May 13, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
I hit a massive amount of traffic on my way back from New York City, which is much cleaner than I remember, but I can now share with you my impressions of the HTC EVO 4G.
I’m assuming by now you’ve learned about the EVO 4G, so if not, here’s a quick rundown of the phone’s specs, and below are responses that I received from various Sprint and HTC reps at the events based on questions you all asked on Twitter.
How much will it cost?
Good news, bad news. The EVO 4G will cost $199 with 2-year agreement. You MUST buy the 4G WiMax service, even if 4G isn’t in your market. I asked several people before leaving and got a similar story – save one person – and received clarification from others that it’s not optional as originally thought.
Now as for the ability to turn the device into a WiFi hotspot, that’ll run you $29 a month. So in the end, you’ll spend about $110 (including $69.99 Everything Data plan) to take advantage of the EVO 4G’s features.
Does the phone have the noise-canceling microphone like the Nexus One?
Yes. The EVO includes technology very similar to what was seen in the Nexus One, so you’ll be able to speak clearly in a crowded room and still hear be heard in strong audio.
Will it run Android 2.2 at launch?
Come on, guys; really? Of course not, and don’t expect it any time in the future. I asked multiple people and was told it has Android 2.1 and there’s no announced plan to move to 2.2. Considering that 2.2 hasn’t even been released officially and it takes HTC a while for updating Sense and testing, DO NOT buy this phone and think you’re getting 2.2 within a few weeks. Be forewarned that you buy this phone because you love it. If updates are a dealbreaker, get a Nexus from AT&T or T-Mobile.
How does HDMI playback look?
Fricking sweet. HDMI out on a good-quality video looked great on the 50-plus-inch TV at the event. The Prince of Persia clip played on loop looked beautiful, and a video shot with the EVO’s camera was decent, though it was a little pixelated when upsized to the large screen. If you have a video stored on your phone and want to show it to family, you will have smooth playback.
What is YouTube HQ?
YouTube on the EVO 4G is CONSIDERABLY better than on any other device. The image is crisper, of higher quality, and features a special stream that no other device on the market has. The EVO 4G will be the first to offer YouTube HQ. However, testing at the event revealed that if a video wasn’t of good quality when uploaded to YouTube, it won’t suddenly be better on your device.
Only Flash Lite, not 10.1. You won’t get full Flash until the phone is updated to 2.2, which could be a while.
What does it feel like (physically)?
Like the HD2; a tiny bit heavy but manageable. Someone from PocketNow had his HD2 and the phones are almost exactly alike aside from the camera on the back.
Can you use voice and data at the same time?
Yes, on 4G only.
Can you use video chat on 3G?
Yes. It was originally thought during the presentation that statements about the EVO supporting video chat on 3D were a slip-up. It wasn’t. I asked at least 7 different Sprint reps and they all said 3G would be supported.
However, there will be a difference in stream quality depending on 3G vs. 4G. When on WiMax, the quality of the front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera will be noticeably better.
Is 4G coming to ___________?
If your city wasn’t already on the list of previously announced cities, they haven’t confirmed any new metropolitan areas.
What’s battery life?
This was by far the most complicated question with the most complicated answer. This is the first WiMax phone, so there’s no real life testing yet to validate the claims. Battery life will depend completely on usage patterns. Because you’re streaming video in higher quality, video chatting, and using a massive screen, you could potentially drain this faster than other devices.
Sprint made sure not to oversell battery life and say it’s up to the users. The phone supports 6 hours of talk time and has a 1500 mAH battery.
Can HTC Sense be turned off?
Some people love the EVO’s hardware but are against Sense. If you don’t like it, no problem. Check a quick video below to see that it doesn’t have to be there. (Settings > Manage Applications > HTC Sense > Clear Defaults and Force Stop)
- The EVO 4G supports FM radio. However, you will need to have a headset to use it. The radio actually uses the headset as an antenna to access data, so you will need to have one for playback.
- Qik comes pre-installed. You will be able to do video chat with Qik. I naturally wondered if Skype would be available as well, but Skype hasn’t released an app for non-Motorola phones and there’s no video built into (to my knowledge). You’re going to have to wait a while to use this for Skype video chats.