The New EVO Smart Phone From Sprint is Coming

Posted: May 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Sprint’s upcoming Android smartphone — the first WiMax phone in the U.S. — is an “extraordinarily sexy” handset with a “massive,” “mesmerizing” display and speedy 4G data access, according to the first reviews. The Evo’s “disappointing” camera is catching some flak, however, as is its battery life.

Of the handful of early reviews for the Evo 4G ($199 with a new, two-year Sprint contract, set for release June 4; check out my hands-on impressions here), the bloggers at Engadget were probably the most enthusiastic, calling the phone “truly one of the best smartphones ever made” and raving about the “amazing” 4G data speeds (up to about 7.4Mbps, when using the Evo as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot) over Sprint’s nascent WiMax network. (Keep in mind that WiMax is only available in 32 markets for now; check my Evo 4G post from last week for more details.)

Engadget was also impressed by the Evo’s roomy, 4.3-inch WVGA display, saying that the bigger screen makes the handset feel “solid and substantial” in your hand. But Engadget went on to ding the phone’s much-vaunted 8-megapixel camera, which captures video at resolutions up to 720p, observing that “HTC wasn’t shy about compressing the [heck] out of your output. … Don’t toss [your] 1080 camcorder.” (It should also be noted that reviewers weren’t able to test the Evo’s two-way video chat abilities, which won’t go live until June 4.)

Engadget ends its review on a high note, cooing, “We love this phone.”

Over at CNET, reviewer Bonnie Cha calls the Evo 4G “hands-down, the best smartphone that Sprint has to offer” and one that “certainly ranks as one of the best Android phones on the market today.” Cha singles out the Evo’s “massive,” “mesmerizing” display for special praise, adding that the phone’s “spacious [onscreen] keyboard … rivals the iPhone’s in ease of use.”

Cha admits she had “higher hopes” for the Evo’s data speeds, noting that she got an average throughput of 3.42Mbps downstream but a choppy, “disappointing” experience with streaming video via Sprint TV. And the mandatory $10 monthly fee for WiMax on top of the standard $70 voice/data bundle “seems unfair,” she says, given Sprint’s limited WiMax coverage in the U.S.

Gizmodo didn’t have a chance to wring out the Evo 4G in terms of its WiMax capabilities, but the blog did manage to spend some time with the phone’s “disappointing” camera, which captured 720p video with a (compressed) data rate of just 5MB per second — “proof [that] resolution isn’t everything.” Gizmodo was also underwhelmed by still shots from the Evo’s 8MP camera, which were “fine” but “not so great in even mediocre lighting. … I was hoping for a little better.” 

Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal concentrated his review on the Evo 4G’s data support, which “offers the highest consistent download data speeds I have ever seen on a cellular network.” Then again, “the data speeds weren’t spectacular,” Mossberg notes, adding that he averaged about 3.4Mbps downstream (same as CNET) and just under 1Mbps upstream (ditto). Mossberg also complained that “when using 4G, the Evo’s battery runs down alarmingly fast. … It didn’t last through a full day with 4G turned on.” Meanwhile, the Evo’s jumbo display makes the phone feel “bulkier and heavier” than its touchscreen counterparts, Mossberg wrote.

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