo’s big screen, this will be a big reason why road warriors may want this phone.

There’s a lot of phone with the HTC Evo. Sprint will wisely promote the heck out of this phone, and it should only add to the momentum that helped Android phones outsell the iPhone in this year’s first quarter.

Finally, I must admit that the kickstand, while awesome, is not perfect. It works much better when the phone is in landscape mode. In portrait mode, it can be shaky. Can you work on that, HTC?

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8 Comments

  1. Brian wrote:

    hate to put my man on the spot like this, but if you were carrier neutral, which is a better phone the EVO or the Incredible?

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  2. Rob T. wrote:

    I bought my Verizon Droid several months ago and missed out on the Incredible and Evo, but I ain't complaining. I loves me my Droid!

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  3. The Droid is pretty sweet as well. I suspect there will be a number of new Android phones very soon where people will be echoing your sentiments.

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  4. I am pretty much carrier neutral, but that's a tough question. I like the size of the Evo, but that also makes the phone heavier and not quite as sleek as the Incredible. Plus it's a little too soon to determine if the Evo battery life will be a serious flaw. Saying that, today, i'm leaning toward the Evo because the big screen was very nice for typing. But man, the Incredible is great too. Lighter than the current iPhone and screen is just as big. The choice might be which carrier do you prefer, as both phones should please lotsa folks.

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  5. Brian wrote:

    hate to put my man on the spot like this, but if you were carrier neutral, which is a better phone the EVO or the Incredible?

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  6. Rob T. wrote:

    I bought my Verizon Droid several months ago and missed out on the Incredible and Evo, but I ain't complaining. I loves me my Droid!

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  7. The Droid is pretty sweet as well. I suspect there will be a number of new Android phones very soon where people will be echoing your sentiments.

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  8. I am pretty much carrier neutral, but that's a tough question. I like the size of the Evo, but that also makes the phone heavier and not quite as sleek as the Incredible. Plus it's a little too soon to determine if the Evo battery life will be a serious flaw. Saying that, today, i'm leaning toward the Evo because the big screen was very nice for typing. But man, the Incredible is great too. Lighter than the current iPhone and screen is just as big. The choice might be which carrier do you prefer, as both phones should please lotsa folks.

    Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

12 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Eric Benderoff on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 9:05 am

    The HTC Evo: An Android phone so brawny it needs a kickstand http://bit.ly/bdVuPA

  2. My Dad N' Me on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    RT @ericbendy: The HTC Evo: An Android phone so brawny it needs a kickstand http://bit.ly/bdVuPA

  3. eurasian culture » Blog Archive » Bony To Brawny. on Monday, June 14, 2010 at 4:27 am

    [...] Bendable Media › The HTC Evo: An Android sound so brawny it needs … [...]

  4. [...] feature of the Droid X appears to be its massive screen size; at 4.4 inches, its even bigger than the sweet HTC Evo. (Let’s hope it has better battery life, though.) The other key feature is the addition of [...]

  5. [...] of the Droid X appears to be the large shade size; during 4.4 inches, the even bigger than the honeyed HTC Evo. (Let’s goal it has improved battery life, though.) The alternative pass underline is the [...]

  6. [...] 4.3-inch concealment compared to the iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch screen. Like with Sprint’s HTC Evo, added bounteous Android phone, the screen’s player expanse is saint for crafting messages. That player expanse gives your [...]

  7. Eric Benderoff on Friday, July 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    HTC a rising power in the industry-chicagotribune.com http://shar.es/mF2Sj My recent review of Evo: http://bit.ly/bkLH0p

  8. [...] after the mid-point of 2010, a year marked by the re-emergence of Motorola and design savvy of HTC, we are witnessing notable hardware departures from Microsoft and, gasp, Google. Even Apple, which [...]

  9. Apple expands iPhone 4 sales (Appolicious) | O-I Newswire on Monday, July 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

    [...] of it’s top-notch work with Android phones like the Incredible (Verizon – VZ) and Evo (Sprint – [...]

  10. Apple expands iPhone 4 sales | Ipadbay on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 4:38 am

    [...] of it’s top-notch impact with Android phones same the Incredible (Verizon – VZ) and Evo (Sprint – [...]

  11. [...] newest iPhone and hot Android products like Sprint’s (S) HTC Evo. There is no front-facing camera on the BlackBerry Torch either, a key selling [...]

  12. [...] of the praise surrounding this year’s great crop of Android phones has revolved around the HTC Evo, the HTC Incredible and the Motorola Droid X. Samsung had not garnered any attention, until [...]

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