May 25 AT 3:18 AM Taylor Wimberly 38 Comments

Sprint EVO 4G first impressions

Yes, I was one of the lucky 5,000 people who received a Sprint HTC EVO 4G at Google I/O.

Several sites have already posted their reviews, but I believe the EVO is one of the most important phone launches in Android’s history. We want to spend the proper time with the device before posting our final thoughts, so look out for a bunch of mini posts this week that will cover all things EVO.

First up, I just wanted to cover the basics of the EVO for those new to the device. Sprint begins selling the EVO 4G on June 4th for $199 with a 2 year contract. Customers are required to pay $10 for the 4G premium data add-on and the mobile hotspot feature is an additional $29 per month.

From the moment I first held it, the EVO became my new favorite Android device based purely on the hardware specs. The 4.3 inch display is just massive and it is a joy to play with. HTC is using the new Atmel maXTouch sensor and the touch input is more precise than what I experienced on the Nexus One.

Powering the EVO is the 1 GHz Snapdragon. I’ve been the using the Nexus One which also features the same processor, so the performance between the two phones (and the HTC Incredible) is comparable. The only difference I can mention is that the Nexus One was noticeably faster when upgraded to Android 2.2, but we expect HTC will do the same for the EVO later this year.

The most notable feature of this phone (and most marketed) will be its 4G support. Sprint claims their 4G WiMAX network is 10x faster compared to other 3G networks (6 Mbps vs. 600 Kbps) and we will see how that promise holds up in a comprehensive speed test over the next few days. All I can say right now is that I think many of you will be shocked by my 4G speed results.

I’ve been out of town the last few days so I have yet to get an accurate reading on how well the battery performs. I will be taking a daily log this week and see how it does with 4G data left on and turned off.

I have barely tested the camera at all and there will be an entire dedicated post for picture and video quality. No micro HDMI cable was included with the unit, so I still need to locate one in town and film the results on my HD TV set.

If you have any special request for a video idea or other things to include in the review, please leave me a comment. I admit some our previous phone reviews kinda sucked, but we have listened to all your feedback and the entire team is spending extra time on this review to make sure it stands above the rest.

Make sure to hit up the source link if you wish to view the hands on video in HD.

Highlights of the Sprint EVO 4G include:

  • Simultaneous voice and data capability in 4G and Wi-Fi coverage areas, enabling Web surfing and more while the conversation continues.
  • Offering a new way to search with pictures instead of words, Google Goggles works with everything from books, DVDs and barcodes to landmarks, logos, artwork and wine labels.
  • Superfast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, ensuring a smooth and quick movement within phone menus.
  • Two cameras — an 8.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and a forward-facing 1.3 megapixel camera.
  • Built-in mobile hotspot functionality allowing up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices to share the 3G or 4G experience on the go with a laptop, camera, music player, game unit, video player, or any other Wi-Fi enabled device.
  • Integrated HD video capture with the ability to capture and share live video via the Qik Web site, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter(TM).
  • Ability to easily watch video with the device on an HDTV via an HDMI cable (sold separately).
  • Custom Web browser optimized for the 4.3 inch display and Sprint 4G speeds to deliver a full, no-compromise Internet experience.
  • A handy kickstand built into the back, making it easy to watch videos on-the-go.
  • Adobe Flash technology ensures that rich Internet content, such as embedded video and animation, are displayed the way they are meant to be seen.
  • Pinch-to-zoom and automatic text reflowing provide easy Web page views.

Source: YouTube

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://Website matt

    Please check reception indoors when you have a full bars/very strong 4g signal. I’m interested in seeing how just going inside is going to affect the signal quality. Also I noticed the is sort of inconsistent. You might want to try other speed tests.

    There’s an ftp that’s been used for awhile by an ISP called optonline for its customers to check their speed.. but is open to anyone. They have a good backbone connection and fiber network and you can connect to it via an ftp client. Server is at anonymous for username and password and use the test files of various sizes to test download (no upload test unfortunately).

    Also where are you testing it out? What city?

    • sk8rseth

      if his weather widget is correct he is tesing in Corpus Christi, Texas

    • Darren

      I agree about the indoor / outdoor testing; how well is the 4G signal able to penetrate vs. 3g? I would also like to see traveling reception, i.e., what kind of speeds do you get while driving down the road? I hear that speed drop-off in that circumstance is substantial on 4G.

