The newest addition to Sprint’s EVO line is here, the HTC EVO 4G LTE. Sprint hailed the 4.7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich phone as the true successor to the original EVO 4G that launched in 2010.
The new EVO 4G LTE is very similar to the HTC One X that’s launching on AT&T later this year in looks and functionality. The tweaks added to the Sprint version make the phone more Evo-ish — the kickstand, the hardware shutter button — but all the good things about the One X are also here in this phone.
We had a chance to go hands-on with it today and from the looks of things HTC is in for a fantastic year and EVO fans are in for a sweet phone.
Like HTC’s One X, the screen on this phone looks spectacular. When Sprint CEO Dan Hesse pulled it out of his pocket the screen looked like it was a decal you’d see in the store. It still looks great up close. If this was an Apple device, the screen would be called a Retina Display.
HTC used a special high-grade aluminum on the shell of this phone. The result is a very solid device that feels great in the hand. It is surprisingly thin for something with a 2000 mAh battery. The trade-off is that the battery isn’t removable.
Even though the EVO has a large 4.7-inch display it doesn’t feel like a monster. There’s very little bezel, which helps.
ICS and Sense 4
Android 4.0 with Sense 4.0 runs smoothly on the new phone. Though we still don’t get a quad-core processor with this model, the EVO responded with a swiftness as I tested it. Opening apps, moving through Home screens, playing games, all nice and snappy. Sense isn’t slowing this bad boy down.
Like the One X, HTC did include soft-touch buttons under the display instead of leaving the on-screen buttons in stock ICS.
Camera and Camera App
The only lag that we did note was when using the shutter button to launch the camera. It took just a second or two too long for the camera to load when pressing the button. There was no lag in using the shutter button to take photos, however.
Since we have camera apps on the brain today, it’s nice to see an app included on a phone that provides such robust functionality and so many options and settings. Plus, the 8MP camera is backed by some good hardware, so you get decent shots even in less than ideal lighting.
Another nice feature is the ability to take still pictures while filming video. We saw this on the One X as well. On the Evo you can go one step further. While playing back the videos you take, you can also capture still photos.
K.T. is glad to see the kickstand returning to the Evo line as it’s one of her favorite things about the original Evo and about the HTC Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, the kickstand here is less useful than the one on either of those two phones.
First, it’s hard to get out, even with fingernails. Second, it’s positioned on the device in such a way that you can only use it in landscape mode. K.T. goes hands-free with the Thunderbolt in portrait all the time, especially when reading a book or a web page.
We understand that HTC was going for a distinctive look. During today’s presentation the head designer talked about wanting to demarcate where the smooth camera area ended visually and tactile-ly, but it makes the kickstand less useful. That only makes sense if you think people won’t use it.
If the HTC EVO 4G LTE is as good as it seems from our short hands-on time, Sprint and HTC have another hit on their hands. We look forward to getting this in for review.
The phone will be available for pre-order next month and cost $199. No firm release date yet.
Shawn Ingram contributed to this story.