Finally I have the God phone: the Sprint HTC EVO 4G

It has been a long time in coming, but the first Android device I will keep is in my hands.  It was November 2007 when I first heard about, and became excited about the prospects of Android.  Despite my investment in learning how to program Android while competing in the first Android Developers Challenge,  it has taken me this long to actually end up with one that I wanted to actually have.

In October 2008, I briefly had a T-mobile G1, and I would have gotten a Nexus one but I found T-mobiles network to be unusable compared to Sprint.  I was not willing to go from the capability of streaming audio and video indoors over Edge, to having to go outdoors or frantically try to find some point which was exposed to enough of the very weak signal.  The prospect of paying $1800 over the next 2 years for T-mobile’s impotent network made me cringe. So I sent it back.

Nor was I willing to subscribe to the overpriced and under performing AT&T / IPhone, with their horror stories of constant call dropping, or the dictatorial app store application approval policies.  Not to mention AT&T’s battle against Network neutrality, and theircollusion with the NSA wiretapping make me wary about sending my dollars in their direction (not that Sprint is any angel).  I do enjoy my iPod touch, iPhone OS is a great thing despite all the negative aspects that come along with it.

 

I really enjoyed Windows mobile for being able to do everything that the IPhone OS was not “allowed” to do: Play Flash content, Install arbitrary apps, multi task, act as wifi hotspot, read SD cards, have a hardware keyboard, replaceable batteries.  But the time has come to bid adieu to the capable yet clunky Windows mobile, because android has finally come of age.

 

Yesterday I picked up my Sprint HTC EVO, and have been utterly amazed with how far smart phones have come.

 

Pros:
  • Speed  – 6.302 MFLOPS on Linpack benchmark
  • Display – it’s massive and vibrant.
  • Kickstand – Much burlier than than the flimsy one on my Archos 7 Home Tablet
  • Google Voice – Installing this I was given the choice to completely replace the traditional phone and only make calls over Google voice.  Saves minutes but the call quality is significantly diminished
  • The virtual keyboard has arrow buttons, and long press for alternate buttons.  Though it’s little more complicated than the iPhone OS, it’s definitely better.   I will still miss the eyes-off hardware keyboard on my Treo, but I’ll live.
  • HDMI output – Why would I want to stream 720P video out of my phone?  Because.  Looking for a mini HDMI cable…
  • Speaker is quite loud… Enough for me to comprehend the BBC streaming radio playing while I’m in the shower.
Meh:
  • The “Sprint Football Live” and “NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile” apps are burnt on the ROM and impossible to uninstall.
  • Some of the HTC Android desktop widgets are over-sized and under functioning.  Removing these and replacing with the stock android widgets to make room for apps on the 7 desktop screens.
  • QIK, the video streaming software, didn’t seem to want to upload over 3G for some reason.  Have been uploading QIK video on my Windows mobile Edge connection for some time, though those are likely much smaller video files in comparison.  Also I couldn’t seem to figure out how to make a video call with QIK, which is supposedly possible.
  • Battery life is not earth-shattering, if the processor wasn’t so fast and the display wasn’t so huge it .  At least they are replaceable.  Fun fact, the Palm Treo Pro running windows Mobile was actually produced by HTC, and has the identical battery design to the EVO.  Just ordered 2 extra batteries + an external charger for a whopping $12.
  • Has a standard headset port, but headset was not included.

Cons:

  • Pay $10/month extra for 4G even if your region doesn’t have 4G yet  (still cheaper than other major carriers).  Hope this helps subsidize an aggressive roll-out of this new tech which is for the most part hype.
  • The SD card is buried underneath the battery and very difficult to extract, as if it’s a SIM card.  Accessing this is something you would never want to do regularly.
  • It’s 30 a month extra for Sprint’s wifi hotspot capability.  On windows mobile a $20 could do the same thing (probably not as smoothly though).
  • Does not seem to be as fingerprint-phobic as my iPod touch.
Here are some apps that I am enjoying so far:   Layar, Google Sky Map, Voice, Goggles, Earth, XiiaLive, NYtimes, Skyfire, GPS Status (reads magnetic field strength, acts as compass, level, altimeter).

 

Overall, I’m overjoyed.  Will try to test the camera soon.  I now have a supercomputer in my pocket.  Hooray!

 

Broomfield, Colorado, United States