94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
, August 23, 2012
This review is from: HTC EVO LTE, Black 16GB (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)
If you don't read anything else in this review, read "The Ugly" section. Some of the problems with this phone are important to cover, and may be a dealbreaker for many. I've had this phone for a month now, and I want to share my thoughts. The device has some really fantastic features that I absolutely love. It also has some serious knocks against it that really drag the experience down. I honestly find myself wondering now if I should have stuck with my last phone, the previous Evo 4g, for a little while longer.
Most reviews rave about some specific features of this phone, and I can say that the raving is justified. The screen is gorgeous. It is bright, and the resolution makes everything crisp and clear. The camera is as good as they say it is. It is an entirely new class of phone camera. It is incredibly fast and responsive, and the picture quality is simply amazing. With my old Evo 4g, I enjoyed the pics but never harbored any illusion that they were as good as those of a dedicated camera. With the Evo 4g LTE, the camera is easily as good as any point and shoot on the market today. The slow-mo video is a fun feature, the ability to capture a pic while taking video is fantastic, the hardware button is wonderful, and most of all I love the rapid-capture ability. It really is just a fantastic camera.
ICS is a great upgrade over older versions of android. On the Evo 4g LTE it is fast and responsive, with hardly a stutter to be seen. Little things like the ability to unlock directly to an app really make a big difference. The music player has been nicely tweaked over older iterations, I especially like that it now acts as a hub for all the music capabilities of the phone: pandora, mp3s, etc. I general the OS feels more intuitive and responsive than older iterations, as it should.
The battery life seems to be very respectable. Part of why I upgraded was that my old Evo's battery was showing its age and could barely last 10 hours without needing a recharge. The Evo 4g LTE lasts multiple days on a single charge with light use, which is plenty for my needs.
The microSD slot is pretty easily accessible, and offers the ability to cheaply upgrade the phone's storage.
Apparently (according to a bit of google searching) there are multiple screen manufacturers for the phone, and not all screens are built equal. While my phone's screen is generally great, it has a VERY noticeable flicker when displaying certain colors. Specifically the light grey shade that you see when the Google Play (market) app opens flickers like an old low refresh-rate monitor. It isn't an issue very often, but it is very disconcerting.
The build quality of the Evo 4g LTE is pretty suspect. The front of the phone feels super solid and I have no doubt that the glass will hold up over time. The same can be said about the brushed aluminum bezel, back panel, and kickstand. But the gloss plastic that covers 50% of the phone's backside is already showing wear and tear, after less than a month. I baby my electronics, and my two-year-old Evo 4g is in nearly perfect condition. The glossy plastic portions of the Evo 4g LTE already creak alarmingly under pressure, and I do not feel confident that they will stand up to the test of time. There is a noticeable gap between the removable plastic cover and the surrounding aluminum bezel. The build quality is surprisingly poor compared to my previous experience with HTC, and honestly even when compared to other portions of the Evo 4g LTE itself.
A few features of ICS are not as intuitive as one would like. My old Evo 4g instantly and automatically linked all of my contacts with their facebook information, thus filling in things like birthdates, and most importantly profile pictures. ICS (and maybe Sense had something to do with this) did not. It took quite a bit of digging around, and some work on google to figure out how to enable the facebook linkage. Until then, all of my contacts had default grey outline pictures.
This is where the phone starts to fall apart for me. The network capabilities are awful. They are a clear downgrade from my Evo 4g. I live in Kansas City, and my old Evo 4g had both excellent 3g coverage, and excellent WiMax coverage. Ping times were the only problem I had with WiMax (typically in the 200-300 range), but I typically got 3-7Mbps down and ~1Mbps up with very reliable coverage, especially in my home. Outside of WiMax range, I reliably got 3g coverage that pulled ~1-2Mbps down and up. This is what I would expect, given that I am in Sprint's home market.
I upgraded to the Evo 4g LTE after hearing that LTE was officially "live" in Kansas City. Unfortunately the news that I missed was that by "live", they really mean "about 30% live". There is little to no actual LTE coverage in the city. At my apartment, where WiMax was previously very strong, I can only connect to LTE rarely, and when I do the signal is so weak that my connection times out regularly. Watching antenna strength, the LTE connection sits around -115 to -120dBm (in non-technical terms, that is just a hair above zero bars). I actually disabled the LTE antenna on my phone because it is disruptive FAR more often than it is useful.
"So what", you might say. "Just use 3g". I would agree with you. 3g should be able to get me by in the next few months while Sprint continues their LTE rollout, hopefully with an antenna near my home. Unfortunately the phone's 3g antenna is also highly problematic. 3g signal pickup is weaker than my old Evo 4g, and speeds are considerably worse than my previous phone. Pings usually sit around 200, which is acceptable, but I almost never get above 0.5Mbps down, or up. Additionally (and even more importantly), the phone has a habit of dropping the 3g signal. I tether often, and when I do I tend to lose 3g every few minutes. This is in close proximity to a 3g tower, and with a strong signal (4-5 bars, in the -70 to -80dBm range). The phone will just inexplicably lose 3g connectivity. Google around a bit and find out: this is a known problem that many people are dealing with, and HTC/Sprint have acknowledged the issue and are trying to rectify it. Problem is, it isn't fixed. I truly hope that in the near future an OTA update will fix the problems... after all, I'm basically stuck with this phone for the next 23 months. The network issues are bad enough that I really do miss my old Evo 4g, and I'm very tempted to reactivate it.
Conclusion: at the end of the day, the Evo 4g LTE is a phone, and as such I think the network issues are a pretty big deal. If you are on WiFi constantly, then they won't be an issue for you, but if you're dependent upon Sprint's network in any way, be very careful... this phone has some major baggage.
Update 9/25/2012: A couple OTA updates later, and it is still in pretty bad shape. I am very used to 500ms+ ping now, and 0.1Mbps download/upload speeds. 4g coverage is still nonexistant. According to xda and s4gru, this problem is SPECIFIC TO THE EVO 4g LTE. As in an iPhone 5 and SGIII will both connect just fine to 4g, but an Evo in the same room will not.
Try this neat trick: Go to craigslist and search for Evo 4g LTE. See how many nearly new Evos are being sold for less than half the price of a new one? That speaks more volumes than my review does.
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