The next-gen iPhone has a competitor, and it’s name is the HTC Evo 4G. Formerly known as the Supersonic, Sprint’s first 4G handset boasts a supersized 4.3-inch 800 x 480 display, an 8-MP camera (with 720p video recording), a separate front-facing camera, HDMI out, and a neat kickstand for watching videos. Plus, Sprint will include a mobile hotspot app that supports up to 8 simultaneous connections. Yes, there’s an Overdrive inside. Are you drooling yet? You’ll have to wait until this summer. The good news is that Sprint says it will price it’s new flagship phone aggressively.
Powered by a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM (twice as much of the Nexus One), this Android 2.1 device will do more with its high-speed 4G connection than just surf the Web. For example, both YouTube HD and Sprint TV will auto-sense when you’re in 4G range and deliver higher quality streams, and the preloaded Qik app will let you stream live video right from your device to the cloud. Sprint is also releasing an SDK to take advantage of the Evo’s zippy data rates, which will likely include video chat apps. You also get HTC’s slick Sense user interface, as well as your choice of Sprint Navigation or the free Google Maps Navigation.
Read on for our first hands-on impressions.Weighing in at 6 ounces, the Evo 4G is no lightweight, but it’s the same weight as the Droid and includes a larger display (albeit sans physical keyboard). Although we’re sure that Apple is working on an iPhone with a bigger screen, it’s worth noting that the Evo 4G’s display is 30 percent larger than the current 3GS. And we could definitely tell the difference when the two devices were side by side. We could see more of the NYTimes.com homepage without scrolling.
The on-screen keyboard is also larger than the iPhone’s. However, at least with this early build we encountered more input errors than we’d like. The Sense UI is as pretty as ever, with all of the latest enhancements on board, including the helicopter view for seeing all of your homescreens at once.
We didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the bundled apps, but Qik offered smooth streaming, and Sprint says that Google Googles (visual search) will be a much better experience on this smart phone than other devices because of the combination of 4G and Snapdragon. What’s still missing at this point are killer games (from Android in general) and premium video content, although Sprint is working behind the scenes to nail down partners.
As for battery life, Sprint says you should be able to get a full day of use. We’ll have to see what happens when that power-hungry 4G connection is active. Overall, the HTC Evo 4G has all the makings of a dream smart phone, but we’ll have to see just how fast 4G is on this device and how seamlessly it switches between that network and 3G. So far, so good. Very good.