HTC Evo 4G Gets Rave Reviews at CTIA

As CTIA comes to a close, the big buzz is about the first next-generation handset, the HTC Evo 4G, due out this summer on Sprint. The tech press and blogosphere are gushing about the new dual 3G/4G smartphone, and some writers attending the wireless conference even got a few brief minutes to test it out, so we save you the surfing and provide the highlights of the debut.

Though it's the first 4G smartphone slated to come to market, the Android-powered handset boasts some serious specs, which is fueling a frenzy of positive posts in the days since it was unveiled. A full list of HTC Evo 4G features is at the Sprint Web site, but the features making the geeks go ga-ga include: Android 2.1 OS, a QualComm SnapDragon 1Ghz processor, a 4.3-inch touchscreen, HTC Sense UI, 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and a forward-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, built-in mobile hotspot functionality allowing for eight wireless devices, live video sharing with Qik, 1GB of built-in memory and 512 MB RAM, in addition to all the typical smartphone specs we've come to expect.

WiMax Mobile Internet Makes Evo Speedy Smartphone

It appears from first impressions, that the era of "smartphones as handheld computers" is here.

Blogger Kevin C. Tofel at jkOnTheRun echoes his peers in a post "Sprint's Speedy Superphone." He writes: "HTC just raised the superphone bar with Sprint’s introduction of the HTC EVO 4G -- the first phone ready to jump on Sprint’s fast 4G network. And it’s not just the WiMAX radio that makes the EVO compelling. From top to bottom and everywhere in between this Android phone is built for performance."

Paul Miller at Engadget called the HTC Evo 4G "breathtaking," and "easily the best specced phone we've ever witnessed," in a post titled "HTC Evo 4G is Sprint's Android-powered knight in superphone armor."

"We got to play with the phone for an all-too-brief matter of minutes, but everything we saw was frankly breathtaking. The camera does seem to be indeed of a high quality..., the screen is naturally gorgeous, and the Sense UI was as responsive as we've seen it, and frankly delicious at this jumbo size," writes Miller.

And what about the speed of WiMax? A staff post at Electronista said the following in its Evo hands-on entry: "Using Sprint's WiMAX network this week for mobile Internet throughout Las Vegas, speed tests yielded results ranging between 2Mbps and 8Mbps. The boost was particularly apparent when using the Evo with Google Earth, which refreshed satellite imagery in a fraction of the time it would normally take on a 3G network."

Another person who got some coveted hands-on time with the new superphone is Sascha Segan, of PCMag, who writes that Sprint dropped a "bombshell" on CTIA with the "most powerful Google smartphone ever seen in the USA." Segan notes that in addition to the monster specs and 4G WiMax support, the Evo also scores another first: it is a hybrid of both a so-called "Google phone" and an HTC phone.

"Unusually, the Evo is both an HTC Sense phone and a 'With Google' phone. That means it has all the Google apps, but it also has HTC's home screen widgets and custom experiences. For instance, you can press a button to see all seven of your home screens in miniature," writes Segan in a post "Hands On with the HTC Evo 4g Super Phone."

In terms of performance, the PCMag scribe said, "The phone felt screamingly fast when I used it, though my prototype didn't have a network connection. It's big, it's fast and it's beautiful. As I discovered in a test drive on Monday, WiMAX can provide up to 12 megabits/sec download speeds. The Evo 4G will swap between 3G and WiMAX for data depending on what's available; it will make all voice calls over Sprint's CDMA 1X network."

HTC Evo 4G the Best Smartphone Running Android?

Some industry watchers made note of how the other high-end Android handsets, the Droid and Nexus One, come up short in comparison to the HTC Evo 4G, and, say the patent lawsuit recently filed by Apple against HTC is a sign that it fears the iPhone may lose its coveted spot as the smartphone to have.

"The wind has been blowing more and more towards Android over the last several months, starting with the Motorola Droid right on through to T-Mobile's Nexus One. Still, neither of these handsets has truly triumphed, leaving me skeptical about whether or not an 'it' handset will ever be anything other than an iPhone. But if the reception so far is right, the Evo is a full-on Android tornado. It's no wonder Apple is worried and flung a suit at the Taiwanese company earlier this month," writes Corinne Iozzio in a PopSci.com post titled HTC's Evo 4G Smokes the Competition.

Over at the Phandroid blog, there is an Evo 4G Kumbaya taking place on the forums, according to one writer. "Oh. My. God. That thing looks nothing short of amazing. When Android first hit the scene, everyone wanted an HTC HD with Android. Instead we patiently waited, and got that, times 2, on crack and anabolic steroids (the smartphone legal kind). This thing looks nothing short of astonishing," writes Rob Jackson in post "HTC Evo 4G: Sprint Android Official [Glory]."

For now, Sprint and HTC are basking in that debut glory, but the media are already wondering if price and battery performance will tank the high-flying Evo 4G. Pricing and a release date have not yet been disclosed, other than to say it will be available in "summer," though it remains to be seen if the Evo 4G will go on sale before or after the expected update to the Apple iPhone 3GS in June.


Android, mobile, smartphone, 4g, HTC