      • Taylor Wimberly

        I actually did test it when driving home from my trip. I was able to hit 2 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up while driving 70mph down the highway. I got those speeds in Austin and San Antonio.

      • sk8rseth

        well since wimax is a higher frequency than cdma it has less building penetrating power, so it will naturally get less service inside a building. at least in these early stages of its development. prolly for the next year to two u will need to get used to switching between 3g/4g

    • http://Website prent

      Specswise HTC EVO 4G is currently the superphone for Android smartphones. We love android, I can’t see any reason why any tech savvy-citizen wouldn’t?

  • http://Website sk8rseth

    i would like you to do a screen tracking tewst like this one please,

  • roman.bugaev

    Why is the screen so blind?

  • Ng LC

    Can you please check how many fingers can it support? I really want to know…I know in the description,the new Atmel maXTouch sensor can support unlimited touches but I just want to see if it was true…

    • nEx.Software

      Android itself can only track up to 3 touch-points, though I suspect that might change in the future as we see larger and more tablet like Android devices.

  • Mike Leahy

    I understand by watching a demo Multitouch Vis Test (download from the market) on an acquaintances device last Friday in SF that the sensor input lags a terrible amount such that the touch points significantly lag behind the actual touch points. :( No good I’m afraid.. :( But perhaps Taylor can try that demo out and shoot a video. It’ll be a couple weeks before I get my hands on one as things go.

    Multitouch Vis Test needs to be slightly modified to show more than 2 points, but you’ll see a big difference and different defect with the EVO 4G I’m afraid.

    Boo hoo on touch screen woes for Android.. Please check this out though. I’d be glad to be proven wrong!

    • http://Website Derek

      I think you’re wrong. I’ve seen videos of touch input tests of the Incredible (uses the new Atmel touch sensor) vs the Google Nexus One, and the touch test on the Incredible blows away the Nexus One. The Atmel sensor is clearly the better sensor. You wont be disappointed at all.

      • Mike Leahy

        Got an EVO 4G in hand? All I’m reporting is exactly what I saw on an actual EVO 4G last Friday with the extremely simple Multitouch Vis Test app available on the market. When dragging fingers around there was very noticeable latency and the detected touch points were upwards of half a second behind the actual finger moving and up to 2-3 inches away from the actual touch point depending on how fast the finger is being moved. What I’m saying is that there was significant latency in response with that specific multitouch test app on a stock EVO 4G from Google I/O. I don’t have one in front of me to make a video, but I very clearly saw this first person. I am a game / engine developer and so was the other fellow and it was a bummer to see this.

        I’m not trying to rain on the EVO 4G parade (wished I had one!); simply just stating exactly what I saw. I’m afraid in the Android device world it’s necessary to test per device though one would think it should work comparatively to the Incredible given the same hardware…

        So all those who modded down.. Simply run the test and post your results if you have an EVO 4G handy.. Like I said I hope I was seeing double and this is not the case!

        • Mike Leahy

          Yep I now am borrowing an Evo 4G for dev / testing and I can definitely state that there is latency in the touchscreen that is not apparent on the Droid or N1. I’m not talking about the axis aligned issues found on other earlier HTC devices (N1), but simply dragging ones finger semi-fast in a circle clearly shows the finger ahead of where the software thinks the touch point is (latency). I’d say it’s in the 250-400ms range. Now this may not be a problem for pinch / zoom and very basic multitouch applications, but I deal with games and interactive apps, so this pops out at you in a more than trivial use context.

          _It’s slowly getting there_..;P

  • http://Website


  • http://Website drizzle

    My Incredible pulls down those speeds and I don’t pay extra….Sprint needs to check that extra fee.

    • http://Website manny

      What are you smoking on? Verizon is the most overpriced carrier. Even with the $10, sprint is still cheaper. Visual voicemail is also inculded with sprint, unlike Verizon $1.99 eff me in the ass dry and fee.

  • http://Website Stephen

    Anyone know if that USB wall charger is one of the newer ones that draws no energy when something is not plugged in to it?

  • http://Website Anthony

    Wow coming from a N1 user this phone is the only other phone that I would consider. The reason over the HD2 is first android and the soft butttons are by far better that those ugly buttons on the Hd2. I wont switch because I am under contract and prefer stock android but its a can’t miss phone good luck to those deserving sprint folks

  • http://Website Derek

    My biggest question is what kind of display does it have on it? Is it true 800×480 AMOLED like the Incredible or the pseudo 800×480 pen-tile matrix screen like on the Google N1?

