Last night, Sprint announced the HTC EVO 4G LTE (did you follow our Twitter coverage?) — one of the slimmest smartphones available on any U.S. network. Not only is it skinny, but it also has a very sharp 4.7-inch display, runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, has an amazing 8-megapixel camera, a large battery and will support Sprint's new 4G LTE network. Sounds like a winner, right? Read on for our first impressions on the newest EVO smartphone.
HTC's New Bar For Industrial Design
Sprint might not be interested in suggesting the similarities, but almost immediately, we can tell the HTC EVO 4G LTE has the HTC One X's DNA.
Whereas most of the old EVO smartphones (EVO 4G and EVO 3D) were kind of bulky, the EVO 4G LTE (what a mouthful to say) is slim and slender with a thickness of only 8.9mm — thinner than the iPhone 4S's 9.3mm profile.
On the EVO 4G LTE's anodized aluminum face is a sharp and crystal sharp 4.7-inch display with a 1280x720 resolution, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and three physical Android buttons. Located on the side is a camera shutter button for lightning fast access to shoot snapshots. Moving around the back, the top half is made of a glossy plastic (which picks up smudges way too easily) with an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p HD video while simultaneously shooting still photos. There's also an LED flash to accompany the camera.
Sandwiched in the middle of the phone's back is a slim red kickstand that's surprisingly sturdy (though, you will need fingernails to pop it out) and can prop the smartphone in various positions vertically and horizontally. For some reason Sprint and HTC were very excited to talk on and on about how they perfected the kickstand design. We're not convinced it's that big of a deal.
Finally on the lower half of the rear is a matte rubber back. Honestly, we would have preferred to see the entire rear in matte finish, as the glossy half tended to get really fingerprinty after minimal handling.
Inside of the EVO 4G LTE you'll find a fast and snappy 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor paired with 1GB of RAM that really makes Android 4.0 ICS (with Sense 4.0) fly. The EVO 4G LTE comes standard with 16GB of internal storage, but we spied a Micro SD card slot that can be expanded with cards up to 32GB in capacity. There's also a beefy 2000mAh battery (non-removable) to keep the 4G LTE from draining it by midday.
I Can Hear Ya Loud And Clear
A new feature that Sprint touted for the EVO 4G LTE was "HD Voice." Sprint claims HD Voice will provide crystal-clear voice calling with advanced noise reduction to soften background noise and pump voices. In the demo chambers Sprint had on site, HD Voice did indeed sound clearer, but we'll reserve judgment when we can really put it to test in a noisy city street or at a loud club.
We're skeptic as to whether people still care for having ultra-crisp voice calls, especially now that most people prefer to text and use data instead of call with their smartphones.
A Good Phone To Kickstart Sprint's 4G LTE
If you've read our coverage on the HTC One X, the EVO 4G LTE is pretty much the same smartphone transplanted into a new case. It's a little cheaper looking and feeling than the One X, but the experience and snappiness is virtually identical. (Note: We didn't get to test the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint's 4G LTE network because it's not live in New York City yet.) With the EVO 4G LTE, HTC's letting everybody know that it's learned how to refine its past efforts.
Sprint's not ready to announce when the HTC EVO 4G LTE will officially drop, but it did say that pre-orders will start on May 7, with the phone arriving shortly after (Q2). It'll cost you $200 bones with a 4G LTE contract.
There will no doubt be better 4G LTE smartphones on the horizon, but we'll say that Sprint's EVO 4G LTE is an stylish and fast smartphone to kickstart the carrier's new 4G LTE network.