HTC And Sprint Announce The EVO 4G LTE: Krait and LTE, on Sprint for $199 [Updated w/ Hands-on]by Jason Inofuentes on April 4, 2012 5:29 PM EST
During the remarks HTC brought on Jonah Becker to discuss the design initiatives that went into creating this latest EVO device. Notably, the phone's chassis is anodized and chemically etched to create a black soft-touch surface. The edge of the phone is shaved to give it that silver rim, and the red-accent bits are also anodized aluminum. The matte finish over much of the phone is interrupted by the glossy upper portion of the back, which is a removable glossy black cover that provides access to the microSD card slot. The battery is inaccessible, a necessity in designing a phone this thin that doesn't use an AMOLED display.
In the hand the phone feels light, and comfortable, though the soft surfaces give me the fear I'm going to drop it any second. The size of the device doesn't feel overwhelming, a fact that's helped by the narrow bezels on the sides of the screen. The screen looks fantastic, and viewing angles are good at 160 degrees, though there was some color distortion at those extremes. I am still surprised to see capacitive buttons on ICS devices, though I suspect they will remain featured on lots of devices, long after this one. The dedicated shutter is an aluminum piece that feels solid and easy to actuate without rocking the device. The volume rocker is a little less compelling as it matches the glossy rear cover and feels a little squishy.
The software feels snappy and responsive; HTC's Sense 4.0 is still the Sense we know and love/hate, but apparently less intrusive. I say apparently because the hallmarks of Sense are all still there. The prominent clock and weather widget is updated with the Roboto font. The dock still retains four customizable apps along with the app drawer. The lock screen still features a ring that can be used to unlock the phone or activate one of four customizable apps. Indeed, there are few areas that seem to be untouched. Even the app switcher has been rejiggered with a WebOS-like card interface, set as a 3D carousel. So, this isn't vanilla Android, but it doesn't seem to be slowing the device down.
As we mentioned in the overview, the camera received special attention, both here and on the entire One line. HTC's ImageSense branding represents the f/2.0 lens and the imaging ISP they've included. With all that, HTC has once again put their mark on the camera interface, including a continuous shot mode (4 stills per second, up to 90 seconds) and is activated by simply holding the shutter down. An HDR mode is included along with the typical panorama and scene modes. The 8MP pixel sensor is capable of shooting 1080P video, and in this implementation is actually taking near continuous 5MP stills so still shots can still be taken while shooting video. In practice, the images look good, when we get a device in for review we will be excited to dig deeper and see just what magic HTC has dug up for their imaging ISP.
A long line formed in front of a pair of sound proof booths that HTC and Sprint set-up to demonstrate their HD Voice implementation. As Brian mentioned, the use of EVRC-NW will greatly improve the frequency response of Sprint's voice calls, though still falls short of providing the full range of the human voice. We can expect more of these sorts of announcements from all the major US carriers in the near future, making our analysis of noise cancelation and voice quality all the more pertinent. Improved vocoders help not at all if what's transmitted is still noisy and garbled.
And then there's the kickstand. I've been a fan of the idea on consumer electronics devices since the first time I saw someone trying to watch a video on a 5th generation iPod. The particular design used on this EVO is a little stiff to deploy, but once out can be positioned in two different landscape angles, and in portrait. Portrait seems handy for video chat, and the two different landscape position can be useful when on flights with an awkwardly positioned tray table. The kickstand itself feels incredibly solid and would likely require a good bit of force to break.
All told, during our short time with the device, it felt good in the hand, and as smooth as we'd expect a Krait device to feel. Now comes the waiting game. Pre-orders start on 5/7, painting a picture that puts this phone available late in the second quarter of 2012. Enjoy the gallery and feel free to send any questions our way.