    • angermeans

      You do know that the Incredible uses the same pen-tile arrangement that the Nexus One uses, right? They are exactly the same except the Incredible uses the MaxTouch sensor. Look at the screens side by side they are the exact same and from what I read the EVO uses the same as well dont spread gossip around and try to make the N1 look worse than it is.

    • angermeans
  • http://Website ryan

    I’d really like to see a standard pair of headphones plugged into this phone, I saw one review where the guy used apple headphones that seemed to stick out of the plug quite a bit so i want to see if that is because of the headphones or a shallow plug. Also everyone talks about the screen the camera and the UI but I have yet to hear anything about the call quality.

  • http://Website Pax

    As I read more, noticed that the review is really an imcomplete one. In my opinion, this is just another tool for Sprint to rip consumers off which in today’s world is not that hard as consumers are really not that smart. A mandatory $10 even if you are not in the market which is comparable to T-Mobile’s HSDPA which will cost you zilch and for “hot spot” feature charging a cost of 29.99…oh give me a break. People don’t be fools. I have a Nexus 1 on T-Mobile, upgraded to Froyo with Tethering=”0″…super fast.

  • http://Website swazedahustla

    For those crazy T-Mob people who don’t understand……..

    What many (most) folks do not realize, Wimax is optimized for heavy data. HD movies, Video On Demand, online gaming, etc. Whereas, the network Tmo uses is primarily optimized for a cell network, that happens to run data as well. What will happen with Tmo’s network, as more and more folks pile on, it will slow down. That will not happen with Wimax, due to the fact Wimax is more similar to a internet connection. People refer to Wimax as, “Wifi on steroids” for a reason. These 4G speeds “today” are only the bottom of the spectrum, as its rolled out and tweaked, you will be blown away at the higher end speeds that are collected.

    • http://Website Pax

      Yepper…a smart one here……READ ON…. HSPA+ is high-speed on the cheap. It’s a backwards-compatible upgrade to existing HSPA networks. So T-Mobile can re-use a lot of their equipment, and they can layer HSPA+ into their existing radio spectrum without elbowing out their current subscribers. In fact, ordinary folks with non-HSPA+ phones will have better experiences on HSPA+ networks than otherwise.

      They’re not sacrificing speed, either. The current iteration of HSPA+–the one used by T-Mobile, all three major Canadian wireless carriers, and a bunch of European carriers–has theoretical download speeds of 21 Mbps and upload speeds of 5.8 Mbps. Telstra in Australia is working on a 42 Mbps network, and at Mobile World Congress this year, vendors are demonstrating an 84 Mbps system.

      Even assuming that most people will get half those speeds, that’s faster than most home broadband connections. The first iterations of LTE are only supposed to give 8-12 Mbps speeds. WiMAX has a theoretical speed limit of 70 Mbps, but as you may have seen from various tests with Sprint, usually you get much lower speeds.

      BOTTOM LINE: You are not the smartest one in this forum…do some research otherwise I may just call you crazy swazedahustla.

      • http://Website swazedahustla

        Yes, all of that could very well be true. But like you said, WIMAX “theoritical” speed is 70 mpbs, and that is looking beyond now, and once their network is fully up and running. Hell for all we know it could be even faster than that, NOONE will know until then. And from the majority of speed test’s I have seen 7.2 was easilly performed by most people. Thanks but no thanks, I don’t need to do any researching of what you are looking at, I will continue to research facts.

        BTW, I just checked my post again and can’t find the part where I suggested I was the smartest guy on this forum, so I guess perhaps you need to comprehend what you are reading before you reply next time.

        • http://Website Pax

          I guess you didn’t comprehend what I was trying to relay in my first comment. I really wanted this phone, and I am not sure if I want to argue the technology, rather the nickel and dimes (in this case $$$) that sprint is trying to charge customers. Regardless of whose customers we are (all carriers), they do stick it up our asses (that includes you as well), and we go with it. As I see, you are not a fan of true research, but a majority of the smart phone users (includes iPhone), are not heavy data users, rather talkers, music streamers (T-Mobile Cell Optimized network handles this just fine), and as you may have noticed, social networkers. I do admit that I don’t use Facebook or Twitter, but I don’t think there is much of heavy data transmission associated with those networks. By the way, I am an IT person, and having worked in Telecom before, I do know a thing or don’t go around calling people crazy because they don’t agree with you. You know your facts, and if you like to spend all that money, you just have the right to do so. I live in Mid-Atlantic and am having a better experience using T-Mobile & Nexus 1 over ATT & iPhone, Verizon & Blackberry. I have never used Sprint, but according to my cousin, his HTC Hero does average data, and he claims that their customer service sucks.

    • http://Website Jon

      “What will happen with Tmo’s network, as more and more folks pile on, ”

      When will more folks pile on? Last I checked, T-mo is dead last in # of subscribers and that doesn’t look to be changing soon. The AWS band will never get bogged down.

  • http://Website joeskie

    Enough about all these features. I want to know…WILL IT BLEND?!?!

    • Canterrain

      Every time an awesome device such as the Evo gets blended, a little part of me dies. Mostly cause they could have just given it to me!!!!! Or… you know… any other person who wanted one… hello? Just… saying….

  • Canterrain

    There are so many things I’d like to see covered about the Evo, a few I mentioned via twitter.

    A side be side comparison of color: there’s been a lot of weird color going on with the screens and software recently, hopefully the evo isn’t affected.

    I’d love to see a comparison of speed (on wifi for fairness) and rendering of webpages. Does the evo make good use of the large screen to give you a more true viewing experience?

    A multitouch sensor test seems a given at this point.

    As do camera comparisons.

    It would be interesting to see flash lite vs. full flash on froyo as long as you have the two available.

    I’d really like to know how solid that kickstand is. Will it take a beating? Will it only take regular but gentle use? Should I just get it over with and rip the thing off all ready?

    I’ve yet to see anyone really cover the new Qik features in action, or even a decent review of how well they work/how useful they are.

    And finally, I’d be interested to see if you will be in trouble using an alternate keyboard than the stock since there is no trackball/pad and alternate keyboard might not have cursor arrows. Is the screen big enough to easily tap letters to move your cursor? (That’s the only thing I use the trackball for)

    • angermeans

      Alot of the things you mentioned are questions that Phil and his team are doing an awesome job of covering over at they did the same for the incredible. I can tell you off the top of my head that they did an article (including YouTube videos as they do on most of their articles) on the multitouch, they just posted one covering the speed (nexus one running froyo, moto Droid running stock 2.1 and EVO running 2.1) they did the article using linpack and neocore I think. The only thing I don’t think they covered so far is the kickstand but I could be wrong. I go to that site couple times a day for great articles go and check it out and I wish you luck in your Android endeavors hope I have been a little help. Enjoy that EVO and let me (a nexus one owner) know how great it is!

  • http://Website Hans4G

    Hello Taylor!
    Thank you very much for your hands-on and all the Website, its my favourite Android-Recource! (and one of my favourite webdesigns, btw :)

    What would interest me:
    - How does the Display compare to the Galaxy S (you didnt mention that one as a competitor)
    - What touch sensor for the Display?
    - Detailed Techspecs (Ram-Amount / Benchmarks) – if possible with screenshots
    - How slick is the display? (I noticed with the Desire: once its clean, it can be hard to move the finger across, until you in”greased” it :)
    - how scratchproof is it?

    That would be all for now!

    Thanks alot for your effort,
    your AaM-Fan

    Hans :-)

  • http://Website anthony

    The thing that bothers me about the Evo is sprint putting all they crap in the phone you know the stuff you gotta delete. People stop comparing this to the galaxy or any other just get it and enjoy get used to being part of the HTC/Samsung etc phone junkie game LOL. Today’s best phone is good for two weeks. The incredible’s upgrade is already made lol

  • http://Website matt

    What about text selection with the evo? Lack of any sort of optical joystick or trackball makes me wonder how the hell anyone can do text selection or move the cursor correctly with this phone. Is the new touch sensor *THAT* much better?

  • http://Website justin

    So i am not sure if this has been asked by anyone on any other threads but forgive me cause i am new to this and am really jealous of all you sprint customers. Its not avalible in my area. Since verizon and sprint are both cdma do you think after it gets rooted that it could work with verizon ever.

  • http://Website sean

    The evo is a great phone, I have been very pleased with mine. I recently went abroad on a mission trip only to find out the evo is not a world phone. Needless to say I was very disappointed, totally put a big damper on my trip. So buyer beware if you travel the world. Makes me wonder why they would put a world clock on a non global phone.